Episode 111 - Five No Cost Tips to Help You Ride Faster and Feel More Comfortable on Your Bike with Bike Fit Specialist Michael Baker

Five No Cost Tips to Help You Ride Faster and Feel More Comfortable on Your Bike with Bike Fit Specialist Michael Baker

Michael Baker from Custom Bike Fit is on a mission to help 1 million athletes feel more comfortable on their bikes.

He’s done more than 10,000 hours of professional bike fitting and is a triathlete himself. With 10 years of experience working with triathletes, he gets it and kindly shares lots of practical and zero cost tips with us to get you riding faster with less pain.

  • Things you should do before buying a bike
  • How to find the right saddle and feel comfortable on it as quickly as possible
  • How to fix foot pain and burning feet
  • Crank length - how to get the right length for you
  • How do you know if your handlebars are in the right position
  • Hydration set ups to maximise your fuelling and aerodynamics
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Already a bargain at $99AUD. Use our Code: F8JH6YC to get an additional 15% off through September!

Connect with Michael:

Instagram: @custombikefit

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Email:¬†[email protected]

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It‚Äôs for you if you‚Äôre a triathlete and you feel like you‚Äôve got your training under control and you‚Äôre ready to layer in your nutrition. It's your warmup on the path to becoming a SUPERCHARGED triathlete ‚Äď woohoo!

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Episode Transcription

Episode 111: Five No Cost Tips to Help You Ride Faster and Feel More Comfortable on Your bike with Bike Fit Specialist Michael Baker

Taryn Richardson  00:00

Michael Baker from Custom Bike Fit is on a mission to help one million athletes feel more comfortable on their bikes. As a triathlete himself and with more than 10 years of experience working with triathletes, he totally gets it. And kindly shares lots of practical and zero cost tips with us to get you riding faster, with less pain, tick, and tick. What I love about Michael is he's just developed a new course called Bike Fit Yourself which is really, really cool. So no matter where you are in the world, you can get his help with your position on your bike. 

Taryn Richardson  00:39

And I've asked him to get really practical with us today, but also share with you this course because as a world first, you can get really quality advice no matter where you live. Already an absolute bargain at $99 Australian for his introductory offer. There is a code in the show notes to get an additional 15% off through September for our listeners. Now I get absolutely no kickbacks for this, there's no commission. I really just want to share an awesome dude doing awesome things with you, so that you don't make the same mistakes I did when I bought my first bike and spent years trying to get comfortable on the damn thing. I mean, who doesn't want to go faster on their bike and be more comfortable doing it? 

Taryn Richardson  01:29

So even if you have had a bike fit and you feel completely at ease on your bike for 6,7,8 plus hours, I guarantee you're gonna pick up some tips from Michael because he's been in the industry for so long and he's across all of the products out there, including all the new and wonderful things that keep hitting the market. No matter who you are, I guarantee you're going to get at least one tip out of this today. 

Taryn Richardson  01:56

Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. The show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy-to-digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it.

Michael Baker  02:50

Thank you, Taryn. Thanks for the opportunity to be on the podcast with you.

Taryn Richardson  02:53

So good. So you have done more than 10,000 hours of bike fitting, is that right?

Michael Baker  02:59

That's correct, yeah. I started my business Custom Bike Fit in 2012. And yeah, about 10,000 hours or just over 10,000 hours of bike fitting so a fair bit.

Taryn Richardson  03:12

Yeah, that's crazy. That's a lot of time crafting your skill.

Michael Baker  03:16

It's something that I love so it hasn't been difficult to do. To accrue those hours , it's actually been a pleasure.

Taryn Richardson  03:22

Yeah, I agree. I love my job, too. I haven't worked today in the last sort of 15 years because it's not really work when you love what you do. So we have a lot to talk about today and I feel like we could talk for hours about this sort of stuff because there are so many mistakes triathletes make when they do buy a bike. I certainly made them when I bought my first bike. But what are the some of the things that we need to look for when you are buying a bike to make sure it actually fits you properly in the first place?

