How to Ride the Right Pace in a Sportive
Secure your Best Time
Riding well in a sportive is not just about the training before hand, but about pacing yourself throughout the event. This is not just about sticking to the right speed, but burning the right mix of stored fats and carbs, and fuelling well to keep you going mile after mile.
This post looks at ways you can judge your own performance and pace yourself throughout the sportive, ensuring you give your best performance.
Scouting the Course
Being aware of the course before you ride it will allow you to mentally prepare. Learning the different gradients for climbs, stretches of poor quality road, and areas prone to strong winds will give you a good picture of what to expect. Moreover, checking the forums for rider experiences will give you extra information to prepare for the course.
The more information you have the better you can pace yourself for the harder parts of the sportive.
Riding in a Pack
If you can, ride with a group of riders who are riding at your pace. This will allow you to conserve energy. See our article on group riding to make sure you do not break etiquette or disrupt anyone's race.
If the sportive goes well you should be able to get a bit more pace for the same amount of effort (heart rate), and this will set you up nicely for the latter part of the event. It is important that you do not ride above your pace however, as this will drain your energy levels.
Plan your Race
Plan your ride in four quarters. Try and ride the first quarter at a steady and comfortable pace, the next two at around 75% of your heart rate, and up the ante for the remaining quarter. Riding the race in this fashion will see you have the energy for a strong finish. Also, the chances are there will be riders who have not paced themselves well, and you always feel good passing other riders at the end of a long Sportive.
Plan your Stops
As part of the preparation for the Sportive plan your stops and limit them to a minimum. Stopping eats into your time and can disrupt your mindset. So plan your stops to fuel up before the sportive begins.
Listen to your Body
On the day it is important you listen to your body and take in what happens on the day. Hot temperatures, strong winds, rain, may need you to refocus your effort levels in the first third of the race. Also, gauge your rides in relation to heart rate and effort level rather than speed. This will allow you to accommodate unforeseen weather conditions and long climbs.
When training, practice pacing along long stretches of roads and hill climbs.
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submitted on 12/6/2015