Does anyone race sportives?

shakey88
shakey88 Posts: 289
Hi there,as this is my second season as a roadie,i'm looking to be more competetive.
I have upgraded my bike(cannondale synapse ultegra)and my fitness is coming on very nicely.
Last season i did a number of sportives,basically turning up,riding at my own pace,getting a gold standard time then off home again.
I was wondering if the riders who go off first thing are the fast guys(and gals) who like to race these events,as this appeals to me as i need more motivation!
I am planning to get into circuit racing too but fancied a bit of long distance racing to.
Any advice gratefully received.
Rich

Comments

  • Tom Butcher
    Tom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    People race audaxes let alone sportives - if by race you mean ride them as fast as they can. I don't think people tend to race sportives in the sense they are trying to drop other riders though - attacking and trying to establish a gap - well maybe they might try and drop their mates but apart from that no.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Gav888
    Gav888 Posts: 946
    Ive got a 100m sportive coming up in May and I plan to set a PB, but as for treating it like a race, that generally doesnt happen, well not that ive seen before :)
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,934
    I try to go as fast as I can but personally couldn't care less what other people do. There does tend to be a rather annoying habit of people not riding together though. I've ridden a few events that have become like 100km+ time trials.
  • People race audaxes let alone sportives ... .

    Very true. I have heard it said, sportivers pretend to race whilst audaxers pretend not to race. I am guilty of both!
  • shakey88
    shakey88 Posts: 289
    Thanks for the input guys.I guess what i'm trying say is do the fast groups start early as last season i spent most of the ride overtaking slower groups and cycling on my own :(
    Maybe i should get up earlier!
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,934
    As far as I know start times are given on a first come first served basis so I don't think there's any correlation between that and ability.
  • FJS
    FJS Posts: 4,820
    It's because of the unfortunate necessity in the UK to let riders start in small groups. Quite a difference with sportives in other European countries.
  • TheStone
    TheStone Posts: 2,291
    Early starters tend to be slow (although not always).

    When I did the Fred Whitton I turned up at 6:30 to get away early as I knew I'd be slow,
    quite a few other did the same.

    No harm in going as hard as you can, but if you want to race (breakaway, tactics, sprints
    etc), you're better off racing proper.
    exercise.png
  • DaveMoss
    DaveMoss Posts: 236
    You are already getiing gold standards, probably trying, even if at your own pace.
    Fact is, if you tried to "race" a long sportive you would probably end up going slower by the end.
    But absolutly no harm setting yourself targets like being in the fastest 10%, or fastes 10 , or fastest altogether.

    In "real" races, the difference is the frequent change in pace, sounds like you have plenty enough base fitness. Sometimes it can actually be quite slow, but then suddenly incredibly fast, and you have to keep up every time, or know when you don't.
    Don't be afraid to enter races, but if you do, learn to get into the right position in the bunch, saving as much energy as you can in the process. ( and remember to eat and drink in the excittement)

    You have hit on an important issue, 3rd/4th races tend to be a lot shorter than sportives, go ride races have to be. But with there now being lots of riders like you, (first time racers well able to do the distance) perhaps there is a demand for long races at the lower level.
    Sportives and tours, 100% for charity, http://www.tearfundcycling.btck.co.uk
  • I too start early as i am slow. Plenty of fast groups pass that i try to jump on for 5 minutes usually only 2 minutes :oops:
    So why not start ealry but slow and wait for the fast groups to pass and jump on them?

    Peter
  • softlad
    softlad Posts: 3,513
    DaveMoss wrote:
    But with there now being lots of riders like you, (first time racers well able to do the distance) perhaps there is a demand for long races at the lower level.

    First time racers need to progress from 4th cat to 3rd and the progression has very little to do with distance and much more to do with gaining experience in bunch racing. There's nothing to stop a 3rd cat entering an open 1/2/3 event with an 80/90 mile distance...

    As for 'racing sportives' - aside from the fact that it's not strictly legal, I can't see the point. Unless you all start at the same time, who are you racing against..?
  • softlad wrote:
    As for 'racing sportives' - aside from the fact that it's not strictly legal, I can't see the point. Unless you all start at the same time, who are you racing against..?

    You are totally correct on the legality issue but the point about 'who you are racing against' is not so straightforward.

    Within the pure traditional concept of road racing, yes riders start at the same time and race against each other. However, in sportivers do observe their timing standards and published finding times, they often race against their peers or even teams. As such, 'racing' in sportives are a different model to the traditional road racing.
  • softlad
    softlad Posts: 3,513
    that's fair comment Phillip - but I would still draw the difference between 'racing' and 'rivalry'... ;)
  • blorg
    blorg Posts: 1,169
    Continental sportives are certainly raced by the guys at the front, and there are rankings, prizes, a podium. Not in Ireland, I presume the same is in the UK.

    Actual road races are quite a different experience to say the least. I wouldn't worry about the longer distances, a 40km/1 hour race can be tough enough! Bunches are a lot tighter, everyone at the limit, and reacting to breaks, etc. which you wouldn't get in a sportive.
  • le_patron
    le_patron Posts: 494
    Agree.