Michael Baker  03:49

That's a tricky one because ideally, the bike fit should come before the bike purchase. Even if you have a bike though, getting a bike fit, whether that's in person or virtually or another way, you can gather a lot of data from your fit which will then help you to procure the right equipment moving forward.

Taryn Richardson  04:12

I think that's really important because I bought a bike from a bike shop and they fit you. 

Michael Baker  04:17

Yeah.

Taryn Richardson  04:18

And then you realise that you're bloody uncomfortable and you take it to a professional like you that does this for a living and they're like, well, your stem's too short or your cranks are too long. All those sorts of things that you have no idea about, you just gotta buy at the bike shop. 

Michael Baker  04:32

And that is the thing, most bike shops and even if you go and a lot of people trawl online now and they they go shopping for bikes themselves or do some research, it's all based upon your height. So if you're a certain height, you fit a certain bike size and it's so much more than that. The frame size is actually just one component. I would like to see moving forward a situation where you, a prospective buyer would go and see a fitter. They would get, okay, here's some recommendations on frame size and they will differ between manufacturer. So here's the correct frame size for manufacturer A, here's the size for manufacturer B, this is the ideal crank length, this is the ideal handlebar or base bar width, these are the aerobars that you need. And you'd stick it all in a configurator, and it spits out a build and a price for you and it's your bike. Rather than the bike that's supposed to fit 25% of the population. It just doesn't work.

Taryn Richardson  05:29

Amazing. So do you think the investment in getting a bike fit before you buy a bike is hands down worth it so that you're not wasting 20 grand on something that doesn't fit you?

Michael Baker  05:38

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So just getting some good understanding of what your requirements are. So through the bike fit process is, again, you understand what the benefits of the cranks, what the crank actually does to your cycling motion. Having your hands close to you, how does that feel? What does that impact upon you having them further away? We’re talking about stem length, or frame length, that sort of thing. Getting into a sustainable position, sustainable, comfortable position. So yeah, look, getting a pre fit can save you literally 1000s of dollars.

Taryn Richardson  06:15

I wish I had done that in the first place. And I spent so much more money after buying a bike trying to get it to fit me properly and, in the end, I gave up and ended buying a completely different bike. And you know, investing more money in that, too. So I love the getting some help beforehand to make sure you've got something right in the first place. Because you're right, if it's only going to fit 25% of the population, there's no one size fits all with nutrition and there's no one size fits all with a bike either. So what are some of the things that you need to look out for specifically when you're buying a bike to make sure it fits your body? 

Michael Baker  06:50

Well, I think again, you need to start with some sort of metrics as to what your current fit is and whether you're comfortable on your current bike. So you absolutely need to know what your saddle height is and what your optimal saddle height is. That's not always an exact number, there's often a little bit of play, you know my saddle height, for example, might be 760 mil to 765, 768 millimeters. But having an idea of what that ideal saddle height is important. Simply, you can walk into a bike shop, let's say, for example, that you fit in the parameters of a 52 centimeter frame and your saddle height's 730 mil, you put the saddle up to 730 mil and you have a look at it. 

Taryn Richardson  07:32

Does it look ridiculous? 

Michael Baker  07:34

Look at the front, can I now adjust the front of that bike? So this is another thing that I think people should be looking for is adjustability in bikes, okay? Look at the seat post, look at how the saddle has been positioned on the seat post. Can it move backwards? Can it move forwards? Obviously, we can move our saddle up and down within certain parameters but we also want to move it back and forth. And then looking at the front of the bike, can the handle bars or the aerobars be raised? So in a triathlon term, that's the base bar. What you'll see with a lot of bikes these days is that base bar is fixed, I cannot move it. Now that can become an issue, right? Because a lot of riders, the idea with the engineers that put these bikes together is that you're going to be in a time trial position for the duration of your event. Well, maybe they're missing a major component which is your training. 

