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4 Key Strategy Points for Sportives & Gran Fondos

4 Key Strategy Points for Sportives & Gran Fondos


– In riding a sportive or a Gran Fondo like the Maratona dles
Dolomites for example, you’re gonna be pushing your
body to its very limits. So, riding blindly into it
without so much as a plan isn’t a very good idea. – Conversely, just having some
simple strategies in place is going to help ensure you
get the most out of yourself and make the whole day
a lot more memorable for all the right reasons. – Definitely. – Getting your pacing
right is absolutely crucial if you don’t want to run out of energy, hit the wall or bonk towards the end or even worse still not make
it to the finish line at all. So, don’t get drawn into racing, particularly early on in the event or even making sure that
you stick with a group that’s actually going slightly too fast for your own comfort. And actually that’s quite easy to do when you’re riding around
with loads of other people. – It certainly is and
it will actually require a fair degree of
self-discipline to do this because it may actually
feel that you’re backing off just a little bit too much but stick with it, and for the first half or
two thirds of the event ride well within yourself, and then when you’re feeling good pick up the pace towards the end. – By all means though go in with a group that is of a similar ability to you. Sharing the workload on the front will help you to save energy when you’re sitting behind the wheels. Just make sure you’re not too enthusiastic by doing too much on the front. – Most sportives will have
some degree of climbing, and if you’re attempting
the Maratona for example, there’ll be 4,230 metres
of vertical ascent in the long events. – So, as you can see
measuring your efforts on the climbs is going to be crucial, so you should start each
and every one steadily and well within your own capabilities. Also, make sure that you use your gears until you’re at the point where you’re at a reasonably
comfortable cadence, and at a tempo that is
sustainable in the long term. And finally, as we said before, make sure that you’re not tempted to try and follow faster riders. All this is going to do is lead you to going into the red and into oxygen debt which is really hard to recover from. You might want to drop back a bit there. – Sorry, mate. Now, a good tip to help
break the climb down mentally is to focus on a point up the road about three or 400 metres, say a landmark, a tree
or a sign or something, and work within yourself to that point before refocusing on another point further up the climb. It really does work. You’re not going to be able to
execute your other strategies if you don’t get your fueling right. So, first up, especially if
you’re using energy products never use something new on
the day of your sportive. Make sure that your digestive
system is comfortable well before your event. – Yeah, so onto the strategy itself. It is quite a good idea to increase your intake of carbohydrates
in the last couple of days leading up to your event. That way you’ll ensure that you maximise your glycogen stores
which are gonna give you a bit of extra endurance on the day. And in terms of the breakfast
on the morning of the event you want to keep it
fairly light if possible. No fat and a good example
of this is cereals, porridge, toast and fruit. – The aim of the day is try and keep hold of as much fuel as possible, a tough call as we burn
fuel when riding, quicker than we can take it in and process it. So, little and often is the key. A carbohydrate electrolyte
mix in your bottle is a good idea as you’ll be hydrating at the same time as taking in fuel. A rough guide, temperature
dependent of course, is to consume one 750ml
bottle of carbohydrate mix and one piece of food per hour. This will give you around
90g of carbohydrates which is about as much as your
digestive system can process. – It can be very easy to get overawed at the rather challenging task at hand, especially if it’s one of
your first-ever events, and even more so if
it’s particularly hilly or mountainous, so rather than
think of the entire event, which can be very daunting, try and break it down in your mind into bite-sized chunks. – Yeah, great way to do this is to study in detail the entire route before you actually start the event, and you can even make a handy little map with small parts at set distances that you can tick off
in your mind as you go, so they could be feed zones, or maybe the tops of climbs etc. That way each one of those points is going to feel like a mini achievement as you gradually wind
your way to the finish. – Well, good luck putting
those strategies into action, and let us know how you
got on in your event in the comments section down below. And if you haven’t already, you can click on the globe and that way you won’t miss another video. – Now, as well as getting
your strategy right on the day of the event
and two days previous, you also want to make sure that you’re preparing
yourself well on the lead up, so in the bottom corner in that direction are five killer training
sessions for sportives, or if you want a step-by-step plan for the Maratona dles Dolomites you can find that video just down here. – And don’t forget to give
this video a thumbs up too.

58 comments on “4 Key Strategy Points for Sportives & Gran Fondos

  1. Hello everybody. Please excuse my ignorance in this question but I am brand new to cycling and need your help. I just purchased my 1st road bike today so that's tells you how new I am hehe. I wanted to know if the guys in this video are wearing long "trouser" gear, or are they wearing those normal bib shorts I believe they are called and something over the bib shorts?

    Apologies again for my ignorance guys but we are going into winter here so I will need long clothing

    Thanks for all the help

  2. another tip I would give someone? After all the correct prep ect, is simple if you're no longer having fun! Just have a look at what you're doing? compaired to what you want to achieve.

