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First sportive

gosportbengosportben Posts: 8
edited August 2010 in Road beginners
Hello can any one please give some advice im entering my first sportive the new forest epic
and was wondering what to expect and how to prepare.Also what is the best distance to go for either short or long for my first forray into spotive's.

Posts

  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    when is it?

    Whatever distance you choose make sure you can cycle 80% distance about a fortnight before and have the week before the event off your bike.

    I've done a couple. Friendly bunch, cyclists. Sign up (evening before?) to get your timing chip, turn up to the event in plenty of time to mill around and make sure your bike & kit is 100%, eat a good breakfast etc.

    Good luck! Wish I had enough free time to join you... :shock:

    PS for your first sportive just do the short one and see how you get on. Do a harder one next time round if you feel like it.
  • The new forest epic runs on the 3rd october
    Thank you for the advice.
  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    I wouldn't take the whole week off riding before the event. You won't lose base fitness but when you have to push a hard effort you'll feel the lack of riding. Just decrease your mileage the week before and maybe have couple days before ride off.
  • ALaPlageALaPlage Posts: 732
    I also would echo rjh299 and not take the week off riding before the event. Taper your training so that you do a little less the week leading up to the event and have two or three days before the event without riding. For one day Sportives this will be better preparation. If you were doing a 3 or 4 day event at 80+ miles per day then taper training over the last two weeks and leave a 5 day rest before the start of the event.

    As long as you can ride 80% of the distance at about 10 to 14 days out (as Mr Si suggests) then you should comfortably complete the event.

    Good luck and enjoy - they are great fun.
    Trek Madone 5.9
    Kinesis Crosslight T4
  • Hi Ben,

    I did my first sportive last year, just over three months after a wobbly re-introduction to bikes. It was billed as a 100-miler but ended up being about 118! The preparation I had for that was 6 miles of daily cycling to work, followed by a New Forest-based scenic route of 25 miles home a couple of times a week if the weather was nice. I completed the 118 miles no problem in 7 hours (although the course *was* reasonably flat), so as long as you can do a long-ish ride now and again I would suggest you go for the long route!!

    I took three days off cycling immediately beforehand (to replenish my mental reserves, as much as physical), although I would suggest a short easy spin on the days off just to keep loose and to reassure yourself the bike is a-ok.

    I really wished I'd invested in a saddle bag beforehand. My Topeak aero wedge is big enough for two tubes, a waterproof, patches, levers, etc, and would have meant that I didn't need to carry a bag on my back - big mistake. Keep your jersey pockets free for gels, but if the organisers have food stops then you'll only need a few for emergency use. Take a pair of disposable poly gloves in case you drop a chain or puncture. A tiny tin of vaseline is useful for sore lips and other bits!

    Don't do what I did by leaving my bottles at home on the kitchen worktop! I assume you've already got half-decent shorts and chamois cream? Keep a recovery/protein drink in the car for afterwards. The organisers on my sportive gave us specially prepared OS maps of the route, which I found a big psychological boost to know how far I'd gone as I didn't have a bike computer.

    Good luck, and don't forget to look your best for the photographers!
  • cheers for all the advice given been a great help just need to train and finish the event ,can't wait. :D
  • AndsAnds Posts: 1,437
    Hi Ben,

    I did my first sportive last year, just over three months after a wobbly re-introduction to bikes. It was billed as a 100-miler but ended up being about 118! The preparation I had for that was 6 miles of daily cycling to work, followed by a New Forest-based scenic route of 25 miles home a couple of times a week if the weather was nice. I completed the 118 miles no problem in 7 hours (although the course *was* reasonably flat), so as long as you can do a long-ish ride now and again I would suggest you go for the long route!!

    Good luck, and don't forget to look your best for the photographers!
    ^^^^^ Thank you Mikeyboy12345 for this post as it gave me the confidence to go out and do my first sportive today, at a distance 50% greater than I had ridden before. I nearly didn't do it based on previous advice about ensuring you can do 80% distance but I read your post last night and it gave me a bit of inspiration to just go for it. My previous longest ride was 83km and today I did 123km (plus the small matter of 4500ft of climbing). I felt really comfortable the whole way round.