Michael Baker  08:29

Often times, riders are going to be sitting with their hands on the handlebars or on the base bar. How low is that? Does that mean that I cannot now see up the road comfortably? So these are the sort of things. Adjustability is key, the ability to move those bars up and down. And then the ability to move the pads, so that's the second place. So I've got my base bar position where I'm going to be sitting when my hands are near the brakes. And then where do I need to be sitting when I'm in a time trial position? That's generally going to be raised a little bit more. So adjustability - adjustability of the back of the bike, adjustability at the front of the bike. 

Michael Baker  09:07

If we're talking about cranks, shorter is better. There's no real penalty for going with a short crank. 

Taryn Richardson  09:14

And why is that? 

Michael Baker  09:15

Well, long cranks can cause a whole host of problems. The first one in when you get into a time trial position is that you close your hip angle off. And that means that your knees coming up closer to your chest. If that's too closed, we cannot generate power, right? If we go to a shorter crank, we can pop the seat up to make up for that difference in length and it opens up the hip angle. A shorter crank is also easier to turn over. Okay, so through the pedal stroke, people feel a lot freer. There's less flexion through the knee, so a lot of people will experience knee pain, that can be due to crank length. And what I also find, once you open up that hip angle with the shorter crank that's easier to turn over, is that people run better off the bike. Got to take into consideration with triathlon, that before you get on the bike, you're going to swim and once you dismount, you're going to run. 

Michael Baker  10:14

So it's a particular type of fit. 

Michael Baker  10:17

It's different to a time trial fit, a triathlon fit, because we've got to consider the other disciplines in the sport.

Taryn Richardson  10:25

Yeah, I think that's really important because you do specifically fit for triathletes. And it's not a fit for a cyclist who would ride completely different to somebody, 

Taryn Richardson  10:35

like you don't have to run off the bike so that's really good info. What is a short crank length? Like what is the definition of short?

Michael Baker  10:42

The standard crank lengths, if you walk into a bike shopa and they've got a range of bikes on display, you'll generally find the smallest bike will have a 165 millimeter crank. In the female, this extra small female bikes, you might find a 160. But typically, the crank lengths are 165, 170, 172.5 and 175. Short cranks, in my mind, and in my experience are 165, 160, 155, 150. 

Taryn Richardson  11:15

Oh my goodness. 

Michael Baker  11:15

I know athletes that go even shorter to a 145. And we're talking now guys that are 5'10 that are running 145 cranks. And all they do is they change their chain rings, they put on a 54 or 56 front chain ring, so they don't lose that leverage, that power. And they can get into a really comfortable aerodynamic position and run extremely well off the bike. If I was to prescribe a crank length for everyone and say to the manufacturers just made these, I'd probably say 165, right? That's going to cover a vast majority of triathletes but I have no issue going shorter. They're just harder to get hold of.

Taryn Richardson  11:56

Here you go. So the majority of people are going to have to invest in a different crank length if they're looking to really dial in their position on the bike.

Michael Baker  12:06

Yeah, in some instances, it's a nice to have. If it's a critical, for example, if you're in for a fit with me and I see issues, I see you rocking on the bike and it's not because the saddle is too high, it's not because the saddle is too low, we can clearly determine that it's crank length and it's impacting your performance is having a negative impact, I'll tell you. If a longer crank isn't causing you any issues, any downside, I'll again let you know that, okay, maybe we should look to change the cranks down the track, right? But it's not a critical, we don't need to spend $400 on that right now. We can spend that money down the track. But it's nice to have that information so that when okay, maybe a set of secondhand cranks come available, I'll purchase those, I've got some additional funds. Or it is, I'm going to buy my next bike. Now I can have that conversation with the bike shop. 

Michael Baker  13:01

This bike comes with a 172.5 crank, I'd like a 165. I'm holding the dollars, what will you do for me? And often times, if they want the sale, they'll change them. It's a nil cost. Or maybe it's an uplift, we'll take the 172.5s back, we'll give you a trade in on those of, it's an extra this. It's just nice to know and to be able to then accurately budget what is my new bike going to cost me. 

