Top tips for nailing your first sportive
Rocking up to your first sportive can be a pretty intimidating, especially when you see all the keen beans on their swanky road bikes. Follow these great tips to ensure you’re right in the peloton and make the most of your big day.
Get the miles in
One of the easiest ways to make sure that a big ride goes well is to get lots of base miles under your belt. There is no substitute for decent training when it comes to endurance sports like cycling. In your training, you should not only get lots of miles done so you can get used to spending lots of time in the saddle, but you’ll also want to practice dealing with hills. Getting accustomed to going up and down hills is a great thing practice so make sure you’re ready to tackle whatever the sportive course has to throw at you.
Get the kit
Not a lot will admit it, but most cyclists are only in it for the stash. You will have noticed cyclists put a lot of time and effort into the kit that they were when they’re out on the road. Make sure you’ve got all the kit you need and be prepared for all weather just in case.
Get your bike checked
Can’t do a bike ride if you don’t have a bike. Make sure your noble steed is in good-working order. The last thing you want is to get a mile into your ride to find that your gears don’t work. If you don’t know a huge amount about bike maintenance then take your bike into a shop to have a service and they’ll make sure that you’re good to go.
Before you head out for the ride, double check you’ve pumped up your tires to your desired pressure and make sure your chain is clean and well lubricated to ensure a smooth and trouble-free ride.
Get your mates involved
The only thing better than getting out on your bike and getting some good quality exercise, is doing it with your friends. Drag some mates along with you and make a proper day out of it. A nice big bike ride in the morning followed by a big pub lunch with some of your pals always makes for a great time.
Get some proper fuel in
Nutrition is so important when it comes to long distance cycling. So important, in fact, that we wrote an entire article on it.
Cycling uses up a lot of your body’s energy stores so it’s important to keep this in check. Make sure you’re taking on a good amount of carbs to keep your energy levels ticking over, and enough protein to help your muscles repair after long training rides and for building strength.
Don’t forget to drink enough water as well. It’s very easy to ignore the fact that the more you exercise, the more water you need. So try and keep drinking water over the course of your days.
Get there early
It’s always good to get to the event nice and early so you’ve got lots of time to sort all your stuff out. Most sportives will require you to sign in or register on the day so you’ll want to get there early to avoid the queues.
There is also always a big queue for the porta-loos so best to try and get in there early before too many people have been through..
Get your pace right
I must stress, a sportive is an noncompetitive (often un-timed) bike ride so don’t throw too much at it. The main aim of a sportive is to have fun and get some exercise so you want to think about completing, not competing.
You also don’t want to go off to fast off the start. It’s very easy to front-load a ride and end up with no energy for the rest of the ride so take it easy off the start and find a good, sustainable pace that you can hold for the duration of the ride.