Things are changing for Lance. Like, his position. We asked him if he realizes how close his new triathlon position is to his old position aboard his QR bikes from 1989 and 1990?
"I don't have the measurements off that position," he said. "The positions are more forward in triathlon, because there are no regulations. Triathletes have gravitated to [steeper positions], it opens the hip angle, it's more conducive to running off the bike, and triathletes are moving to shorter cranks to play with that hip angle. The very first thing I did, I got out the Allen wrench and moved the saddle forward."
"You mention cranks," I asked him. "What crank length are you riding?"
"My whole career I rode one-seventy-five cranks for both road and time trial," he said. "But, I fell victim to Slowtwitch Forum advice and went to one-seventies. There is even talk of going shorter, but, for me, one-seventy is short enough."
So, there you go. Lance is a lurker.
The move to a steeper seat angle caused Armstrong to have a cockpit length problem, consequently requiring a move up in bike size. "I moved from size-medium to size-large," for his Speed Concept. The larger size, "gave me more top tube, a longer wheelbase."
He'll be racing a Bontrager disc in back and a Bontrager 7.0 wheel in the front. He's noodling the 9.0. "I'm tempted to ride the latter. But it's harder to ride that front end on a windy day, and I want to be relaxed."
Maybe when he gets a 70.3 or two under his belt, he'll move to the deeper front rim.
He's going to be riding the Bontrager aerobars that come stock on the 9-series Speed Concepts.
Who aids him in these equipment and position decisions? I asked about Steve Hed, in part because of his history with Hed, and also because I know from talking to the Steve Hed that the two were together in Austin prior to Armstrong's publicized trip to the wind tunnel in San Diego.
"Steve is, you know, always a friend and supporter, an advisor, as regards position, wheels, bars, and he's largely involved in the new position. He came down to Austin before my trip to the tunnel."
"It's always the road first," Hed explained, when describing his approach to fitting in general, and with Armstrong in particular. "I eyeball it."
Otherwise, Hed explained, if you go to the tunnel first, and then you get out on the road and find you can't maintain the position developed in the tunnel, you've wasted your time in the tunnel.
"We came forward," Hed continued while describing his recent session with Armstrong, and found, "We had to get a bigger bike," echoing what Armstrong explained above. "When he moved forward he needed more length. Plus, on the smaller-sized bikes, the brake levers aren't in an optimal climbing position. That's why the bigger bike was necessary.
"He's not that low," Hed continued. "Lance has always been better aerodynamically if he doesn't go that low in front. He's really comfortable in that position. Also, real narrow elbows don't help him much."