The 5mm Pain in the Neck

Don’t tell my coach, but today was my first real ride in over 3 weeks. Suffice it to say it was an easy ride. Need proof? I was passed by a guy with a handlebar bag – not dropped, mind you, but passed nonetheless.

Today’s ride was a bit of a test as well. I’m going to make a few adjustments to my set-up this winter and continuing to get more aggressive in my seating position is the first up. Therefore, utilizing my newly-found skills as a ‘wrench’ I deftly popped off my stem to take out the last remaining spacer on my steerer tube. The result is this:


The vertical distance between the top of my handlebars and the top of my saddle is now around 8.5 cm, which is, according the Competitive Cyclist…competitive. It is also as low as I can go, so if I want to get more aero I need to get a longer stem. Given that the Haute Route is mostly up or down I don’t think I need to go all ‘wind-tunnel’ crazy anyway. Still, it’s a fun project.

Nearly as soon as I headed out for my ride I felt the new position in my neck and mid-back. Nothing too much, but I’m glad I gave myself the winter to get accustomed to it. Incredible how half a centimeter can affect you..or me at least.

11 thoughts on “The 5mm Pain in the Neck

  1. It’s gone a bit quiet cycling-wise here too. Winter has set in early. However, once the dry weather returns we’ll get back in the saddle. I shall have to measure the height difference between my saddle and handlebars out of interest.

    • I count myself lucky because all we really get is ‘cold’, not ‘wet’. Even then ‘cold’ is debatable. Measure down from the handlebars to the floor and same thing for the saddle, then subtract the difference.

  2. I can feel your pain just looking at the picture. If my handlebars were that low, I would bump into things because I couldn’t bend my neck enough to see where I was going. Once again my admiration for your capacity for pain is unbounded. Good luck with the settling in period.

    • Luckily, I’m naturally flexible…for now at least. I remember the next pain this past season, too, but it just went away after awhile. Someday though, I might start unintentionally walking around with my head tilted upwards.

  3. Lovely bike. I’m practicing using my drops at the moment, so I relate to the neck/back thing. Sometimes it feels great, other times weird and uncomfortable, like today going down a decent 8km descent. It’s what we’re used to of course so it’s just about getting used to something else. No doubt the lower position will certainly pay-off on times once you’re used to it.

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