General Question on Sportives

Dizeee
Dizeee Posts: 337
edited February 2014 in Road general
I have never done one before, and have now found out I am not in the London100, so have been looking at Wiggle Sportives.


Few simple questions -

1) Parking, is it generally decent and accessible or is it an absolute nightmare?

2) I have an Edge 200 - do they have a marked route out on the road, can I download it as a breadcrumb trail and do you need a better Garmin to download the file?

3) Is there food & nutrition + inner tubes on the route or do I need to take a bulls scrotum of flapjack and inner tubes with me dangling from the seatpost?

4) Is Wiggle a good company, are there any other companies worth looking at?


I think that's it for now, many thanks. My plan is to do at least two, the Waterlooville Mega Meon Epic in July and then the South Downs Epic in October.

Comments

  • To answer question 3, I use a mutton scrotum to hold my tubes... the skin is lighter and stretchier and weighs less...
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  • esdel
    esdel Posts: 28
    1) Parking, its always very good, some have over 2 thousand competitors, so there has to be room

    2) I have an Edge 200 - they are always superbly marked, its almost impossible to go wrong

    3) Is there food & nutrition + inner tubes on the route , feed stations are always there some times two, there is a mobile mechanic that goes around the route, but you should take enough for one puncture

    4) Is Wiggle a good company, are there any other companies worth looking at? cat answer that one as i mostly cycle the wiggle ones, i do about 8 a year.
  • Dizeee wrote:
    1) Parking, is it generally decent and accessible or is it an absolute nightmare?
    At the Wiggle event I did last year there was a big car park. Got a bit muddy though...
    2) I have an Edge 200 - do they have a marked route out on the road, can I download it as a breadcrumb trail and do you need a better Garmin to download the file?
    Plenty of signage and lots of people on the route
    3) Is there food & nutrition + inner tubes on the route or do I need to take a bulls scrotum of flapjack and inner tubes with me dangling from the seatpost?
    There were stops with flapjack, gels etc but you need to take your own tubes and tools on these things.
    4) Is Wiggle a good company, are there any other companies worth looking at?
    I also did an Evans event last year which was very good, cheaper than wiggle as well. Or join a club and go on a sportive every weekend! (though it is nice to do something special once in a while)
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Not sure your training plan should include a 100 mile ride so close to the 100 mile event you are training for.
    The one in October is a little late too :D

    wiggle and Evans ones would both be good but as has been said I would join a club to get used to group riding/pick up tips, and do a couple of sportives to get used to doing events.
  • jotko
    jotko Posts: 457
    I have done just the one Sportive, but it was a Wiggle one (Wiggle Mendips Sportive).

    1) Parking
    There was loads at the one I went to but I guess they are all different. I rode to the 5 miles to the start, although the ride home after 96 miles was hard work (made it up to a century though)

    2) Route
    Was really well marked. I downloaded the course into my edge 500 as a breadcrumb but didnt really use it.

    3) Food
    There were feeding stops with loads of fruit. flapjack, fig rolls, gels, energy drink etc. It was better than I expected.

    4) Is Wiggle a good company
    Only done one, but would definitely do a Wiggle one again, seemed very well organised. Is it worth the money? I thought it probably was.
  • vimfuego
    vimfuego Posts: 1,783
    I've done loads of the Wiggle Series events & they are all seriously well organised (UK Cycling Events run them & they do a great job). As above, the Evans series is great value too.
    TBH the Wiggle ones are perfect if you just want to show up & ride with minimal hassle - parking is always good, routes are well marked, GPS routes available, mechanical support etc etc. Bring enough food to get you to the first feedstop & you'll be OK from there. Whilst you can pick up an inner tube at the feed stops, you should always carry a spare tube or two & enough basic tools on these events to "get you home" - as with any ride. No need to go crazy though - you can do it with what you can carry in your pockets / small scrotum bag
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  • Just pitch up on the day and enjoy yourself. Bring enough for a puncture or two but otherwise no need to carry more than sensible clothing and nutrition.

    Done the Evans, Wiggle and Cycling Weekly ones and without exception all have been well organised and the other riders have been extremely friendly and helpful. I use a Garmin 200 with the breadcrumb trail but hardly ever need it for navigation due to the great signage and number of other riders out there.

    Go for the standard route as a starter and you can always bail out to the shorter route or press on to the long one depending on how you feel.

    Good luck and enjoy yourself.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    As everyone else has said - these events are fine - carry spares that you would on a normal solo/small group ride.
    The food/drink stops are always well stacked at the wiggle/Ukcycling event ones (not done the Evans ones so can't comment)
    Mechanical support is there - fortunately the most I've ever used is a borrowed standpump off a marshal - much easier than the bike pump or using a gas cylinder!
    Wiggle/UKCE routes are available as GPX downloads as well as printed maps - but they're usually well signposted (sometimes disgruntled locals tear down signs - but UKCE do try and keep on top of that) - I've never got lost during one - although my brother did go the wrong way in France last year ... gave me a chance to catch up!
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    edited February 2014
    Dizeee wrote:
    I have never done one before, and have now found out I am not in the London100, so have been looking at Wiggle Sportives.

    Good choice as these are well organised. But also look at the "Ride It" events on evanscycles.com
    1) Parking, is it generally decent and accessible or is it an absolute nightmare?

    Usually very good. They expect most people to arrive by car so parking is provided accordingly. Occasionally you have to park a little way away but then you just ride into the event centre, so no issue. It's usually a school, football club, horse racing course etc.
    2) I have an Edge 200 - do they have a marked route out on the road, can I download it as a breadcrumb trail and do you need a better Garmin to download the file?

