F.I.S.T. Workshops

BEFORE YOU READ FURTHER! If you are already simply trying to register for a FIST Workshop just click here. If you want to read about Fit Institute Slowtwitch, read on...

Our Fit Institute Slowtwitch (F.I.S.T.) is designed to provide bike shop professionals with the tools they need to properly fit a triathlete to his or her triathlon racing bicycle. Our institute produces low-cost, two-day workshops which equip graduates with every knowledge-based tool they need to execute a perfect fit for each tri-specific customer.

F.I.S.T. accreditation also tells those in your region that you are a tri-bike fit professional (we'll add you to our online database of F.I.S.T. graduates).

F.I.S.T. workshops take place at Xantusia, the endurance-based resort on the backside of L.A.'s San Gabriel Mountains owned by Slowtwitch publisher Dan Empfield and longtime pro Mark Montgomery. The workshop will be primarily conducted by Dan Empfield, Jordan Rapp, and J.T. Lyons. Everything you need to know about our F.I.S.T. workshops is explained below, including a further explanation of Xantusia and a map of how to get there.


These questions are often raised:

"Is there any demonstrable, proven, correct geometry for triathletes?"

"Why is there such a wide range of rider positions represented on the bikes in the transition racks, and doesn't that suggest that there is no agreed-upon 'formula' for tri bike fit?"

"Are there trends, and what do they indicate for the future of tri bike fit and design?"

Yes, we do have a specific philosophy on tri bike fit, and it can be contained in a few short paragraphs:

It is true that there is no correct position, nor even a correct range, for every multisport customer. But yes, in fact there is a specific, measurable, precise way to ride a tri bike. It is not a universal position, but it is the typical position chosen by the best athletes, just like there is a typical position for road racing. The efficacy of this position is measurable, and it is provable (and we measure and prove it in our FIST workshops).

-The difference is that the typical tri position is aggressive, and requires a degree of athleticism above that which is required for standard road riding. Almost everyone can achieve a typical road position. A smaller percentage can achieve the typical tri position. Because of this, and since triathletes as a group span a wider range of athletic abilities, tri-specific positions can vary greatly.

The trick is to be able to qualify your customer and discover where along that gradient he or she lies; then to know how to properly position your customer according to his or her degree of athleticism; and finally how to suggest the appropriate bike(s), aerobars, etc., for each person. And, yes, we absolutely do believe in the concept of steep seat angles for the appropriate customer.

All this is what we'll teach in our FIST workshops.

The above paragraphs describe our philosophy, the execution of which is taught in the two days you spend with us.


• How do you qualify your customer? What questions do you ask in order to find out what position-range is most appropriate for him or her?

• Having asked those questions, how do you translate this information into the precisely appropriate bike fit for triathlons? (This is the "guts" of a FIST workshop).

• What does science say about steep versus shallow seat angles? What does it say about speed and efficiency on the bike, and on the run after the bike? What about other issues ancillary to tri bike position, like gearing and cadence?

• An overview of the history of tri bikes and tri bike fit. Who historically rode what geometries? What are the top athletes currently riding—not in general, but specifically which athletes are riding which geometries? Of the flagship lines you carry, which top athletes are riding on them, which models, and how are they positioned?

• The above chapters suggest that their are a range of positions appropriate for the range of customers asking to be properly positioned. Of the bicycles being produced today for the road and triathlon markets, which models fit into which "fit categories?"

• A discussion of fit nomenclature, stack & reach, and how to reduce "Points in space" to "Points on a bike."

• What tri-bike fitting apparatuses are there, and what does my shop need? If we already own a BioRacer system, or a Serotta Size Cycle, how can they be adapted for use as tri-bike fitting machines?

• What are the economics of tri bike-fitting? How does this differ from performing a road bike fit? What will the market bear? How is this best executed?


$695 for the two day seminar. A $295 deposit, which you can make here, saves you a place. The balance is due upon arrival at the camp. Your deposit is non-refundable, but is entirely transferable to another previously unregistered party, or you can use it for a deposit at a future fit camp.

Those who've already taken our F.I.S.T. workshop, and who wish to return and reattend, may do so for $295. We'll charge you this amount as a deposit upon your registration, but there will be no further cost for the workshop itself (you'd still have to pay for housing, etc.).


• The two-day seminar

• Window sticker for your shop, showing you are a FIST graduate.

• Digital forms, printouts, and a manual—all which can be reprinted—for subjects that you fit.

• Slowtwitch.com will maintain and update a list of those shops which have FIST-trained personnel on their staff, so that triathletes will be able to easily determine which shops have FIST-accredited tri bike fitters.

• Continuing education, via email, several times a year.


Accommodations are not included in the price. There is a bed & breakfast right next door to us, run by ex-pro triathlete Mark Montgomery. It's a new ranch-style house with very reasonable rates, and this is where most of the attendees stay. Mark can be reached at 310-990-1400, or via email.


Available workshop dates are on the sign-up page.


Anyone is eligible to attend. Keep in mind, though, that the workshops are geared toward bike shop professionals, and assume that level of knowledge. This also explains why workshops take place on the days they do (slow shop traffic).


Classes are limited to twelve individuals, and classes fill on a first-come, first serve basis.


LAX is the obvious option, but not necessarily the best option. Burbank and Ontario are closer. Each of these latter two airports are just under an hour away from us. LAX is about an hour and a half away. LAX is also subject to more traffic delays. On the other hand, LAX is often available via a direct flight from points far away, and it also has a greater number of flights.


Sign up via the online form.


For more about Xantusia, click the link at this article's terminus.


Dan Empfield competed in the first Ironman held on Hawaii's Big Island, in 1981. He is the founder of Quintana Roo. This company began in 1987 on the back of an invention, the first-ever wetsuit made specifically for the swim portion of a triathlon.

Empfield's wetsuit debuted the same year as the "Scott bar," the original tri-specific handlebar. The world's best triathletes struggled with how to use this handlebar design to its best advantage, and in 1989 Empfield debuted another design, the first bike "built from the aerobars back." The first Quintana Roo Superform had 650c wheels front and back, and an 80-degree seat angle. Nothing like it had been built before. The bike looked and seemed odd, but in its first ever trial Ray Browning exited the bike leg of the New Zealand Ironman with a 30-minute lead over Scott Tinley, and the design was here to stay.

Within a short span Tinley himself was riding a Quintana Roo, Jurgen Zack was setting bike course records all over the world on one, and Lance Armstrong won two U.S. Sprint triathlon titles on one. Spencer Smith, JulieAnne White, Wolfgang Dittrich, Scott Molina, Ryan Bolton, Liz Downing, Heather Fuhr and dozens of other world-class athletes rode on these bikes during Empfield's time at QR, and most of these athletes were positioned by him (some continue to be).

Empfield sold Quintana Roo to Saucony, Inc., in 1995, and stayed on to run Saucony's bike division—which included Quintana Roo and Merlin—for four years. He left in 1999 and founded Slowtwitch.com, which was almost immediately a prime influencer of triathlon buying habits. The site remains a popular and influential stop on the internet for multisport athletes.

Empfield has developed fit systems for triathletes that are in wide use today. He's given fit clinics and workshops all over the United States and Europe. He continues to write for, and publish, Slowtwitch.com and also performs the road tests and writes the tri bike reviews for Triathlete Magazine. He lives in Xantusia along with Moondoggie (retired greyhound pictured above, who is inspecting one of Xantusia's outbuildings and is probably preparing to "own" it), two other dogs, two cats whose job is only to catch mice, various other triathletes, their dogs, their cats, and other hangers-on.