Question: How should I warm up for a time trial on a rainy day? I don’t want to get my trainer drenched, so in the past I’ve waited until 20 minutes before the start, gritted my teeth and ridden some short, hard efforts. That hasn’t worked very well. What’s the best way? — Bill S.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: The standard approach on a rainy day is to use a trainer under a tarp or awning. Teams usually have a collapsible awning that they pitch next to their bus or RV for this purpose.
Check for a building that has sufficient shelter. It’s worth scouting ahead to find the best place. Before one hot Tour de France time trial, Jan Ullrich warmed up in an air-conditioned bike shop while Lance Armstrong warmed up outside. Ullrich didn’t overheat during the stage but Armstrong did, losing significant time.
If you don’t have an awning and can’t find other shelter, consider your vehicle. If it has a rear hatch like many SUVs and crossovers, you can usually keep part of your body and the rear of your bike under cover. That’ll protect the trainer. Perhaps you can rig a tarp to extend from the raised gate for full coverage.
Do your best to stay out of the downpour. It’s hard to get a thorough, focused warmup in the rain, and the risk of puncturing is greater on wet roads. The less time you spend on debris-strewn pavement, the better.