    Good luck to the OP with the first sportive. :)
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Ands, it was 5500ft...

    And not nice steady climbs either!!
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Make sure your bike is in good order before the event - give it a good clean, check all screws with an Allen key. Check your tyres for cuts / embedded flints. Replace anything that looks suspect. A common sight with beginners is carrying way-too much kit and food - only take what you need for the expected weather and duration of the ride - not for the following week too!
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Pace yourself! Everyone I've ever done, I always set off way too fast and then die in the last 30kms...
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Monty Dog wrote:
    only take what you need for the expected weather and duration of the ride - not for the following week too!

    I did that today. Heh heh. Fail!
  • AndsAnds Posts: 1,437
    NapoleonD wrote:
    Ands, it was 5500ft...

    And not nice steady climbs either!!
    Even better!
  • taz3611taz3611 Posts: 172
    Done a few sportives now and my routine is now generally sorted. Mileage wise, I'm riding regulary the distances which the sportives cover. The week before the event, I put in a hard week, with a couple of killer sessions through the week and then a really long, hard ride on the Sunday. The week of the sportive, I do about an hour at TT pace on the Tuesday or Wednesday. I then rest the remainder of the week, apart from an hours very easy ride the day before the event. Two days before the event, I start to eat more carbs. The day before is Pasta Day, loading up until I feel a bit bloated. Morning of the event, I have a good breakfast and a carb drink. Don't forget to go the loo as close to the start as practicable. Others might argue, but this works for me. Check your bike over well before the night before the event in case anything needs sorted. I'll be putting this into practice for the Great North Bike Ride next weekend and the St. Elizabeth's Hospice ride in September. Good luck!
  • taz3611 wrote:
    Check your bike over well before the night before the event in case anything needs sorted.

    I'd check it over before then, the night before doesn't give much of a chance to buy new bits if necessary.
  • danowatdanowat Posts: 2,877
    Don't forget to take at least 2 tubes, and some way of inflating said tubes, with you on the day, along with at least a small multi-tool, not having the right gear can make the difference between and minor 5 min annoyance and a major ride stopper.

    As for tapering, I just take 2 days before the event off, but I like to go out the day before and do a VERY light ride, just to get things going and make sure the bike is OK, bit like a shakedown ride, don't be suprised if it feels very tough though, thats normal.

    Also, hydration and nutrition is very important, make sure you are happy with what you are going to eat and drink BEFORE the event, and don't eat or drink anything during the event you've never tried before.

    Most of all ENJOY IT!!!
  • taz3611taz3611 Posts: 172
    Check your bike over well before the night before the event in case anything needs sorted.

    I worded it wrongly. I meant well before the night before, if that makes sense.

    Oh, and I always carry enough food to see me through the event too.
  • Doing my first in October - the Blenheim Palace Sportive (60 not 100!) and have thought about pulling out several times! Not sure if I'll be up to it or not but reckon I'll give it a go - for the day out, if nothing else.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    Doing my first in October - the Blenheim Palace Sportive (60 not 100!) and have thought about pulling out several times! Not sure if I'll be up to it or not but reckon I'll give it a go - for the day out, if nothing else.

    The Blenheim Palace sportif eh? I did this last year - my first 'real' sportif, and it's fantastic. Whatever you do don't pull out; you're missing out on a treat if you do.

    First up. virtually all junctions were manned last year by marshalls to point you in the right direction, to warn of traffic, and to shout encouragement. It makes a big difference. The route is a bit of a tester esp at about 60 miles where it takes in a v steep but short climb, overall though it's a very manageable 100 mile ride. The 60 miler cuts out the additional 40 mile loop from & back to the main food halt, but you really should aim for the full 100, if nothing else for the absolute satisfaction when you arrive back at BP and realise that it wasn't that difficult. It's certainly not nearly twice as hard as doing the 60, and if you do the 60 you'll be kicking yourself afterwards knowing that you still have plenty left and could have done the century after all. Most people on here would agree that once you settle into the rhythm, the more miles you do the more miles you can do, up to a point.