Michael Baker  13:29

So bike fit for me, it's not a one-stop-shop if that makes sense. My role is to get you from where you are (it's a bit like your role I'm sure), get you from where you are, to where you want to be. We might not do that in one sitting. But for me, it's Michael, do your best. Do the best with what you have right now, empower the client, educate the client, how do we get them closer to where they need to be. And this is something that, you know, different products become available over time. Some you know, little bespoke manufacturers pop out of the woodwork and they start creating products specifically for triathletes to help them with their position. I'm seeing a lot of this these days. So the products that I have available to me today weren't around four or five years ago. So now those guys, we can move you that next step along. It's an evolution.

Taryn Richardson  14:28

When I bought my bike, I struggled for years to try and get comfortable in my seat. I wish I had met you before that process. But do you have any tips around how to buy a bike and have your saddle comfortable or what to do to make sure that you are comfortable on your saddle as quickly as possible? 

Michael Baker  14:50

Yeah, absolutely. So it's a common issue, right? Saddles causing pain.

Taryn Richardson  14:56

Particularly being a chick. 

Michael Baker  14:58

Yeah, ladies more so than guys, it can be more challenging for ladies absolutely, right? But guys have similar problems. It's an issue for all cyclists, for all triathletes. And what I would say is, you could be on the ideal saddle. But if it's set at the wrong height, if it's pushed too far forward, or if it's set too far back, or you have the angle of the saddle wrong, so you've got it aggressively pushed down, or maybe even tilted up, it is not going to be comfortable. So the first thing that you want to do is make sure that your saddle is level, right? You can film yourself and look at your leg extension, right, to set your saddle at the appropriate height. But if you're in any doubt as to which, saddle has become a bit of a minefield and I see people come in. I've had clients come in with boxes literally full of saddles. And the right one is in there, there's two or three in fact that are in that box that are right for the client. They just haven't set them up properly. 

Taryn Richardson  16:03

Yeah.

Michael Baker  16:04

So they've jammed of time trials saddle all the way forward, or it's sitting way too high, or it's sitting way too low. And again, you want to be able to sit on your saddle and feel stable, right? 

Michael Baker  16:18

At Kona every year, they count all the bikes, they count all the aerobars, they count all the wheels and they count all the saddles so. I think it's called Lava Knows, it's now Triathlete Magazine, and you go in there, you go online and just do a Google search, the Kona bike count and as you go down, it will then give you the saddle count. 

Michael Baker  16:39

And I love this saying, "Success leaves clues." Look at the top six saddles in Kona. They are the saddles that are ideal for triathletes. And they're things like the ISM seats. So ISM, all they do is make saddles. Bontrager make a great time trial saddles, Specialized make a great time trial saddle, there's a few in there. And this is the thing, people go and buy saddles, they waste a lot of money. Look on the second hand market as well. You will find people that have those saddles, they just haven't set them up correctly and they're selling them at a fraction of what they're worth.

Taryn Richardson  17:17

Yeah, that's a great tip. What are some other things that we can do ourselves maybe at home to make sure we're more comfortable on our bike?

Michael Baker  17:25

One of the most common issues I see is foot pain. And 9 times out of 10, it's a very simple fix. It's that your cleats are positioned too far forward. So if you're riding on your toes, eventually they're going to go numb, they're going to go to sleep. So we move the cleat back, we move the cleat into a more mid foot position. That has a number of effects. Number one, it's more comfortable and that's the first thing people say to me, wow, that feels really good under my foot. Moving the cleat does adjust your leg extension. So the next thing you want to do after setting the cleats is set your saddle high but just focusing on the feet. Moving the cleat back makes it more comfortable, it's more powerful. If you had a crush on an aluminium can, you're going to use the middle of your foot. That's where the power is. 

