Thursday, 2 May 2013

10 thoughts on how to survive a sportive

I'm still quite new to sportives; I've done maybe a handful. My first was a hilly 60 miles and from then on it's been 100 mile rides over varying types of terrain. All of them have been challenging, great training and very enjoyable.

Having recently done my first sportive of the year on Sunday, I thought I;d share a few points that if I had known before my first sportive, I probably would have enjoyed it all the more.

  1. Go steady. If you're riding 100 miles don't go off at warp speed. Ride your own ride. I average 15 - 16 mph over the 100 (hilly) miles and that's comfortable for me.
  2. Enjoy yourself. You poor bugger. You actually paid good money to put yourself through this, enjoy it and treat it as a day out with like-minded individuals.
  3. Bring a mobile phone, contact number for the sportive support team and some cash. I saw so many mechanicals at the weekend, but luckily they were all able to call the support team and let them know where they were because of their phone.
  4. Bring basics, such as tools, a spare inner tube and some warmer layers. Arm and leg warmers are great for these as they pack down well and they can make the world of difference. Unless your paying a lot of money for the event, don't expect there to be a support truck following your butt around the course.
  5. Be courteous, draft in turns. If you sit on someone's tail for a while do the right thing and spread the load. Take over and  give them a rest. Repeat as needed. Drafting can save a massive amount of energy!
  6. Make it social. Do say hello to other riders. We're all in the same boat and it's great to just get a nod from someone else. You might make some good chums, or better yet they might let you draft behind them.
  7. Prepare for the hills. Take it easy coming up to them and get the right gear in place. Stand up every now and then to shake off your arms and legs. Get back to it. Keep the rhythm smooth and don't shift your weight around too much.
  8. Arrive early for a good parking spot. Cyclists are early birds and to improve your chances of less stress, get there early for a good parking spot near the registration area. Makes life so much easier before and so much easier afterwards too.
  9. Bring your own food. They provide everything you need, but only after the first 25 miles or so, but before that you need to eat and stay hydrated. Bring a selection of your fav foods (and I'd recommend things that won't appear on the menu of the sportive) and make sure you have the energy needed for the first segment.
  10. Check your bike before you leave in the morning. Double check your gear too. Last thing you need is to get to the event and something's broken. The best way to test it too is to give it a ride. Bring extra tools if you don't have the time before you leave.
I'm sure there's easily more that could be added to that list too.