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Para-Cycling World Champion Tristen Chernove Heading to Rio

Tristan Chernove 2122e-tristan-chernove

A short introduction to Tristen Chernove. I was first introduced to Tristen a few months ago when he came for a bike fit through Andy Froncioni and Alphamantis Technologies and Cycling Canada. Tristen was diagnosed in 2009 with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which was affecting his lower legs. CMT, a little-known hereditary disorder that affects the nervous system, produces muscular dystrophy symptoms.  Undeterred, Chernove threw himself into cycling as a way to combat the disease.

Tristens impairment puts him in the C2 class of paralympic competition. Sport class C1 is allocated to athletes with the most severe activity limitation, while the sport class C5 is allocated to athletes who meet the minimum impairment criteria.

This past March in his first track worlds para-level race Tristen captured the men’s C2 individual pursuit title in a time of three minutes 43.609 seconds, nearly five seconds ahead of his closest opponent, Colin Lynch of Ireland. Then, in his first individual pursuit, 2 days later, won the 1,000-metre time trial in one minute 13.279 seconds, more than two seconds ahead of silver medallist Xie Hao of China, the defending champion! These wins ensured Tristen’s nomination to the Canadian Para-Cycling team bound for Rio Olympics in September.

Tristen followed up  the track wins with two more victories at the World Cup road event in Belgium in May.

In his spare time Tristen is  executive director of Canadian Rockies International Airport and Elevate Airports Inc.

Cycling domination and athleticism aside,  Tristen is an amazing humble, nice person and was a joy to work with and optimize on the bike. As we lead up to the biggest event in para-cycling the Rio Olympics, I find I cannot wait to watch the coverage of Tristen and see him become a gold medallist. On the other hand, it doesn’t really matter if he wins  or not, he is a already a winner and a role model. He has already inspired me to be the best I can be no matter my own limitations.




Scott Cooper positioning

Scott Cooper analysis

A More Comfortable Scott Cooper

When I worked with Scott Cooper last week he was just off a win at Ironman Syracuse 70.3 triathlon.  Scott blew away his nearest rival by 19 minutes to take the tape at 4:22:53 with a swim of 29:09, bike of 2:22:39, and run of 1:26:31 this on a very hilly course and very hot (33c) day!  Needless I was thinking that there was not going to be a lot of meat on the bone left for me to justify my services.

We swapped out Scott’s road style saddle for a Cobb JOF 55 that he found instantly better and spread the pressure over a larger contact point. This gave some relief to his perineal area (taint) and allowed him some needed comfort as well as allowed him to roll his pelvis forward more. We stretched Scott out a bit (nearly 10cms!) and gave him some forearm raise.  The net result was a flatter back, more natural shoulder position and foremost a pelvis which is more anchored in  position as a platform for performance. Scott was doing what I call the ‘ typewriter ‘and was moving around the seat to relieve pressure on the taint and try to find some support. Pelvic skeletal support from the saddle has the effect of removing a lot of strain from the shoulders as they attempt to stabilize pelvis and keep it from slipping forward , side to side rocking…

Angling up the forearms in this case is not only more aerodynamically advantageous  see.: Angling for More Speed  but also has the effect of anchoring the pelvis from sliding forward.

There was not a massive change in back angle but we opened up the hip angle, flattened the back and even allowed Scott the ability to shrug into his shoulders if he wants to make an even more aero profile ( as he is doing in “After” shot).  It would be nice to empirically know drop in CdA from Before to After with a visit to the velodrome in Milton but for now I am very content with Scott’s comment following the weekend.

” I just went out for a 100k ride in the new position… MIND BLOWING! It’s funny how you never realize how uncomfortable you are until you experience real comfort! I felt WAY more stable and powerful and much more relaxed across my back and shoulders. Not to mention, I didn’t cringe with every bump on the road with the new saddle!”


Chris Boardman


Some thoughts about bike fit from a very interesting personality Chris Boardman.  British former racing cyclist who won an individual pursuit gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics, broke the world hour record three times, and won three stages in the  Tour de France, presently owner at Boardman bikes.

Chris Boardman 1996 hour record still stands if you ignore all of the UCI rule changes and bans…

-source Wikipedia.