Michael Baker  18:15

The second thing is if you're not riding on your toes and the listeners can do this right now, point your toes down, your calf activates, flexion, right? In a long course triathlon, there's a fair chance you're going to start cramping if your toes are pointed down for 90, for 180 kilometers. So leveling that foot out by bringing the cleat back, negates that. It reserves some of that lower limb and you will typically not cramp and you will run better off the bike. So easy to do, move the cleats back. If you're having foot pain, just try move the cleats back.

Taryn Richardson  18:49

Good tip. For me, I had two smaller shoes as well.

Michael Baker  18:54

Yeah, absolutely. And so the size of the shoe, the size of the toe box, where the cleats are positioned on the shoe. I mean it is a bit of a minefield but we're just looking at things that people can do at a zero cost.

Taryn Richardson  19:06

Yep and do yourself at home. So do you recommend getting like an actual level on your bike and making sure that you saddle is got that little bubble in the right lines? Make sure it is legitimately level? 

Michael Baker  19:16

Yeah, you can do it by sight. 

Taryn Richardson  19:18

Maybe you can, Michael because you're a professional, but the rest of us punters?

Michael Baker  19:23

Yeah, look, a couple of degrees tilt isn't a problem. So an easy tip would be, put the bike on the trainer. When you put a bike on the trainer, you want to make sure that the bike is level, right? You don't want the front wheel, you know the rear wheel elevated and the front wheel down. So if the bike is level, and you sit up on your saddle, no hands, you should feel like you're supported, right? 

Taryn Richardson  19:50

Yeah. 

Michael Baker  19:50

If you're sliding off the front of the seat and you're having to throw yourself back, you know there's too much tilt on your saddle, you'll feel it, right? And what we typically find, with time trial saddles they do push you forward a little bit. And in setting that fore/after the saddle, you want to be conscious of how much weight do I have on my hands. You got a lot of weight on your hands, the saddle needs to come back. And that's part of the fitting process is making sure people are comfortable when they're on the base bar or the handlebars as well as in the time trial position, so that's where we set that fore/aft of the saddle.

Taryn Richardson  20:27

It's a really good practical tip that one, thank you.

Michael Baker  20:31

That's alright. 

Taryn Richardson  20:32

How do we figure out if we've got our handlebars in the right spot?

Michael Baker  20:35

Handlebars is one thing, a lot of the bikes today, particularly with an integrated front end, you cannot move the handlebars or the base bar. People love that from an aesthetics point of view because the bikes look really good. But it's not always practical. I am a big fan of bikes where we still have what's called steerer tube. So the steer tube allows you to move the handlebars up and move them down.

Michael Baker  21:02

 After we've set the cleats and we've set the saddle height, and now we start moving to the front of the bike, if we have the ability to, I'd like to set the height of the base bar or the handlebars, right? You can if you need to flip a stem over. So if you have a bike with a stem, they are generally, the orientation is minus or plus, so minus six degrees plus six degrees. You can get a minus 17 degrees, aggressively drops the bars. But if those bars are really low, you can flip that stem over plus 17 degrees. It now moves that bass bar their handle bar up. 

Michael Baker  21:41

And again, we want to be in a comfortable position on the base bar before we then get into our aerobars. And without going into too much detail, Michael's mantra is sit down, clip in, elbow to the pad, hands to the end of the extension, rest, not forearm on the pad, grip the middle of the TT extension and hold on for dear life, you know. Because any tension that you create through the hands, through the forearms, makes its way up to the neck and shoulders and you will take that with you on the run. So we want to be as relaxed as we possibly can. And if the elbow is positioned on the pad and preferably the hand is higher than the elbow, you can relax because you're locked in on the pad. You've got good skeletal support and your legs are doing the work.

Taryn Richardson  22:37

I'm loving this. This is so good. This is everything that every triathlete wanted to hear ever. You got any more gold nuggets for us on Michael's mantras?

Michael Baker  22:46

I think the next one would be anything to do with the front of the bike is always make sure that you can see up the road, whether your hands are on the handlebars. 

