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How do you win a sportive?

Just read this news article, and I thought they were non competitive!

http://www.getreading.co.uk/sport/cycling/s/2101523_paul_gray_powers_to_his_third_sportive_win_

On a serious note, most organisers don't publish results by time and are careful to ensure their sportives aren't promoted as races due so it's unfortunate that's it's been reported in this way but it does give an insight into how some people view sportive events.
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Posts

  • WooliferkinsWooliferkins Posts: 2,060
    They are. It is an online local rag you can't expect accuracy or research :)
    Neil
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • StedmanStedman Posts: 377
    I have also had the distinction of finishing first in a sportive (albeit joint first), however I along with the rest of the 800+ finishers are all winners and we all have the same medal to prove it!

    My heroes are the ones who are new to this sport or find the course more challenging than I do which is why I am a member of suzyb’s fan club!
  • It is a contraddiction...
    on one side you offer official electronic timing, standards and medal, on the other ask the participants to stop at the lights and respect the highway code...
    It doesn't make any sense... in this respect route cards were a far better solution
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,415
    Speaking of contradictions

    If that's him on the left, he looks a lot like a menu. And who's the chap on the right?
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
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  • You may well find that his club's press secretary issue a media release announcing the news of the sportive win. As a former comms sec myself, you have to be fairly ruthless with what you promote and I have done exactly the same. The only concern is the damage it may cause to the promotion of sportives which are prohibited as races.
  • nhojnhoj Posts: 129
    The two sportives I've entered have both published results in chronological order. One had a large TV screen at the finish with the times up and later published them on a website. The other, Pedal for Scotland, published the results in a national tabloid.

    Some folk definitely do sportives competitively, not just against themselves, but against "the field". The Highway Code goes out the window, and there is some seriously dodgy cycling. As it's a timed event, though, that's hardly surprising, even if you're just racing against yourself.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Quickest way to get sportives banned will be to promote them as races, particularly if a rider crashes and slaps a suit on the organiser who will then find their insurance invalid. If folks wanna race, then get a licence and do it properly.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • That is just soooooo ghey.
  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    I wish they'd do away with timing in sportives full stop, it adds unnecessary expense to the event, is usually the source of problems/complaints and wtf purpose does it serve? If you can afford a bike and sportive entry you can afford a bike computer to time yourself. Gold/silver/bronze times are equally pointless.
  • polocinipolocini Posts: 201
    Nferrar- I organise sportives and I couldn't agree more. But it's what riders want. The first emails after the event are about the results. And it's not one or two emails. It's a lot.

    I'm looking at using something like strava.

    That article is unreal, and the bloke is in a club.

    AL
  • OK - as one of the organisers of the Hawkesbury event, I would like to point out that this is the first I've heard of this. Our events are not promoted as races, riders are explicitly informed that they are not in a race and that adhesion to the Highway Code is the primary rule for participating in the event. No 'winner' is declared or prizes handed out for performance. We did give out t shirts at this event, to anyone brave enough to take on an optional 1:5 climb at the end of the route, but that was totally regardless of speed. We do not condone the publishing of that article in any way shape or form - quite the opposite.

    In fact, up until I clicked Sportive Scene's link, I had no idea who had even recorded the fastest time at the event; I don't even look that up myself, and don't consider it important. We can't (and won't) verify that Paul Gray or any other rider completed the whole course without taking any short cuts or deviations. Riders times can only be meaningful to themselves for this reason.

    Of course, riders are naturally curious to compare their times, so we have given thought as to how to present this appropriately. We do publish an average time for the whole field, as well as percentage splits by time band, so that riders can gauge themselves against the field as a whole. We think this is OK, and the best way to assess your ride. That's it though - any deeper analysis doesn't hold up and can't be backed up. I completely agree with Monty - enjoy sportives, but if you want to race, get s license and enter a race.

