By Jonathan Devich
Tuesday, Fred Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto) paid a visit to fitting master Pairic McGlynn and physio specialist Nate Koch to get rid of some nagging problems and dial in his new bike. "Fred has hamstring issues on one side of his body that have been giving him troubles for some time", said McGlynn of Bicycle Ranch fit studio, "so the idea was to get him in to see if it were bike or body changes that needed to be made."
After spending some time on the trainer and a full evaluation was given, Freddie received 2mm of lift in the left shoe as well as a minor seat adjustment for a starting point. Nate Koch, of Endurance Rehab, then spent time adjusting Rodriguez back and hips to alleviate stress and tension and help get things firing properly. At the end of the day Freddie felt much more comfortable and ready to head to next week's Tour of California.
"I feel confident for next week. This winter we re-evaluated things and I felt like I had put on too much muscle mass that just slowed me down," replied Rodriguez. "Over the last couple years I'd thought that more muscle would be good for the sprinting but found that I just ended up too fatigued by the end of the race carrying that much extra bulk."
In order to get ready for this season Fast Freddie has skipped the gym workouts and dropped his weight from 158 to about 150 lbs. Freddie said, "It doesn't sound like that much but with me it really makes a difference. I could really feel trying to get that extra weight over the climbs; so this winter I just stayed on the bike and skipped the weight workouts altogether. Coming up at California I'll work on building up my speed in preparation for April."
Rodriguez explained how California fits into his early season. "For me it works out really well. I'll go there for the intensity and I know I can go there and suffer the way I need to at this time of the year. All the smaller hills are really hard. I've already been to ride the first two stages and I think those will be good for me. I got a second and a third at the Tour last year but I'll go better this year."
Bolstering Rodriguez's chances of besting the second and third place he got last year will be the well rounded squad that Predictor-Lotto is bringing stateside.
"[Chris] Horner will be our GC guy and he's going well right now. And then we have Josep [Jufré], he's a really good Spanish climber. Also Nick Gates, the Aussie, will be there and he's a great support rider. Everybody is ready to go!" he explained.
Follow Fast Freddie and his teammates' progress at this year's Tour of California with live coverage beginning this Sunday, the 18th.