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A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition
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Let me start off by saying that I am trying to write this, not out of the anger that I once felt but as a open letter to explain my disappointments with the time and money was wasted for all parties. I believe this was a rare situation and I hope none of you have a similar experience. Jim had some failures as a service provider and I had some failures as a client, like every relationship, it takes two.
At the end of november I decided to to finally pull the trigger and get some aero testing. I was excited as I had recently put some big goals on paper. After a couple of attempts to get a hold of Jim, I finally got through via email at the end of November
“Hi Jim or to whom this may concern,
I am a former professional roadie (and collegiate trackie) looking to make a big entrance into the US track scene for the IP at elite track nationals next year. I think a great place to start would be aero testing. I have some of my "old" track gear (Cervelo t4 and F/R Zipp 900 discs) still hanging around but it doesn't have a power meter. I also have a SHIV TT that was last fit a few years back at Cyclologic, this has a power meter, so the aero testing might have to be done on this. I would love to hear from you and see what we could do to optimize my position…..”
About a week later, I got the reply “Sorry for the delayed response. For some reason, certain emails from my site go to spam. Not sure why. The evening of Sat, 12/15, is open if that works for you.”
I confirmed the 15th worked for me, and didn’t hear back until Dec, 5th, when I asked for a confirmation as I needed to find housing in the area. I should have taken note in the level of communication at this point but my exuberance got the best of me. I wanted to have a dialogue with Jim