    Thanks to SportiveScene for raising this. We've got an MTB event (also not a race) to run this weekend, but after that, we'll have to decide whether we need to do anything more about this.
    Martin

    trailbreak.co.uk
    southernsportive.com
  • First out of 64 at 27.6kph :roll:
    Bragging rights down the pub maybe but hardly news. Not much happens in Reading then.
  • mr_goomr_goo Posts: 3,755
    Just to complete a sportive is a win-win in my books. I did my first 100 miler earlier this year around Dorset, in some very challenging weather and big hills in last 30 miles. Could not have cared less about time, it was getting across the line that counted, and sittling in the back of Topmoxy's van with a brew at the end.

    I think there should be more Randonee events with route cards and check points. Far more enjoyable.
    Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
  • nhoj wrote:
    The other, Pedal for Scotland, published the results in a national tabloid.

    I don't know this for fact but I assume they do that to avoid publishing the results themselves and so distance themselves from "it's a race" claims. Last year, they published they included the finishing position for each rider as well as the time but this year it was only the time (albeit still in order of finishing time) resulting in a careful count to work out your position.

    I do like to see the times published to compare my time against others as well as it being a keepsake of my personal performance. Unfortunately it does mean me having to by The Sun once a year. :roll: I'm not going to be in contention for "winning" the event so it's not really an ego thing for me, though I'm sure it is for (some of) those at the head of the field.

    I would agree it's more of a publicity stunt by the club (or maybe even the rider) to have that story published as I can't imagine a local paper or website being all that bothered to report on it if they realised it wasn't a race. If I were a knowledgeable acquaintance of the guy I would be a bit embarrassed to see that article but maybe they just see it as good publicity. But it will be bad publicity if it contributes towards sportives being forced to be classified as races with all that would entail.


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  • sagaloutsagalout Posts: 338
    It's always a race. If you're commuting in hi-viz and see a bike up front it's a race. If youre on a club run and theres a village sign post ahead its a race. Expecting hundreds of blokes to ride a course, officially timed or not, and do it without any competitive spirit just isn't going to happen! Whether the organisers officially publish results in time order makes no difference, apart from perhaps insurance.
  • DaveMossDaveMoss Posts: 236
    You can't "win" a UK sportive. Not just because the rules expressly state that it is not a race, but, more importantly, there are two many factors that make the "result" less than completely fair.

    For example, your final time can be dependent on who you met on the way, who helped out with the drafting, which is completely random. Also, since no attempt is made to control other traffic, it can depend on whether or not you have had to wait at a junction, or even traffic lights. Even in a closed road massed start event the end result is influenced by how quickly you got away or who gets in your way (or how many tacks are on the road)
    Furthermore, you have no idea if the fastest rider in the field is trying to "win" or just riding round with his/her mates. I admit that I would be pleased if I had the fastest time in a sportive, or even in my age group (it will never happen), but there is something pathetic about anyone who seriously tries make anything about having "won" a sportive in the UK;

    p.s. there would be no harm in the article revered to, given what it is, except that his time trial performances are mentioned, his 8th place in the BBAR is far more meritorious than his sportive rides, but the article reads like it's the other way round.
    Sportives and tours, 100% for charity, http://www.tearfundcycling.btck.co.uk
  • PseudonymPseudonym Posts: 1,032
    DaveMoss wrote:
    his 8th place in the BBAR is far more meritorious than his sportive rides, but the article reads like it's the other way round.

    That's not his 8th place though - that bit of the article relates to another rider (Nick English) who rides for AW Cycles.

    FWIW - being the 'local' club, Reading CC has always featured regularly on the Evening Post website - and regularly in the paper itself, so there are always 'non' stories about various riders coming 12th in a local club 10, or finishing 'in the bunch' in a circuit race at Hillingdon....or similar...

    'Winning a sportive' is patently ridiculous though. I almost feel embarrassed for the poor fella - partly because he feels he 'won' a non-competitive event, and partly because his club felt it was a good idea to present it in this way.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    I think perhaps too much is being made of this. OK he didn't win it - he got the fastest finishing time - is there that much difference ? The organisers publish finishing times and know full well some of the riders are competing to see how fast they can complete the course relative to other riders - that's racing isn't it ?

