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  1. #1
    Senior Member bbbean's Avatar
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    Trainer vs road for warmup

    So - it's an hour before the race, you're kitted up and bike is ready. Do you spend your time exploring the local roads, finding a few hills to warm up on, or do you pull out the trainer and knock out a more controlled, less variable warmup? Does it matter whether you're warming up for a crit, road race, or TT?

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    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Everyone is completely different.

    Road for me, and I don't like to warm up longer than 15 minutes.

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    Senior Member bbbean's Avatar
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    Just wondering if there was any argument to be made beyond personal preference. One of my teammates thought he'd read something about the superiority of trainers, but couldn't remember where. For me, trainer = cold or wet weather, so I opt for the local roads, but would consider a swap if there were actual benefits.
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    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    A trainer is unquestionably superior to my mind. I can hit my target warm up zones without concern for traffic lights other cyclists. I don't need to worry about getting too far away from the start, or flatting.

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    Trainer for me if I know the course for about 20 minutes. I can hit the zones as stated above. If there is a tricky section like a 180 degree turn towards the finish, then I'll ride this a couple of times to make sure I'm familiar with it.

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    A trainer is unquestionably superior to my mind. I can hit my target warm up zones without concern for traffic lights other cyclists. I don't need to worry about getting too far away from the start, or flatting.
    +1

    The only advantage to rolling around is to talk/plan/whatever with teammates.

    Best combo is warmup with rollers/trainer, then go find team mates and roll around for a few minutes.
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    Senior Member furiousferret's Avatar
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    If its a crit I like to roll around, just so I can figure out windage and any other obstacle that may be out there. Otherwise, it doesn't really matter. The important thing is to get a warmup, I slower for the first 15 minutes or so if I start without one.

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    I do the road most of the time, unless there's just nowhere to warm up on the road or it's raining (no longer much of a concern as I avoid racing in the rain). While you can get a more controlled warmup on the trainer, on hot days unless you have a great fan set up and an awning you're just adding heat load. On cold days I like to dial in my clothing, and the flip side to not getting flats on the trainer is having to swap out wheels only to find you have a shifting/tire/spoke, or other problem once you put on your race wheel.

    Other than in the heat without a good cooling set up, it's probably a coin toss.

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I do both. A short trainer warmup that is specific in nature but I reserve the right to change it depending on how I feel. After that a short road warmup with no power targets, just staying loose and eyeballing the course. The shorter and/or more important the race, the more time I reserve for warmups. This is for crits. For road races I loosen up, then do an easy opener or two, and that's it.

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    CDR downs a couple of hot dogs and lines up.

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    Senior Member hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    I do both. A short trainer warmup that is specific in nature but I reserve the right to change it depending on how I feel. After that a short road warmup with no power targets, just staying loose and eyeballing the course. The shorter and/or more important the race, the more time I reserve for warmups. This is for crits. For road races I loosen up, then do an easy opener or two, and that's it.
    Sounds like a good approach. I'm still trying to find a good mix for myself and find that I don't really get a good warm up just being out on the road. I end up talking to people, caught at lights/stop signs, etc, and think the trainer would be beneficial for me.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member ShutUpLegs's Avatar
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    Trainer for me. I get a much better controlled warmup than I ever would on the road. Plus I don't have to worry about getting a flat. Although I also enjoy the trainer add most of my controlled training rides during the well are on the trainer
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  13. #13
    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    Chacun a son gout.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    I do the road most of the time, unless there's just nowhere to warm up on the road or it's raining (no longer much of a concern as I avoid racing in the rain). While you can get a more controlled warmup on the trainer, on hot days unless you have a great fan set up and an awning you're just adding heat load. On cold days I like to dial in my clothing, and the flip side to not getting flats on the trainer is having to swap out wheels only to find you have a shifting/tire/spoke, or other problem once you put on your race wheel.

    Other than in the heat without a good cooling set up, it's probably a coin toss.
    all good points. a trainer warm-up in the heat is additional load.

    i like a trainer with a gel roller; it means i can warm-up with my race wheel without putting much additional strain on the tire as one with, say, a metal drum would. one less thing to mess with before a start.

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    CDR downs a couple of hot dogs and lines up.
    For fun I took the words in that sentence and rearranged them.

  16. #16
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tetonrider View Post
    all good points. a trainer warm-up in the heat is additional load.

    i like a trainer with a gel roller; it means i can warm-up with my race wheel without putting much additional strain on the tire as one with, say, a metal drum would. one less thing to mess with before a start.
    yeah I have an old set of folding rollers with a magnet. and if possible I also roll several laps of the course prior to the start.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    CDR downs a couple of hot dogs and lines up.
    Heh. To be totally truthful the picture of me with two hotdogs at Berger was after the race finished. Still, though, it wouldn't have been a bad breakfast.