Taryn Richardson  22:55

Good tip.

Michael Baker  22:56

On the base. Would you be surprised how many people, it's either because they've pushed too far forward or the handlebars or the base bar are too low? What happens then is it becomes really difficult after a while to lift your neck because you'd have this hunch going on, right? Generally, it's because you're too far forward or the bars are too low, or it's a combination of the two. Now, not only is that uncomfortable, it's a safety issue. And this is the conversation often I'm having with people. Imagine you're training for an Ironman, so your ride on the weekend is 5, 6 hours. Most of us live in built up areas. So we've been out maybe in the hinterland and where you've been riding, but we're tired. 

Michael Baker  23:39

And at the time we really need to be aware of what's going on, we're already fatigued. And now, I've got my hands near the brake levers and I'm having difficulty lifting my head because of our neck pain, right? That's dangerous, that's very dangerous. If you live in a built up area, say it's 10 o'clock and mums and dads are taking their kids to school sport, they're looking for car parks, it's just a worse time. You know what I'm saying? So always make sure that you're able to see up the road, whether you're in that upright position, or whether you're in a time trial position. It's super important. You do not want to be having neck pain because you'll be dropping your head. 

Taryn Richardson  24:20

Yeah. Isn't that crazy to think that there's people that can't actually see forwards in their bike after an extended period of time? I didn't know that.

Michael Baker  24:27

Yeah, look, I mean, some people say I can only hold this position for five minutes.

Taryn Richardson  24:31

Oh, man. 

Michael Baker  24:32

And this is where adjustability in a bike really comes in. So again, if you're looking to purchase that bike, look at the back end, can I move the saddle back and forth? Look at the front end, how far forward can I move my pads, my base bar? You know, you want adjustability?

Taryn Richardson  24:47

That's great advice. I'm not sure we should open this can of worms but what's your favourite hydration and nutrition setup for somebody on a bike? Is there particular products we have to be careful because triathletes are really good at just like adding to cart quickly?

Michael Baker  25:04

Yeah, my first recommendation is you should always and this is regardless of the duration of your event, you should always carry a drink system at the front of the bike, okay? It's where your head is, it's where your hands are, far easier to access than anything that's on the frame, alright? That's almost a must. And you'll see a lot of the time trial bikes that are coming out today have a built in hydration system at the front and that's a great idea, alright? They're not always super easy to refill. That's something else you've got to consider - how easy is it for me to refill this. But certainly having a drink system at the front of the bike. 

Michael Baker  25:44

My old favourite was always just a standard drink bottle in a cage because once you put your extensions and you'll notice today, more and more people are bringing their hands up higher, they're tilting their extensions. And that's typically where your hydration system is going to sit. So it's called a BTA - Between the Arms System. If I turn a reservoir on an angle, I can never refill it completely. So yeah, that can become an issue. Again, companies like Profile Design have thought of that. There's wedges that are now available to level that drink system off so you can have your bars at an angle. But you know, I digress, you should have a hydration system at the front of the bike and then we want to go behind the seat. The fastest place to carry a bottle is between your arms because it's hidden from the wind. 

Taryn Richardson  26:34

Yep.

Michael Baker  26:35

The second is behind you for the same reason. 

Taryn Richardson  26:38

Yeah. 

Michael Baker  26:39

We call the slowest places to carry bottles are on the frame. Sometimes you can't avoid it but if we can, we keep the bottles off the frame.

Taryn Richardson  26:47

Even if they're those really thin aero ones that are no wider than your frame?

Michael Baker  26:51

Yeah, no, they're a good idea but two things, number one, they're single use. With a standard bottle, you can throw it away, and what are they hanging out on the course? 

Taryn Richardson  27:04

He's a thinker, he's a thinker. 

Michael Baker  27:06

Yeah, with an aero bottle, number one, I've just paid $60-$80 for that bottle, I don't want to throw it away.

Taryn Richardson  27:12

No. 

