first sportive q's

adam23

New Member
Hello there i am looking to do my first sportive event poss this year depending on my level of fitness achieved,
my questions are what to expect and what sort of times are good as i dont want to turn up and be totaly out of my depth,
for about 5 months i have been comuting to work each day 5 days a week on my mtb the trip is 6.8 miles to work and then 6.8 miles back this used to take between 23-26 mins each way
then 2 weeks ago i bought a wilier la triestina bike and wanted to get more into riding and possibly competing.
i have done a few short rides of about 20 miles on it and love the way it rides, then today i went out and done 60km route i had planned with 4 inclines but not
serious ones tbh, one is about 1km long and is lowest gear but could be me needing fitness lol, this took me 1 hour 56 mins and i felt ok when i got back and could maybe do another
5km but that would have been my lot i think, is this sort of time ok or do i need to keep trainging for a while first as i have no idea what sort of times are ok for maybe a mid pack
fnish.

thanks adam bell
 

Banjo

Fuelled with Jelly Babies
Location
South Wales
Hello there i am looking to do my first sportive event poss this year depending on my level of fitness achieved,
my questions are what to expect and what sort of times are good as i dont want to turn up and be totaly out of my depth,
for about 5 months i have been comuting to work each day 5 days a week on my mtb the trip is 6.8 miles to work and then 6.8 miles back this used to take between 23-26 mins each way
then 2 weeks ago i bought a wilier la triestina bike and wanted to get more into riding and possibly competing.
i have done a few short rides of about 20 miles on it and love the way it rides, then today i went out and done 60km route i had planned with 4 inclines but not
serious ones tbh, one is about 1km long and is lowest gear but could be me needing fitness lol, this took me 1 hour 56 mins and i felt ok when i got back and could maybe do another
5km but that would have been my lot i think, is this sort of time ok or do i need to keep trainging for a while first as i have no idea what sort of times are ok for maybe a mid pack
fnish.

thanks adam bell
Hi there, welcome to the forum.

I am certainly not an expert having only done one sportive but 60kms in less than 2 hours is really good going in my opinion.

Remember sportives arent races unless you want it to be. I would say that if you dropped the speed down a bit you will be able to ride much further and almost certainly wont come last .

Just be carefuill in picking an event ,some have some serious amount of climbing so dont just assess the difficulty level by the distance.

I was the last rider to finish the Merlin Sportive this year and am proud of what I achieved,It was an arduous route in not very good weather quite a few dropped out or switched to shorter routes on the day.

Enter something and see how you go, dont burn out by going too fast, if you have energy to spare then speed up towards the finish and fly past those that burned themselves out too early .

Good Luck
 

515mm

Well-Known Member
Location
Carmarthenshire
Hi Adam,

60km in 2 hrs - ave speed 30km/h?

Aye you're quick enough. If you can keep up an average speed of 20mph over 2 hours then you're a bit quicker than me and this year I completed the 180k Dragon Ride in a little under 8 and a half hours. A couple of things to consider......

Are you a strapping lad - rugby player shape? Or are you slight? If you're more rugby than running then you MAY find the sort of hills/mountains that appear in a UK sportive rather tough. If you're of slight build then you won't struggle that much.

At the foot of a climb, drop into a low or even lowest gear quite early - keep a bit of momentum if you can, but change down before you feel the gear becoming pressured. If you find it's too easy a gear, you can always change up later on up the climb. This is far preferable than being forced to change down after ''blowing''. Keep the same amount of power on as you would normally apply on the flat as well as you can, but keep the pressure on up and over the climb. Only ''soft pedal'' when you are going downhill again and keep the pedals turning over, changing up the gears as each one becomes too easy to pedal. You would be amazed how much speed you lose when you freewheel downhill and only start to pedal once you're on the flat. I see blokes doing this all the time, usually the guys who have powered past me on the way up the hill! At the bottom I blow past these blokes with no effort at all, changing down gradually as the momentum slowly dies away as I slow to my normal flat speed. When I look back, I've put a couple of hundred metres onto the guys who came past me on the climb. Also, by turning your legs over you help to remove the lactic acid that has built up on the climb, you stay warm and you stop becoming stiff. This is especially important when on long decents - they can last a long time and you can get cold. It's good to change up to the big ring as soon as you can on the descent. This keeps good tension in the chain and will help prevent it jumping off a la Andy Schleck if you go over a bump. Descending quickly is a whole new topic!