I thought this was very interesting passage  by Chris Boardman from the foreward of Phil Burt’s book “Bike Fit”.

“you will notice the  term ‘feel ‘ cropped up repeatedly in the (book) narrative and there is  reason for that. In all the time we explored the intricacies of bicycle positioning, we never found the magic formula. Indeed, I am now thoroughly convinced that there isn’t a single recipe and never will be. However, what I do think is emerging- and there is evidence in these pages ( Phil Burt “Bike Fit” Bloomsbury Publishing) are solid procedures for coming to educated conclusions and consistently acceptable solutions for a wide variety of riding needs.

” positioning will always be a blend of good science and good judgement..” C. Boardman.



Lionel Sanders

Lionel Sanders California final side

Through Alphamantis’ Andy Froncioni and some prompting on the Slowtwitch forums by Marc Graveline I had the amazing opportunity to work on Lionel Sanders’ position on the bike.  I did not know Lionel prior to our meeting but post our fit day together I have to admit I am a huge fan. Of the professional athletes I have met in my life the ones that most impressive and the ones who  are most humble and inspirational.  Not only is Lionel that but he is an unbelievable athlete.

Lionel is such an amazing athlete that I am convinced you could sit him on an old Schwinn and he would mash it up to 46.9km/h. I  specify 46.9 because that is what Lionel AVERAGED for the 90km/h at the Ironman 70.3 in Panama in late January,  which he won.

Lionel had gotten a bike fit in the past but had lost the position report and had taken it upon himself to adjust the bike himself  based on feel. Just prior to Panama he had the right idea to move bar forward and seat back to reduce some of the inward pressure on his spine. After seeing Lionel pedal a bit and with the amount of changes I wanted to make we transferred the dimensions of Lionel’s Louis Garneau Gennix TR1 to the Retul Muve fit bike.  We used a Felt Bayonnet3 aero bar set up in order to permit all of the adjustability we might need and be able to explore different arm pad stack and reach vs the PRO bar on the Gennix bike.

The main change I wanted to accomplish was to release inward pressure on Lionel’s back and allow body to flatten out and get more streamlined. Following is a laundry list in no particular order of the major changes we made.

  • We raised the bar and pad stack to relax the shoulders and give some additional comfort.
  •  We angled the bar extensions up. Note : these could/should have be angled even more but I think I did not tighten the clamp enough and the angle sagged!!
  • Added pedal washers to each side widening foot stance and gave max stance width by moving cleat inside on right foot.
  • Specialized BG footbeds to better align left valgus foot and support higher arch on right foot
  • Limited hamstring range relieved by shortening crank arms (to 165mm) this reduced lateral knee movement. It also brought the hips more square on the saddle and reduced vertical and lateral travel at the hip.
  • Seat slightly more forward on rails.
  • narrowed elbow width to bring elbows inside thighs.
  • extended bar out with longer stem thus removing the compression through core of the body.

Our next step is to try out this and an alternative position at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton in March. Alphamantis will aero test this starting position and while other sponsored Garneau athletes take their turns doing their testing we will alter Lionel’s position with a view to reducing his drag numbers without sacrificing his comfort and biomechanics.

…more to come.

Hello world!

Here begins a blog and my experience bike fitting.Pictured here is our set up at Cycle Neron Montreal. We use the Specialized Body Geometry (BG) Fit system using the RETUL suite of tools including the adjustable fit bike called MUVE and motion capture system called VANTAGE.

20150319_100757 Cycle Neron Montreal fit area

The The Muve makes bike adjustment far easier. When you are fitting a cyclist, the ability to sweep ranges of position is made much easier by having easy adjustment dials on the bike that can quickly simulate different positions rather than than trying to wrench a riders’ bike.

The Vantage camera reads points generated by a harness attached to specific marker points on the riders body.  These points help create a dynamic three dimensional image of the riders position. The camera provides extremely accurate measurements and angles that the body is in. Comparison of the data left and right postures highlights any asymmetries in movement much more accurately than the naked eye can.

In either case,  a good tool won’t make up for an incompetent  fitter.  In the hands of a skilled fit specialist that is proficient in their craft, a good tool can result in a dramatic improvement in aerodynamics, comfort and the enjoyment of cycling.

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