As and when the Covid19 pandemic restrictions ease, you might well be able to take part in a sportive event in the next few months. Sportives are a great way to get to see a different part of the world on your bike. Unfortunately, there are also lots of opportunities for things to go wrong…Avoid these 10 Sportive mistakes to improve your chances of having a great day.
Steady as she goes…
Starting too fast is the most common mistake sportive riders make. It’s easy to see why; surrounded by other riders, been thinking about the event for weeks, desperate to get in front of Nigel / Karen – your slightly annoying mate…. Yes, it’s easy done. Try to relax and ease into the ride. Aim to keep enough in reserve for the last 20% of the event, where others (who started too fast) will fade.
Road to Ruin
Poor bike maintenance is another sure-fire way to ruin your day. Rather than checking your bike over the day before, do it in the weeks before. This will allow time for any parts to arrive or for any work to be done.
Don’t rely on route marker arrows, they can easily get removed or turned the wrong way. Have a look at the route on google maps in the week leading up to the event. Don’t rely on everyone else to know where they are going, even worse, don’t follow a random rider who you assume is in the event. There will be embarrassment when you get back to their house…
Wonder What’s around this corner…
Riding roads which you are not familiar with and showing off your ace descending skills, are not a great combination. If you do not know the roads, don’t try to ride as fast as you can – Sportives are supposed to be fun after all.
Take a mate!
We are all different. Some people like the company and pleasant ‘chit-chat’ with other riders. Others, like solitude and time on the bike to relax on their own. However, getting stuck riding in a group with someone annoying can completely ruin your day. Taking a mate improves your chances of really enjoying the event.
Fuel the Engine
Through training and previous riding experience you should have a rough idea of how much you need to eat and how often. If you never quite get it right, try a small amount every hour or so for longer events, and remember to keep hydrated.
Take your wrappers home
When you have slurped your emergency gel while battling the last 20k’s Don’t just chuck your wrapper on the side of the road. This is a common way to annoy local residents, councils, farmers and everyone else that this can impact. Littering with gel and bar wrappers is especially bad when events are held in beautiful, scenic places…
Prep your ride
As well as checking your bike over the week before. Make sure everything is fine before setting off to the event. Giving your bike a quick check over can save a lot of hassle if any issue gets worse out on the road.
Think about what you are likely to need a few days before the event. Check the weather forecast, do you need a cape or arm warmers? Pack your bag early and then you can always chuck stuff in, or out, before you go.
Arrive at HQ without…
Check everything again! Even if you are running late, take your time to check you haven’t forgotten something important – like your helmet, shoes or wheel thru axles when packing your disc road bike into the car.
It costs nothing and could make someone’s day – if you enjoyed the event, thank the event organiser. Having worked closely with event organisers in years gone by, I fully appreciate the efforts which go into making your sportive a great day out. Whether it’s laying out (and collecting) route numbers during the night or searching for lost riders (or riders lost car keys, somewhere on the route.) their tireless efforts often get taken for granted.
Need a Sportive Bike?
While tougher events such as the Fred Whitton might require a wider spread of gears, most sportives can be tackled on a standard road or even cyclocross / gravel bike. I saw someone riding the Manchester 100 (100 Miles) on a BMX a few years ago, he did get around the route and probably raised a lot for charity, be fairly certain you can do it on your bike, then you can relax and enjoy it.
Check out our range of road bikes here