    There will be signs at every junction telling you which way to go, that's the point of sportives, no need to navigate, just ride.
    3) Is there food & nutrition + inner tubes on the route or do I need to take a bulls scrotum of flapjack and inner tubes with me dangling from the seatpost?

    Depending your distance choice there will be several food stops, usually every 20 miles or so, with a selection of flapjack, bananas, sweets, energy gels and drinks, so you won't need to take any food. Take your own tubes however, they may have some spares but there's no guarantees.
    4) Is Wiggle a good company, are there any other companies worth looking at?

    Wiggle (through UK cycling events) and Evans are the two main ones.
    I think that's it for now, many thanks. My plan is to do at least two, the Waterlooville Mega Meon Epic in July and then the South Downs Epic in October.

    Bah, HTFU and do more! One a month is my goal this year although the calendar makers don't always help.

    The difference between that and Ride London is of course that it's all on open roads, but most I've done go out of their way to get you onto quiet roads for the majority of the route, plus having quite a few riders around you helps, however IME after 15-20 the field spreads out a bit so and you are often out on your own.
  • mbthegreat wrote:
    I also did an Evans event last year which was very good, cheaper than wiggle as well. Or join a club and go on a sportive every weekend! (though it is nice to do something special once in a while)

    I do sportives and I ride with my local club and have to say the two are very different experiences, I enjoy both - and riding on my own of course.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    1) Parking, is it generally decent and accessible or is it an absolute nightmare?
    Depends - but arrive earlier and you'll have an easier time. Rock up with 5 mins to go and you won't.

    2) I have an Edge 200 - do they have a marked route out on the road, can I download it as a breadcrumb trail and do you need a better Garmin to download the file?
    Most have arrows to follow.

    3) Is there food & nutrition + inner tubes on the route or do I need to take a bulls scrotum of flapjack and inner tubes with me dangling from the seatpost?
    It will tell you on the website. Obviously take your own spares with you - if you flat - you want to be able to fix it then and there rather than walking 20 miles to the food stop.


    4) Is Wiggle a good company, are there any other companies worth looking at?
    Wiggle are comparatively new. There are lots of clubs doing them and companies. Look for comments from people who have done them in the past.
  • fat_cat
    fat_cat Posts: 566
    1) Parking, is it generally decent and accessible or is it an absolute nightmare?

    As others have said usually plenty of parking but can be muddy if its lashed it down on the day.

    2) I have an Edge 200 - do they have a marked route out on the road, can I download it as a breadcrumb trail and do you need a better Garmin to download the file?

    I've done loads of Sportives with an Edge 200 and only got lost once! Signage on Wiggle Events is good.

    3) Is there food & nutrition + inner tubes on the route or do I need to take a bulls scrotum of flapjack and inner tubes with me dangling from the seatpost?

    As others have said food pletiful, but take some spare tubes etc.

    4) Is Wiggle a good company, are there any other companies worth looking at?

    Wiggle are fine as are Evans (who are cheaper), and tehre are lots of other independently run events taht are worth looking at. Rode the Mega Meon myself last year, and it's a nice ride and not too taxing.
  • Dizeee wrote:
    I think that's it for now, many thanks. My plan is to do at least two, the Waterlooville Mega Meon Epic in July and then the South Downs Epic in October.

    If those are local to you, then you might like this one http://www.evanscycles.com/pages/rideit ... march-2014
  • Dizeee
    Dizeee Posts: 337
    Thanks all, I am not in the London100 after all so will be doing only the sportives. I would do one every week, however weekends are totally out for me usually, so planning these two will involve a lot of hassle and annual leave.

    I have booked the Box Hill Classic 5th October which is nice as it is all and very local and known roads, and am looking at doing another before hand, however, most of the events that are near me I am unable to make due to other commitments.
  • davep1
    davep1 Posts: 836
    The British Cycling website has a list, and you can just google Sportives to find various different ones. I would say all of them will have an FAQ or information to explain about the facilities they have, what the signposting will be etc etc.
  • andyeb
    andyeb Posts: 407
    Can't really add much to all of the above, but I can say I've thoroughly enjoyed the Wiggle sportives I've done.

    Just one tip - take some toilet roll in a jersey bin; sometime the facilities around the course run out and you don't want to be caught short.
  • ednino
    ednino Posts: 684
    I did 10 of them last year

    The Chepstow one (Wye valley Warrior) was probably the best. LOADS of climbs, I really enjoyed that one.
  • jotko
    jotko Posts: 457
    ednino wrote:
    I did 10 of them last year

    The Chepstow one (Wye valley Warrior) was probably the best. LOADS of climbs, I really enjoyed that one.

    This is on my list this year.
  • taff..
    taff.. Posts: 81
    ednino wrote:
    I did 10 of them last year

    The Chepstow one (Wye valley Warrior) was probably the best. LOADS of climbs, I really enjoyed that one.

    I was going to ask about this one as I'm moving to the area in a couple of weeks time, it looks like a 'must do' and my first sportive :)
  • ednino
    ednino Posts: 684
    I did a few on the East side (Leicester, Peterborough etc..) but found them boring.

    Chepstow, Aberystwyth & Etape Cymru were the best I did. Just goes to show how good Wales is for cycling
  • gethinceri
    gethinceri Posts: 1,517
    +1 for Wye Valley Warrior, did it last year and planning to repeat this.
  • jmillen
    jmillen Posts: 627
    All been said above, but to just summarise my experiences anyway...

    Parking is usually well organised assuming it's a sportive that has been running for a while. Some of the newer ones can have teething issues with lack of experience of the venue. I've never really had any major issues...

    The majority have very good signage. A GPS does come in handy for certain sportives where locals have a tendancy to play games with the signs.

    Take your own tubes/tools. All the food stops I've experienced have been very good. Good selection, and lots of it.

    Where are you and how far are you willing to travel?
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