sportives before my sportive?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Hudson1984
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sportives before my sportive?

Postby Hudson1984 » 5 Feb 2020, 9:24pm

I'm intending to do the Norwich 100 this year with a friend.

He's a lot fitter : he's younger and generally he'll get round 100 miles a lot easier than me.

I hit a very slow 40 miler last weekend, and intend to do 40 miles on sundays in Feb, 50 in March, 60 in april and perhaps 70 in may, just to build up the endurance - I may however just stick to 50s and train differently within that distance.

Now, I've never ridden a sportive before so wondered if it's worth me doing a shorter one or two before hand.

My thinking was, either:
https://www.sportive.com/events/cambrid ... 99/cycling
and do the 52 miler.

or
https://www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk/event ... -sportive/
potentially hitting the 75 which would be a good tester of where I am.

I'm edging close to the cambridge classic, I know I can do 40 miles, just slowly, so building to 50 in a more comfortable pace shouldn't be a problem. 75 miles at the end of march might be optimistic but the 40 doesn't appeal to me as a challenge (if it were in yorkshire I think 10 miles would be a challenge!)

anyway, thoughts? should I look to do the 52, the 75 or just keep plugging away on the road and hit the 100 when it comes.

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Paulatic
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby Paulatic » 5 Feb 2020, 9:50pm

My advice would be keep your money in your pocket and just keep riding a little further every week.
A Sportive is no different to a bike ride except there will be some at the front treating it as a race. Best to avoid those sorts as they don’t stop at cafes.
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foxyrider
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby foxyrider » 5 Feb 2020, 10:05pm

The first sportive i did back in 2007 was 200km for which i trained by going for after work rides, none of which reached 50km let alone miles! Despite some trepidation on my part i got around pretty comfortably in something like 10 hours, i've done the same event another 9 times since on no training (i had Pneumonia the month before), a lot of training and more condensed efforts over @ 100km.

Unless you want to just experience one of these other events there's probably no real gain in taking part in advance of the 100. TBH its more important to address your riding and eating strategy than worrying too much over the distance (i think you'll easily do it on the schedule you've set yourself). You might want to plod along at a steady pace and see how it goes or use my tactic which is go at @ 90% for as far as possible, if i start getting too fatigued i can slow down much easier than speeding up if i'm riding steady and feel good. There are loads of threads on here regarding feeding during rides, experiment on your training rides to see what food works best for you but you won't go far wrong taking a little often, use the official feed stops but have some stuff in your pockets too.

Good luck :D
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Marcus Aurelius
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 6 Feb 2020, 12:25am

Yes, it’s always a good idea to get some experience of riding in large group events like chop fests Sportives. Learn how to use the other riders for draughts, to save energy on the flat bits, so you’ve got more in the tank for any climbs. Listen to ( and learn from ) the way people call out hazards, and signal. You might want to push your solo mileage to the point when you begin to run out of fuel, so you know where that’s likely to happen, and practice eating and drinking enough to lessen the effect. You can do certain things with your riding style and technique to help with this as well, and a practice sportive or two will certainly help. Enjoy it.

Hudson1984
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby Hudson1984 » 6 Feb 2020, 7:53am

well I've sold it to the wife :lol: weekend away in Cambridge but you'll have to go shopping whilst I do the ride... simple.

So going to give it a week or two, see how the legs feel and then book the 52 miler. Aim really will be to see an event, get used to the experience ahead of the 100. Time will be irrelevant purely do it to see that I can and get used to drink stops etc

hamster
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby hamster » 6 Feb 2020, 8:08am

It's worth it perhaps so you can judge the riding condiitons with lots of other riders. Speaking personally I rode a few sportives and then quit as they seemed to attract either testosterone-filled idiots who want to pretend to race (but won't get a licence) or alternatively a lot of people who are frankly dangerous to ride near - dangerous swerving etc.

Why not try your local CTC (sorry Cycling UK) group for something more laid-back. I still do two local events, the IoW Randonnee (very relaxed, no timings given) and the Gridiron in the New Forest.

pwa
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby pwa » 6 Feb 2020, 8:15am

hamster wrote:It's worth it perhaps so you can judge the riding condiitons with lots of other riders. Speaking personally I rode a few sportives and then quit as they seemed to attract either testosterone-filled idiots who want to pretend to race (but won't get a licence) or alternatively a lot of people who are frankly dangerous to ride near - dangerous swerving etc.

Why not try your local CTC (sorry Cycling UK) group for something more laid-back. I still do two local events, the IoW Randonnee (very relaxed, no timings given) and the Gridiron in the New Forest.

Or Audax rides. A good choice of distances there but more chance of finding a group of riders happy to ride at a steady pace. The only downside there is that you have to do the navigation and not expect much in the way of signage.

