The Little Things.

I'm extremely sensitive to bike fit changes. A couple millimeters or degrees here or there can mean the difference between a normal ride and an injury I will feel for weeks. I wish I was tougher in this regard, but I'm getting old enough to admit my weaknesses. Chances are, one or more of my competitors is reading this and will be bringing a wrench to the start line next season. Bastards.
A couple years ago I built up a new bike on night and raced it the next day with barely a lap around the block as a test ride. I had focused entirely on getting the shifters and brakes adjusted correctly, and forgotten to check the saddle height. It was almost 2" low, which should have been obvious, but I was running on little sleep and the race was a meaningless JBER hybrid/beach-cruiser/e-bike/kickbike/trike event. Ten miles in, after a short pull at the front to thin out the front pack, my knees started aching. Five miles later, I was having problems pedaling, and if it wasn't for the shelter of teammate Mike Beiergrohslein, I would have been dropped. Sitting or standing, I just couldn't put any power to the pedals. I ended up finishing 2nd, after conceding the sprint as soon as it started. I felt the effects of my own horrible wrenching skills for a month afterwards.
Nothing indicates fit problems to me more effectively than a session on the trainer. An hour grinding away in the same position can bring forth any number of issues, and they usually manifest themselves around my lady parts. Saddle sores are the definition of pure evil, and they seem to really, really like me.
I've spent literally thousands of dollars on different chemical concoctions and bike shorts to mitigate this issue, with varying degrees of success. All that can be undone by a saddle that's off a couple degrees from my ideal position. If everything is perfect, I can ride for thousands of miles without an issue. If things go wrong, sitting down on a bike saddle involves facial contortions, cold sweat, and colorful language usually reserved for construction zones. It's not pleasant experience for anyone in the immediate vicinity.
Given that I have multiple bikes from multiple manufacturers with multiple geometries, some of which are broken down occasionally for travel or other reasons, my chances for unpleasant incidents are increased exponentially. A saddle gets bumped or slips over time, a cleat shifts on the shoe or wears, the angle of the handlebars changes... boom. I hover over my bikes with levels and squares and NASA-grade measuring devices, but sometimes things happen and I pay for it.
I wish I wasn't so dainty. I wish I was one of those guys that have 'taints of steel, who can ride a century and brand-new jeans and not have their lady parts ground into a fine, red mist. I'm not. There's a reason I went out and bought as many of the same saddle as I could find when I found out they were discontinued. There's a reason I have a Rubbermaid box filled with barely-used bib shorts that came highly recommended but sandblasted my nether-regions, ending rides that started with the verve and vigor of a Spartan warrior with a whimper and a low, persistent whine.
That's how I roll. If you don't have the issue, consider yourself extremely lucky.


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