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Besides a pre-season tune-up, there are a number of small details best sorted out in the off-season so your training won’t get derailed later. Check off the necessary items on this to-do list now so you can fully invest your time in riding when spring hits.
A fit or re-fit
Bodies change as far as strength and flexibility, and your fit may need an update. Or perhaps you’re a former long-course athlete who will be focusing on sprints in 2016 and you could use a more aggressive position. Whatever the reason, it takes a long time for your body to adjust to a new fit. Matt Cole, owner and chief fitter at Podium Multisport in Atlanta, says it can take up to 90 days for an experienced triathlete and up to 120 days for a beginner to adjust. The best time to make a change is when the miles and demands are low!
It sounds like a very minor change, but I’m always amazed at the number of aches and pains that are caused by a cleat or shoe change. Think about it this way: Your body gets accustomed to thousands of pedal strokes in a certain position, and a minor change can have major repercussions. Best practice is to bring your old shoes in to a professional fitter to either help you get the position the same or see if a changed position would be optimal. That way you have time to adjust before you ramp up the miles and intensity.
(Finally) changing your saddle
Are you merely tolerating your saddle? If so, then the off-season is a time to take advantage of your local bike shop’s saddle trial program. Remember that changing the saddle may necessitate other changes such as seat height and position—both things that are best done when you don’t have a big race looming!
Considering changing up your hydration system or bike computer? The off-season is a perfect time to experiment with an optimal setup. Not only do you have more time during this period, but it’s likely that your mechanic does too, if you want help in deciding on the best angle for your new Garmin mount or a switch to bottle cage placement.