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Bike Fit Blog

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3 Things to Never Ask Someone That Just Had Their Bike Stolen

by Jess Hughes

There is no off-season for bicycle thievery and this month has been no exception.  Reading about the good folks at Cascade Bicycle Studio in Seattle and their 32 stolen bikes crushed my spirit. Their Facebook post announcing the enormous loss was a tear jerker.  Closer to home, a client of ours cancelled his appointment after realizing his bike had been taken from his garage the night before.  The notion that he had the mental clarity to call and cancel moments after realizing his bike was gone was impressive.

This week marks 1 year that my beloved Rouse was stolen from our garage.  While I did get her back, the incident evoked emotions I didn’t realize I had, forcing me to rethink my reaction when learning of similar misfortunes.

We all know someone who’s had their bike stolen. Here are 3 questions you should avoid asking after they’ve posted that picture:

1. Did you have insurance?

This is important because it could go one of two ways.  They have insurance.  Depending on where their bike was stolen from (house, car, coffee shop) there’s a huge chance it’s not covered on their policy. I won’t get into the nuances of everyone’s coverage but do recommend you call your agent. What they have to say may surprise you.   What if your friend doesn’t have insurance?  Well you’re now the asshole that just reminded them.

2. Weren’t they locked up?

This seems like a rhetorical question no one can stop themselves from asking.   It doesn’t matter if they were locked up and no matter how it’s answered, this question always comes with insensitive follow-ups and unavoidable judgement.

3. Don’t you have another bike?

It’s not recommended to offend the victim while they’re still in shock.  For an invested cyclist or triathlete this questions is on par with, “Don’t you have 2 kids?”  Yes and you love them equally. Move on.

When you see that picture of your friend’s stolen bike, give it a share and only ask questions that are going to bring the bike back to its rightful owner. All others should be saved for the celebratory reunion.

My bike was stolen last April.  I found it 72 hours later.  Jess and Jihad start with the same letter.

I Almost Hit a Cyclist This Morning. Here’s What Happened.

by Jess Hughes

I’m driving west on San Felipe in the right lane. Cars ahead were darting out of the right lane in a hurried manner. I slowed down as the car directly in front of me slammed on its brakes. They changed lanes and there was the cyclist traveling at approximately 13 mph into the sun with no idea what was happening behind him. I wondered why he chose to ride in traffic instead of the sidewalk but hey, I do it all the time. We all do, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. unnamed At this point we were almost to Willowick.  I was less than a mile from my office, wasn’t in a hurry and thought I’d help him get past the section of San Felipe that has no sidewalk.  I put my flashers on and stayed a fair distance behind in an effort to protect him from frustrated drivers. We crossed over the tracks.  The sidewalk reappeared but the cyclist stayed in my lane.  The next light turned green, we both moved forward and he darted right onto the sidewalk. Sigh of relief. He was safe. As I pulled ahead to cross the intersection I noticed he was doing the same in the crosswalk to my right.  That’s when he changed his mind.  As he neared the sidewalk ramp, he darted left back into my lane with no warning. I had 3 options:

1. Hit him,
2. Slam on my brakes and get rear-ended or
3. Swerve left and get hit on my driver’s side.

I slammed on my brakes, bracing for the car behind me to react (or not) noticing the cyclist had no regard whatsoever for the events he had just caused. His cadence never changed, he never looked over his shoulder before re-entering traffic nor reacted when he heard the sound of brakes locking up. My angry motorist reaction was to park, chase him down on foot and beat his ass. My open-minded cyclist reaction was nothing short of,

“Oh my God. He’s one of us. That just happened.”

Insert shameless plug here. My husband owns a small bicycle fit studio in Houston that proudly serves and supports our cycling and triathlon communities seeing just over 1,000 riders a year.  I play a major role in our business’s online presence and claim our share of accountability to our cycling constituency; I have no doubt other shop owners do the same.  I pride myself on living and working in the city. Seeing folks on all kinds of bikes riding on sidewalks, bike paths and in the streets makes me proud to live in Houston.   I do what I can to help our cause by signing petitions, participating in awareness rides and sadly donating to funeral funds when we lose a fellow rider to an accident involving a car.   Hear me when I shout,

“One of my worst fears as a small business owner dependent on cyclists, is being part of, let alone causing an accident involving a cyclist.”

