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My first sportive

rozzer32rozzer32 Posts: 3,408
So I'm doing my first sportive on Sunday, the Tour of the Chilterns.

What should I expect? Like I know you have to turn up and register etc but how does it roughly work? Also anyone got any useful tips as to what to take etc etc?

Any help would be great :)
***** Pro Tour Pundit Champion 2020, 2018, 2017 & 2011 *****

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  • danowatdanowat Posts: 2,877
    rozzer32 wrote:
    So I'm doing my first sportive on Sunday, the Tour of the Chilterns.

    What should I expect?

    Loads of Audi and BMW driving, over weight, 50 year old dentists weazing around on £5K Pinarellos pretending they are riding the TDF :lol:
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    What do you normally take out for a ride ? I'd take that.

    Is there feed stations on your sportif ? I always have my own food - just in case the feed stations are busy, censored or run out. And take some cash in case you need to buy extra en route ?

    Have fun.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,506
    rozzer32 wrote:
    What should I expect?
    Lots of condescending scorn from Real Cyclists who are a bit upset that their exclusive minority sport is getting taken over by people who can afford better bikes than them.
  • danowatdanowat Posts: 2,877
    bompington wrote:
    rozzer32 wrote:
    What should I expect?
    Lots of condescending scorn from Real Cyclists who are a bit upset that their exclusive minority sport is getting taken over by people who can afford better bikes than them.

    Touche my good man :lol:

    I was only pulling the pee :D
  • rozzer32rozzer32 Posts: 3,408
    Haha I should fit right in then with my Cervelo R3

    Yes there are feed stations along the way but I am going to take plenty of bars/gels. Suppose it's better to be safe than sorry
    ***** Pro Tour Pundit Champion 2020, 2018, 2017 & 2011 *****
  • I did my first sportive 2 weeks ago,The Dragon Ride, and thoroughly enjoyed it. My tips would be to turn up early to avoid any queues, make sure all your kit is sorted and ckecked the night before and make sure you know the route, so you can mentally tick off where you are, as you are going along. As a complete beginner to road cycling, I found the atmosphere to be good and didn't experience any snobbery. Just enjoy it for what it is and don't worry about anyone else.
  • procyclistprocyclist Posts: 50
    Just join in and spend the money you've saved by not registering on a fancy trophy for yourself, then award yourself that when you've completed the ride
  • bam49bam49 Posts: 163
    " but I am going to take plenty of bars/gels. Suppose it's better to be safe than sorry "

    Indeed it is, always best to know you have something in reserve, if as said above, they have run out or something.. Please make sure you keep the empty bar & gel wraps/ packets with you till you see a bin though - nothing worse than seeing loads of empty gel packets on a big sportive ...
  • piquetpiquet Posts: 83
    rozzer32 wrote:
    So I'm doing my first sportive on Sunday, the Tour of the Chilterns.

    What should I expect? Like I know you have to turn up and register etc but how does it roughly work? Also anyone got any useful tips as to what to take etc etc?

    Any help would be great :)

    Details vary, but broadly...

    Arrive early!

    Queue up to register and collect timing chip plus very often food/drink freebies. you may or may not get a route map. There may be notices wrt any problem on the route

    Queue up to start - normally in batches to avoid completely clogging the road. Timing may start automatically (ride over pads detect chip) or you may need to scan chip at start line

    Start:

    Follow the arrows!

    Ignore both the 25mph whippets and the 25mph over ambitious loons. set your own pace and join group(s) whose pace you are comfortable with. Be careful not to over extend yourself too early - better to storm the last 1/4 than bonk!

    Don't forget to eat and drink steadily through the ride


    Food stations normally have basic rations (cake and bananas) plus very often freebie sports bars. Plus sports drink to refill bottles. BUT do not assume there will be food available - they have been known to run out.

    What else to take: Whatever you would take on a normal ride:tools, tubes, waterproof, map (if you take a wrong turning and go off route you will need that!) Mobile - with the number of the broom wagon/support dialled in
  • Ad HynkelAd Hynkel Posts: 17
    Piquet has it all there pretty much. And jonnyocymru.
    I would check over your bike a few days before too if you haven't been out in the last week or two. Just in case you need to make any last minute purchases at the LBS.
  • rozzer32rozzer32 Posts: 3,408
    Yea going out to test my new wheels tonight :)

    Registration starts at 7:15am and I'm planning on getting there for 6:45

    Yea I'm hoping that there will be a group me and my friend can slot into. And I will keep my eyes peeled for the signs :)

    I'm just planning on taking all my gear with me in the car and then I can choose what I need to wear and take when I get there.
    ***** Pro Tour Pundit Champion 2020, 2018, 2017 & 2011 *****
  • Cleat EastwoodCleat Eastwood Posts: 7,510
    +1 excellent advice from Piquet. Wish I'd known half that stuff before my first one. Good luck and dont forget to report back.
    The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns
    momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
  • GuillaumeGuillaume Posts: 35
    As already mentioned - keep an eye on your nutritional needs. Don't wait to get thirsty / hungry before drinking & eating. Eat & drink a reasonable amount before you set off. Speaking personally, I rely on fig rolls / flapjack / energy drink for about 90% of food intake. I only have gels towards the very end of a ride. Also - I often find that the ride stops being fun after a certain point...but this is temporary - keep pedalling & it starts to feel like fun again (err, eventually).
    And if you want to get a respectable time, don't linger at feedstations (they can be tempting). Better to stock up, get back on bike & eat en route.
  • piquetpiquet Posts: 83
    +1 excellent advice from Piquet. Wish I'd known half that stuff before my first one.

