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Research on Feedback Sports Omnium Portable Track Trainer (rollers)

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Research on Feedback Sports Omnium Portable Track Trainer (rollers)

Old 12-15-17, 06:15 PM
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krispenhartung
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Research on Feedback Sports Omnium Portable Track Trainer (rollers)

Hi all,

So I just got off the phone with Feedback Sports and I agreed to conduct a little informal research in light of their Omnium Portable Track Trainer. More info here: https://www.feedbacksports.com/shop/omnium-track/

I have both the Omnium Portable Track Trainer for my track bike, and their standard Omnium Trainer for my road and TT bikes. The difference is that the standard trainer has two of their progressive resistance roller drums in the sled, which create more resistance as speed increases. The track trainer has standard roller drums with no progressive resistance. Feedback Sports says that they created the track trainer because a lot of track cyclists were asking for a trainer with drums that provided no additional resistance, so they could do high cadence spin warm ups without getting into high wattage zones (threshold, etc), which is what will happen on the trainer with the progressive resistance roller drums. This makes sense.

However, here is the problem I'm encountering. I have two track bikes, one for pursuit and TT events, which has aero bars on it, disk wheel, and 19mm tubular tires that require a minimum PSI of 140 (I keep them at 150psi). The issue is that at this PSI, I can barely even get to 80-100 watts on the track trainer at high cadences. While a lower wattage is great for warming up, this is way too low for me and feels unnatural. I'd prefer at least a low to mid endurance zone wattage, or even low to mid tempo power zone. My quick and dirty solution was to throw a towel under the back roller...problem solved. However, my other track bike has road tires on it, clinchers and at typical tire PSI (115 for me). With that bike, the resistance feels more realistic. So I'm wondering if a fair amount of the track cyclists who were requesting the track trainer rollers were using them on this sort of track bike? Not sure....

It gets more interesting. So apparently, Feedback Sports says that you can remove one of the two back drums in their standard Omnium progressive resistance trainers, flip it 180 degrees, and it will stop functioning as a progressive resistance roller. This would effectively reduce the resistance by roughly half. I still want my progressive rollers for my road and TT bikes, so I'm toying around with the idea of putting just one progressive resistance roller on the Omnium Track trainer, and seeing if that gets me the resistance I need. I predict it will get my warm up watts to about 160-200 at higher cadences, which is exactly what I after.

Anyway, my solution aside, if I can poll some track racers and determine if a fair amount you might have encountered the same problem as me, it may influence Feedback Sports to sell a alternative version of their track trainer with only one progressive resistance roller drum, or just sell individual rollers drums, which they do not offer now.

Thoughts? Anyone here using the Omnium portable track trainer, and if so are you experiencing something similar to me?

Thanks,
Kris

DISCLAIMER: I just wanted to add a quick disclaimer to this thread. While it's cool that I was able to modify this Omnium trainer to suit my individual needs, I did validate with Feedback Sports this morning that if you invert one of the progressive roller drums, the unit will not perform to spec and it could potentially damage the internal workings of the drum over time, which would in turn nullify the warranty. So, rider beware. I personally didn't mind spending month on a new sled to perform the modification, but this may not be a viable or prudent thing to do for others. :-)

Last edited by krispenhartung; 01-04-18 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 12-15-17, 07:11 PM
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I don't have any experience with the unit, but why don't you use a different wheel for warm up? That seems like a more reasonable solution than swapping out rollers, or trying to leverage Feedback to market new SKUs.

I will say that I see some locals use their Omniums weekly, and haven't heard any say anything about it.
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Old 12-15-17, 08:56 PM
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krispenhartung, you are trying to turn an apple into an orange.

If you want to control your resistance, simply take a cheap mag trainer with you.

EDIT:

Also, you can control the resistance with the mag trainer (even go with no resistance) and a mag trainer is no more effort than a the Omnium. In fact, it's easier than the Omnium as you don't have to remove a wheel, simply lock the rear wheel into the base. With the Omnium, you have to remove the front wheel.

I'd consider the Omnium as a travel-only last resort.

