When I bought my first road bike in June 2011, I was coming off of a season of about 2000 miles on a wonderful cyclo-cross that I was using almost exclusively on the road. So, I decided to move a bit skinnier and faster. After each ride, or so it seemed, I would stop by my favorite bike shop and speak with my friend/manager who had helped me choose the bike and then professionally fit it for me. I tend to whine a lot so I’d go in and say, “My shoulders hurt. You need to check the fit on the handlebars.” His response was a calm, quiet, “Just ride a little more.”
After 3 or 4 weeks of this – and many miles later – I stopped by one day and humbly admitted that he was right and the bike felt great!
This season I decided that the fit needed to be tweaked. I was ready to change the geometry to a higher seat and lower handlebars. I was also ready to move up from entry-level clipless pedals to something a better – especially since I ride farther more than I do faster. Wouldn’t you know, it happened again. I’d stop by and say “My shoulders hurt. You need to check the fit on the handlebars.” Only this time I had more to whine about: “I can’t get my shoe in the pedal much less out!” His response was a calm, quiet, “Just ride a little more.”
You’re right. It’s been about 3 or 4 weeks and all is well.
Mind you, if something is not right in your bike fit, you should persevere until you get it right. No one needs to ride a bike that is inappropriately adjusted to his or her physical size and shape, fitness capabilities or even intended use. But, sometimes we just need to give ourselves the time to settle in and adapt whether to the bike or to the training.
It’s the same with Spinning® class. How often do newbies complain that their butt hurts, their shoulders hurt or their hands and feet grow numb. It is our responsibility to do the very best we can with bike fit on their Spinner® as well as good riding technique and habits. But, at some point, don’t we all just need to ride it out a bit? If a newbie begins to complain, chances are that the person on the bike next to him will quickly share something like: “Oh, I know, I went through that too. But now it’s ok.”
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves and our students that we are each unique and we need to polish the skill of defining our own goals, determining our own fitness level and even well-being on a given day. Possibilities may be infinite, but each step along the way is measurable.
There is no one size fits all. There is a reason why bike fit is a science. There is a reason why we begin with hours/miles of Endurance training before we tackle the Strength and Interval Energy Zones. There is a reason why we individualize training by utilizing a heart rate monitor. There is a reason why we wear padded shorts! But, sometimes we just need to relax into our training and “just ride a little more.”