Sportive Races are hugely popular all over the world as well as here in the UK. Sportive Bike Races can be compared to running a marathon for a runner. Sportive races are usually between 50 and 150 miles long, and run all year round - with understandably more Sportive races taking place in the summer months. Sportive routes usually take place over challenging terrain, with plenty of hills, climbs and descents to test riders.
These events are usually very well run and supported, with breakdown recovery, refuelling stations, timing and a GPS route available. These races are also fantastic opportunities for socialising, and meeting like minded cyclists.
As a guide to Sportive events, we have written some of the most common pitfalls and mistakes that competitors inexperienced and experience alike, make:
Lack of Fitness Training
Sportive events are hugely physical undertakings, cycling over long distances at maximum pace. Before undertaking a Sportive event, it’s important to have practice runs and an honest assessment of your levels of fitness.
Training needs to concentrate on how you pace your ride, allowing you to sustain a good speed and forward momentum across the full span of the race. Think about your heart rate during training and power zones, and remember not to burn out during a Sportive race in the early stages.
As part of your training, try and use different drink formulas and mixes. Race day is not the day to be trying new energy mixes and drinks, which may cause an upset stomach. Ensure adequate hydration on the run up to the race, not just during the race.
It’s important to ride prepared depending upon where you are riding. Tight fitting race clothing is a must, with no rider wanting the distractions and aerodynamically poor baggy clothing. Windproof cycling gilets are an excellent choice for colder conditions. Leg and arm warmers are also a good choice for colder days.
Not learning the route
Although you do not need to know the route inch by inch, it’s well worth studying the route in some detail prior to racing. This allows you to navigate any areas which are not well waymarked.
Ride to the Conditions
Ride to the conditions, just because you are racing does not mean that you should take unnecessary risks that can harm you and others around you.
Turning Up Late
You cannot expect to finish the race in good time - if you do not turn up in good time. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the race in a calm and focussed state.
If you have an excellent race, brilliant. If you do not have an excellent race, then you have still had an excellent training session.