Testing session 1 - 12/15: I traveled in with my road bike, my T4 without a power meter, my shiv TT with custom risers (take note of this) and a Quarq riken, Zipp 900 front/rear combo, my significant other’s front 404, her POC helmet and a handful of tools that I thought could be useful.
We decided to try my Shiv as it had my power meter. Run one was a crr of .223, if I remember correctly. Run two he gave me a Giro Aerohead with the visor taped on to try. He said the was about the same but I liked the visibility that it offered. He decided that there wasn’t much else that we could test since the T4 didn’t have a PM and the Shiv TT position was pretty fixed with the custom machined spacers. I felt bummed and disappointed that if we could have had better communication from the start, this could have been avoided. He promised that we would get this worked out, we looked for a future test date for a second attempt and I paid the $699 paypal invoice with my credit card.
Jim suggested that I scheduled my re-test on 1/9 as USAC was having a training camp at the same time and it could get my exposure. I waited to confirm this until I could get back to work an see if I could rearrange my work schedule around enough that I could make the trip mid-week.
On Dec. 17th, I was able to confirm that date, after discussing with my boss the importance of doing this infront of USAC’s eye and replied to Jim asking if there was anything that I could do or bring, as I wanted to avoid the cluster of round 1.
On Jan. 7th, I reached out to Jim again to make sure that we still had the green light. He replied saying that testing was pushed back an hour but things were good to go. On the 8th, I worked a 10 hour day and drove through the night so I could test the morning of the 9th. Before arriving I also notified Jim “ Just to keep you in the loop I was able to get the quarq on to the T4 but because the steer tube difference I don’t have any aero bars that will work with it. I didn’t even think about the difference until it was too late. In this effort to make the t4 available for testing, the Shiv TT, has been stripped and thus I will not be making the journey with me.”
I show up the morning of the 9th, and the velodrome is empty. No USAC. Once we got started I asked what happened and Jim starting telling me this story about them pulling out due to funding. I was frustrated as I just piled a lot of extra stress on my life to make this testing date happen but I couldn’t get too frustrated because we could still get the testing in, or so I thought.
We get started with the testing when Jim notices that my Quarq was reading really high and drifting, so we couldn’t even get a baseline. We discovered that this was due to the recent chainring swap the days prior. I was dismayed at the whole situation but Jim once again gave me his assurance that we would get the testing in.
At this point I just want to get this processed wrapped up. He doesn’t say it directly but it's clear that we are both frustrated at our failures. He mentions trying to get his hands on a powertap wheel so we don’t have this problem again.
A month goes by with complete radio silence, I email on 2/13 only to hear more radio silence. I reach out in a ST thread that says his email must not be working, because others are experiencing the same radio silence.
Finally Jim responds to a DM on SlowTwitch with: “Weekends are tough. Looking at the track schedule vs mine, there's nothing available until April at best.
The track has charged me for track time for both the aborted tests (new management), so you'll need to pay for any track time we use moving forward. They'll give us a discounted rate of $200. I'll give you one more shot without charging any extra fees on my end, but please make sure your power meter is working and accurate, and that you have everything you need to make adjustments to your bike. “
After a couple messages, we agree on April 6th for the next testing date.
I hadn’t heard from Jim for nearly a month and a half so I checked in on 3/29 to make sure that the testing was still on for 4/6. “Hi Jim,
Just making sure that we still have the green light for 4/6. Also have you picked a time for that yet? I will be driving in after work on Friday/saturday morning. “
His response was “Unfortunately, the track could not be made available for aero testing due to some planned maintenance to the facility that day.” I was flabbergasted. A complete and udder failure of communication to find out that my testing was effectively cancelled and wasn’t offered a solution to move forward.
With my emotions running a bit on the hot side of things I replied “I would like to know when you had planned to tell me this. Was I going to show up at the track and see a sign on the door?
I'm sure we are both getting frustrated at this point and I just feel like i've thrown away $1000 between your services, travel, etc. only to receive bare minimal communication that I have to initiate. I know you are busy but honestly, I'm flabbergasted with this process of yours. I would like you to tell me, what your best suggestion for moving forward is.”
In fairness here I did ask for his best suggestion for moving forward. Sadly his suggestion didn’t have me in mind at all. His reply was:
“Yeah, my fault as I thought I had forwarded that information to you, though your frustration for "throwing away $1000" should be directed at yourself for showing up twice completely unprepared for the task at hand. In the end, I provided the service the first time around, and can not be faulted for you bringing a bike that could not be adjusted in any way. My job is simply to run the test, which I did. On my own dime, I paid for your second session, but again you brought equipment I couldn't work with and did not charge you for the track time, or the fee I had to pay Alphamantis, which means I've made a total of $50 for both sessions and several hours of my time.
Moving forward, I would suggest finding someone else to use for aero testing. No one else runs the Alphamantis system in this country, but perhaps the A2 or San Diego wind tunnel would be options for you.”
I had a very angry response typed out to this but never sent it as I figured it wouldn’t actually do any good. So now I would like to offer a more level-headed response than what I didn't send to you earlier.
Jim-
I believe we both have the right to be disappointed here. I am disappointed because the service that I thought I was paying for has not worked out as intended. I am disappointed because regardless of my numerous attempts of communication with you, across multiple platforms, you gave bare minimum effort in having a dialogue with me. I do feel that we could have avoided a lot of frustrations and wasted time and money if only you were able to have open communication with me. I am disappointed because I feel like you have lied to me since you learned that USAC pulled out of their camp and you didn’t tell me, when we scheduled testing on that day because of USAC, regardless of what was going on for me personally. I am disappointed because I feel as you have now washed your hands with me and I am really in no better spot than where I started. I am also laughing because we both know that you say “No one else runs the Alphamantis system in this country” we both know this isn’t the truth, but that is the least of our issues here.
I’m sorry that things haven’t worked out between us but they way that you have conducted your business, has me shocked and appalled. When you look back at this I hope you can sleep well, because this has to be the worst experience that I've had within the cycling industry. I wish you the best of luck in the future, it seems that we are both going to need it.

While I know this is a short book, I hope all that are looking towards these services in the future read this, see both of our failures for what they are and make a better decision than I did on how to invest their resources into our sport.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [Ohio_Roadie] [ In reply to ]
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Please don't take this the wrong way, but by your own story, other than his slow replies to emails, sounds like the main issue here is that you twice showed up with gear that could not be adjusted, or that wasn't working properly because of changes you made before the testing. Do you expect him to keep covering track time for you because you show up unprepared?
Again, nothing personal, just going by your own notes...
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [SBRcanuck] [ In reply to ]
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I accept the responsibility for showing up with equipment that wasn't where it should have been. I'm not trying to escape that. I think better communication of what was expected of me as the client would have been really helpful. To be honest, going into it the first time, I had no ideal what to expect.

What I'm trying to express is my dismay that I always had to initiate the communication, only to get bare minimum in return, and then him just flat out going back on his word is what I didn't like about the interactions. If the costs that he was incurring was an issue, don't tell me that you're going to give me another chance and then cancel it without notification or an alternative suggestion.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [Ohio_Roadie] [ In reply to ]
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In my experience, it's on you to ensure you have the communication that you require. In all similar situations that I've dealt with, the Profesional on the other end assumes you know what you are doing and doesn't assume you are a rookie (right or wrong).

