The following is an excerpt from the “EVOLUTION OF THE WEBGUY Part 2: Completing the Journey.”
By Jason Warner, www.stevehoggbikefitting.com Webmaster
A planned business trip in September 2012 was going to leave me nearly halfway to Boulder, Colorado and one of two of Steve Hogg’s trainees in the U.S.A., Colby Pearce. After receiving permission to extend my trip from the boss at home, I contacted Colby to see if he’d have an opening to see me and he quickly replied saying he did.
The confirmation with Colby left me extremely excited with the possibility of finally having a proper bike fit. I had no doubt that my position on the bike was close because of Steve’s help I received while helping him with his website, but even Steve knew the limitations of doing video fits and encouraged me to see Colby. However, I had to temper my excitement because the trip was almost a month away! In the meantime, I continued my routine of core and flexibility exercises.
About a week out from the appointment, Colby emailed me a list of questions that covered topics like my diet and medical history as well as my riding routine. Judging by questions like “Do you have any known allergies?”, I could tell already this was going to be different than any other bike fit I had in the past.
The day of the appointment finally arrived after a long week of work-related training, and I arrived at Colby’s place he shares with Panache Cyclewear and the Service Course. As I was unloading my bike from my car, I saw Colby pull off Boulder’s bike highway system and right into his studio’s parking lot. He rode up and immediately made me feel at ease, and he invited me in and we began the bike fit by evaluating my arch support.
In the studio, Colby showed me a color-coded diagram of the bottom of feet and asked me the level of arch support I felt at different parts of my feet. And, he used some bar tape-like material to adjust the bottom of my footbeds by what I told him.
Colby then prepared my bike for what was to come. I found his studio to be clean and inviting; and as I discovered as the day progressed, it was designed around one thing in mind: bike fitting.
While warming up, right off I could tell he had already improved my foot correction in less than 10 minutes and based on our conversation, Colby is the type of person with the kind of personality to make you feel like you’ve known him for years. He observed a problem I was having on the bike that compared to his own fit issues that he was able to solve when he visited Steve in Australia for training (which included a little input from his wife, Marisol). He made a point of trying what worked to solve this problem later in the day.
After modifying my arch support again after warming-up, we kicked things off with a series of tests including checking my flexibility and Gray Cook’s series of functionality tests. Colby was happy with my flexibility and although I wasn’t able to do them as well as the 2004 Olympian who demonstrated them for me, I was able to pass all Cook’s tests. It turned out all my hard work was paying off on and off the bike. Colby gave me advice on how I could improve my functionality even more, and we moved on to the next step.
After making sure he documented my progress on his computer as he did after every step, we moved on to checking my pelvic alignment and he confirmed my right iliac crest differentiated in height from my left by about 3 mm. Through a series of movements, Colby was also able to determine my right femur was 5 to 6 mm shorter. He was able to mediate the difference in my iliac crests using Steve’s methods, and he also later made sure none of my bike accessories offered a material challenge.
After the testing and fun with magnets, Colby had me get back on the bike and watched me for a few minutes while doing a quick “before” video.
As he pointed out earlier, I was dropping my left hip a little even though all my problems were on the right where my shoe was shimmed. He had a similar issue although with the opposite sides, and his wife suggested even though he had the correct correction on the left, perhaps it was too much for his proprioceptive feedback causing the opposite hip to drop. Geared with this knowledge, he dropped my shim from 5 mm to 2 mm. Plus, along the way he measured my feet and made sure my cleats were in the correct position.
Presto! The subtraction of 3 mm took care of my hip drop! Moving on, he was happy with where Steve and I decided on my saddle height but armed with my results from prior testing, he was sure I could drop my handlerbars to achieve better aerodynamics and control without causing any instability.
First he lowered the bars 1 cm, and I was back on the bike. To my amazement, my pelvic stability didn’t suffer and Colby suggested another 1 cm, so he added the 1 cm spacer back and flipped the stem to lower the bars 2 cm and corrected the placement of my hoods. I felt even better on the bike! We agreed to leave it at 2 cm although Colby thought I could go even lower over time. He then worked on my foot correction one more time using Steve’s patented technique to test my proprioceptive feedback and discovered I had one too many heel wedges in my right shoe. After that adjustment, I was back on the bike and discovered in amazement what it was like to really feel comfortable on the bike!
Even though it was short, I had an amazing time in Boulder visiting Colby and would highly recommend seeing him to anyone. At every stop, he was very deliberate and explained everything in detail in a way I could easily understand. I was sort of surprised because I thought he might take shortcuts with me considering I’ve read everything on this blog, but he didn’t assume anything and I’m very glad. I whole-heartily believe even if you have a sound position, he can make it better! When I arrived back home, I smashed all my personal bests on my regular routes! Of course, what helps Colby do an exceptional job is something he shares in common with me and Steve, a strong partner and great wife.
Thank you, Colby and Marisol!