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Advice on my first Sportive?

PLuKEPLuKE Posts: 181
Well guys I entered my first Sportive!

The route is 50m/80k, I am really looking forwards to doing it, but slightly nervous.

I haven't done 50 miles before, just 40mile ride.

Any advice on what I should be doing pre sportive? I have a few gels and energy bars to take.

Regarding the ride itself, any advice, build slow? I want to be competitive also.

2013 Merida Ride 93 Carbon


  • gethincerigethinceri Posts: 1,480
    Approach it exactly as your 40 miler, chat with other riders and enjoy the scenery. After the event you'll know how it all works and your approach to your next one will be less nervy.
    Have a nice carby dinner the evening before, don't forget to drink and eat during the event, oh and make sure you toilet in advance.
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    First things first ENJOY IT!!!!
    If you can do 40 you can do 50!
    I recently did my first(65 Roses Holme Moss Classic) and I too was nervous.I'd ridden most of the climbs etc on various other routes but not together.I opted for the short route,46 miles and 3660ft of climbing.I set myself a target of 10mph average as I generally average 13mph on 30-35 milers with 2500ft+ of ascent.
    In the end I averaged 13.4mph and got Strava PBs on every climb.I came 26th out of 52 riders and actually beat some club riders which surprised me.It was a real buzz as it was a mass start(almost 500 riders) and the first 3.5 miles was on closed roads.Brillant!
    My one regret when I finished was not doing the long 65.8 miles/5956ft ascent :roll:
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Try not to walk up hills if at all possible. It encourages others to do the same.
    Try not to be encouraged to walk when you see others doing it.
    Stop and have a rest if its a tough hill, but try to continue on your bike, not next to it.

    This is genuine advice, not me trying to sound all macho.
    I run too and feel its often the fact I never (very rarely) walk that stops me from walking when I have felt low.
    If you are used to walking, you are a lot more likely to give up and walk.

    Have a look at what hills are on the route and get some hill training in if you feel they are going to spoil your day.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 11,746
    As carbonator says above. Did my first 100 miler yesterday and after 80 miles i was struggling on any semi decent hill,so i got off waited a minute or so stretched my legs then set off again, only did this a couple of times but managed to complete the hills and didn't get off and walk which i refuse to do. Do the hill practice and don't overdo it just before the event.
    Enjoy it, go at your own pace its not a race.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    I completed my first 50 miler sportive at the weekend :D which I was nervous about as Id never really done anything as long in mileage or time ways before on the bike, but I commute fairly regularly and do extended weekend runs so I knew I had a decent core bike fitness.

    so I didnt really prep in terms of doing anything different or extra in terms of bike riding. But I did carb up the night before, and then in the morning had some porridge and a couple of large glasses of water before setting off.

    I took two bottles of water, a packet of jaffa cakes and some bananas with me on the bike, but they provided juice/haribo and bananas at the rest stops so I probably didnt need to take any fruit, but it didnt hurt to have them just in case.

    couple things I think helped big time, firstly I didnt try and match others faster pace from the start,youll know what is your own quick/normal/slow pace, and it is mixed ability,so youll get very quick club riders in with people who are slower than you.

    I got dropped by the wave of riders I set off with instantly and just assumed hey Im that much slower than they were and then got overtaken by some from the group behind and was panicking abit thinking ok Ive got this for 50miles, and my legs were still quite full of tense/nervous energy, but actually after about 5miles in and I relaxed abit, I caught most of my original group up again, who looked to be suffering abit from the faster pace theyd gone at initially so dont try and keep up with the really fast people just to be part of a group...but then due to the nature of the roads we ended up as quite an enlarged group as we caught more people up as well and followed each other for a while because it was a bit difficult to make progress in reasonable safety, so the first 10miles I wasnt going flat out as I might have done by myself, which again I think helped massively later on, so pacing works, but maybe pick a slower pace to match with for the first 10miles..

    And eventually you spread out into your own pace and after I cleared the group, I ended up really not seeing anyone much till the first rest stop.

    but use the rest stops because they do help even if you feel you are doing ok, its good to have a stop & stretch off the bike, even if its only a brief 10mins breather, but take as long as you need, you do then find yourself back in bunches again once you restart, but they tend to be smaller in size so easier to make progress through and more so as fatigue kicks in at different rates for people.

    Im not sure about gels, I didnt use any myself,but I saw quite a few people were using them, but it seemed to be purely bcause thats what they see the pros use, rather than they were actually doing them any good, I was quite happy with my jaffa cakes and bananas :lol:

    but yep enjoy it, I thoroughly enjoyed mine, and will definitely be signing up to do some more.
  • PLuKEPLuKE Posts: 181
    We'll guys, I thanks for the advice!

    I did my 50 in 3hrs and an average of 18mph. Really enjoyed it, and was surprised how quick I was for the first 25miles!

    I did have a gel, but didn't do anything for me! So won't use them again. Really happy apart from my saddle. Which was killing me around 8miles from the end, which did slow me down a lot! I was cruising around 18-21mph, but my sit bones killed me, so was down to 15mph.

    Lessons? Eat more carbs the night before, slightly bigger breakfast and new saddle.

    Awavry. Did you do the Cycle Swarm?
    2013 Merida Ride 93 Carbon
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Well done, glad you enjoyed it and keen for more :wink:
    Really good pace too.

    I have to have a big breakfast also. Some will say its a bad idea but everyone is different and it works for me.

    Maybe your saddle is fine and you just need better shorts.
    What shorts/pad do you have?
    What type of saddle were you planning on getting. i.e. how would it differ from current one?
    Don't go out and get a big padded saddle. It just needs to fit you, the padding needs to be in the shorts.
    Chamois creme?

    Did you get in with any groups/other riders?
    Try to do that next time if not. Helps with average speed and makes the whole thing more interesting.
  • alanp23alanp23 Posts: 696
    Yes, very well done.

    I hope that you enjoyed it. Ironically, its very much an individual challenge despite the fact that you have all those like minded souls around you. The appeal for me is always the fact that someone is always there to give you encouragement and that always helps get you round.

    Sounds like an extra dash of chamois cream might be secret for the last few miles. :wink:
    Top Ten finisher - PTP Tour of Britain 2016
  • kingstoniankingstonian Posts: 2,847
    I avoid gels, have never liked them. On rides of that distance I will have a water bottle (normally with something like Ribena or similar) and one or max two snack bars (Johnsons Frusli bars being my current favourite). I have never needed more than that, any more and I actually find it is counterproductive as it just sits heavy in my stomach.
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