Sportive Tips for Beginners
If you are inexperienced at riding a sportive or maybe your first one is not too far away, this post will give you some valuable tips at how to ride a sportive more effectively.
Sportives are normally great events. Thousands of riders often participate, and having a race number and being surrounded by cyclists gives you that big event feel. It is fair to say that riding in a sportive is your Tour de France moment.
So let us take a look at a few beginner tips for riding a sportive.
When coming to a stop or slowing down ensure you select an easy gear. This will make it easy for you to regain cadence once you can get moving again. Inexperienced cyclists often stop in a low gear and then struggle to get back up to speed. This not only impacts their finish time, but also their energy.
There are times when you have to stop suddenly and you will be at a dead stop in the wrong gear. If you are wearing cleats, you can hold the front brake so the rear wall comes off the ground, select a better gear, and turn the back wheel with your foot that is still locked into the pedals. The gears will change and you’re good to go again.
During the sportive you may need to stop when you are surrounded by other riders. If this is the case, always gesture that you are stopping with hand signals and take your foot out of the cleat before you need to actually stop. Be aware of the distance between you and the rider behind you, and next to you. This will ensure you minimise the risk of an accident and that you won’t be locked into the pedals when you can finally stop.
When Riding in a Peloton
Try and keep at least a metre behind the rider in front of you and always be aware of how close other riders are around you. Should the guy in front do something unexpected, you should have time to see it and adjust accordingly.
It is also a good idea to keep your fingers over the brake. You never know when you need to slow down and even stop when part of a peloton.
Know the Route
Although most sportives are well signed and have marshals along the route, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with it, including where the feed stations are located. If you have a head unit put the route in the unit and you will be able to better judge the terrain, giving you time to prepare for the challenges of the route.
Keep Hydrated and Fed
To complete a sportive you will need to keep fed and keep hydrated. It is a good idea to get into the habit of being able to drink and eat while in the saddle without looking down at your water bottle or indeed looking at the food and struggling with wrappers.
When at a feed station do not over eat as it will make you tired. Do not linger either, as you do not want your muscles to cool down as this will cause problems for you when you get back on the saddle.