Michael Baker  27:12

Number two, do you think they're gonna hand you back your Elite Crono? No, you're never getting it. So it's a single use. So I like them for if I've got maybe nutrition in there, maybe I've got my gels in there, or I've got a super high concentrate liquid nutrition in there. Or I've got a high concentrate of electrolytes, it's a hot day, you know, I've something I'm sipping on every now and then. But otherwise, I want to carry my food, my nutrition in the bottle at the front, in the bottles that are behind me. And I want to, this is me personally, I want to carry everything I'm going to need for my event. Even to the point where, okay, if it's an Ironman, I've got three bottles on the bike and I will stop at special needs and I will take my next three bottles because I want to make sure that whatever I'm putting in my mouth agrees with me, I've trained on that. 

Michael Baker  28:03

I don't want to rely upon the nutrition they're handing out on the course. Even if I can avoid it, the water, you're out in the middle of nowhere and there's a water tanker and attached to that a hose and someone's filling up water, I don't know how long that water has been in that tank. I don't know where it's come from and there's no guarantee, particularly if you're middle back of the pack, that they're actually going to have any hydration for you towards the end of the event anyway. So carry what you can.

Taryn Richardson  28:36

They ran out of water one year at Kona which just blows my mind. But I'm with you, you need to be as self sufficient as possible. I don't know so much about the water because from every bottle you carry is extra weight that we're trying to minimise on our frame.

Michael Baker  28:51

I think it really depends upon the course, right? And aero-dynamics trumps weight, so yes, I agree with you on the weight. But we can also minimise the drag of those bottles by positioning them strategically, i.e., between the aero bars or behind us. And I think your right, it's course dependent.

Taryn Richardson  29:15

What advice do you give for somebody that's new to cycling and is not comfortable grabbing those bottles from behind their saddle?

Michael Baker  29:21

Two things. Number one, you want to make sure that those bottles are sitting up nice and proud rather than at an aggressive angle. If they're an aggressive angle, they're difficult to pull out and they're even harder to put back in. 

Michael Baker  29:36

If they're sitting right next to your butt and they're sitting up, they're very easy to access, that's number one. Number two, they are not bottles that you continually drink from. They are exchange bottles, i.e., I'm pulling a bottle from the rear to exchange my friend bottle or I'm using it to fill a reservoir at the front. If you pulling and putting back in constantly and is behind you, there's a fair chance you're going to lose it. 

Taryn Richardson  30:05

Yeah. And you're out of aero more often than you need to be and all those sorts of things that will slow you down.

Michael Baker  30:10

Absolutely, yeah. What I used to do on race, I used to carry light. In a 70.3, I'm carrying three bottles. And the bottles that are sitting behind me, I used to put a little gaffer tape, which is what the musios use. It's really sticky. It's like a cloth filament tape, it's really easy to tear. And I'd put my bottles in the cages and then put a strip of gaffer tape, attach a little bit to the cage, a little bit to the bottle. That bottle's going nowhere. But when I want it, I give it a good tug, it comes. And I never, ever lost a bottle on race day. And I raced for 30 years.

Taryn Richardson  30:43

Yeah, that was my next question for you because I hear of those bottles bouncing out all the time. So is there better products on the market now that don't bounce out or do Michael's hot tip and tape it down for a second?

Michael Baker  30:57

So absolutely use the tape, if you can, use the tape. If the system's new and the cages are new, so sometimes you've got to replace the cages because they just get worn. Profile Design make a really good rear hydration system called the RML. You can actually fit three cages on it. And the cages themselves have a rubber O ring around them. They're really cheap. The replacement cages are like $15 so I'd be replacing those. If I was going to go and do a long course race, I'm buying two extra cages. Profile Design are always at the expos anywhere in the world, right? It's a bit of maintenance, it's a bit of housekeeping, but don't put them on an aggressive angle. And don't keep pulling them.

