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Top 5 tips to prepare for a bike sportive

   Words by ZAC Cycles

   on 23/05/2018 11:02:40

Top 5 tips to prepare for a bike sportiveIf bike sportives are fairly new to you or maybe you’re about to attempt your first one, getting organised and just making it to the start line can seem more daunting than the ride itself.  We have put together our top 5 tips to help you avoid the pre-event panic and included a few links to some useful articles to give you a bit more info.

Some might sound obvious but we all know someone who has left a wheel propped up against the garage door, been out for a ‘sociable’ drink the night before and got home at 2am or turned up with only one cycling shoe!  Don’t be that person, take a look at these top tips for preparing and enjoying your sportive.

#1 - Get your gear out

Pack your bag the night before; clothing for every weather eventuality, helmet, shoes, food, bottles, your bike (sounds obvious but setting off to an event without your bike has been done before!). Don’t forget to pack a few spares too, just because you are doing an event doesn’t mean you can’t still have minor mechanicals. The usual stuff will do; pump, tyre levers, couple of tubes (depending on length of event) and a multi-tool is always a bonus.

#2 – Bike TLC

Check for any bike maintenance issues the week before not the day before. Are your brake pads worn, are your tyres in good condition after riding them through winter, should your chain be that orange colour, will you need two bottle cages? Often there might be a friendly mechanic at the start of a sportive but they are usually just for last minute fixes not giving your bike a full service. Top tip - take a look at your gearing too, will you be needing granny gears to get you up any hills during the event?

Top 5 tips to prepare for a bike sportive     Top 5 tips to prepare for a bike sportive

#3 – Planning and logistics

Unless you have a photographic memory maybe take a quick peek at the event details again. Double check start times, any special parking instructions, do you know how long it will take you to drive to the HQ (allowing for any getting lost detours).

Some people like the route to be a nice surprise and others like to analyse every lump and bump and fast section. Routes will usually be well-marked so there is no need to memorise every twist and turn but it can be a good idea to know roughly which direction you should be riding.

#4 – Nail those nerves

Whether it’s your first sportive or your hundredth, those nerves can creep up and bite even the best of us. Deep breath……..focus on the fun day out and most of all have some confidence in yourself and the training you have done. Most people get nervous to some degree, even the pro’s, but get organised, arrive in plenty of time on event day and just enjoy it.

I’ve yet to ride a sportive where everyone wasn’t super friendly, encouraging and probably feeling a bit nervous themselves. I can guarantee (from personal experience) once you are over the start line and on your way you’ll be too busy taking in the views and enjoying a lovely day out on your bike to even think about feeling nervous.

#5 – Food glorious food

If you have been living off larger, chips and pies for 3 months before the event then a sudden switch to salads, mountains of veg and spring water fresh from the Lakeland Fells probably isn’t going to have much impact. However, trying to keep relatively healthy in the days leading up to your sportive with plenty of sleep, eating regular nutritious meals and avoiding all-night drinking sessions at your local will go a long way to helping you feel at your best on event day. For tips on cycling snacks for the ride and pre-event fuelling take a look at our previous article here.

Top 5 tips to prepare for a bike sportive     Top 5 tips to prepare for a bike sportive     Top 5 tips to prepare for a bike sportive

Extra info and tips to prepare for a bike sportive

For more suggestions on how to beat that pre-event panic have a read of these articles and pick up some extra tips on preparing for your next sportive. Good luck and enjoy the ride! – solid advice about event preparations including what to do the night before a sportive, pacing yourself during the ride and getting your head in gear for the ride. Written by Matt Stephens a former British Road Race Champion who has also represented GB in the Olympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games.

British Cycling – advice on how to be prepared on sportive day with additional links to nutrition tips for pre-event, during the ride and what to eat after all the hard work is done.

British Cycling – plenty of top tips for nailing those nerves on event day. Well worth a read if you are prone to butterflies in your stomach on the start line.

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