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A Sportif virgin. Will it hurt?

Never done a Sportif or is it Sportive before so I entered the Wheelbase one to test the water.
Info from organisers is sadly lacking. They even had two separate days for the ride before the error was noticed.
So what goes on at these things? Do I have to roll up and have bike and helmet pulled to bits by a 15year old posing as a safety marshal? Do I have to have a number on the bike?

Do I have to stop at the food halt which is less than half way round? What is the general etiquette on these rides?
About the only thing I've picked up so far is not to leave a trail of gel sachets behind me. Anything else I should know?

Posts

  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Turn up in time, register, attach a number and / or a timing chip, shuffle to the start and off you go. No compulsion to stop at / use the feed stops.

    Pace yourself and try not to be a danger to yourself and others by riding like a knob.

    Helmets usually obligatory, and you should come equipped to fix a puncture or two
  • I guess it hurts as much as ride of that distance usually would, a bit less if you have a group and you can share the work.

    Generally speaking they are a bit pricey for what they are, but a great excuse to ride a new route in an unknown part of the country.

    Feedstations are reflective of the uk public. Some people stuff their pockets, some only take what they need.

    Only thing to bear in mind is it's often good etiquette to ask if you want to ride on someone's wheel, rather than just latching on.

    Numbers are a good idea so you can get your photos / they know you have entered. Helmets obligatory for insurance usually.
  • Thanks guys.
    I don't do a lot of bunch riding; the most I ever go with is one mate. Riding en masse is what most frightens me. Seems like they are setting us off in groups of 10, but that's no guarantee of bunch sizes on the road.

    I know I can get round OK on my own. This will be a totally new experience for me.
  • Riding in a group is pretty straightforward, you just need to concentrate and communicate.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Thanks guys.
    I don't do a lot of bunch riding; the most I ever go with is one mate. Riding en masse is what most frightens me. Seems like they are setting us off in groups of 10, but that's no guarantee of bunch sizes on the road.

    I know I can get round OK on my own. This will be a totally new experience for me.

    It's normally fairly easy to get spread out. In your case I'd be wary of bunch riding - you do not know who you're following - and they may be less experienced than you.
    If you find yourself following a wheel - don't trust them - look ahead and not at their back wheel - they may give signals, but they may not.
    If you do get a follower then please do point out road features (holes) and obstacles if possible - it's not obligatory, but it's certainly a friendly thing to do - and why would you do a sportive if you're not going to be friendly?

    If you find it all gets a bit much, slow down/speed up to drop the tail or drop off the persons wheel you're following.... nothing wrong with doing your own thing for a bit...
  • you just need to concentrate and communicate.

    Yes :idea: but it's all new to me and I just know I'll get it wrong :evil:

    I'm accustomed to being Billy No Mates and I'm worried that I'll revert to type :oops:
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    you just need to concentrate and communicate.

    Yes :idea: but it's all new to me and I just know I'll get it wrong :evil:

    I'm accustomed to being Billy No Mates and I'm worried that I'll revert to type :oops:

    I just bimble round at my own pace; occasionally I'll have somebody to chat to, but most of the time I'm being overtaken or riding on my own. Not sure I'll bother with any more mass participation rides TBH
  • orraloonorraloon Posts: 8,270
    Did my first sportive last year. I'm not a youngster, and part of it was doing it for the experience of the mass event. Had some trepidation beforehand about how I'd fit in to a big event with lots of other riders around me, having never ridden in a group of more than 4 pals before, not knowing the protocols etc etc.

    As it turned out, thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Might even do another this year. As predictable I started off too fast for the first hour in a group, did enjoy the chat and passing on of knowledge when I explained I was a novice. But then wised up that over my correct pace, backed off a bit, relaxed, got into my groove, then spent rest of ride in various combinations of solo, riding with similar paced riders for spells, just doing what felt right for me and interacting with the riders around me at whatever stage of the event.

    Will it hurt? Not if you pace yourself right, and do enough training beforehand that the distance / terrain is not too far above what you've already done and you'll be fine. Enjoy it.
  • Thanks keef and oraloon. The distance will be no problem. Route finding will be no problem - I have a gpx to follow. I'm pretty handy with maps so can plot my own routes of whatever length and severity(or not) that I choose.

    In my prime I was quite a good tester, and that involves solo riding, so no problem there.