    I understand why people can't promote these events as races but in effect if you organise a sportive with all the entails - timing, published results, feed stops so people can refuel and get on their way - then you are organising a kind of race. I take the point about having to abide by the HIghway Code but time trials and road races are also on open roads and the Highway Code applies to them too.

    In a way what this guy or his club has done is break the omerta that in fact sportive riders are all out for a tootle round some challenging terrain. I agree he/they shouldn't have done it because of the legal situation but nobody is telling me there aren't riders in every sportive who are racing to "win" it.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Blame the clubs press secretary for making this 'news' story up and sending it to the local paper. The Reading club always does this and it certainly does the sport a dis-service as these aren't races and shouldn't be ridden as such. They are glorified training rides that cost a fortune to enter but that's a separate thread completely. :wink:
  • polocini wrote:
    Nferrar- I organise sportives and I couldn't agree more. But it's what riders want. The first emails after the event are about the results. And it's not one or two emails. It's a lot.

    I'm looking at using something like strava.

    That article is unreal, and the bloke is in a club.

    AL

    Why don't you reverse the trend? If your event is good, it will survive even without the timing chips. Riders will be attracted by the course, the organisation and the fact that it will be cheaper than the competition... lots of people complain that sportives cost too much... if you get rid of the timing, you save 30%, give or take
    The RVV, which, as far as I know, is the biggest sportive in the world by numbers, has no timing chips
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,111
    Personally I like the timing chips. Its nice to check your time against the rest of the field, I had a couple of top 10 sportive finishes earlier in the year and that let me know that my training was going well. I consider them more like long time trials than races, and would never do anything stupid at junctions / traffic lights etc. I don't think there's anything wrong with aiming to complete the ride as quickly as you can though, and then comparing your time against everyone else's.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    A sportive without timing? That's an audax isn't it.

    I won a sportive the year I started racing. Didn't win a single race though even against 4th Cats only.
    More problems but still living....
  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    bigmat wrote:
    Personally I like the timing chips. Its nice to check your time against the rest of the field, I had a couple of top 10 sportive finishes earlier in the year and that let me know that my training was going well.

    Uh no, your time might indicate your form but your position relative to others is no indication of your form (and I guess you don't regularly 'compete' against them to know their standard).

    Surely sportives should be about taking on a tough route as a challenge but with the backup of feed stations, signs and worst case a broom wagon. I'm not saying everyone should ride them as a social bimble but trying to compete against others is joint pointless - get a race licence and a really challenge yourself if that's your thing.
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,111
    nferrar wrote:
    bigmat wrote:
    Personally I like the timing chips. Its nice to check your time against the rest of the field, I had a couple of top 10 sportive finishes earlier in the year and that let me know that my training was going well.

    Uh no, your time might indicate your form but your position relative to others is no indication of your form (and I guess you don't regularly 'compete' against them to know their standard).

    Surely sportives should be about taking on a tough route as a challenge but with the backup of feed stations, signs and worst case a broom wagon. I'm not saying everyone should ride them as a social bimble but trying to compete against others is joint pointless - get a race licence and a really challenge yourself if that's your thing.

    If there are, say, 500 to 1,000 people riding then you can tell from how high up the field you finish how well you are going, relatively speaking. I think if there are only 64 it becomes a bit more random! Its all very rough and ready, and has to take account of the fact that the real fast guys are usually off racing, and some people may be riding just for the fun of it, but I don't think its that unreasonable to gauge your performance against everybody else. To pretend that there is no competitive element to sportives (even if it is just competing against yourself for a particular time) is not consistent with the reality of the situation in my experience.

    Anyway, comparing sportives to races is ridiculous - most races open to beginners are on closed circuits and last little more than an hour of fairly intense effort - its completely different to a sportive and to suggest that people are only allowed to compete on that basis is a bit unfair. I agree that publc roads generally aren't the right place to be "racing" (as in really racing) but I can't see what is wrong with pushing yourself to go as fast as reasonably possible.
  • I think perhaps too much is being made of this. OK he didn't win it - he got the fastest finishing time - is there that much difference ? The organisers publish finishing times and know full well some of the riders are competing to see how fast they can complete the course relative to other riders - that's racing isn't it ?