    <<Blush>>
  • rozzer32rozzer32 Posts: 3,408
    Thanks for all the help guys. I'll let you know how I get on. Wish me luck!
    ***** Pro Tour Pundit Champion 2020, 2018, 2017 & 2011 *****
  • DaveMossDaveMoss Posts: 236
    I would guess that the chilterns will go up and down lots of times. In which case, being able to go hard up the last few will be far more enjoyable than going hard up the first few then crawling along at the end. So eat, drink and be merry for the first half of the ride at least. Should there be any flatter stretches, and especially into a headwind, avoid riding solo, instead take it easy and let others catch you, then join in with them.
    Sportives and tours, 100% for charity, http://www.tearfundcycling.btck.co.uk
  • Buckled_RimsBuckled_Rims Posts: 1,648
    I my experience I'd recommend you treat your first sportive as a learning curve. Just take it easy and relax and not worry about the time. Have a good rest at the stations and watch and learn and you'll soon pick up a few tips.

    Looking back at my first sportive a few years ago, here's what I did wrong:

    1. wore too many clothes, I ended up sweating.
    2. Took too much water on my bike, extra weight, I should have just had 1 bottle and topped up at the stations.
    3. Didn't study the route and got lost when I missed a junction ( others did as well I may add)
    4. Failed to pace myself, I went off fast and blew up after 40 miles - hence the sweating.
    5. Thought I was fitter then I really was :(
    6. Put new pedals on which I wasn't used to, that didn't help either.
    7. I didn't have a saddle bag, so I carried the spare inner and tools in my jacket, which meant I had to wear the jacket as my jersey top was full of bars and gels :shock:

    Overall it was a bit of a disaster. I was 1 hour my estimate time and I was pretty p'd off.

    3 weeks later I did my 2nd sportive, learned a load of stuff and easily did far far better time. 6 weeks later then that, I did the Ryedale rumble 72 miler in bronze award time, just 10 minutes out from a silver.
    CAAD9
    Kona Jake the Snake
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  • bobhitchbobhitch Posts: 87
    Loads of Audi and BMW driving, over weight, 50 year old dentists weazing around on £5K Pinarellos pretending they are riding the TDF

    How rude....I drive a Bentley :D
  • rozzer32rozzer32 Posts: 3,408
    So back home from the "Tour of the Chilterns" now and have mixed reviews.

    Bad things:
    -Wasn't very well signed, did an extra 15 miles as we took the wrong turn. There were 3 arrows pointing 3 different ways at 1 junction, we looked at the map but got it wrong. There were a number of times where we thought we might have gone the wrong way as there was a long time between signs.
    -Some of the decents were totally dangerous, they were wet, covered in gravel/mud, full of pot holes, some had oil on the tarmac. I can understand the use of quiet lanes to keep the cyclists away from traffic but some of the roads would have been at home on a mountain bike route.
    -They said extensive photography would be taken. Got picture taken twice. Doesn't bother me but other people might be annoyed.

    Good things:
    -Food station was brilliant, this was probably down to it being run by "Look mum no hands", fresh coffee and a good range of food was a welcome break
    -The route was good apart from some of the decents listed above, but good hills with good country side views.
    -Electronic timing was very easy to use
    -The weather stayed dry and even a little sunny

    So overall I thought it wasn't too bad, maybe just not the best but it was my first sportive. I will definitely do more.

    A guy crashed quite bad on a decent, we stopped as my riding partner is a surgeon so he could tend to him until the ambulance arrived. If he is on here then hope you get well soon :)
    ***** Pro Tour Pundit Champion 2020, 2018, 2017 & 2011 *****
  • alan14alan14 Posts: 149
    I did the 150km route and found it quite hard - certainly on a par, if not harder than the Chiltern 100 which claims 2620m of ascent in 177km compared with the Tour's claimed 3000m. Any route which includes Whiteleaf Hill (though joining after the initial steep section), Smalldean Lane (25%) and finishes with Bison Hill is going to be testing.

    However, the route was spoilt for me by too many narrow rough lanes, invariably steepish up or down and made worse by recent rain. The Chiltern 100 avoids these lanes (the exception being up The Crong) and the route has a better flow than the Tour of the Chilterns.

    Comparing my ride with the route on the web site http://www.cyclefitevents.co.uk/tour-of ... lterns.htm, there were several places where the signed route was different (I've counted 7 places). This is bad; when the route doesn't go where I expect, I question whether the signs have been sabotaged, but in all cases it was because the organiser had changed the route without updating the web site (I checked it last night).
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