    The route itself last year was largely traffic-free and takes in some inspiring Cotswold views. One distinct memory I have of it is that there seemed to a lot more donwhill sections than up. Clearly a false impression given that the start & end point is the same :) but it really is a good challenging route without being a killer like the Dartmoor Beast, or The HOTA that's apparently all vertical either up or down.

    The BP Sportif is superbly organised event and quite possibly the best introduction to sportifs that you'll find. It's 5 weeks away - plenty of time to get into shape. Don't drop out. Aim for the 100, but ignore the sign near the food halt that tells you in big letters '70 MILES TO GO'. That one is a bit of a downer.
  • Am I right in thinking the BP sportive had bacon butties at one of the food stops? I'm down to do it this year, no excuse really, I more or less live on part of the course!
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    It did. First food halt at about 25 miles IIRC had vast stocks of bacon butties, fruit, tea, coffee, soup, water, sponsors energy drink and a toilet block.Returning to it later in the day after the 40 mile loop there was less of everything but still enough to grab a bite if you needed it.

    I understand that the second food halt at about 60 miles on the 100 mile route will be bigger & better than last year, where from memory it was just a bloke with a water tub & a few sandwiches, and an extraordinarily attractive St Johns Ambulance volunteeer. I didn't stop there though.
  • kingderhamkingderham Posts: 206
    Haveing donethe new forest sportive last year, i thought it rather expensive so i will be doing this instead http://www.wessexctc.org/newf50b.htm , 4 routes of various distance around the new forest, not as well sign posted and food is not free(you do get a free bowl of pasta or something after the ride) there are coffe and food stops enroute.
    It only costs £5.00
    A mouthfull of mud, i guess ive crashed

    Giant xtc se
    Trek 1.2compact
  • CiB wrote:
    Doing my first in October - the Blenheim Palace Sportive (60 not 100!) and have thought about pulling out several times! Not sure if I'll be up to it or not but reckon I'll give it a go - for the day out, if nothing else.

    The Blenheim Palace sportif eh? I did this last year - my first 'real' sportif, and it's fantastic. Whatever you do don't pull out; you're missing out on a treat if you do.

    First up. virtually all junctions were manned last year by marshalls to point you in the right direction, to warn of traffic, and to shout encouragement. It makes a big difference. The route is a bit of a tester esp at about 60 miles where it takes in a v steep but short climb, overall though it's a very manageable 100 mile ride. The 60 miler cuts out the additional 40 mile loop from & back to the main food halt, but you really should aim for the full 100, if nothing else for the absolute satisfaction when you arrive back at BP and realise that it wasn't that difficult. It's certainly not nearly twice as hard as doing the 60, and if you do the 60 you'll be kicking yourself afterwards knowing that you still have plenty left and could have done the century after all. Most people on here would agree that once you settle into the rhythm, the more miles you do the more miles you can do, up to a point.

    The route itself last year was largely traffic-free and takes in some inspiring Cotswold views. One distinct memory I have of it is that there seemed to a lot more donwhill sections than up. Clearly a false impression given that the start & end point is the same :) but it really is a good challenging route without being a killer like the Dartmoor Beast, or The HOTA that's apparently all vertical either up or down.

    The BP Sportif is superbly organised event and quite possibly the best introduction to sportifs that you'll find. It's 5 weeks away - plenty of time to get into shape. Don't drop out. Aim for the 100, but ignore the sign near the food halt that tells you in big letters '70 MILES TO GO'. That one is a bit of a downer.

    Thanks for the advice and support! I will do the ride, just get a bit nervous and unsure sometimes but I'll be ok - not sure about doing the 100 miles though!
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