With local headlines depicting open season on cyclists and authorities blaming riders for being hit by cars on supported group rides, this incident today raises my concern as an advocate. I live in the world of ‘what if?’ and can’t help but wonder what this event would have done for our pro-cyclist platform had it played out poorly. What would I have said to the police and any media about hitting this cyclist or causing an auto-accident to avoid a reckless cyclist? Would I have fallen on the sword to save face for our cycling communities’ valiant efforts towards improved legislation for cyclist’s safety or would I have come to my own defense?  This was not my fault yet there I was contemplating taking the blame while reciting, ‘no good deed goes unpunished’.

Just yesterday, I pulled over on Heights Blvd when I saw Tad walking home from work.   Tad came to the car, hugged the dog hanging out the window and pointed out that I was boldly blocking the bike lane… in our car with ‘BIKEFIT’ license plates.  I drove off quickly hoping no one saw me.

So I ask you, as a cyclist, what would you have told the police this morning?

The Cans and Cannots: Why Incorporating Pressure Analysis is No Longer Optional

by Tad Hughes

For years fitters have heavily relied on optical systems and angle based algorithms to come up with integration solutions between bike and rider. The more asymmetric the client, the more expertise required of the fitter. As 553225_483136525061722_1325523742_nMRI’s revolutionized the medical field, the addition of pressure analysis in cycling and triathlon gave way to contact point visibility while giving crucial feedback that was previously unavailable. Instead of asking clients, “How do you feel?” we can now quantify those feelings with the ability to visualize the interface between contact points and changes made via position or equipment. Understanding and interpreting real-time pressure data separates fitters from those who can and those who cannot.

At their highest levels, the difference between technology and magic is sometimes indistinguishable. We have implemented the Gebiomized system in hundreds of bike fits at saddle and shoe contact points as a primary system for biofeedback between our client and their bike.  In the world of fit, where our primary job is to responsibly adjust symmetrical products to the asymmetries of our clients, Gebiomized has widened the gap between those fitters that play checkers and those that play chess.

Augusta 70.3 Race Report

by Alex Baron


Augusta is a fast course. Lets begin right there. The swim is downstream and weather is
generally favorable. Bike has some decent hills (over 1,000 feet in elevation over the
course) and is quite technical. Run is a flat 2 loops through the town. All this being the
case, this does not make the course easy. The result of this is that everyone goes fast.
There are no breaks. No points where you can take it easy. All you can do is hammer the
entire time. My first goal for the day was to follow my plan and have a strong race
(usually easier said than done). Second was to earn a spot to the 2014 70.3 World
Champship in Mont Tremblant. Not an easy task considering there were only 2 spots
assigned to my age group. So to achieve this goal I would also likely need to podium…
something I’ve never done at a 70.3.

My wave went off at 9:04 am. This was not ideal as the course was going to be crowded
and I had a long time to wait around between when we left transition and the race start. I
made it a point to stay hydrated and have something small to eat while waiting.

Swim – 24:44 (21st fastest in AG)

Nobody is ever going to mistake me for a swimmer. It is simply not my sport. That
being said, I am improving. Am more comfortable in the water and am getting better at
keeping the effort up throughout the swim. My coach TJ wanted me to really try and
push the swim. Said it shouldn’t take away from the rest of the race.

I don’t know how many people I passed, but it was a lot. The last 1,400 meters went great. I was in the
zone and moving at what I thought was a solid pace. Nobody from my AG passed me
and I kept moving through other athletes in my wave that started out stronger. I was very
happy with the last ¾ of that swim.

Bike – 2:18:22 (4th fastest in AG)

As usual, my HR was through the roof as I started my ride. At least 15-20 beats above
where I needed it to be. I instead focused on power and feel for the first 10 miles and
slowly let my HR come down. I don’t think it has ever felt quite as easy to generate
power as it did that morning. I was effortlessly holding my power in the mid 200’s for
the first 10 miles. I had to focus to keep it from going too high. Once my HR came
down I was able to shift my focus to that for the remainder of the ride.

The course was very crowded as expected. There were some decent rollers as well. Big enough hills to have some idiots try to surge past me over a hill to drop me I guess? It was amusing at times as they would surge ahead and create a 10-15 second gap. Another minute or two later they would be caught and spat out the back. I am a firm believer that in the AG ranks the bike ride during a triathlon is not a race. It is a time trial. Your only goal is to get to the end of the ride as fast as possible without spiking your HR. There are very few times I would consider truly taking someone else’s actions into consideration when riding the 56 miles of a half ironman.  None of those situations arose today.

The ride itself was fairly uneventful. There were a few close calls with people who would not ride on the right side of the road and some interesting exchanges at aid stations. I felt in control the entire ride. I did get a bit tired between miles 40-46 but managed to stay focused and keep my head in the game. By the end of the ride my glutes and hamstrings were hurting pretty good. I was a little concerned how the hard ride would play out on the upcoming 13.1 mile run. This truly was one of the best rides I have ever had. HR never got too high, power stayed consistent and I always felt in control.


