200 miles of pedaling, blistering sun, and pain. This is what I think about as I pack for the Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, wondering what the heck did I get myself into. About 3 months ago signing up for the STP had sounded like a good idea. Back then 90 days seemed like an eternity. But now, as I shove the last few necessities into my pack, I start calculating all the days I wasted by not being on a bike. The numbers start adding up. Days I could have been preparing for the torture that lies ahead!  I shrug as I realize, it’s too late to back out now. The race is tomorrow!

There is one comforting thought that brings my foreshadowed aches and pains some relief, and that is my bike. A testament to human ingenuity, with sleek, sexy lines the Look 566 is a bike designed to ease people into the wonderful world of road biking. With a taller headtube and shorter top tube it lets you ride in a more comfortable, relaxed position, perfect for someone like me who is more of a bike commuter than cyclist.

To compliment the bike’s natural prowess, Dimitry and Dana, the dynamic duo of bike fitting mastery custom fit the Look to my dimensions, level of ability, and flexibility.

About a month ago I walked into the Mountain Shop’s brand spanking new bike fitting studio. The yellow walls make the shiny bikes all but pop off the wall. The round room is filled with beautiful bikes and all that is necessary to build, fit, and ride them. It’s a candy shop for bike nerds!

The fitting process began with Dimitry asking me a series of questions about my injury history and biking experience. This is followed up with measurements and stretching. I laid on the massage table, pulling my leg as far back as possible in face of the growing tightness in my hamstrings, Dimitry chuckling all the while at my lack of flexibility. How a 60 year old Italian is more flexible than me, I’ll never know. Then again, he did literally grow up on a bike…

Once the data is collected, Dimitry and Dana are like mad scientists, swarming the bike, adjusting this and that to the nearest mm. I am like their puppet, following their instructions to mount, dismount, pedal, stop there, stand up, sit down. I do as they say and before I know it they are done, their faces aglow with satisfaction. Their masterpiece complete. The first time I took the bike out I realized what a piece of art it truly was.  The bike fit like a glove, and in spite of a 26 mile training ride, I felt loose and pain free that night. Not even a trace of the shoulder and neck stiffness I had to come to assume was an integral part of cycling. I had no idea what a world of difference a properly fit bike could make! Now, my body thanks me with every rotation of the pedal.

This is the thought I hold onto, very, very tightly, as I prepare to board the bus to Seattle. Suddenly 202.5 miles seems a lot more doable.


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