We all know how important it is to warm up before you ride or race, but how many people do it right?
The more I race and ride, the more I continue to learn about racing and riding – and about how I work. I usually try to warm up at least a little before most group rides (time permitting). When I ride alone, I never just get on the bike and hammer (unless I’m late for the monthly Networking ride…). But at races, apparently I am out-to-lunch when it comes to warming up.
I always warm up before a race – but my warm-ups usually consist of heading out on whatever the closest road is and doing a few laps. Without fail, the first lap of any race leaves me wanting to die. I have a habit of going out hard and paying for it later. But on the second lap I can always recover and find my rhythm and by the 3rd lap I’m golden.
Why am I always so miserable on that first lap? First of all I’m old. Not really old, but I’m not 20, I’m 41. The older I get, the longer it takes me to find the groove when I ride. I usually don’t feel truly warmed up until about 45 minutes in. Second – my warm-ups are usually 30 minutes at the very most. They are never tough, and usually include a stop or two to take care of any last-minute business. I might as well wake up and walk to the start line cold. I really noticed this at the last 2 WORS races – we go balls out at the start, and I’m sucking wind half a mile into it. I know that the start of WORS races are one of the toughest sections, but if I had warmed up adequately, I think I’d be feeling a lot better coming off the line.
Maybe I’m way off base. I’m certainly not looking for excuses to explain my slow-ocity, I’m really trying to make myself a better rider. Last year I pounded my weakness (hills) and I made big gains. This off-season, it’s recovery I need help with. I’m just wondering how much better I could be if I was as diligent about the warm-up as the rest of the race?
What do YOU think?