Warming up for a bike race is a lot like warming up for any other sport. You don't want to just go into it cold. You want to spend at least an hour, spinning your legs, breaking a sweat, warming up. You don't want
to start the race completely dead.
Shorter bike races, you want to spend more time warming up. If the bike race is 20 minutes, you want to spend at least an hour riding. If the bike race is a lot longer, say it's 3 hours, you really don't need to worry about warming up. You want to keep in mind that if you plan on going really hard from the gun, you want to have broken in a really good sweat prior to that.
A good indication is if you're wearing a heart rate monitor, you want to monitor your heart rate. You want to bring your heart rate up to at least 165-170
beats per minute, and hold that just for a little bit.
That's going to enable you to kind of warm up, open up the legs, allow you to make that first effort in a bike race a lot better than it would be if you were cold.
The routine I usually have when I get to a bike race, and I want to warm up is I usually start spinning really easy for the first 15 minutes or so. After that,I want to do a few hard efforts. I usually put it in a
bigger gear, and I try to hold a harder effort for about 30 seconds to a minute.
I usually don't use a heart rate monitor, but I would have an idea of trying to hit about 170 beats per minute or so. After that, I'm going to cool down again. I'm going to spin for a little bit. I'm
going to want to come to the start line with a little bit of a sweat. This is really, really important if you're going to do a crit or a really short track race.
This is going to be less important if you want
to do a long road race. With road races, you can usually warm up in the first 20 minutes without affecting a race that much.
Those are some things to keep in mind when warming up for a bike race.