Last edited by carleton; 12-15-17 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 12-15-17, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
krispenhartung, you are trying to turn an apple into an orange.

If you want to control your resistance, simply take a cheap mag trainer with you.

EDIT:

Also, you can control the resistance with the mag trainer (even go with no resistance) and a mag trainer is no more effort than a the Omnium. In fact, it's easier than the Omnium as you don't have to remove a wheel, simply lock the rear wheel into the base. With the Omnium, you have to remove the front wheel.

I'd consider the Omnium as a travel-only last resort.
I forgot to mention, I already have two trainers at home, a Wahoo Kickr and a set of Elite Arion Digital B+ smart rollers, so this is mainly for a travel solution. You make a good point on the mag trainer, and that's what I'm using now for travel. But the feeling is not the same as rollers. So I'm opting for the Omnium for the "feel" factor. :-)

Last edited by krispenhartung; 12-15-17 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 12-15-17, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by JimiMimni View Post
I don't have any experience with the unit, but why don't you use a different wheel for warm up? That seems like a more reasonable solution than swapping out rollers, or trying to leverage Feedback to market new SKUs.

I will say that I see some locals use their Omniums weekly, and haven't heard any say anything about it.
I assume you mean a wheel that I can run a lower PSI, which will in effect increase resistance. That could work, but violates another one of my requirements, namely the convenience factor. The relative effort it takes to swap a wheel out on a bike derails my focus, and if I'm trying to time my warm ups so that I'm butted right up against start time. So if something goes wrong while I'm changing wheels and fiddling with getting the chain the right tension, and the wheel balanced, I'm a nervous wreck. But I will do an experiment when I get my other track bike out of the shop this weekend, and see what the resistance is like at 115 psi, vs. 150! :-) I'd be bringing that bike anyway, for the non-pursuit/TT events.

Last edited by krispenhartung; 12-18-17 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 12-15-17, 10:26 PM
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That towel under the roller is looking more and more appealing. ;-)
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Old 12-15-17, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by krispenhartung View Post
I forgot to mention, I already have two trainers at home, a Wahoo Kickr and a set of Elite Arion Digital B+ smart rollers, so this is mainly for a travel solution. You make a good point on the mag trainer, and that's what I'm using now for travel. But the feeling is not the same as rollers, and I still have to swap skewers out. That takes about as much time as removing the front wheel and plugging it into the front of the Omnium. So I'm opting for the Omnium for the "feel" factor. :-)
Many (most) mag trainers will accept track nuts. Every mag trainer that I've owned or used has. I've owned 3 different models of mag trainers and used half a dozen others. They all took the track nuts.

You mention feel. Rollers give great feel, but you give up a lot of feel when you bolt on a fork stand.

If you want great feel, use normal rollers with large barrels. If you want great feel with more resistance, use normal rollers with narrow barrels or lower your tire pressure. If you want narrow for travel as well, consider Kreitler Hot Dog rollers. They are more narrow than standard Kreitler rollers:




Or you can special order these from Kreitler:

(this is my old bike and rollers)



Very small, light, and traveled well...but required too much concentration to stay up. Possible, but difficult to relax on them.
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Old 12-15-17, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Many (most) mag trainers will accept track nuts. Every mag trainer that I've owned or used has. I've owned 3 different models of mag trainers and used half a dozen others. They all took the track nuts.

You mention feel. Rollers give great feel, but you give up a lot of feel when you bolt on a fork stand.

If you want great feel, use normal rollers with large barrels. If you want great feel with more resistance, use normal rollers with narrow barrels or lower your tire pressure. If you want narrow for travel as well, consider Kreitler Hot Dog rollers. They are more narrow than standard Kreitler rollers:




Or you can special order these from Kreitler:

(this is my old bike and rollers)



Very small, light, and traveled well...but required too much concentration to stay up. Possible, but difficult to relax on them.
I had some Kreitler rollers a few years ago and they were nice. Those Kompact Hot Dog Rollers look dangerous! I have a hard enough time staying on normal width rollers that aren't beveled.
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Old 12-16-17, 12:28 AM
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Around a dozen or so riders at my local track use Omnium trainers - one reason being that they are easy to transport. Some teams have both types (track and road) and switch between them at the track. Several of these riders use their road bike for warm-up/cool-down on their Omnium.

