Your Cyclocross Bike is not a Road Bike

Cross season is officially here.  But a cyclocross bike is no road bike, and neither is a cyclocross bike fit.  The bikes are similar at a distance but they they're very different machines. Bigger tires, higher bottom bracket, quicker turning ability at slow speeds and different geometry through and through. And yet, every season I see riders try to set up their fit position on a cross bike to match their road bike setup. 

The problem with this is that riding in the dirt or on a cross course is nothing like riding on the road. The traction is limited at best, speeds are slower, turns are tighter and off-camber.  Basically, everything about the terrain is working against you. On top of this, during a cross race, you're at max effort and often in the wrong gear so the loads on the body and legs are more extreme. 

This is where a cyclocross bike fit can help.  Everything from saddle position, handlebars and even cleats can be repositioned to help with these very different and difficult conditions. Allowing for more agility with relaxing out the reach and upper body will allow a rider to turn quicker and tighter while dealing with bumps and let the bike find more traction. By bringing down saddle height ever so slightly this can give the rider more body english for when things get rough. This is a very fine adjustment that takes skill, as you don't want to compromise the leg angles and cause strain to the joints, which can be even worse in cross since so often in a cross race you find yourself at max effort in too big of a gear and in a turn. 

Adjustments like this can really help with not just performing well when riding cross, but also help with injury prevention. So, as you dust off the cobwebs from your cross bike, consider getting a professional fit done as well.  It could save your legs this cross season. 

Loyal Fitting athlete Terra Kier-Donovan - Photo by Phil Beckman

Loyal Fitting athlete Terra Kier-Donovan - Photo by Phil Beckman

Loyal Fitting athlete Robert Donovan - Photo by Phil Beckman

Loyal Fitting athlete Robert Donovan - Photo by Phil Beckman

A beautiful accessory for beautiful bikes

    Every once in a while there are some wonderful things that comes into the world of cycling. There is something wonderful about our sport that is graceful and full of freedom. Then there is the craftsmanship of the equipment that is just beautiful. So when I first saw a Omata I knew I wanted one. 

     As a coach, I always want to see data. But sometimes we can be overrun or held back by the numbers. Since the body follows the mind, it's good to be able to get out and just enjoy the act of riding. If an athlete has been doing all the right training and putting in the work, then they should know what effort they do on the bike will mean to them without having to always rely on looking at the data right in front of them.

     The Omata is now my favorite way to ride without having the numbers right in front of me, and yet still getting the data I like to see later.  I am able to see how off I was from how I felt, and how hard or easy I was really going. 

     On a more personal level I love watches. Panerai, Bell and Ross, IWC, etc. I don't have one of those yet, but I love basic analogue movement.  Similar to my classic car, where my new car does just about everything better, the classic car has so much character, personality, and style.

     If these are things that appeal to you, then the Omata will be a perfect match to your Pinarello, Colnago, or any other wonderful bike you love. 

     Check them out at

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Motorcycle Cross Training with Jason Pridmore

   We all love two wheels, right? Well in that love years ago Nate started to get into sport bike motorcycle racing. So after a practice track day or race day and the course would be shut down he would go out on his bicycle and get in a few laps to loosen up. What better roads to ride than a race track! Some of the professional racers saw this and approached Nate. First thinking that they would give him a hard time for being in the tight and bright riding gear they came to ask for training help. From that Nate met Jason Pridmore. Jason has a few results to his name to say the least. 2003, 2012 FIM World Endurance Champion, 1997 AMA Pro 750 SuperSport Champion, 2002 Formula Extreme Champion, as well as having his own racing school- Star Motorcycle School. Nate started helping Jason with his cross training when Jason started racing World Superbike. 

    Here we are years later and Jason and Nate are back working together. Now working with the up and coming motorcycle talent. Fitness is critical for all types of racing and motorcycles can be very punishing physical when racing at the limit. The goal is go give riders/racers more endurance and strength to allow them to not just be more effective in races but also allow them to get more quality training time when on the race track. If a motorcycle racer is able to get in more quality training laps the better racer they will become. The bicycle and gym focused training gives them this. 

    If you do ride motorcycles check out Jason Pridmore's Star Motorcycle School


Even more new things in the works

    Now that Nate is working out of three locations in SoCal, Santa Barbara, Westlake, and Santa Monica,  there are still more things to come. Theories related to bike fitting, training and more are on the horizon. Stay tuned, it's going to be fun. 

AKI Movement Laboratory

With great pleasure I'm happy to announce that Loyal Bike Fitting will now be working out of AKI Movement Laboratory in Santa Barbara on top of Helen's in Santa Monica and P5 Computrainer in Westlake. It is an incredible honor to be able work with AKI and their incredible staff. Stay tuned to hear about new things that Loyal Bike Fitting and AKI will be working on together. Please check them out at

So if you are in Los Angeles, Westlake or Santa Barbara areas and need a bike fit or coaching you can e-mail or call 310-927-6283

Standard or Compact?

When looking at new equipment for your bike do the gears ever come to mind? We have so many options out there from 11/23 to 11/28 cassettes or standard and compact cranksets. What do you go with?

Not all of us live in flat land areas and more often than not the hills are calling to be ridden. So with that in mind, what gearing is best suited for most of us to use? It all comes down to efficiency and cadence plays a big roll in that. Even if you’re not racing and just riding to stay in shape and having fun on your bike a cadence around 85 to 95rpm is ideal and a good starting point for riding on the flats. If you are not sure where your cadence is it might be a good idea to get a basic cycling computer that has cadence on it. These can start at around $40. If you find it difficult at first to pedal this fast don’t worry. Give it a week or two and your body will start to adapt and soon it will become second nature. It may take some time but going a little slower and easier can help greatly.

Now getting into the hills is where gearing becomes very important. A lot of times, unless you’re a fast climber, we find ourselves pushing a hard gear with a low cadence. This is effectively like lifting weights and not very efficient. The problem with this at times is that we are already in our easiest gear! In a perfect world it would be great to have the same cadence as we do on flat gound or at least close too. So it’s not always perfect but if we can at least get to 80+rpms our efficiency will go up and take strain and fatigue away from our joints and muscles. If you are using standard gearing, most likely a 53 tooth big chainring and 39 tooth small chainring, a cost effective way to help maintain optimum cadence is by changing out your cassette. The gear ratio I suggest quite often is the 11/28 cassette. This still gives us plenty of harder gears for the flats and decents but also gives us a little relief going up hills. Since most of you are using 9, 10 or 11speed now, the spacing between gears won’t be a huge jump either.

If the 11/28 still isn’t enough help in improving cadence and you’re still grinding up the hills, I recomend the compact crank. This is a different crankset altogether and the big chainring is a 50T and usually a 34t small chainring. This smaller chainring provides us more easier gears that will help make spinning a higher cadence up hills much easier. So instead of having to press hard on the pedals with each stroke you can be pushing lightly on the pedals but much more frequently. As with working on a higher cadence on the flats, this too will take some dedication but the benefits will turn into huge efficiency payoffs. Now if you still want to go hard up the hills you have plenty of gears to do this.

I’m sure some of you are wondering, “what will this compact crank do for my top end speed when I go down hills?” If maintaining a 36-38mph pace you can still use the compact. Yes the 50 is smaller and you do lose some top end speed by going to the compact but by going with using a cassette with an 11 tooth cog you will only loose a slight amount of possible top end speed. Another thing to keep in mind is that the top end of the 50/11 combo is actually a BIGGER gear than the 53/12 combo. With that you now can spin easier than before up the hills and still being able to push the gear while rolling at 38+mph. Sure it takes some doing but as said before it can be well worth it!