Periodically I keep bringing up the issues I am having with my hip. I’ve tried lots of things — rest, stretching, foam roller, and more. However, while these things have helped, it seems that the pain is simply being managed. Finally, I wondered if the problem might be my bike.
When I got my Felt AR, I had it set up with the numbers measured from the Giant TCR Advanced. The measurements matched up perfectly. So, I assumed that my body was positioned identically.
Recently, I had the Felt converted to a TT bike. While it was rigged that way, I was riding my Giant more regularly. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something felt different. I also found that my hip was — while still painful — not hurting as much.
When I got my Felt back in its road race configuration, I decided to see about getting a fit. If the bike was set up correctly then I would at least be able to rule that out. If it wasn’t, then that would give me some hope that making some changes to my bike would help me combat this pain.
I called my friend and chiropractor, Dave Mruz at Eastside Chiropractic, and asked him if we could set up a time for him to take a look at me — and my bike. As usual he arranged for me to meet him at a time when he could devote the time needed to give me the full treatment. I was looking forward to learn what he would find.
He was skeptical at first that the problem was the bicycle. He wanted to take a look at me. I explained to him how that I would wake up in the morning with my right hip nearly locked up. I described how when I tried to sleep on my left side my middle back hurt to the point where I couldn’t breathe.
“Come with me,” he replied and led me to an examination table. He ran some range of motion and resistance tests. I could tell I was failing. My right leg simply couldn’t resist the pressure. “You have problems,” he stated.
It was then time for him to go to work. Within 30 minutes, I was felling better. You know how it is that you get used to pain? It becomes the new normal? Then you realize how much pain you had when you get relief from it. Sometimes that happens when you take pain medicine. You find yourself spontaneously chuckling as the relief floods over you.
“Okay, let’s take a look at the bike,” the good doc said. I sensed he still thought that the problem was mostly with me, but he agreed that we needed to remove the bike as a potential cause for my problem. I was really hoping that it was set up incorrectly. I wanted to think that I could pinpoint the root cause of my issues.
After explaining how I had the bike set up originally, we went to the Internet. Dave wanted to see if the geometry of the frames of the Giant and Felt were similar — primarily the seat tube. What we discovered was that the seat angle was different. So, that meant though the distances measured between the various points on the two bikes were the same, my actual position on the Felt was lower than the position on the Giant.
So, we started from scratch and positioned me on the Felt frame based on the angles of my body. That lead us to raise the seat a number of milometers. It felt good on the trainer. Now I just need to see if that translates into improvement on the road.
Dr. Mruz tells me that the change should also help me produce more power. That would be a nice side benefit to the process. Overall, though, I just want to find an end to the pain.
One of the other things I like about my chiropractor is that he is a cyclist. He is always thinking of the physiological aspects of the sport. For instance, before performing a particular procedure that would open my rib cage he had me breath into a lung volume analyzer. I registered a 5200 on the scale. When he was done he had me blow in the tool again. This time I registered 5700.
“Yeah,” I said, “but how long does it last?” He explained that this was something he surmised would happen based on what the procedure is attempting to accomplish — loosen the tension of the ribcage. Less tension there the more the lungs can expand. “I’m still compiling data,” he explained. “I only know that it creates an immediate improvement. I need to do more testing.”
It is that kind of thinking that attracts me to his office. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he is the chiropractor that many pros seek out when then are in town. Not to mention the fact that he is just a really nice guy! Thanks so much, Dr. Mruz.