We all know how important it is to warm up before you ride or race, but how many people do it right?

Not me.

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?

One response to “Warm ups are for winners?”

  1. Tim Avatar

    I do a ~30-min warm-up getting in one 5-min Hard effort, then cooldown and get to the line. That helped my first lap tremendously.


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