Nutrition is a vital aspect of sportives. Aim to drink between 500ml to a litre of fluid an hour depending on temperature and how big you are! Aim also to consume 50-60g of carbohydrate per hour - but not much more than this! Your belly will not cope with it and will most likely shut down like mine did after the 2nd climb of the Dragon. I had 5 hours of feeling like shoot until I'd managed to work out what I'd done and drunk enough water to dilute the polymer carbohydrate in my belly to start it providing me with energy again. Try as many types/brands of drinks and gels as you can to see what works for you. I find the High5 stuff works best for me. Bon Chance!
 
OP
A

adam23

New Member
thanks guys for your tips, in regards to build i am 6ft tall but slight really and only about 11stone 5lb so not to much weight to shift about, i have been active for years playing a good standard
of basketball for 20years, i gave this up after getting a bit bored of it so took up cycling and you have to be fit on a much higher level.
i think i will try to learn how to pace my self as sometimes i can feel i am fighting the pedals and not smooth enough, i bought a proper jersey and found the pockets very handy having taken
a couple of bananas and 2 small chocolate bars.
maybe i will plan a few routes with a bit of variation and see what suits me but think the distance rides will be better suited to me as i burn out quick on sprints.
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
Hello there i am looking to do my first sportive event poss this year depending on my level of fitness achieved,
my questions are what to expect and what sort of times are good as i dont want to turn up and be totaly out of my depth,
for about 5 months i have been comuting to work each day 5 days a week on my mtb the trip is 6.8 miles to work and then 6.8 miles back this used to take between 23-26 mins each way
then 2 weeks ago i bought a wilier la triestina bike and wanted to get more into riding and possibly competing.
i have done a few short rides of about 20 miles on it and love the way it rides, then today i went out and done 60km route i had planned with 4 inclines but not
serious ones tbh, one is about 1km long and is lowest gear but could be me needing fitness lol, this took me 1 hour 56 mins and i felt ok when i got back and could maybe do another
5km but that would have been my lot i think, is this sort of time ok or do i need to keep trainging for a while first as i have no idea what sort of times are ok for maybe a mid pack
fnish.

thanks adam bell
This is the correct thinking. Proper Preparation.

Download some Sportive routes onto software packages that tot-up the climbing, and analyse the gradients involved.

Plan out a route around home ground that would be representative of the Sportive you fancy doing.


Incidentally, I've been riding bikes for forty years and I'm STILL training for the next longer ride.
 

BrumJim

Forum Stalwart (won't take the hint and leave...)
Distance and speed. Up the distance, but at a slower speed, and push the speed at the lower distances. You need to do at least 80% of the Sportive distance before the day to gauge good (not too fast) pace. I did my first Sportive this year. Search for other threads in this section for experiences of CCers that have done the same.
 

TVC

Guest
Hi Adam and welcome.

Do you have a particular event in mind? Clearly you have a good background in sport and a fair understanding of targeted training, so pick a goal and work for it. If endurance is your problem early on then just go for the shorter version of a Sportive, on my first one this year I only did the 50mile version because I knew I didn't have the miles in my legs after injury and the lousy winter.
 

Klaus

Senior Member
Location
High Wycombe
Hi there,

I was just about to start a thread on this type of event until I saw your post.
Just been leafing through "Cycling Active" and noticed an Evans Ride-it event near me, Great Missenden on 12th September.
Now I don't have a road bike and don't intend to get one, or to race, just might be nice to take advantage of the organisation for a relatively small fee.
They are offering a fun ride of 12 miles and a short ride of 30 miles which I am interested in (plus longer ones). Just wondering if I turn up with my city bike and non-cycling wear I probably get a few funny looks? There's probably only one way to find out: register and turn up !!! Any comments would be appreciated.

