Yesterday I did something I never thought I'd have a need to do, I got a professional bike fitting. Wheel and Sprocket is a chain in the Milwaukee area, and at the Fox Point store they offer full on high-tech fittings. And yesterday, I loaded the Tank on my Jeep, and got it properly set up by a pro.
The setup was actually really cool. First is the bike, whihc I guess is called a "Guru" system. As you're riding the bike it can move on hydraulics under you to get different positions, until they've got the right fit. He pulled out the laser lines to measure knee wobble, a video setup (a hacked Kinect) to follow joint movements in real time, and all sorts of other things.
I learned more than a few things about myself, physically speaking. My 20+ years of paintball have demolished a lot more of my body than I thought. My spine seems somewhat ok, but my knees are thrashed and makes for REALLY dodgy pedaling, and strangely my right ankle has a slight tilt I picked up somewhere along the way.
I also learned that I've been doing cleat placement completely wrong, my sit bones are too wide for 85% of the saddles out there, most of my joints are not "supple" but that can be worked around, and that my bike needs a couple of parts to put me into a better position for pure touring.
The whole process took two or so hours, and in the end the bike has one different part (the stem and even then I need a slightly different sized part), the saddle I have moved, and I have different insoles in my shoes with a shim. And the end result is huge in that I'm sitting in a far more comfortable position. I'll need to make a long ride to see how they hold, however.
Was it worth it? For me, it wasn't about maximizing wattage (but it's a nice side effect) as much as making the ride more comfortable. Again, I'm planning on basically living on this bike for a few months, so fixing the issues I had was important. Most people will never need more than a basic bike shop fitting, or they can tweak settings for a few days to get it right. It was also helpful to have a 3rd party expert look at me objectively, and say "Ok, here's the problems, here's how to solve them" And we'll see how well it goes.
So a thank you to Phil Godkin for his expertise and professinalisim, and for helping me in a very large way on this ride!