Whatever you do, you will find on a Sportive that you get left behind at the start by a lot of faster starters. Don't be tempted to flog yourself trying to chase them. Some will be a lot faster than you so no point going after them, and those that aren't are probably starting too fast and you will meet them forty miles down the road as they fade.

iandusud
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby iandusud » 6 Feb 2020, 8:21am

IMO REGULAR cyclists who haven't done what they consider to be long rides (this will vary from one person to another) generally underestimate there ability to complete the distance. This is quite understandable as they have nothing to go on. However what I would say is that if you are cycling regularly then you have developed the necessary muscles and it's really more a question of riding at a comfortable pace and making sure that you eat enough. This last point is probably the most critical one if you're not used to longer rides. It can even catch the most experienced cyclists.

Jamesh
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby Jamesh » 6 Feb 2020, 8:27am

I think you'll be fine.

Just take things steady and eat well.

Keep up the cycling till the event and you will have a good base.

Cheers James

Hudson1984
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby Hudson1984 » 6 Feb 2020, 8:30am

iandusud wrote:IMO REGULAR cyclists who haven't done what they consider to be long rides (this will vary from one person to another) generally underestimate there ability to complete the distance. This is quite understandable as they have nothing to go on. However what I would say is that if you are cycling regularly then you have developed the necessary muscles and it's really more a question of riding at a comfortable pace and making sure that you eat enough. This last point is probably the most critical one if you're not used to longer rides. It can even catch the most experienced cyclists.


I think if I were doing a 60 instead of the 100 I wouldn't really be too bothered. I can do 40, albeit slowly, but by the end of may i'd expect that to become easier and easier.

I've never done anything close to 100 though so there is a fear that i'll not be able to complete the distance so i'm keen to break it down into smaller chunks to get used to stopping and making the most of stops. I stopped on my 40 miler but due to rubbish food intact it was harder to get going again as there was no fuel replenishing aching muscles so I've a lot to learn about energy management

iandusud
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby iandusud » 6 Feb 2020, 9:36am

Hudson1984 wrote:
iandusud wrote:IMO REGULAR cyclists who haven't done what they consider to be long rides (this will vary from one person to another) generally underestimate there ability to complete the distance. This is quite understandable as they have nothing to go on. However what I would say is that if you are cycling regularly then you have developed the necessary muscles and it's really more a question of riding at a comfortable pace and making sure that you eat enough. This last point is probably the most critical one if you're not used to longer rides. It can even catch the most experienced cyclists.


I think if I were doing a 60 instead of the 100 I wouldn't really be too bothered. I can do 40, albeit slowly, but by the end of may i'd expect that to become easier and easier.

I've never done anything close to 100 though so there is a fear that i'll not be able to complete the distance so i'm keen to break it down into smaller chunks to get used to stopping and making the most of stops. I stopped on my 40 miler but due to rubbish food intact it was harder to get going again as there was no fuel replenishing aching muscles so I've a lot to learn about energy management


If you're riding 40-50 miles most weekends you have the base fitness. As James said, take it steady and eat well and you'll be fine. If you're not used to riding longer than "normal distances" (whatever that is for you) it is very easy to confuse low blood sugar levels with lack of fitness/endurance. But it's like driving a car, if you run out of fuel you grind to a halt but it's not a problem with the engine.

Cheers, Ian

hamster
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby hamster » 6 Feb 2020, 10:12am

A neat rule of thumb that seems to work is that you need to do the same mileage weekly as your target for a single day. So if you are doing 40-milers at the weekend, you need to back that up with another 60-ish over the week in shorter rides.

st599_uk
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby st599_uk » 6 Feb 2020, 11:51am

Build up slowly, you've probably got the base fitness, but it's the fuelling strategy that tends to put people in a heap at the side of the road.

There was a letter in Cycling UK's magazine a little while ago stating that a good target for carb intake whilst cycling was 1g per 1 kg bodyweight per hour.

I'm assuming that was for average riding - it seems to work for me, eat less than that whilst riding and I end up feeling awful. I also find that energy gels are terrible for normal riding, huge quick hit followed by huge quick drop. Cake and chocolate work better.
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iandusud
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby iandusud » 6 Feb 2020, 12:31pm

st599_uk wrote:Build up slowly, you've probably got the base fitness, but it's the fuelling strategy that tends to put people in a heap at the side of the road.

There was a letter in Cycling UK's magazine a little while ago stating that a good target for carb intake whilst cycling was 1g per 1 kg bodyweight per hour.

I'm assuming that was for average riding - it seems to work for me, eat less than that whilst riding and I end up feeling awful. I also find that energy gels are terrible for normal riding, huge quick hit followed by huge quick drop. Cake and chocolate work better.


I totally agree about gels. But find what works for you. Personally I can go all day on bananas and flapjack. I made the mistake a couple of years back, riding the étape du tour, of using the energy drink provided at stops. This led to a massive drop in blood sugars (provoked I assume by excessive blood sugar levels being dumped) and a Tom Dumoulin moment halfway up the final assault of the Izoard.

mattheus
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Re: sportives before my sportive?

Postby mattheus » 6 Feb 2020, 12:37pm

Do we need sugars/carbs to ride a bike for a day?

Look-up how fast we can get energy from our fat supplies; it's only elite athletes who put out larger power levels for 4hours+.

Unfortunately, if you always train with high sugar foods, your metabolism does grow dependent on them.