Fitting for Four Wheels

This article originally appeared in Steve Hogg’s August 2015 Bike Fit of the Month

This month’s FOTM (fit of the month) is about a unique client who took a different path in his quest for performance, both on and off the bike. His name is Ben Keating and he only started road cycling in the last year. Our first fitting session together led to a second on another bike less than a month later. This interaction with Ben meant that I would celebrate success in the winner’s circle of the Viper Racing Team at the 2015 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in January. There was no way I could have known this when we first met in December for a fitting session.

Jerry 2

The grey foam roller open’s Ben Keating’s chest / shoulders as the vibrating red roller relaxes the glutes and sacro-iliac area after 90 minutes of racing. All the while, I’m releasing trigger points along the sternum, collarbones and shoulders. These techniques expedite recovery and postural restoration.

Ben Keating owns multiple Texas car dealerships and is an owner / pilot for Viper Racing Team. He began road riding to boost his stamina for IMSA / Tudor motor racing events in the U.S. and Canada. Although not suffering terribly out on the road, Ben was seeking help to optimize the ergonomics of his shoes and cycling positions. Ben seeks out professionals with top notch and / or unique skills, whether they are international racing drivers such as Jeroen Bleekemolen or Belgian physiotherapist extraordinaire, Jos Sneyers. After a year of dealing with minor back and shoulder issues on his road bike, Ben was prompted to seek me out. A web-search led Ben to Steve’s website which is where he learned about my fitting at Castle Hill Cycles in Austin, Texas, only a few hours away from his home.

Ben contacted me and booked a session in late December 2014. He had experienced various muscle testing techniques previously with a nutritionist and physiotherapist and was excited to see how our take on that could inform his cycling position.

A number of several functional shortcomings were evident during Ben’s off the bike assessment:
⦁    Restricted range of motion in the upper back, shoulder, neck areas
⦁    Weak glutes, weaker on left
⦁    Bilaterally weak hamstrings compared to the quadriceps
⦁    Impeded diaphragmatic breathing skills
⦁    Shoulders presenting a difference in range of motion and stability
⦁    Left hip flexors presented much tighter than the right

I also noted on the bike functional issues including:
⦁    Knees tracking in different vertical patterns, left ascended laterally as right descended medially
⦁    Right hip dropping on the down stroke
⦁    Excessive shoulder / arm enlistment attempting to stabilize the pelvis
⦁    Excessive weight on hand / wrists / forearms

I fitted new G8 insoles which Ben loved, made cleat adjustments and positional changes to his Cervelo R5. He returned in January with a limited edition Cervelo RCA machine. Ben also quickly benefitted the from hamstring and glute exercises and quad and hip flexor opening activities that I had prescribed for his time away from the bike.

Ben was so impressed with my cutting edge and holistic approach to bike fitting and movement assessment that he asked me to accompany the team to the 2015 24-Hours of Daytona to work in tandem with Belgian physiotherapist, Jos Sneyers. Jos also uses muscle testing techniques, similar to ours, for recovery and nutritional supplementation. The overall goal was to combine lots of small gains to help the drivers and crew. Things went well in Daytona and the #93 Viper took first place.

Ben contacted me again in March to help out with the Rolex 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race. This time, I flew on Ben’s private jet and stayed in the rental house with Viper Exchange Co-Owners Bernie Katz and Ben. Between the Daytona and Sebring events, I assessed team members and support crew and applied my skills to:

⦁    Ben Keating – Driver/Viper Exchange co-owner
⦁    Sebastiaan Bleekemolen – Team driver
⦁    Jeroen Bleekemolen – Team driver
⦁    Marc Goosens – Team driver
⦁    Dominic Farnbacher – Team driver
⦁    Cameron Lawrence – Team driver
⦁    Bernie Katz – Viper Exchange co-owner
⦁    Matt Sheffield – Team mechanic
⦁    Jos Sneyers – Team physiotherapist

A new phone and tablet device should provide future photos and video as Keating plans on returning to Castle Hill for future bike position work.

Belgian physiotherapist extraordinaire Jos Sneyers demonstrates his digital body analyzer. The analyzer records a variety of health metrics and metabolic deficiencies. Jos uses this data and muscle testing techniques to formulate hydration drinks and determine recovery supplements specific to each driver.

Belgian physiotherapist Jos Sneyers demonstrates his digital body analyzer. The analyzer records multiple health metrics and metabolic deficiencies. Jos uses the data and muscle testing techniques to formulate drinks and determine supplements specific to each pilot. Belgian driving sensation, Mark Goosens, is conducting a race interview in the background. Jerry worked on both Jos and Marc.

This is me flanked by Jeroen and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen. Working with world-class athletes of this caliber before and during an event requires absolute attention to the details. I consulted via email with Sebastiaan regarding his S-Works Venge and Shiv bicycles.

This is me flanked by Jeroen and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen. Working with world-class athletes of this caliber before and during an event requires absolute attention to the details. I consulted via email with Sebastiaan regarding his S-Works Venge and Shiv bicycles.

Jeroen Bleekemolen

Jeroen Bleekemolen qualified for the 12-Hours of Sebring pole position Friday afternoon less than an hour after working with me. The methods I used may not have been the only keys to the quickest lap time, but they certainly didn’t slow Jeroen down.

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Team mechanic Matt Sheffield affixes my powerful magnet to the #33 safety net. A steel washer affixed to the seatbelt allows drivers to toss the belt aside quickly to land in a specific position for quick retrieval. I also worked on Matt, a former nationally ranked BMX racer.

 
Bernie Katz, co-owner of Viper Exchange heads to the #50 “Highway to Help” car to help the crew push it into position. Brian Johnson, the singer for the band AC/DC, fields this BMW machine for Alzheimer’s awareness and research. Racing folks are competitive, passionate and driven. They also help each other out. Jerry worked on Bernie Katz as well, a former racer with multiple back issues.

Bernie Katz, co-owner of Viper Exchange heads to the #50 “Highway to Help” car to help the crew push it into position. Brian Johnson, the singer for the band AC/DC, fields this BMW machine for Alzheimer’s awareness and research. Racing folks are competitive, passionate and driven. They also help each other out. Jerry worked on Bernie Katz as well, a former racer with multiple back issues.

 

 

I suppose that what this FOTM illustrates is that the unique skills I’ve developed and learned have a far wider application than just for those riding bicycles.

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