Whether you’re riding with friends or signing-up solo, participating in your very first sportive is an unforgettable experience which will leave you feeling exhausted and rewarded in equal measures. To get the most out of your hard training, here is what to expect on the big day and how to prepare:

1) Arrive Prepared to Avoid any Unnecessary Stress on the Day


Is your bike is road safe and tuned to your ideal riding position and do you have everything on your kit list? You should also double-check that your wheel quick release is tightly secured and you need to know how to change an inner tube – don’t rely on an event’s road-side mechanics for rapid repairs and tools or spares. You’ll feel more at ease if you can be self-sufficient!


It’s a good idea to arrive early, even if you’re familiar with the area: parking could be further from the starting line than you think, and if you have to sign-in to the event there can be a queue. This gives you plenty of time for last-minute toilet breaks, stretches and pre-ride fuel and hydration planning.


2) Feed Stations

Feed stations are located at various stages along your chosen route and provide anything from bananas, flapjacks and jellybeans to energy gels and bars, isotonic drinks and water – check out your sportive’s sponsors as these can indicate what fuel will be on offer. Feed stations give you a few minutes to take a breather off of your bike, visit the toilet and restock on supplies. Resist overloading at these pit stops to avoid cramping up or unnecessary toilet breaks.



3) Stay Aware

Riding in a large group has its risks, so awareness of your surroundings and other cyclists is crucial. Holding your line on downhill sections can take some practise. Why not train with a local club to build your group riding skills and confidence? Don’t listen to music during the event – riders shout warnings when the pack slows and bunches up or a hazard like a pot hole is fast approaching. Remember to do the same for those behind you!


Always keep an eye on what’s ahead and that you’re following the set route: the rider in front of you might be lost, cycling a different route or not even be part of the event (the bib number should give it away). Again, this is why studying your route before the sportive and logging it into a bike GPS all helps you stay on course.