In your shoes, I would have ensured I had a verbal phone call before the appt to ensure I knew what was expected of me... And, to understand the process and set my expectations for the results. In that call I would have discussed the pros/cons of the different bike options and determined the best approach given the cons of the selected test vehicle.

If that phone call didn't happen, I wouldnt schedule the event. Period. Been there, done that.

I'm not saying what's right or wrong... Just my experience says that the above approach is necessary to ensure I get what I want---and that your experience is par for the course when the above is NOT followed.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [Tom_hampton] [ In reply to ]
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I agree that as the customer, I always attempt to nail down exactly what I want in advance, but despite this, I always wonder why the professional service provider doesn’t be proactive and guide clients.

I am never sure why a professional assumes a newb client will know what is expected.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [The Guardian] [ In reply to ]
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The Guardian wrote:
I agree that as the customer, I always attempt to nail down exactly what I want in advance, but despite this, I always wonder why the professional service provider doesn’t be proactive and guide clients.

Yes, unfortunately I've learned this lesson the hard (i.e. expensive) way.

OP: Sorry, sounds like it was a crappy experience for everyone involved.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [Ohio_Roadie] [ In reply to ]
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First of all I have to say I'm sorry you had the experience you did..it sucks paying $ for something and having events occur that makes the experience not so great.

All I can say as a client of Jim for 7 years now, having taken 4 bikes to him about a dozen times total, that my experiences have been the total opposite. When I want to schedule I go to his site, book it, and show up. Never had to really wait or have an issue about availability being cancelled. Now this is just for fits at the Velodome, not track time. But when I show up I have the race suit on, maybe a change of seats ready, helmet and all the risers/ bolts etc we might need if we do any change to the front end. Bottom line- I'm ready to get in as much tweak time as I can get int he hour or so we have.

Jim will probably not want this out there but there are many times I come in and we are tweaking a fit and he tells me "I really didn't do anything...keep your money". Now this is after he's put the bike on the trainer, fired up the Zwift, dotted me up, taken a look at the Retul, tweaked a bit, re-measured and entered all the new fit coordinates into my profile. We then BS for 30min or so and I make him take a tip for his trouble. Then make a mental note to bring him in a bottle of red next time I visit.

Again, sorry you had a bad experience but I've had nothing but positive exchanges with Jim and he's one of the few guys out there NOT looking to make a quick $ off an athlete.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [anthonypat] [ In reply to ]
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I'll vouch for Jim and Ero. Very professional and patient with me and clients that arrive before and after me. Seems like a one off, and not sure why you had to air the dirty laundry on this forum.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [Ohio_Roadie] [ In reply to ]
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Ohio_Roadie wrote:
I accept the responsibility for showing up with equipment that wasn't where it should have been. I'm not trying to escape that. I think better communication of what was expected of me as the client would have been really helpful. To be honest, going into it the first time, I had no ideal what to expect.
I've got to be honest with you: if you pay a bunch of money to aero test, then waste the session because you have no clue what you're getting yourself into (by bringing a bike that can't be adjusted and no other equipment to test), that's pretty much on you. You obviously don't realize how nice Jim was being by giving you a second session for FREE even though the initial mistake was yours. No wind tunnel would have done that. Sure, maybe the communication could have been better (we haven't heard his side of the story though), but he clearly bent over backward for you. Sorry you wasted your money, but you can't blame that on Jim.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [lanierb] [ In reply to ]
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lanierb wrote:
Ohio_Roadie wrote:
I accept the responsibility for showing up with equipment that wasn't where it should have been. I'm not trying to escape that. I think better communication of what was expected of me as the client would have been really helpful. To be honest, going into it the first time, I had no ideal what to expect.

I've got to be honest with you: if you pay a bunch of money to aero test, then waste the session because you have no clue what you're getting yourself into (by bringing a bike that can't be adjusted and no other equipment to test), that's pretty much on you. You obviously don't realize how nice Jim was being by giving you a second session for FREE even though the initial mistake was yours. No wind tunnel would have done that. Sure, maybe the communication could have been better (we haven't heard his side of the story though), but he clearly bent over backward for you. Sorry you wasted your money, but you can't blame that on Jim.

