Real Rider Stories: Cassie Dreams Big
A new year means new goals and new aspirations. For some, it is simply just to eat healthier, exercise more often, or reduce stress by doing more things they love (like riding bikes!). For Cassie De Pecol, 2019 is all about taking her riding goals to a whole new level which requires proper training and preparation, hours of dedication and of course, a Retül bike fit.
Cassie is the first woman on record to travel every country in the world and holds two Guinness World Records as a result (“Fastest Person” and “Fastest Female” to travel to every country in the world). She is also the founder of Her International Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding female-driven projects that address the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals.
Aside from traveling the world, starting her own business and inspiring women to follow their dreams, Cassie also loves to race triathlons (because, ya know, why not?). She caught the racing bug early in life which has lead her to pursue another record breaking attempt, this time within the sport of triathlon. “My first sprint was at the age of 16, and I did a relay with my mom and brother. Shortly after, I was hooked, and began racing my local triathlon more often. I traveled and studied abroad from 18-21 where I took a break from the sport, but I never fully stopped running, swimming or biking and would compete in virtual races. At the age of 23, after a couple of years of on/off training, I raced my first [Ironman] 70.3. Ever since then, I've been hooked!”
Cassie will attempt to achieve the record for “The Most Ironman 70.3 Races Completed in One Year,” and, “The Most Ironman 70.3 Races Completed in Different Countries in One Year.” Something that no woman has ever attempted (or any other man for that matter). Cassie will have to complete 26 Ironman 70.3 races total, taking place in over 16 different countries. She officially kicked off her record attempt on January 27th at the Ironman 70.3 South Africa in Buffalo City, and will continue her journey at Ironman 70.3 Geelong on February 17th, followed by Ironman 70.3 Bangsaen in Thailand on February 24th (we’re exhausted just talking about it!).
Attempting such a feat will take hours of training and tons of time in the saddle. Which is exactly why Cassie came to the Retül fit studio in Boulder. “I had never really had a proper bike fit that would work off of data and recordings [..]. I figured, as I embark on this new 70.3 Guinness Record attempt, there was no better time than now to do so!” Cassie goes on to explain, ”I wanted a true fitting from a data standpoint and to be able to utilize that technology and data as a baseline for future fittings and adjustments.”
Cassie brought in her new 2019 Specialized S-Works Shiv to the Retül studio with the goal of getting into a position that will not only make her faster, but help avoid any injuries as she continues to train and race. “I’ve learned that a proper bike fit can make all the difference in avoiding injury, and I had had some pretty bad ones [injuries] back in 2017 (ITB and Patellar) due to irregularities with my form on the bike.” Cassie had been riding on a bike that was too big for her so once she was provided with a Specialized Shiv in the correct size, then our fitter could really work on fine tuning her position.
The Shiv came with a Specialized Sitero saddle which Cassie liked right away compared to her previous saddle, so Todd Carver, Head of Human Performance at Specialized and co-founder of Retül, worked on dialing in her position. “The Knee Forward of Spindle value (aka KFOS value) gathered from the Retül data is what helped drive her whole fit in the forward direction,” explained Carver, “The Sitero saddle allowed her knee to track forward of spindle which allowed us to keep her hip angle (know as the Retül measurement “hip angle closed”) in open ranges with lower back angles.”
Some additional adjustments were made to her seat position and saddle height which helped to alleviate any stress made on the groin, lower back and hip flexors. “This is probably where I have noticed the biggest difference- much less pain while riding across all categories.” Stated Cassie.
After two weeks of adapting to this position the spacers were removed from the Shiv and she was dropped into a more aero/performance position. “I've actually found that this change has taken a lot of the stress from my upper body so that I'm able to focus on fully engaging my core and lower body to ride with more power.”
In the end, we were able to fine tune Cassie’s position on the bike to create both a more aerodynamic position, while also taking into account certain limitations and ailments to her body based on previous injuries. This type of information is something every fitter should be gathering before they even get the rider on the bike in order to avoid further injuries while riding.
We followed up with Cassie post-fit and she is happy to report that everything feels great, and she has noticed a significant difference in her riding speed and endurance. Not to mention a substantial difference in the amount of pain she used to receive while riding. “Prior to the Retül fit, after an hour or so of riding, the pains would start to creep in and they were the kinds of pains that would only get worse.” Now, Cassie is virtually pain-free, and ready to tackle her record attempt head on.
“The Retül experience was both fantastic and highly educational. Because of the technology-driven experience, I was very engaged with learning more about bike fittings, and therefore have become more in tune with myself and the way I ride. I would highly recommend a Retül bike fit to other triathletes!”
We wish Cassie the best of luck in her World Record attempt and can’t wait to hear the results as she gets closer to reaching her goal.