    To answer the question I almost never like the trainer because it's artificially warm. In cold weather I generate too much heat and sweat (and then freeze when I get rolling) and in warm weather it's too hot. I prefer to roll around a bit, even if I don't do so right now. I generally don't need to recon a course since I've been on most of them, and even if I don't know the course and it's technical (New London Crit) I'll use the first few laps to explore.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  18. #18
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    Heh. To be totally truthful the picture of me with two hotdogs at Berger was after the race finished. Still, though, it wouldn't have been a bad breakfast.

    To answer the question I almost never like the trainer because it's artificially warm. In cold weather I generate too much heat and sweat (and then freeze when I get rolling) and in warm weather it's too hot. I prefer to roll around a bit, even if I don't do so right now. I generally don't need to recon a course since I've been on most of them, and even if I don't know the course and it's technical (New London Crit) I'll use the first few laps to explore.
    Man, I was really digging that two hotdog warmup routine.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Man, I was really digging that two hotdog warmup routine.
    It worked one year at the Providence Crit. Two hotdogs, a massive Coke (probably 32 oz), downed next to the start/finish line just before my race started. I dropped both my bottles on the bumpy course so I lived off off that 32 oz Coke. Ended up 2nd and if I hadn't rooted for my collegiate teammate when he went I probably would have won. I waited, as was my instinct when a teammate goes, but we weren't racing collegiately. I passed him just after the line and we were way clear of the field in the sprint. One of a few second places, the best I've ever done in a summer race.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

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    I prefer to warm-up on the nearby local roads or on the course itself, but some race venues it's not easily done, so a trainer suits me the best. preferably a flat/foldable one designed for travelling.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Moyene Corniche's Avatar
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    Entirely dependent on the race. Best is when it's a controlled neutral rollout for the 1st few miles. Then ( which is a rare occurrence ) warm up is on the course.

    A Crit, is either near the course or on the rollers/trainer. a couple laps to recon. the course is of course critical. regardless of how many years one has ridden it. There are always changes in pavement conditions. but usually there is not enough time to ride the course adequately once the race day has begun.

    Circuit road race is wether you are allowed on the course at all. If other cats are racing, the officials usually do not let riders ride the course, even in the opposite direction. It just adds to potential traffic ( vehicular ) problems. Here again rollers/trainer would be best.

    Point to point road race, rollers/trainers, don't need to risk flatting on race wheels 2 minutes before line up. Plus if it's full gaz as soon as the flag drops then the rollers/resistance trainers are much more efficient to get yourself up to operating mode. As for getting too warm I don't get that. If the race is full on immediately from the start, then being warmed up is critical. If there is a problem with this then the underlying issue should be addressed and racing isn't/shouldn't be on the agenda.

    At Killington Stage Race, the choice was always drive to the start then have to ride back to pick up the car, or ride to the start and then be close to the hotel upon crossing the finish line. This being Vermont, the weather dictates the approach. personally I'd rather drive to the start, warm up on site then use the ride back to pick up the car as the cool down/recup. ride. In a stage race I am not going to risk a mishap prior to a stage. Plus the last minute equipment check-up is easier when everything is close by. Of course if your team has wive's/GF's operating as support then all you need to worry about is to get on the bike.

    Personally I like to assess the environment at a race. easier to watch when warming up stationary then it is when riding about.
    Top teams and Pro's are usually on stationary equipment warming up. The benefits far our weight the detriments, team strategy can be dictated and there is no need to chase anyone down. This is how we did it with NECSA.
    Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    yeah I have an old set of folding rollers with a magnet. and if possible I also roll several laps of the course prior to the start.
    to be clear, i was talking about warm-ups on a trainer...but on a trainer which uses a soft contact roller. it allows me to do my warm-up with race wheels, eliminating a wheel change right before my event.

    sounds trivial, but i used to do wheel swaps and found that it was possible to have shifting slightly out of whack, or to knock a sensor out of alignment. no wheel swap eliminates a tiny amount of stress, but all stress redux before a race is good (for me).

  23. #23
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    No problem warming up with race wheels on the KK.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    No problem warming up with race wheels on the KK.
    my warmups are neither long or hard enough that I worry about the tire wear.

    *edit - not that I've ever been early enough to get a decent warmup anyway

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    I spend enough time on the trainer during the winter, so I try to avoid it as much as possible. The only time I'll warm up on a trainer at a race is if it's pouring or if it's in a congested area that I would be fighting traffic for warm up space.

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