I am not sure I agree. It sounds like the client tried to reach out to figure out what was expected, but got nothing in return.

If I hire a realtor and she doesn't tell me the basics of preparing to sell my house, or I go to a surgeon and she doesn't tell me not to eat before the operation, or I go to a specialist and they don't tell me I need a referral in advance, I don't think those things are my fault.

I am in a service business, and I make sure if my client needs to bring something, I tell them multiple times what to bring - I don't want to waste their or my time. They hire me because I am an expert. Part of my expertise is making life easy for them, so they don't have to learn everything I learned over the years. I get that in the case the true expertise is the aero analysis, but one can't do that properly if one's clients don't know what it entails.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [anthonypat] [ In reply to ]
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I'll agree that Jim is super nice and very knowledgeable, but his communication is beyond terrible outside of the sessions. I traveled out to do a pre-purchase fit with him and purchased a bike specifically based upon his recommendations once I was able to get those recommendations from him. He warned me during the session that sometimes he gets so many e-mails that if he fails to check for a day, everything gets moved off the main screen and essentially lost. I can relate to this getting 100's of e-mails sometimes for work, however at my job I don't get to simply ignore people until they follow up enough times that it happens to place it at the top of my pile one day when I bother to check. I usually have to follow up for weeks, even months, to get a response. Most of the time the response is entirely incomplete and might answer 1 part or worse yet pose another question back to me which will then take multiple rounds of follow up again once I provide him with the answer (which at times was already in the e-mail chain if he read beyond the first sentence). I even resorted to starting a ST thread simply to get his attention since he was posting here but still not returning my messages.

It's beyond frustrating and I would not do it again knowing he is incapable and seemingly not interested in working with people remotely. I still don't have my fit dialed in, although I will say at present I need to send him an updated video of my current position. Part of the reason I have not is simply the amount of frustration the process is going to inevitably cause trying to follow up with him and answering questions that I already responded to previously.

All that said, if I lived within 30-45 minutes of driving distance from ERO, I would still consider using him because again, he is really nice and knowledgeable. It's fun to be in his studio and listen to him talk bikes, triathlon and fitting.

"It's good enough for who it's for" - Grandpa Wayne
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [anthonypat] [ In reply to ]
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anthonypat wrote:
First of all I have to say I'm sorry you had the experience you did..it sucks paying $ for something and having events occur that makes the experience not so great.

All I can say as a client of Jim for 7 years now, having taken 4 bikes to him about a dozen times total, that my experiences have been the total opposite. When I want to schedule I go to his site, book it, and show up. Never had to really wait or have an issue about availability being cancelled. Now this is just for fits at the Velodome, not track time. But when I show up I have the race suit on, maybe a change of seats ready, helmet and all the risers/ bolts etc we might need if we do any change to the front end. Bottom line- I'm ready to get in as much tweak time as I can get int he hour or so we have.

Jim will probably not want this out there but there are many times I come in and we are tweaking a fit and he tells me "I really didn't do anything...keep your money". Now this is after he's put the bike on the trainer, fired up the Zwift, dotted me up, taken a look at the Retul, tweaked a bit, re-measured and entered all the new fit coordinates into my profile. We then BS for 30min or so and I make him take a tip for his trouble. Then make a mental note to bring him in a bottle of red next time I visit.

Again, sorry you had a bad experience but I've had nothing but positive exchanges with Jim and he's one of the few guys out there NOT looking to make a quick $ off an athlete.

It seems like Jim has his favorites, and if you're not one, his attention is elsewhere. As a 7 year client your name is recognizable and he'll respond. As a new customer, not so much. A bummer experience all around, for sure.

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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [Ohio_Roadie] [ In reply to ]
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First, sorry for your experience. In your position, I would feel similar, and you seem to understand that a fair share of the blame is your own.

Many (~10) years ago, the first time I went to A2 I was woefully unprepared. I had the cash and just expected them to make me faster. They were used to seeing people who were obviously better prepared than I was. Some of that could easily have been remedied by me taking some time and asking more questions...but honestly it's hard to know what the "right" questions to ask are sometimes. It's much harder if communication is slow / unreliable... at a certain point, it's hard to know exactly what "service" you are paying for and what you're not. A short sheet printed up and sent to athletes with things like "make sure you bring xyz, cut your cables if you want to adjust cockpit, etc etc" would help and be an easy improvement.

