Gran Fondo Warm up and Waiting Time

@TrainerRoad - loving your work. My question: Gran Fondo and sportive starts often require a long wait in a pen; maybe 45 mins or more. How you you warm up before such a long wait? And what should I do, and eat, in the pen? Thanks. Mike.

What length is the ride?

How do you plan to ride/race it (pace/intensity, especially the start)?

In some cases, you may not need a warm-up at all.

Food choices may hinge on the above too.


The next one is 100 miles. It will be ridden fast in groups. Expect to average around 40 kph. So a pacey and intense day. I also do others that a ridden less intensely; like the tour of Flanders or an etape. They also start fast but not quite as fast as this Saturdays. There is always this long wait and it has really made me wonder what’s best. And I am sure that lots of others have the same challenge. Loving the podcast; I am learning a huge amount from it. Thank you!!

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…this Saturdays (correction: Sunday) is the Tour of Cambridgeshire in the UK. It is part of the gran fondo World Series and I start in the 45-50 race pen. It will go off super fast.

I have already qualified for this years gran fondo world champs in Poland, so this has no stakes. But I want to have a good days riding. Thanks.


I nearly had heart failure there, its Sunday. The TT are Saturday.

I’m in the same group!

Sorry. Yes. Sunday. See you there!!

For me, and I think most other people, if you’re standing around doing nothing for 45 minutes after your warm-up you won’t see much, if any, benefit from the warm-up. So I’d skip it entirely

Also - while it sounds like the intensity will be high, it is a long event meaning that the IF will be well south of 0.8 or 0.7. The general rule of thumb for warm-ups is shorter event = longer warm up and longer event = shorter warm up.

For road racers this means that most TTs and crits get a more dedicated structured warm up while a road race gets little to no warm-up. At a road race I did on Saturday the entirety of my ‘warm up’ was riding to registration and back - maybe 3 miles - of really easy pedaling.


No tips on the warm-up per se but if its going to be cool, dress to stay warm while you’re standing around. If you don’t want to haul warmers etc around with you all day, bring a super cheap zip up sweat shirt etc you won’t mind losing and just ditch it before the start.

Pros do this all the time, they just have handlers to give their stuff to so they can wear real kit pre start. Your stuff will never be seen again so you have to go cheap :wink:


For those in the ToC race gates… winter or summer bikes? I hear it can be a bit crashy

Race bike and stick towards the front (hopefully)

Agree with minimal warmup. Maybe draft off the start if possible to limit exertion.

Also, think about getting some nutrition in while waiting for the start. For a big day, never hurts to get some food in early.

Keep an eye on your bike computer. Depending on your settings it may shut down on you before the start during the long wait. Can be a distraction at the start of the event when you go to hit the start button and the computer shut down due to inactivity.

Is there a way to set this on an Edge 520? I think it lasts about 15 minutes or before shutting down. And then takes an age to reboot! I understand the 820 behaves slightly differently.

There should be something in the settings. It’s been a while since I changed mine but there is a timeout setting somewhere.

Summer! It’s super quick.

The simplest way would be to not turn it on until 5 minutes before the event. Should be enough time to boot up, load the course, etc.

if you have a 520 here you go:

I searched for “edge 520 owners manual” to find the web version of the manual. Then once that page is loaded, you can search the manual.

If you do that you are at the back of the pen and already well behind. Last one I did we did 50kph for the first 30km. if you are at the back, you are out the back. So need to arrive early and wait. But be ready to go!! go!! go!!

When i do Tour de Brisbane I’ll park just outside the city and ride in to start. That’ll be enough to loosen the legs. Everyone is in the same situation so that’s all you can do really.

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