Fits with Radio Shack and Livestrong

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Now in the second season of partnership with Radio Shack, fitters from Retul recently returned to team camp to assist in collecting data and setting up bikes for Shack riders. The Livestrong U23 team, which has worked with the Retul system at Mellow Johnny's in Austin, also paid a visit to Retul last month. Todd Carver of Retul weighs in on the Shack team camp in Mallorca and Livestrong's trip to Boulder:

What was the biggest challenge you faced during the Radio Shack camp?

Generally pro cyclists have been riding in the same position for years, and it's difficult to make changes to muscle memory. Our approach is to collect initial data on the rider, suggest any changes, and leave it optional for the rider to make those changes based on additional input from team coaches and physios. Deciding when to make changes is crucial, as each rider's adaptability to change is variable. Most of the time when we work with pro teams, the biggest concern is replicating the previous year's position on new bikes, and making sure the bikes are set up accurately.

The Trek Team Liaisons have received a lot of training from Retul. What is it like working with Trek?

Trek is a powerhouse and it is always great to work with these guys. Ben Coates and Matt Shriver were on hand for the Shack camp. Ben was in the process of training Matt to take over duties on Radio Shack as Ben has now transitioned over to the Trek Leopard squad. Ben and Matt have gone through our Retul University course and have really taken hold of the fits for Trek. It's really important that these guys run the fits so that they can support the riders all season long.

How have the Trek fitters adpated to Retul technology?

There was a lack of consistency in the fitting process, and Trek has really taken control of that by bringing the fits in-house. The use of Retul has allowed the teams to finally have hard data on fitting, which ultimately helps indenfify trends and benchmarks, and increases overall accuracy and the standard of fitting. It's really important for bike manufacturers to understand how their bikes are fitting riders, and what sorts of changes are commonly made. For Trek, seeing these changes first-hand can provide a lot of insight.

What was the highlight of the Shack camp this year?

I finally got to work with Robbie McEwen which was a big highlight. He has always been one of my heroes.

What sort of changes were made with the Livestrong riders?

Josh Atkins was having big issues with back pain. Shrvier took some Retul data which revealed that Atkins' saddle had been moved too far back causing excessive stress. We moved the saddle forward 15mm. Because Retul data is accurate to the millimeter, we were able to pinpoint the saddle issue. Also, his cleat rotation was backwards for his biomechanics. By looking at this 3D knee tracking it was obvious, and this rotation was causing serious issues with his low back. It's common for seemingly subtle issues in biomechanics to cause significant problems, and without a precise way to assess the rider, a lot of those issues go uncorrected. We also worked with George Bennett, a young rider who does not have much experience as a time trialist. We set up a new TT position for him which will be a good starting place for his future training. This kid is going to be a serious GC contender some day, and getting the TT weapon is critical.

Click here to view photos from the Radio Shack team camp

Click here to view photos from fits with Livestrong at Mellow Johnny's

Radio Shack Team Camp in Mallorca, Spain

Josh Atkins of Livestrong