Klaus
 
OP
A

adam23

New Member
Hi Adam and welcome.

Do you have a particular event in mind? Clearly you have a good background in sport and a fair understanding of targeted training, so pick a goal and work for it. If endurance is your problem early on then just go for the shorter version of a Sportive, on my first one this year I only did the 50mile version because I knew I didn't have the miles in my legs after injury and the lousy winter.

i have seen some of the blenheim events that are local to me as i am in oxfordshire and there is a woodcote event next month but think thats a bit soon for me right now.
cheers for the tip i will go for a shorter version and see how it goes and build on it.
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
i have seen some of the blenheim events that are local to me as i am in oxfordshire and there is a woodcote event next month but think thats a bit soon for me right now.
cheers for the tip i will go for a shorter version and see how it goes and build on it.
Oxfordshire eh.

Evesham Country Park do a nice ice cream.

A 'double-up' with a flake should get you up Fish Hill, and then its the ups and downs of the A44 all the way home.
 

Banjo

Fuelled with Jelly Babies
Location
South Wales
Hi there,

I was just about to start a thread on this type of event until I saw your post.
Just been leafing through "Cycling Active" and noticed an Evans Ride-it event near me, Great Missenden on 12th September.
Now I don't have a road bike and don't intend to get one, or to race, just might be nice to take advantage of the organisation for a relatively small fee.
They are offering a fun ride of 12 miles and a short ride of 30 miles which I am interested in (plus longer ones). Just wondering if I turn up with my city bike and non-cycling wear I probably get a few funny looks? There's probably only one way to find out: register and turn up !!! Any comments would be appreciated.

Klaus
I think you will find people will be doing the shorter distances on all sorts of bikes go and do it and enjoy the day.
 
Just a quick question - would a Tricross or Croix de Fer-type bike be okay on a Sportive or would I be subject to ridicule? It's just that I think I am going to have to make room in the garage and will only be 'allowed' :sad: a couple of bikes. Therefore a CX will be my do-it-all bike.

Bill
 

Rassendyll

New Member

At the foot of a climb, drop into a low or even lowest gear quite early - keep a bit of momentum if you can, but change down before you feel the gear becoming pressured. If you find it's too easy a gear, you can always change up later on up the climb. This is far preferable than being forced to change down after ''blowing''.
I would say exactly the opposite for climbs, especially if they are shortish ones rather than long drawn-out ascents.

I ride a lot with triathletes, many of them new to cycling, and the big mistake they all make on hills is to change down and spin almost before they start going up. If they stayed in the big gear and gave it a few hard strokes they'd be halfway up. And if you get there and have to change down, well fine - nobody likes to change up on a climb.

As for the sportive question, just go and do it. Unless you're planning to take on the Etape or the Marmotte you'll be fine - nobody's going to notice where you come, and I doubt you'll be keeping the organisers from their beds. Certainly not if you can keep an average about 25km/h.

Stop worrying. You know the scene in Ripping Yarns where the manager tells the players to stop worrying about their shorts - that's you lot that is, but with bikes obviously.
I've got a Trek Hybrid, a custom-built Roberts with a granny-ring, guards and rack, a classic steel Colnago and a bling Ridley Noah, all of which I've ridden in various events and to my knowledge nobody has ever wasted their time on ridiculing me.
 

lukesdad

Guest
Sportives......anything goes....Even me:biggrin:

One thing about hills on sportives is they tend to put the biggest ones in they can find, usually a nice one near the start. Not a good idea to stick it in a big gear and slog your way up it IMO.
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
Just a quick question - would a Tricross or Croix de Fer-type bike be okay on a Sportive or would I be subject to ridicule? It's just that I think I am going to have to make room in the garage and will only be 'allowed' :sad: a couple of bikes. Therefore a CX will be my do-it-all bike.

Bill

I'm aiming to ride a sportive on a BSA 20 shopping bike... to ridicule them. :biggrin:
 
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