    There's several ways to ride a sportive

    1. Potter round taking time, don't look at clock.
    2. Ride fast, but comfortably, without killing yourself, but seeking a fast time, stop for a reasonable time at feeds.
    3. Ride as fast as possible leaving nothing left, jump from group to group looking for the fast ones and ride sections solo in TT mode to gain as much time as possible. A test of your fitness really.
    4. Race with either friends or other riders who are up for it as a 'race' within the event, but that normally turns into 3.

    I do no.2 for most UK events and No.3 for things like Marmotte, although the amount of riders and climbing can be viewed as either one giant broken up group, or no group at all. The flat/downhill sections are different. Some events such as Flanders I take easy for first half and treat differently in second.

    The one thing you can't do is ride it like a proper roadrace as the environment is totally different, there are no tactics, no sudden acclerations pushing you deep into red, no bunch and there is no risk of getting dropped as such, there are so many riders it's easy to find someone at your pace. I will dig seriously deep in every race to hold wheels, bridge gaps or attack, but never reach same intensity in sportives, that's the nice thing about most of them, the pressure is off. The real toughies ridden hard, like Marmotte and Fondos, are different - for me the pressure is on more than a low cat road race :D
  • shakey88
    shakey88 Posts: 289
    phreak wrote:
    As far as I know start times are given on a first come first served basis so I don't think there's any correlation between that and ability.


    That's what i thought but i had an idea in my head that all the fast guys went off in the first group and tried to be the first one to the finish like they do on the continent.
    Wishfull thinking on my part.
    I'm gonna start racing this year down at the mountbatten ctr in pompey.
    Looking forward to feeling the rush :D
  • Garz
    Garz Posts: 1,155
    shakey88 wrote:
    Thanks for the input guys.I guess what i'm trying say is do the fast groups start early as last season i spent most of the ride overtaking slower groups and cycling on my own :(
    Maybe i should get up earlier!

    I found this too however can add that afterwards I was informed that some 10+ riders started before the proper start time so no wonder I had no chance of catching them. This meant instead of finishing 21st in reality I came much lower.

    Not fair but I suppose it's not a proper competition. :)
  • Chrissz
    Chrissz Posts: 727
    I only managed one last year (I plan on doing several more this year though!). The timing was all individual i.e. via a swipe card thingy - you could leave when you wanted and had to clock in at certain points along the route to get a time at the end :)
  • Toks
    Toks Posts: 1,143
    People race audaxes let alone sportives - if by race you mean ride them as fast as they can. I don't think people tend to race sportives in the sense they are trying to drop other riders though - attacking and trying to establish a gap - well maybe they might try and drop their mates but apart from that no.
    Right ,so People that are trying to get a Gold in a sportiv aren't racing :lol: L'etape the world's most famous sportiv is described as a race; lots of peeps I know ride from London to Brighton as fast as they can.Quite simply, you're wrong :roll:
  • inseine
    inseine Posts: 5,788
    There are plenty of sportives where you are given a start relative to your ability. The Marmotte being one.
    I think Tom's right in that people don't 'race' them in the sense of trying to beat other people ('cept in the 'sprint' at the end). It's better to keep a group together over such a long ride to try for the best time. It's more like a TT in that sense.
  • le_patron
    le_patron Posts: 494
    Toks wrote:
    Right ,so People that are trying to get a Gold in a sportiv aren't racing :lol: L'etape the world's most famous sportiv is described as a race; lots of peeps I know ride from London to Brighton as fast as they can.Quite simply, you're wrong :roll:

    I ride to work as fast as I can, but that doesn't make it a race.

    This question always comes around, ultimately depends on your definition of race. The front end of a Continental sportive is different to UK equivalents, they aren't really comparable. And a BC road race is very different to a sportive.

    The only thing that is clear is what the UK law/insurance position is on the difference, the rest is up to the rider to be comfortable with what they are doing and stop worrying about it.
  • softlad
    softlad Posts: 3,513
    inseine wrote:
    It's better to keep a group together over such a long ride to try for the best time. It's more like a TT in that sense.

    that's another thing - how is it possible for people to claim PBs on sportives when they have spent most of the ride sheltering in a group...??
  • blorg
    blorg Posts: 1,169
    softlad wrote:
    inseine wrote:
    It's better to keep a group together over such a long ride to try for the best time. It's more like a TT in that sense.

    that's another thing - how is it possible for people to claim PBs on sportives when they have spent most of the ride sheltering in a group...??
    Group riding is an intrinsic part of cycling (the norm outside the UK.) You work with the group. It's not a time trial.
  • juggler
    juggler Posts: 262
    softlad wrote:
    inseine wrote:
    It's better to keep a group together over such a long ride to try for the best time. It's more like a TT in that sense.

    that's another thing - how is it possible for people to claim PBs on sportives when they have spent most of the ride sheltering in a group...??

    i think that this is a very good point. Because a race is determined by where you finish relative to the rest, a TT by the fastest solo ride.... however your time on a sportive is often determined by being luckily enough to get a group at the right pace. Many times spent large parts of the ride solo... not too enjoyable then tbh