    No, it's not. That may be your opinion, and the way you would approach an event, but it doesn't apply to the whole field. There are many (particular those who are newer to cycling, who you you probably won't find frequenting forums such as this) who have very different motivations for riding a sportive. That's just one difference to a proper race, where everyone truly does share the same objective.

    From the participants point of view, it comes down to a sense of perspective. So when Sagalout says
    sagalout wrote:
    If you're commuting in hi-viz and see a bike up front it's a race.
    well, maybe to him it is (he can't speak for the bloke he's chasing though), but presumably he doesn't contact his local paper and ask them to report the fact that he 'won' his ride to work this morning. The same applies to sportives; as long you understand the reality of what you are doing, and ride within the rules of the event and laws of road, then how you approach it in the privacy of your own mind is up to you.
    I understand why people can't promote these events as races but in effect if you organise a sportive with all the entails - timing, published results, feed stops so people can refuel and get on their way - then you are organising a kind of race. I take the point about having to abide by the HIghway Code but time trials and road races are also on open roads and the Highway Code applies to them too.

    In a way what this guy or his club has done is break the omerta that in fact sportive riders are all out for a tootle round some challenging terrain. I agree he/they shouldn't have done it because of the legal situation but nobody is telling me there aren't riders in every sportive who are racing to "win" it.

    The bigger picture though, is how your behaviour affects the attitudes of others towards the event. Sportives categorically are not races, and do not become so just because some riders would like them to be. We've been involved in negotiations and discussions in the past ten to fifteen years, to establish an acceptable definition of sportives and their MTB equivalents, as opposed to racing. The definitions of a race that have been agreed by all parties for these purposes include promoting competition between riders, declaring winners, awarding of prizes based on performance, publishing of results in time order and holding podium style presentations. Throw in the fact that honest, 100% completion of the course by any rider can't be verified, and the difference between a sportive and a race is pretty clear.

    This acceptance of the event format is only by agreement though; it is not protected by any form of legislation and has never been tested in a court of law. For these events to continue to flourish, it's best that they are seen to be self managing, rather than for them to be legislated. That's why this matters. We don't promote our event as a race, and it is not Reading CCs place to incorrectly do so for their own publicity. If one person turns up at the event next year with their race head on because they read it was a race in the Reading Post, then that's one more potential incident waiting to happen that could undermine the status of sportives in the UK.
    Martin

    trailbreak.co.uk
    southernsportive.com
  • amaferanga wrote:
    A sportive without timing? That's an audax isn't it.

    I won a sportive the year I started racing. Didn't win a single race though even against 4th Cats only.

    No, you are wrong. Up to 6 years ago, give or take, no Uk sportive had electronic timing, but route cards instead. Electronic timing has been introduced as an upgrade, to lure the middle aged competitive lot into events which are by nature not competitive (but challening). The result is an explosion of NON challenging events on various flatlands which become the perfect field for unofficial competition.
    That normally is not a problem for anybody, as rivalry and competitiveness are seen on sunday rides as well.
    The paradox is when the organisers promote competitiveness on one hand (what's the need for standards, medals and official results on the web?) and claim they promote a NON competitive event on the other
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    amaferanga wrote:
    A sportive without timing? That's an audax isn't it.

    I won a sportive the year I started racing. Didn't win a single race though even against 4th Cats only.

    No, you are wrong. Up to 6 years ago, give or take, no Uk sportive had electronic timing, but route cards instead. Electronic timing has been introduced as an upgrade, to lure the middle aged competitive lot into events which are by nature not competitive (but challening). The result is an explosion of NON challenging events on various flatlands which become the perfect field for unofficial competition.
    That normally is not a problem for anybody, as rivalry and competitiveness are seen on sunday rides as well.
    The paradox is when the organisers promote competitiveness on one hand (what's the need for standards, medals and official results on the web?) and claim they promote a NON competitive event on the other

    Wrong about what exactly? It's not at all clear from your post what point you're addressing nor what point you're trying to make!
    More problems but still living....
  • amaferanga wrote:
    amaferanga wrote:
    A sportive without timing? That's an audax isn't it.