I contacted Jim around a year ago, when he launched his online fit. Like others, communication was slow. However, when I did have contact with Jim, I could tell he wasn't just out for a cash grab, but genuinely wanted to help his customers. He even told me "I don't think I can help over the internet." Which he just as easily could have taken my money, looked at some pictures and said "looks good enough." If the opportunity ever comes up, I'd like to do an in person test, but it may or may not ever happen... much of that due to knowing the logistics might be tricky.

If you want a little more communication, good follow up and an overall excellent experience, it's really tough not to at least talk to Brian and Heath (Desert Dude / Ex-Cyclist) have nothing but good to say.

My Blog - http://leegoocrap.blogspot.com
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [T-wrecks] [ In reply to ]
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I'd never have the money or talent for aero testing, but this just screams of an item that would be worthy of a sticky or "how to" article sticky for people on the forum.

Stuff like:
"I want to pay for aero testing, what to expect?"

Then a list of equipment and prep.

We used to have this "sticky" in the dyno testing part of our car forum. Stuff in there like bringing your own test fuel. The rule of "you pop the motor, you mop the floor". Other rules about customer doesn't drive the car, bring your own tuning laptop and USB dongle and have it powered on and running before your turn. Also, letting the operator know if you had an open dump turbo wastegate that could melt/burn a tie-down strap.

That happened once, saw it in person. Guy got lucky, car came off the dyno at full tilt but luckily just slid to the side a foot or two.

Folks didn't know that stuff and would get turned away on dyno days. So, we made a forum sticky.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [Ohio_Roadie] [ In reply to ]
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Reading your experience it doesn't really surprise me, it appears a simple clash of two weaknesses resulting in failure. Bringing equipment that you can't do much with as far as optimization is really on you. For a stationary fit (not on the track) this is less of an issue, because you can be fit on a fit bike and then get that translated to your actual bike. If that means buying additional parts (say, you need a different crank length or stem angle) then Jim will tell you clearly what you need and you can either set it up yourself or have him do it once you have it. But that doesn't work for a test on the track and quite frankly I don't know what you were expecting if you did not bring your different 'variables' to test.

Written communication is not Jim's strong suit, that is also for sure. In person you'll find him the greatest storyteller and communicator and he will answer any question you may have. I've been there 3 times, my experiences were always excellent, but did not include aero testing, only bike fits. I simply booked online and then showed up with my bikes, my kit and anything I thought would be of value.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [Ohio_Roadie] [ In reply to ]
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I think Jim is a great guy and has an abundance of knowledge which makes it worth paying for his time... but I've had similar issues with lack of communication. I setup and paid for a TT fit a few years ago and emailed prior asking what to bring. There was little to no response beyond "your bike and shoes". I showed up, jumped on my bike and he said "we probably won't change a thing, you look pretty good". He dotted me up, confirmed my position was solid, lowered my saddle a touch but ended up putting it back. Towards the end, he said he wanted to bring me back for aero testing... FOR FREE! I was elated and couldn't wait but after the appointment, he was completely radio silent. He never sent me my measurements, he never responded to a single email and I simply gave up.

Now, I reiterate, he did what he was paid for and I can't complain about anything besides never receiving my coordinates and his misleading want to bring me in for aero testing. Even though I'd pay to get a fit from him again, its frustrating as a client to basically shell out $300+ for "yep, you look good".
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [Morelock] [ In reply to ]
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Morelock wrote:
A short sheet printed up and sent to athletes with things like "make sure you bring xyz, cut your cables if you want to adjust cockpit, etc etc" would help and be an easy improvement.

Or just a webpage, and make sure the client reads and understands it!

Sounds like a case of Jim getting too popular and spreading himself too thin. There is only so much one guy can do, but I firmly believe it's still the operator's job to make sure the client gets good service. You do that by using all the tools available to make your tasks as efficient as possible, and being realistic and limiting the number of people you serve.
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Re: A Series of Unfortunate Events - ERO Sports edition [Benv] [ In reply to ]
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Benv wrote:
Bringing equipment that you can't do much with as far as optimization is really on you.


I think Jim had some plans to just use the TriRig Omni as an option. That way adjustment and travel logistics are dirt simple. The drawback being that you're getting a position maybe optimized for the Omni instead of the bike you're racing. From this thread I can see how the plan is attractive to him, though.
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