Last edited by 700wheel; 12-16-17 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 12-16-17, 07:08 AM
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I don't know how much you weigh, but I've run my tires on rollers as low as 30psi to increase resistance.
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Old 12-16-17, 07:12 AM
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I have an omnium trainer (my team is also sponsored by them, but I had the trainer before that). DID not know about reversing the roller. That's really interesting. I love it: amazing for travel and a great combination of a traditional trainer and rollers.
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Old 12-16-17, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
I have an omnium trainer (my team is also sponsored by them, but I had the trainer before that). DID not know about reversing the roller. That's really interesting. I love it: amazing for travel and a great combination of a traditional trainer and rollers.
Fantastic. yes, they said they don't mention the modification frequently because they don't want people taking the roller sleds apart....it will probably increase tech support calls, but I'm mechanically inclined enough to do it and they described how to do it without effing up the threads, etc, As soon as I get my other track bike back from the shop (rebuilding my rear wheel with the PowerTap track hub), maybe this weekend, I'm going to run a test. I'm going to ride both my pursuit/TT track bike (150psi) and standard track bike (115psi) on the track rollers at 90, 100, 120, and 130 rpm and measure the watts. And then I'm going to take one of the progressive resistance roller drums from my standard Omnium trainer, install it on the track rollers, and conduct the same test. So it will sort of be a hybrid Omnium roller unit - part progressive, part non-progressive.
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Old 12-16-17, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by tobukog View Post
I don't know how much you weigh, but I've run my tires on rollers as low as 30psi to increase resistance.
I'm running 19mm tubulars on my pursuit/tt track bike. Anything below 140psi (the min psi rating for the tires) and its almost unridable...like riding in oatmeal, squishy. I prefer my trainer experience to feel as close as possible to the real feel. At 30psi they would virtually feel flat! :-)
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Old 12-16-17, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 700wheel View Post
Around a dozen or so riders at my local track use Omnium trainers - one reason being that they are easy to transport. Some teams have both types (track and road) and switch between them at the track. Several of these riders use their road bike for warm-up/cool-down on their Omnium.
Interesting. yes, I can see the need to go back and forth, but would be cool to be able to modify a trainer quickly to accommodate both. So far, the quickest solution is to throw a towel underneath the roller drum of the track Omnium, or maybe a square of carpet/rug. Seems corny and low-tech, but it works.
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Old 12-16-17, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by krispenhartung View Post
I'm running 19mm tubulars on my pursuit/tt track bike. Anything below 140psi (the min psi rating for the tires) and its almost unridable...like riding in oatmeal, squishy. I prefer my trainer experience to feel as close as possible to the real feel. At 30psi they would virtually feel flat! :-)
I think this is your limiting factor. I don't think any portable trainer or rollers will provide that.

The purposes of the trainer/rollers in the infield are to:

- Increase the temperature of the muscles.
- Actively stretch the muscles.
- Increase the heart rate.
- Stimulate muscle timing.
- Cool down.

The reason I don't think any portable trainer or rollers will provide real feel is because you need inertia of mass to get that. That's the "feel" to which you refer. This is why the trainers that feel the most real have the heavier flywheels. This is why CycleOps has a 50lb flywheel on their spin bikes. This is why Kurt offers an add-on extra flywheel. This is why Kreitler offers metal end caps to their rollers. It's inertia/momentum that makes them feel more real. And that's only achieved by using more mass.

EDIT:

I think a high quality, portable mag trainer might be your best compromise if you want resistance and feel. My favorite in the past was the older (non smart) Tacx Satori from the mid-2000s. The later ones may be just as good, but I haven't tried them. Good feel. Portable. Folded up smaller than rollers.


Last edited by carleton; 12-16-17 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 12-16-17, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
I think this is your limiting factor. I don't think any portable trainer or rollers will provide that.