Avg HR: 162 bpm
AP: 242 W
NP: 246 W
Avg Cadence: 91 rpm
Calories Consumed:
600-625 (200 cal of
EFS and 4 Gels)

Run – 1:25:50 (2nd fastest in AG)

Am sure by now you are noticing a trend: have a plan and execute. For the run this was more of the same. I planned to stick to a specific HR for the first 10k then let loose for the remainder of the way. The first 7 miles felt effortless. Kept my HR where I wanted to and the miles ticked by quickly. The only problem I ran into was that it was very difficult to get what I wanted at aid stations as they were so crowded. I wasn’t getting in quite as many calories as I would have liked. This led me to be a little more conservative for the last 6 miles. Initially I felt like I could have gone faster (miles 6-8) but quickly it became a struggle to hold pace (miles 8-11). I took in a little on course nutrition where I could, but there was not much to be had unless I wanted to walk-stations (which I absolutely did not). I knew I was low on calories but at mile 11 I said screw it and hammered. I told myself that this is where my aid race will be decided. Now was the time to go and I did not want to leave anything on the course. I pushed and the last 2.1 miles were the fastest of my day (sub 6:30 pace).

Finish – 4:14:27 (3rd in AG, 21st Overall, 4th Amateur)

This is by far one of my most boring race reports, but probably the one I am most proud
of. I kept to my plan and executed to the best I could. I took chances where it made
sense by pushing a bit more than I anticipated on the bike. I held back when other
athletes tempted me to ditch my plan. And I overcame the demons in my head when they
finally arrived to finish as strong as I ever have in a 70.3. I managed 3rd in the very
competitive M25-29AG and even more impressively was the 4th Amateur in a field of
over 2,700. This was my first podium finish in a 70.3 and I also managed to secure a spot
(thanks to it rolling down) at the start of the 2014 70.3 World Championships in Mont

Thank YOU (in no particular order):

One of the guys who finished ahead of me and did not take his spot to 70.3 WC. It would
have been very bittersweet to finish 4th OA and not get a spot to Mont Tremblant.

JSC – one of the best triathlon clubs in Houston!

My family for continuing to support me during this ridiculous journey I’ve had into the
sport of triathlon

My training buddies for the countless hours we have spent together on the bike, in the
pool and on the trails.

The great nutrition products that I help get me through racing and training: First
Endurance, Clif, Evamor Water and BQuick Nutrition.

Tad Hughes Custom Fit Studio: The best bike fitter I know! Tad has me set up with the most aerodynamically powerful fit I could imagine (that I can still run pretty damn well off of).

TJ Fry and South Coast Endurance – My coach… Proof is in the pudding!


Personal Enhancement Team: 5 People You Need to Know

Regardless of your individual goals or where you fall on the competitive barometer having an off-the-bike network to improve your overall health, comfort or injury recovery is critical. To better understand the theory behind this I ask that you think of your body and flexibility as a traditional window blind.

The strings holding it together represent your muscle tension, the frame your skeleton and the horizontal slats your pelvis. If you pull the strings evenly the blind rises evenly, but what if one string is higher or tighter than the other? Then the blind is crooked and uneven and perhaps the slats are slightly turned. Given that scenario, how could you ever be comfortable or perform at the best of your ability – not to mention the increased intrinsic risk of injury?

In most cases a professional bike fit can alleviate and correct for several issues however many need to be solved off the bike. P.E.T. findings are often shared, adjusted and corrected based on one segment’s complementation of the other with the single unified goal of serving the needs of the client.

Meet 5 people you should know.

1. Full Time Bike Fitter/Biomechanist

Everything should start with a professional bike fit, as biased as that may sound. This will create a baseline and alleviate some issues while hopefully leading to the root cause of your issue(s) whether they are comfort, power or rehabilitation. Anytime you get a new bike, or make a major modification to any one contact point (saddle, shoes, handlebar), it’s time to get re-fit.​

2. Cycling Coach

Many will say “not for me” but if not you then who? Don’t think of utilizing this service as a deficiency correction, but as a structural guide to help you achieve your goals. A coach will add structure to your riding program and give you the accountability needed to pursue your goals. Like bike fitters, coaches will largely fall into two categories – Coaches (static) and Physiologists (dynamic). Coaches tend to be more advice driven and derive plans based on your heart rate or “PER” (perceived exertion rating). Physiologists will often have advanced degrees in clinical exercise, kinesiology and other biomedical fields offering years of practical experience.