    It goes against the grain a bit to pay to go for a road ride, but lots of folk do and if I don't try one I'll never know what I'm missing. Suppose deep down I just don't want to look like a plonker on a fancy bike. All the gear etc....
  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    On all the sportives I have done (which is only a few) I have set off at my own pace and spent the majority of the time after the first few minutes on my own. Sometimes people pass me, occasionally I pass people. I rarely end up on anybody’s wheel and don’t often have anybody on mine. Make sure not to blindly follow the bike in front too - they are not always on the same ride as you or they may have missed the route marker (in which case a friendly shout is often polite).

    Typical routine:

    Arrive, park, find out where the registration point is - if it’s near the car park walk over with your helmet and get your number/timing chip then go back to sort yourself and bike out. If it’s some way away and near the ride start sort yourself and your bike out and take it all with you to registration.

    Then go to the start, listen to the briefing and go when they say go. Don’t forget to start your computer/Strava/whatever.

    There is often tech support around the start, maybe a stall selling bits and bobs and somewhere to get water/energy drink. Sometimes also a food vendor for pre-ride sustenance if you have time.

    The route will be marked which they should explain at the briefing. They should also provide emergency numbers in case you need medical or mechanical help. The feed stops are not compulsory and I tend to decide as I approach them if I need the food/drink/rest. There’s usually mechanical support here too, and toilets.

    Best not to overthink it and just enjoy the ride. When you finish you’ll maybe get a medal, then it’s time to pack up and go home - perhaps after visiting the food vendor for a celebratory bacon roll.
    Cube Reaction GTC Pro 29 for the lumpy stuff
    Cannondale Synapse alloy with 'guards for the winter roads
    Fuji Altamira 2.7 for the summer roads
    Trek 830 Mountain Track frame turned into a gravel bike - for anywhere & everywhere
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    First one I did I chose the 70 mile option, and when we were really spaced out I missed a sign for a left turn. I'd added a hilly 16 miles by the time I'd retraced my steps and rejoined the route. :oops:

    I bought a Garmin shortly afterwards...
  • I've got a Garmin. An eTrex that I use on the hills, but it gives me turn by turn directions with plenty of warning. And it means I can use my 520 to keep me up to date with distances etc. And it will record an exact trail for me.

    Just been out today on a 70 miler to check that the system does what I want. And it does, so that's navigation sorted.
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 4,434
    Nice one. If you can ride 70mile solo this will be a breeze. Enjoy.
  • Nice one. If you can ride 70mile solo this will be a breeze. Enjoy.

    I can ride 70 miles solo a darn sight easier than I can ride 70 miles in a group!
    And I get to pick my own route, within my limits (Today was [email protected]!!!)
    https://www.strava.com/activities/2183606713 if you are interested.
    I know there will be a couple of hills on the sportive that I will have to walk up. Embarrassing, but who cares?
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    just go out and enjoy it - ride at whatever pace you want, look at girls/blokes as you want and just enjoy it.

    its a ride on a road. thats it.

    ignore clubbie twonks, chat to people, have a laugh.

    post back on here afterwards.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • capt_slogcapt_slog Posts: 3,531
    figbat wrote:
    On all the sportives I have done (which is only a few) I have set off at my own pace and spent the majority of the time after the first few minutes on my own........

    .......... for a celebratory bacon roll.

    This ^

    I've been on a few besides the Ride London100, and that is basically what happens. You have to remember that there probably won't be that many of you (relatively) and you're spaced out over a lot of road. It can happen that you might not see anyone else for ages.

    Even on the RL100, I didn't ride with any 'groups'. Personally, I find pace is a very subtle thing, I want to be going at the speed I want, not a bit faster or slower, so I don't see a lot of bunch riding.

    Edit to add...
    The last one I was on, the friendly NIMBY brigade decided to take the signs down or re-route them. The irony was, that without the signs we were there for much longer and going back and forth over the same bit of road trying to find the right turning :lol:


    The older I get, the better I was.

  • Thanks Captain.
    I already have a gpx of the route so should not need to rely on signs on posts. Anyway, there always seem to be plenty of spurious signs left over from previous events which just confuse the issue.
  • capt_slogcapt_slog Posts: 3,531
    I didn't see the [email protected] bit until later. Did you mean you've done a 70 mile on your 70th birthday? :shock:

    Edit.
    Ah, I see that you did (well almost).

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    The older I get, the better I was.

  • Hi Capn.
    Not exactly on the exact birthday...that is the day before the Sportif and whilst I may be daft I'm not stupid!!!
    I'm not in the local club so won't get pilloried too much. (And even if I do, I don't care!!!)
    I'll reply to your Strava comment shortly.
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