What To Think About Before Riding A Sportive

Are you challenging yourself this summer by entering a sportive?  Being able to ride your bike with lots of people and feeling like you have achieved something at the end of it is great, especially with the fantastic countryside we have right on our door step.  There is a sportive for everyone with a variation of distances available for you to choose from and a choice between road and cyclo-cross.

If you haven't entered one this year there is still time, or maybe you are just looking to get a bit fitter on the bike?  A sportive can be a great way to ride in a new place on new roads without having to think of the route or getting lost, which is always handy!  We have a few tips that could help you this year on your bike and a few local sportive we think will be a good ride.

Do’s and Dont’s when ridng a sportive

Do
  1. Look at the route of your chosen sportive. Try and ride on a similar terrain and gradually work up to the distance, make your training plan specific to you and the event.
  2. Ensure your bike is comfortable to ride for the duration of the event. If you are comfortable on your bike it more enjoyable!
  3. Get used to eating while on your bike. You don't want to be running out of energy before the finish!
  4. Learn to ride in a group, get out on a ride with your local club before to get a feel for group riding.
  5. Enjoy it!
Don't
  1. Make sure you have the right kit for the event, don't leave it to last minute to get everything together.
  2.  Don't use new equipment for the first time on event day, try and test it on multiple rides before hand.
  3. Don't set off to fast, pace your ride, you don't want to blow before the end.
  4. Don't go to the event tired, make sure you have slept well and eased back your training a bit leading up to the event.

Preperation

What do we mean by preparation? Preparation for a sportive covers many things from actually riding your bike and making sure your bike works.

 

  1. On the bike
  2. Strength and conditioning
  3. Stretching and Massage

On the Bike:

You may think this is all a bit to much, but depending on your goals and how much effort you want to put into your event.  Incorporating other forms of training will be beneficial to your cycling.  Find more info about cross training here and here. For on the bike training the British Cycling website has some plans to help you here .  When training try to increase the amount you are doing gradually.  The sooner you start your training and more time you have to train, the greater the progression you will make before your event.  Try and incorporate a group ride into your training, riding in a group is a good skill to learn as there will be lot of people around you in a sportive. Being comfortable in a group will make the experience of having lots of people around you in the sportive better.

Bike Mechanics-

  1. Has your bike been checked over?
  2. Can you change a puncture?

Before the event it is a good idea to get your bike check over to ensure it is in working order so there is less chance of you having mechanicals on the day. While on your ride you could experience a mechanical and yes there will be mechanics around for helping you but don't just rely on that. See if you can learn to change a puncture incase you need to. For this you need a puncture repair kit or a spare inner tube, tire leavers and a pump. I would advise you take two spare inner tubes with you.

To learn how to change an inner tube click here and for how to repair a puncture click here 

Bike Position-

  1. Comfort
  2. Reduce injury risk
  3. Speed

A big factor effecting your enjoyment on the bike is how comfortable you are on the bike, this is effected by your bike position , the clothing you are wearing and how long you are used to riding your bike for. It is a good idea to get some cycling specific shorts, this will increase comfort on the bike. Make sure you have wet weather gear!

Bike Fitting Apps

If your bike position is wrong it can cause injury/discomfort and even reduce power output. Saddle height and cleat position are key areas associated with on the bike discomfort and injury. If you want to check your position or see if you could improve your position without spending too much money.  There are apps available for you to download for you too look at your bike position at home. Apps  like Bike fit fast and The bike fit can give  you a good indication of where your position is and where it ideally should be. The benefits of these apps are that you can use it in your own home.  They have been said to be quite accurate (review) and they don't cost a lot.

However they do not come with the expertise of a professional bike fitter, who do bike fits on a regular basis.  A bike fitter may be able to spot something that the app cant and help you with more accurate measurements.  You have to remember not all bike fits are the same and bike positions are not generic. Your flexibility and a current/previous injury can affect your ability to get the ideal position, this potentially reducing power transfer on the bike.  A bike fitter or a cycling specific therapist will be able assess you and ensure the position on the bike is right for you.

Strength and conditioning

Even if you are not riding a sportive it is still beneficial to do other forms of training along side your cycling to help with stabilising yourself on the bike and reducing injury risk.  Check out our YouTube channel for cycling specific exercises for strength and mobility HERE, Or try our Sports Conditioning Class

Massage

People often forget that recovery is just as important as training and to increase your recovery, massage is a great. Learn more about the benefits of massage here.

If you haven’t already chosen your sportive for the year then take a look at these suggestions below. There is something for everyone!

What do we offer?

We offer a 3-Step scientific based Bike Fit Packages through our evidence informed approach, there are Different levels of bike fit to suit everyone's needs. The main benefit is you are getting assessed by cycling injury sports therapist who will identify issues with you to make your bikefit bespoke to you.

Step 1 Musculor-skeletal assessment

Step 2 Personal Rehabilitation plan

Step 3 Scientific Bike Fit (discipline-specific) using video analysis

These three aspects all come together with our qualified bike fitter and therapist, to give you the most comfortable position on your bike. As well as reducing the chance of injury occurring and improving your performance through personalised exercises and bike fit.

Find out more information on our website.

Remember to enjoy your cycling!