Hello! My name is Christian Yorks, the newest coach here at Endeavor Performance. I moved to Nashville from a small town called Warwick, New York in late August and started coaching for Endeavor Performance shortly after in September. I’ve been competitively racing cyclocross, road, and mountain biking for 6 years now, starting relatively late when I was 18. Despite this, I grew up around the unforgiving world of endurance sport. My father raced mountain bikes, some triathlons and in running events—he is the reason I fell in love with the sport of cycling; although I was a runner long before I was a cyclist. I was introduced to running when my high school coach had convinced me to join our cross country and track program. I enjoyed my time running with my teammates and friends, racing and training year-round throughout middle school, high school, and briefly in college. My favorite discipline during my time running was cross-country in the fall, but I also raced indoor and outdoor track, focusing on the longer distance events. However, my love for running eventually started to wear thin. I felt like it was time to move on and I decided to pursue something new choosing the great sport of cyclocross, and haven’t looked back since.
Cycling and running have their similarities, but tend to be different in the way you approach them. An important aspect of cycling, one that you never have to think about with running, is the position on the bike. When I first started riding, I just wanted to ride a lot and ride fast—not yet thinking of the finer details. To be truthful, my position on the bike was never important to me, not realizing how harmful it could be riding in an uncomfortable position. Luckily, one of the perks working with a great bike fitter such as Todd was deciding it was best for me to finally experience the fit process and properly dial in my position on my road bike.
Todd had seen me ride a few times before my fitting and was already aware that my seat was too high. This can cause lower back discomfort and knee problems—it can stress both the muscles and joints in those areas (the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, patellar tendon etc.). I had noticed on longer rides the left side of my lower back would tighten up, just assuming it was normal and not something you could fix through a simple bike fitting, my mindset was to fight through the discomfort, a fairly common practice in the cross-country world. Something else he quickly noticed was that my seat was too far forward, this wasn’t allowing me to put enough power into the pedals because it would cause my knee to be too far forward of the pedal spindle. We then changed the position of the seat in order to center my knee more over the pedal spindle. The positioning of my cleats had also been off, and we discovered I have a slight valgus in each foot – causing my feet to fall inward. To correct both these problems, we moved both cleats fully aft, and added one 1.5 degree valgus shim underneath both cleats – this allowed my feet to remain subtalar neutral once clipped in, helping alleviate the foot numbness problems I had been having. The final change he made to my setup was lowering my handlebars down roughly 10mm because the bars were meeting me too soon – this caused tension in my deltoids, trapezius, and throughout my arms. I wasn’t able to relax my upper-body, causing more back pain, shoulder tension, and hand numbness.
Now riding with my refined setup, I’m not sure how I was able to get by before my fitting. I no longer experience any numbness in my feet or hands, no longer suffer from any sort of back pain or discomfort, and I feel faster. I may have only had mild discomfort with my original bike setup, but I definitely wasn’t in the most powerful position I could be, and there were more possibilities for injuries if I had kept riding like I was. The fit experience helped me better understand why it’s so important to have the setup checked by a professional; having someone work with myself one-on-one, explain the details, and answer why we’re making these changes gave me an added sense of confidence when I get on the bike that has made me an all-around better athlete.