The purposes of the trainer/rollers in the infield are to:

- Increase the temperature of the muscles.
- Actively stretch the muscles.
- Increase the heart rate.
- Stimulate muscle timing.
- Cool down.

The reason I don't think any portable trainer or rollers will provide real feel is because you need inertia of mass to get that. That's the "feel" to which you refer. This is why the trainers that feel the most real have the heavier flywheels. This is why CycleOps has a 50lb flywheel on their spin bikes. This is why Kurt offers an add-on extra flywheel. This is why Kreitler offers metal end caps to their rollers. It's inertia/momentum that makes them feel more real. And that's only achieved by using more mass.

EDIT:

I think a high quality, portable mag trainer might be your best compromise if you want resistance and feel. My favorite in the past was the older (non smart) Tacx Satori from the mid-2000s. The later ones may be just as good, but I haven't tried them. Good feel. Portable. Folded up smaller than rollers.

This is why I like my Wahoo Kickr at home. That thing is awesome! But my track bike won't fit on it.
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Old 12-16-17, 02:59 PM
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Interesting you bring up Tacx. A few years ago my now ex gf had an old Tacx trainer. I used to take it from her when I traveled for Time Trials, because you could run it in ERG mode without having to plug it into a power outlet...it was self-powered. Ingenious.
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Old 12-17-17, 08:18 PM
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I have the track version and that is what I use to warm up on, even at major events such as nationals and worlds. You can do any standard roller type warm up. I know every one has a preference, but I am not sure I understand the whole watts thing when we are talking about warming up. Carleton's list of the reasons for a warm up are quite correct. One routine that works well is to do a progressive rpm-driven warm up on them. If you really need to feed some watts, warm up on the feedback, wait until the last 10 minutes of track warm up time, and then go out on the track with you racing gear for some laps, roll up standing starts, or flying somethings. I find warming up in leg warmers, and keeping them on until its time to race (unless, of course, you are at Rockhill and its 90+ out) keeps the muscles warm and ready to go.

Last edited by rensho3; 12-17-17 at 08:20 PM. Reason: supplement the text
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Old 12-17-17, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rensho3 View Post
I have the track version and that is what I use to warm up on, even at major events such as nationals and worlds. You can do any standard roller type warm up. I know every one has a preference, but I am not sure I understand the whole watts thing when we are talking about warming up. Carleton's list of the reasons for a warm up are quite correct. One routine that works well is to do a progressive rpm-driven warm up on them. If you really need to feed some watts, warm up on the feedback, wait until the last 10 minutes of track warm up time, and then go out on the track with you racing gear for some laps, roll up standing starts, or flying somethings. I find warming up in leg warmers, and keeping them on until its time to race (unless, of course, you are at Rockhill and its 90+ out) keeps the muscles warm and ready to go.
For keeping your legs warm, lower wattage makes sense, but 70-100w? That's not even a decent recovery zone range. I don't know about anyone else but spinning at 130rpm at 100w feels all wrong...there is virtually no push back on the pedals...like riding on air. But that's with the tires at 150 psi. On my other track bike, at 115 PSI, things feel better. The problem here is that I'm trying to find a solution for multiple bikes, which may not be feasible without being able to change resistance in real time.

Then the question is how are you opening up your legs before the race even starts, vs. keeping warm in between events? I can't do a decent leg opener without being able to lay down about 300 watts on a few short intervals. I will typically warm up using the British Time Trial warmup protocol, about 30 TSS in 40 minutes, through various intervals to blow the carbon out of the legs and vessels :-) After that, I'm good...low wattage spinning will suffice. Your example above of warming up on the feedback and then blowing out the legs inside the track would also work.

Last edited by krispenhartung; 12-18-17 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 12-17-17, 09:54 PM
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Thanks for all the informative and insightful replies to my post here. It seems most everyone just figures out a system that works best for them based on their own warmup needs and requirements, which in the end is what I'll do.

I think what I'll end up with is using my BMC Trackmachine with the standard road tire PSI on the Feedback Sports Omnium track trainer. For everything but the pursuit/TT events, I'll just go from the trainer on that bike to the track. For pursuit/TT, I'll switch to my Fuji Track Elite with the higher PSI tubulars, aero bars, disk wheel, etc. It means I won't be warming up on the aero setup, which is fine. I'm used to warming up on a road bike for time trials anway.

