Chris Horner Gets Fit

The Retul fit system was so popular at the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek training camp that Horner had to wait until back home in San Diego to get one. 

Fresh off the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team camp in Mallorca, and looking to jump-start his 2011 Tour of California winning form, 40-year old Chris Horner was missing one critical piece to his preparation. ‘The team was getting Retul fits at camp on our road and time trial bikes, but with nearly 30 riders and each fit taking a couple hours, our week-long camp was hardly enough to get everyone through; so I skipped it to make sure the younger guys were taken care of’, explained Horner. Back in San Diego Horner brought his new Trek Madone 6.9 SSL to his long-time sports clinic, San Diego Sports Medicine, whose PeakPerformance services include Retul bike fits, VO2 Max and EKG testing, in addition to pulmonary and blood testing.
Using Retul’s 3D position analysis, Horner was looking to confirm his position was the same as in years past. 
‘I don’t want to necessarily change my position”, said Horner, “I just want to make sure it’s the same as it was on my old bike”. Changing from Bontrager to Northwave shoes created the need for a few adjustments. He added, ‘The Northwave’s are drilled specifically for Speedplay, which lowers the cleat stack height compared to my Bontragers, so I had to lower my saddle to make up for it. Then I put in thicker insoles and had to readjust for those. Before you know it things don’t feel quite right but you don’t know exactly what the cause is’.
After using the Retul to analyze Horner’s biomechanics, it was recommended that his saddle be moved back 1cm.
Fit specialist and USA Cycling coach Trina Jacobsen says, ‘Most people that come in for a Retul fitting either have knee or lower back pain. The most common fit issues are the handlebars are too low, and the saddle usually needs to come forward.’ Obviously Horner has a better grasp on his positioning than the average rider, but Jacobson did recommend that his saddle actually be moved back about 1cm. Horner explained his reasoning for the saddle position was that, ‘When I’m racing, I seem to always be pulled all the way forward on the nose of the saddle, so that’s why it’s so far forward’. Although initially hesitant to make any changes, he decided to take the advice and was willing to give it a try. 
A PeakPerformance Retul bike fit starts at $275, and can be combined with VO2 Max and EKG testing, which is performed by one of the USA Olympic doctors on staff at San Diego Sports Medicine. Complete packages and pricing can be found at: sdsmpeakperformance.com
HORNER’S CHINESE MEDICINE APPROACH TO PERFORMANCE
Greg Bourque has been Horner’s acupuncturist and massage therapist for over a decade, and before that was one of his training partners.
After Horner’s fit, it was time for his twice-a-week acupuncture session with SDSM’s Greg Bourque, who has worked with Horner for over a decade as his acupuncturist and massage therapist. Horner attributes his long career to injury prevention and keeping the aches and pains from turning into bigger issues. The use of acupuncture with electro-stimulation helps stimulate more blood flow, promoting healing. Additionally, it can speed the contraction of the muscles and fluidity in the pedal stroke. According to Bourque, ‘When Chris is doing around 40,000 pedal strokes every singe day during the Tour de France, his pedal stroke and tracking have to be perfect in order to avoid imbalances that could lead to injury. It’s the prevention and treatment of small issues that keep him at the top of the sport at 40 years old’.  
These are about the only type of needles that won’t get you in trouble with the UCI.
Since Horner’s training load has increased, he’s been experiencing tightness in his left hip, which according to Bourque, ‘Is throwing everything out of whack and giving him some knee pain. Between massage and acupuncture we’ll make sure it doesn’t end up being a bigger problem down the road.’ After a 30-minute session of electro-stimulation Horner was good to go, looking forward to the next block of training. 
Once the acupuncture needles are in, an electro stimulation device is hooked which causes a muscle contraction every few seconds to improve muscle firing and recovery. When not on the road, Horner receives two acupuncture sessions every week to help keep injuries at bay. 

For more information on acupuncture services go to: www.sdsmacupuncture.com

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