    I won a sportive the year I started racing. Didn't win a single race though even against 4th Cats only.

    No, you are wrong. Up to 6 years ago, give or take, no Uk sportive had electronic timing, but route cards instead. Electronic timing has been introduced as an upgrade, to lure the middle aged competitive lot into events which are by nature not competitive (but challening). The result is an explosion of NON challenging events on various flatlands which become the perfect field for unofficial competition.
    That normally is not a problem for anybody, as rivalry and competitiveness are seen on sunday rides as well.
    The paradox is when the organisers promote competitiveness on one hand (what's the need for standards, medals and official results on the web?) and claim they promote a NON competitive event on the other

    Wrong about what exactly? It's not at all clear from your post what point you're addressing nor what point you're trying to make!

    You are wrong in thinking that timing chips are the essence of a sportive. They aren't. A sportive is a non competitive organised ride, which is signed and catered for. An audax is an organised ride with no signage or catering provided (some food can be available at discretion of the organisers)
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    amaferanga wrote:
    amaferanga wrote:
    A sportive without timing? That's an audax isn't it.

    I won a sportive the year I started racing. Didn't win a single race though even against 4th Cats only.

    No, you are wrong. Up to 6 years ago, give or take, no Uk sportive had electronic timing, but route cards instead. Electronic timing has been introduced as an upgrade, to lure the middle aged competitive lot into events which are by nature not competitive (but challening). The result is an explosion of NON challenging events on various flatlands which become the perfect field for unofficial competition.
    That normally is not a problem for anybody, as rivalry and competitiveness are seen on sunday rides as well.
    The paradox is when the organisers promote competitiveness on one hand (what's the need for standards, medals and official results on the web?) and claim they promote a NON competitive event on the other

    Wrong about what exactly? It's not at all clear from your post what point you're addressing nor what point you're trying to make!

    You are wrong in thinking that timing chips are the essence of a sportive. They aren't. A sportive is a non competitive organised ride, which is signed and catered for. An audax is an organised ride with no signage or catering provided (some food can be available at discretion of the organisers)

    No. You're wrong. An audax is about wearing sandals, telling boring stories about PBP 1991, steel bikes with mudguards and enormous saddlebags and fat men with beards.
    More problems but still living....
  • amaferanga wrote:
    amaferanga wrote:
    amaferanga wrote:
    A sportive without timing? That's an audax isn't it.

    I won a sportive the year I started racing. Didn't win a single race though even against 4th Cats only.

    No, you are wrong. Up to 6 years ago, give or take, no Uk sportive had electronic timing, but route cards instead. Electronic timing has been introduced as an upgrade, to lure the middle aged competitive lot into events which are by nature not competitive (but challening). The result is an explosion of NON challenging events on various flatlands which become the perfect field for unofficial competition.
    That normally is not a problem for anybody, as rivalry and competitiveness are seen on sunday rides as well.
    The paradox is when the organisers promote competitiveness on one hand (what's the need for standards, medals and official results on the web?) and claim they promote a NON competitive event on the other

    Wrong about what exactly? It's not at all clear from your post what point you're addressing nor what point you're trying to make!

    You are wrong in thinking that timing chips are the essence of a sportive. They aren't. A sportive is a non competitive organised ride, which is signed and catered for. An audax is an organised ride with no signage or catering provided (some food can be available at discretion of the organisers)

    No. You're wrong. An audax is about wearing sandals, telling boring stories about PBP 1991, steel bikes with mudguards and enormous saddlebags and fat men with beards.

    Maybe...
    You should consider PBP... that is a real challenge... sucking somebody's wheel for six hours, climbing up and down a few bumps and dips and getting a gold plated piece of nickel is one thing, cycling from Paris to Brest and back in 90 hours and sleeping rough is way more manly... you need real hairy balls for that :D

    Read about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris%E2%8 ... 80%93Paris
    it's fascinating
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