I'm also going to work on the design of a DIY resistance contraption for the Omnium track trainer. I have a few ideas that I think will work brilliantly and install on the trainer's roller sled in 60 seconds or less that don't involve a hand towel. ;-)
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Old 12-18-17, 01:12 AM
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Please stop saying "fixie"...
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Old 12-18-17, 03:08 PM
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50-70w is exactly the recovery wattage my coach prescribes. Why are you doing more?
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Old 12-18-17, 03:38 PM
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krispenhartung, I simply think you are over-thinking this.

Some (not all) of the best riders I've seen race aren't meticulous about their warmups, routines, or equipment...or even gearing for for that matter. They just ride whatever as best they can...and win.

Here's the thing, most of this is simply mental. And in reality, doing the perfect warmup won't make us any faster than doing a not-so-perfect or even hasty and sloppy warmup.

Anecdotal case in point: One day I was doing timed flying 200s. I was late to the track, rushing to get ready, abbreviated my warmup, and riding training wheels (because I was late, no time to swap) when my IO/Comete were in their bags. I rode it with a "what the hell, I'll just do this anyway since I'm here." attitude, fully expecting the worst performance of the year. I set a PB. I was like, "WTF?! Everything was wrong about that scenario and I set a PB?!"

And get this...even if I didn't set a PB and just rode a time close to it given the circumstances, I would have been shocked.

There are several stories like this. Like when Anna Meares' mechanic put on the wrong chainring (1 tooth larger than she'd been training for) and she set a world record in the 500M.

It's all in our head. Our bodies adapt.

A "perfect warmup" is simply something to go wrong and throw us off our mental game. If you don't have a "perfect warmup", then that's 1 less thing that can go wrong. Maybe strive for a "good-enough warmup". I've learned that 10-15 minutes of pedaling with 1 jump is good enough for me to be ready to race...and set a PB

Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
Please stop saying "fixie"...
YUS.

Last edited by carleton; 12-18-17 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 12-18-17, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
50-70w is exactly the recovery wattage my coach prescribes. Why are you doing more?
45-55% of FTP for me. It's going to be relative to the rider. I think you'll find that most every training app and program shows warm up and cool down as less than 55% of FTP. That's going to be entirely relative to the rider's FTP and where in that range they choose.

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Old 12-18-17, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
krispenhartung, I simply think you are over-thinking this.

Some (not all) of the best riders I've seen race aren't meticulous about their warmups, routines, or equipment...or even gearing for for that matter. They just ride whatever as best they can...and win.

Here's the thing, most of this is simply mental. And in reality, doing the perfect warmup won't make us any faster than doing a not-so-perfect or even hasty and sloppy warmup.

Anecdotal case in point: One day I was doing timed flying 200s. I was late to the track, rushing to get ready, abbreviated my warmup, and riding training wheels (because I was late, no time to swap) when my IO/Comete were in their bags. I rode it with a "what the hell, I'll just do this anyway since I'm here." attitude, fully expecting the worst performance of the year. I set a PB. I was like, "WTF?! Everything was wrong about that scenario and I set a PB?!"

And get this...even if I didn't set a PB and just rode a time close to it given the circumstances, I would have been shocked.

There are several stories like this. Like when Anna Meares' mechanic put on the wrong chainring (1 tooth larger than she'd been training for) and she set a world record in the 500M.

It's all in our head. Our bodies adapt.

A "perfect warmup" is simply something to go wrong and throw us off our mental game. If you don't have a "perfect warmup", then that's 1 less thing that can go wrong. Maybe strive for a "good-enough warmup". I've learned that 10-15 minutes of pedaling with 1 jump is good enough for me to be ready to race...and set a PB



YUS.
Yup, I love those stories. In the meantime, being 50 years old and having the onset of arthritis in my knees, and having tried it both ways, I need to gradually warm up and work my legs through the various intervals to open up before a race. And that's on top of being mentally focused. ;-)
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