To ensure you nail your perfect time trial performance, every detail must be scrutinised - with a rider's warm up having nearly as big an effect as any.
It becomes even more crucial in shorter duration time trials, such as prologues in stage races or your local club 10.
Cannondale-Drapac sports director Charly Wegelius highlights the importance that warm-ups play in the lead up to a race against the clock for professional riders.
“The main aim is to bring the rider’s engine up to full operating temperature," he says, "just like you wouldn't take your car out from the garage and drive it down the street as fast as you can. A rider needs to bring his body to the start line in a shape ready to race.”
Time trial warm-ups aren't just for professional riders though. Amateur riders themselves should look to work backwards from their start time, timing their warm up alongside food and fluid intake to ensure they arrive on the start line ready to go without getting cold, not being fully prepared or being over or under-fuelled.
An individuals warm up can vary greatly from person to person, so finding a session that works for you is vital. It shouldn't be structured the same as warm up for a road race, as the intensities required are likely to vary massively. With a much calmer start during road races compared to all out efforts of time trials.
As with most aspects of cycling, the weather can also play a major role. Riders should look to extend their warm up in cooler conditions to ensure they reach their optimal riding temperature. Whereas loosening the legs whilst not overheating is crucial when tuning the body for an effort in hot weather.
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Paul Knott is a fitness and features writer, who has also presented Cycling Weekly videos as well as contributing to the print magazine as well as online articles. In 2020 he published his first book, The Official Tour de France Road Cycling Training Guide (Welbeck), a guide designed to help readers improve their cycling performance via cherrypicking from the strategies adopted by the pros.
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