Taryn Richardson  31:41

I love the practicalities. Like, I'm very much a practitioner and I love like getting down and dirty and all the things that are actually going to set people up for success on their bike, I love it. The other thing that I love about you like getting to pick your brain on all these things that you just do day in day out is that you've now created something that anyone can do in the world. You don't have to be physically on the Sunshine Coast to go and see you to do a bike fit. So can you run me through your new Bike Fit on Yourself online course?

Michael Baker  32:11

Well, the first thing is it's been 8 years in the making.

Taryn Richardson  32:15

That's okay. The Triathlon Nutrition Academy is probably 10 years in the making, let's be honest.

Michael Baker  32:19

Yeah, it's amazing. So yeah, look, I've been I've been fitting for 10 years and I set myself have ridiculous goal of helping a million people. And I realised very quickly, you're not going to do this working one on one exclusively with people. 

Taryn Richardson  32:31

Yeah. 

Michael Baker  32:32

And 9 years ago, I've created a remote fitting protocol so I'm working with people remotely over video. It's not done live. 

Michael Baker  32:40

I started doing live but it's they upload video, I look at it, tell them what to do, we go back and forth a bit. Anyway, and the third piece that's been missing was the course, showing people how to do it themselves. And using video analysis, it's really simple. With my remote fitting and when you come in for a fit with me, I'm filming. A lot of it is I'm filming you and we're watching the film together and then we're making changes. So the course does that. Just that. It walks you through how to set up your cleats, how to set the ideal saddle height and fore/aft, how to set up the aerobars, okay? How to get comfortable, how to stay in a sustainable aerodynamic position. 

Michael Baker  33:22

And then in the course, I also walk people through the things that we've just been discussing, you know, hydration systems front and rear, the good, the bad and the ugly. Because I see so many people come in, you know, they've got a road bike, for example, they've put some aero bars on and put a saddle on, they've got a couple of hydration systems and nothing's working for them. They spend $700-$800 and unfortunately, we're going to have to get rid of that stuff and buy something that's fit for purpose. 

Michael Baker  33:22

So I walk people through the minefield that is, you know, the bike accessories, hydration systems, the aero bars, the saddles, all that stuff that you're going to need through your triathlon journey. 

Michael Baker  34:05

And yeah, I'm really proud of myself that I've got this thing up and running. And it's going to be a resource for people moving forward. So once you're in the course, you get lifetime access because new products are gonna come on board, new products are going to be released. I'm going to review products as they're released, right? I'm going to talk to vendors and hopefully we will have some discounts there for the people that are inside the course. It's helping people as I said before, to get from where they are, to where they want to be.

Taryn Richardson  34:40

Well honestly, I could keep talking to you for hours and hours. What I might do is get you to do a session for our Triathlon Nutrition Academy athletes in the future if you're up for it and just help them really specifically get their bikes dialed in. But if somebody wants to get in touch with you, find you, follow you, how do they go about doing that?

Michael Baker  34:58

Custombikefit.com is the website, set up ( S-E-T-U-P) [email protected], or [email protected]. And then you'd find me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, all over the place.

Taryn Richardson  35:14

Well, thank you so much, Michael. There is so many good tips and tricks in there for somebody to just get them more comfortable on their bike and I guess make better purchasing decisions as well if anyone is looking to upgrade, which we are all the time, right? And plus one.

Michael Baker  35:29

Yeah, spending a little bit of money on the front end of your bike and turn your bike into a super bike. And bikes are very expensive at the moment and hard to get hold of. Another compelling reason to do the course because there's some good  product reviews in there. At the moment for the early bird adopters, some discounts as well.

Taryn Richardson  35:49

Yeah, amazing. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. And yeah, letting me pick your brain and all things bike fitting.

Michael Baker  35:54

Awesome. Thank you, Taryn. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Taryn Richardson  35:58

Thanks Michael! 

Taryn Richardson  26:23

Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned, email me at [email protected]. You can also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media, @dietitian.approved, so I can give you a shout out, too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smashed in the fourth leg - nutrition!¬†

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