Warming up for traveled races

For anyone who flowned for races before, specially without a team or support, what’s your method for warming up?

I’m interested of flying to couple of the usacrits this year, and definitely doing sea otter.
Since I wouldn’t have a trainer with me, I have to warm up in the streets, the best way is if I can ride from the hotel (15-30min) and get there 20-30 min before the start and have few short sprints 5 min before the start.

But it seems most of the usacrits will be within the city, so not much for a real warm up in the streets, even if I sprinted light to light.

I’m curious of what’s your traveling race warmup tactics? Anyone ever brought those portable trainer? Seems like a pain in the A… To lug around for a warm up.

Riding to the race is a good start. Best case scenario you get a few hot laps in after the previous race ends. This depends on course and race organizer though…

Worst case scenario you find the longest clear stretch of road you can to warm up and might even consider tail gunning the first couple laps if you’re confident doing it, to get the blood flowing.

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Most of the bigger USA crits you are going to get staged for 30-45min beforehand just due to the size of the field. This throws warm-up for a serious loop but it is what it is if you want good starting position, especially when fields are 125 riders deep.

I usually do the hotel ride, drop stash bag with post-race water somewhere near the course, then go for a 15min warm up just to spin the legs out and get CNS firing. Then its a game of 1) staying cool, 2) staying hydrated, and 3) sitting in the pen and waiting for the cat ahead of you to finish.

Hot laps are a rarity anytime close to when you race. Maybe you get some early in the morning or during the “lunch” break, but don’t bank of them day of unless you time them strategically. I try to get down a day in advance and just ride the course to see things. Then its just a matter of getting a decent starting spot and staying near the front for the first few laps to see things properly.

edit: forgot to add, the big races usually have trainers available, but the juniors usually camp on them and snag them quickly so again, don’t bank on them if you plan to utilize that. I’ve often seen 8-10 available.


You could also ship your trainer via bikeflights, but honestly, pretty much everyone just rides to the races, find a few streets and get your warmup in that way.

Thanks man!

Sounds like a good idea. The only usacrit I did was the Harlem one last year, sadly it’s not on the calendar this year and I rode from home for my warm up.

I think just riding around town before the race just have to do it, I think getting a better starting position takes over, and just have to suck it up for the first few laps for my leg to really warm up during the race.

If you’re flying to races then one simple investment would be something like this:

Not a cheap addition, but works as a carry-on or checked bag and frankly - if you’re flying to several races a year and already paying airfare, bike transport, hotel, etc it isn’t a ton of money extra to have a trainer on site

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Unless you can fit that in a bike bag you’re going to end up paying through the nose to transport that to a race if you are flying. There are ways around the airline bike tax, but even then you’re paying oversize and any additional piece of checked luggage gets into the $50/bag route. Carry on ends up getting taken up by the stuff you can’t or don’t want in your bike bag already so it’s going to be a struggle.

The other alternative that I haven’t utilized (because i just do the ride around) is to reach out to local cycling teams in advance of travel. 1) see if they have billet opportunities, but 2) see if they have tent space you can use. Shade for some of these races down south is a premium commodity, and having access to coolers to store bottles and ice socks is a necessity. YOu can always then ask if you can borrow someone else locals trainer from the team to warm up on.

I think anyone doing any amount of travel should be getting free checked bags through their airline status or via a rewards credit card. I haven’t paid a checked bag fee in 5+ years and regularly fly with things like these checked.

Also - your worst case scenario if you can’t get free checked bags would still be to have this be a regular checked bag, not a bike fee - so something like $35 each way. For someone traveling to races this isn’t a ton of money

I rather not buy or carry a portable trainer, no space in my NY apartment.

Plus those bike fees adds up! It’s $130 each ways on Jetblue now.

I think asking a different Cat racers team for their trainer is a good options too.
@Nate_Pearson Can I borrow a trainer at Sea Otter?
@Pete Are you going to any USAcrits this season? Clif bar wanna let me borrow a trainer? :joy: Ha ha ha

We weren’t going to bring a trainer to Sea Otter. I’m assuming that we can warmup somewhere. We can totally bring the travel Feedback Sports omnium though. We won’t have a tent so it might be a pain to hook up.

I assume the same too, since its a race track they should have a humongous parking lot to warm up in.

I dont think @Pete was there two years ago, but I gave the Clifbar guys our hotel concierge umbrella at Tulsa for CryBaby so that they could sit in holding pen and have some shade. Just trying to pay it forward.

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We don’t travel with trainers either :man_shrugging: Sometimes the races have some trainers set up though, and most of the time you find a long straight street without too many stoplights and make it happen there.

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I’ve traveled to several races (more accurately, there happened to be races where I was already traveling). i used Strava heat maps and segment searches to identify riding routes around the race. That has always worked great. You can also reach out to locals (e.g race organizer or search facebook for a local club). You don’t need to find a pro, if it is an annual race any local cat 4 will know where to warm up.

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