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Race preparation and my learning experience(9 posts)

Race preparation and my learning experiencejds_md
Nov 19, 2001 12:54 PM
What is the best way to warm up for a race? Should the length of your warm-up be somehow correlated to the length of the ride? How much time is too long between warming up and the beginning of the race?

I did my first race Saturday, a 50 mile road race. People were already lining up at the start 1.5 hours before the start. I rode around a little to warm up, but ended up getting in line 45 min before the start to get a decent spot. Everyone rode ferociously out of the start, and to make a long story short, my hamstrings exploded after about an hour into it. It seems to me that the best thing to do would be to have a trainer in your starting spot, ride it for 20 or 30 mins, and with about 10 min to go, get rid of it (I don't have one as yet). Suprisingly, I didn't see any single rider doing this, nor did I see many people riding around to warm up. I also could have started slower, but I would have again been in the minority.

In all the stuff I've read so far (which honestly isn't much), little to no time is spent describing techniques for race day preparation...

Thanks for any help!
re: Race preparation and my learning experienceZipper
Nov 19, 2001 2:23 PM
I recommend warming up until just a few minutes from the start. As for getting in good position with the pack, here is a tactic that has never, I repeat never, failed me. I ride up to the start line, approaching from the front, hop off my bike right there with the first riders and proceed to back my bike in. Just start saying your friendly hellos and hows it goin to the guys and make good eye contact. Always get a good warm up and don't let the rest of the pack dictate pre-race preparation.
a good questionrollo tommassi
Nov 20, 2001 1:58 PM
tips for race day prep:
Tune up your bike at least three days beforehand.
Pack your bag the night before.

Warm up suggestion: time spent on bike should be 25-30% of race length. If a road race, and if a circuit, try to ride one complete loop to check out the course (road surface, hills, turns, lawsuit-sized potholes, dogs, etc). If the loop is too long, at least do the last 2-3 miles of the course towards the finish. Of course you're going to finish! So, you need to know where the sprint line is and which way the wind is blowing!

Warming up on the trainer is great, esp. if cold and icky outside. I always hate standing on the start line soaking wet! Always best to get to the start line "hot" - stay on the trainer until thelast possible minute, then do just as Zipper suggests! A great legal 'cheat', but you can only do it once or twice a season - people remember you! ;)

You can combine the above two - ride the course, or some of it, then focus yourself on the trainer (headphones, water bottle, etc)

Also, as you specifically mention hamstring problems, be sure to do your stretches off the bike!

I think you will find other riders doing similar earlier in the season. They probably didn't bother this late in the year.
re: Race preparation (agree w/ Zipper)Spox
Nov 22, 2001 3:57 AM
You learn by training, how 'hot' your engine must be so that you can shoot all out from the start (at least here it is normal procedure to get rid of those...like you...sorry)

My opinion is that it takes about/at least 30 minutes in medium-warm day to get hot (depends clothing, warming gels aso.)...easy spin-fast spin-easy spin aso; like 5 minutes changes and 2-3 steady pulls to LT level (just a touch, relaxed pulls); so that you feel your legs well and feel that heart reacts well to efforts (it does not if you're cold).

Warm-up should end as close to start as possible, (I mean, if you need to sign in) like in ITT's you build your trainer or else as close to start ramp as possible; warm up 'til minute left aso.

It's a great (and I mean it really) pleasure to watch back that loooong line and hear it even up there front, how guys are shouting back there...gritting their teeth, with too cold machines... ;)
re: Race preparation (agree w/ Zipper)MD
Nov 22, 2001 1:43 PM
I warm up until the last moment, and usually start in the back, because I'm usually riding up to the start just as they begin to start. I never really have any trouble being there at the end, because I started in the back. I don't think I ever seen the guy who started in the front, finish in the front. The only problem is w/ crits. There you just have to work a little harder to get to the front.
re: Race preparation (agree w/ Zipper)Spox
Nov 22, 2001 10:47 PM
I did not mean that one should be a leader all the time, but to be there among, lets say, ten first. If you know race and course and pack very well...or if there is a clear team with team tactics. But if it's individual race with no teams.
re: Race preparation and my learning experiencebrider
Nov 26, 2001 11:27 AM
I've been out of the racing circuit for a couple years, but I don't things have changed much. I've never seen people line up at the start over an hour ahead of start time. Ridiculous. Question would be, those who sat there for 1.5 hours, how did they finish? For me, the better shape I was in, the longer warm up I needed, especially for crits. For road races, I could use the first few miles of the race as a final warm up. It was rare that the race was decided at the start line, and starting position didn't mean that much (of course, if there's a couple thousand riders, then you're basically screwed). You'll want to do at least 10-15 minutes of easy riding, followed by some jumps and a couple longer accelerations, then another 10 minutes of easier riding. Adjust the times up or down according to your condition.
Don't worry about starting positionDuane Gran
Nov 27, 2001 5:11 AM
A criterium may be different, however in a 50 mile road race don't stress about your starting position. If people feel inclined to shoot off like a rocket at the start, you are better in the draft anyhow. It doesn't take too much effort to gradually move up the pack and you probably don't need to be concerned with any breakaways in the first 15 miles.

Regarding warmup, I like to tool around on the bike for a good 30 minutes before the race, mostly to be sure that everything is shifting smoothly as a last check. I also like to do a few hard efforts just to give my muscles a preview of what is to come. Some say this helps you to buffer lactic acid.
Agree with Duaneallervite
Nov 28, 2001 4:22 PM
Forget about starting position in a long road race. For short intense races a long gradual warm up is best. For a long energy robbing road race, a short maderately intense effort is best. Anything less than 20 minutes is not a warm up. However, I bet neither your warm up or your starting position is the problem, but rather your lack of speed endurance. Find a fast group that you can barely keep up with and use them for a little speed endurance training next summer after your base and build work.