  3. Would like to hear a discussion (from GCN) explaining the difference between cadence and tempo. Cheers!

  4. I did the Etape Loch ness and ate every 20 mins along with drinking
    biggest issue was other cyclist ability to keep in a straight line or keep left

  5. Hi everyone, I'm entering my first Sportiv in June and it's a night ride (probably an error in retrospect) so just wondering if anyone has any advice for rides through the night…. I.e eating plan and sleep ideas

  6. Wheel choice for the Maratona and L'Etape du Tour: 1) with that much descending and so many people around you a rider will have to brake lots. 2) It might be raining on the downhills. 3) But aero will make a difference. ===> All things considered would you ride carbon clinchers and risk overheating / blowout or go with aluminium? Thanks! #torqueback

  7. I've just entered up for my first sportive. The Wiltshire 100. Also lost 2 stone from cycling so far from your tips. Thanks keep up the good work

  8. #AskGCNything So we well know GCN are doing the Maratona Dles Dolomites but who out of the crew besides Chocolate Voice is taking part is it the whole crew of presenters? If it is are you going to ride it together, so each taking the front for a turn and riding at the pace of the slowest rider or are you each going to attack it and go for a best time? I hope you're attacking it as I'd love to see who manages the best time and to see who comes where out of all of those who ride. Either way, Good luck to all who do ride and big respect to John for taking it on.

  9. Great lanes you got round there. I see you were in front of the lake at Stourhead at one point (I think). Where are those rustic bridges though?

  10. to make sure you get electrolyte in your drink, if you're needing to top up at feed stations, take a little bag of the powder. Just make sure the police don't stop you with a small bag of white powder.

  11. Nice video (as allways) but for the (or at least my) first time I would like to add something to complete the subject: I think there is one really important thing that you forgot to mention and which I think is extremely crucial (and in many ways fundamental) but still easily forgotten. That is to remember to enjoy and appreciate the experience you're just having. It's so easy to just focus on the effort and the tricks and things you have to do to manage it (especially if it's a hard and hilly sportive) that you forget to really appreciate and enjoy the moment. And actually, the moment you (so to speak) lift your head and realise that, you will feel revitalised by that thought; and if you also take a moment to appreciate that all the hard work you,ve done in your training, right at that moment, is what gives you the opportunity to do what you're just doing, you will get an energy boost beyond what any gel or bar can give you. And finally, you will also be able to go back in your mind (later on) and pick up that thought and feeling and enjoy it again!! This is- in my opinion – one of the things that can make a cycle sportive (or any ride actually) a memory and an experience that you will cherish and appreciate for many years and never regret to have done! Sincerely/Mattias Prytz, Trollhättan, Sweden

  12. There's a ride in Colorado called the Triple Bypass. Sort of a double entendre, but mainly for the 3 high mountain passes it crosses.

    I've ridden the regular east-to-west route a couple of times, but this year I'm going to ride the Double Triple, which is the east-to-west on Saturday and return west-to-east on Sunday. The route is 119 miles (192km) with 10,000 feet (3048m) of climbing. ( https://www.strava.com/activities/635753380 )

    I'm a racer, so I think my biggest challenge will be to control myself and not go too fast. The route is effectively climbing or descending… there really is no flat ground, or at least not much. The real challenge will be making sure that I stay hydrated and fueled so that my recovery is easy, then the 2nd day will be the biggest test. I've never done back-to-back century rides, and I think this is a bit more than just a simple century ride. One of my new mantras is that recovery starts with fueling on the bike.

  13. I recently started riding my mountain bike in So California, been riding local trails and city paths to help lose weight. It's definitely working, I'm feeling good and it's getting easier to do! In your staffs personal experience which bike set up is best to lose weight? I have a Trek mountain and I am considering a gravel bike to help get more speed. Is it worth it? Should I look for something different or just stick to what I have?

  14. Ride to your abilities, if you are an absolute demon on the flatter roads, enter an event with little or no climbing…or if you are the next incarnation of Alberto Contador enter an event that is all climbing.

  15. I'm training for my first ever Sportive at the moment. Doing Ride London, and so looking forward to it. I've got the pacing down well so far on my long rides, completing them with strength left in my legs. As I already cycle 50-60 miles per week on road with my MTB, just do 2 training rides, with one weekday on the road bike, and then my long ride, which I'm up to 52 miles with already! 🙂

  16. what's the safest way to descend amongst a group of strangers going at different speeds in such events ?

  17. Make sure you warm up properly. Get up the front on the start line. Stay up the front as much as possible. If there is a break try follow it as much as you can. If you en up by yourself, get back to a group as soon as possible. HAVE FUN!

  18. Have signed up for the Ride London event on Sunday 30th July; will definitely be using these hints and tips in getting through my event. Have also taken on a Personal Trainer to help me get sportive ready in the next three months.

  19. I reasonably bought a powermeter and how do you use a power meter for pacing in Sportives & Gran Fondos?

  20. I wish I'd seen these videos of yours before riding my first brevet 200KM last month. It was a true miracle that I ended it considering I fucked up most of the strategies you describe here. I love your channel and I can't stop watching your videos, keep up the good work!

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