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6 Mistakes To Avoid In Your First Sportive | GCN’s Road Cycling Tips

6 Mistakes To Avoid In Your First Sportive | GCN’s Road Cycling Tips


– You’ve done all the preparation you need for your first sportive,
you have trained hard, you’ve eaten well, and your
bike is in perfect condition. – But there are a number of mistakes everyone makes at some point, here are our top mistakes to avoid when riding a sportive. (playful music) Now you know whether
you’re the kind of person that usually arrives late
for events or bike rides, but that’s no excuse. Obviously if you’re
normally late, don’t be. – The thing you really
have to take into account, for an event like a sportive, is the traffic and the parking. – Got it, yo! – Even a quite small event can have a couple of hundred participants, and a big event like the L’Étape du Tour can have 15,000 riders, that means parking near the start, is often really difficult, so give yourself an extra 15 minutes, in case you need to park further away, and ride to the start. – What did happen with James? – I don’t know I thought he said he was starting in our block, but… – He’s going to give him
thirty seconds delay. – Oh, there he is! (upbeat music) – This one’s a classic, isn’t it? – Absolutely, it’s so easy, to get so excited before
your first big event. The adrenaline of the day
makes your legs feel amazing. – So, you push on,
riding with groups that, are perhaps a little bit too fast for you, and are almost fine to start with. But after a few hours, your legs fall off, and you’re left just crawling
to the end of the sportive. – Instead, just relax in the first hour, and take it easy, look to maintain, or perhaps even build your
effort throughout the day, to finish strong. – This is especially
important for hilly sportive, like the Maratona dles Dolomites
because there’s literally nowhere to hide if you
blow up on a long climb. – Hey, James? What’s happened? – Water?
– Yeah, sure. – You were going so well before. – It’s not that far there’s only, like, I think there’s only three
climbs left, you’ll be alright. – We’ll see you at the finish, yeah? – Yeah.
– Alright guys. – This often goes hand in hand with starting off too fast, the excitement of the day
gets on top of people. And the nerves stop them
from feeling hungry. Just remember though, by
the time you get hungry, it’s already too late. It’s important to remember
to eat a little often, if you struggle to
remember, maybe you can set a timer on your head unit or on your phone to help remind you. Start from the beginning of the ride, to avoid a big crash in
energy levels later on. – This is a mistake I
made on my first sportive, I stopped at every food station and I ate so much flapjack that
I had terrible indigestion. Now, even though the
sportive might be the longest and hardest bike ride you’ve ever done, it is still just a bike ride, and if you stop at
every single opportunity and eat all the food you
can get your hands on, you’ll only make yourself
feel bloated and unwell. Just try to eat like you would normally on a bike ride perhaps
just a little bit more. (playful music) These days sportives are
generally very well sign posted. Organizers will try to make
sure that every important junction has a sign to
stop you getting lost. Is this the wrong way? And there are normally a good number of marshals to help as well, but, it is possible that one disgruntled local could take down or move a sign, which means you could quickly
be sent the wrong way. So if you’ve got a bike computer, make sure you download the GPS route file, almost every sportive
will have this posted on their website, and for safety, maybe even take a paper map as well. After all, paper never
runs out of battery, and it can’t lose a GPS signal. – This way! – That way? (sighs) (upbeat rock music) – A big event like a sportive, should above all else
be a good fun day out. You might suffer through
some hard moments, and enjoy some fantastic ones, too. But it’s important to remind
yourself why you’re doing it. You’re spending the day out on your bikes, hopefully with your mates. – So, don’t get stressed, looking for the gold, silver,
or whatever the medal. If you want to stop, take in the view, or even get a selfie with your mates. Or even, chat to the
guys in the feed zone. Go and enjoy it, not too serious. – She’s going way too hard. (soft acoustic music) (upbeat rock music) – Well, I hope this
video helps you to avoid making the same mistakes as me, because I still feel really
unwell from all that strudel. – If you have any mistakes
you’ve made yourself, that you’d like to share with us, why not leave a comment in the box below. – And give us a thumbs up and be sure to check out all the other videos, on how to prepare for a sportive. Just down there.

100 comments on “6 Mistakes To Avoid In Your First Sportive | GCN’s Road Cycling Tips

  1. Trying a new, spicy dish for takeaway the night before. Not only spent the whole night in the toilet, but actually landed severely dehydrated at start of an event. Pain.

  2. Took off front wheel when packing bike in the car and drove 120 miles to find out I was going to have to unicycle the whole thing..

  3. Oh my sportive history is fairly shocking 50km on a mountain bike that weighs 18kg kept up with the fast boys for 10 km feed station was at 20km .first 20 km pan flat . Got to feed station only bananas left .then the fun started there was a total re group of the pack 600 approx and there was a slight drag for 15 km i blow up as soon as it restarted and was dropped to the very rear the medic were behind me last on road i was i had only one water bottle i had no food reserves did no training and the bike was a tractor of a yolk 4 hrs 50km.this was 10 years ago still have that bike i retired for sportives for 8 years and went out and bought a gaint road bike at the good old age of 37 for a work collegue whos sister died of cancer that was 85 km my back went after 30km and blow up as well only for a few peds i wouldnt of finished 4hrs 85km but my worst sportive was rebel tour last year intended to do 160km as i had sucessful ring of kerry 8hrs 15mins .but rebel tour weather was shocking head winds gail force wind and driving rain and didnt have proper clothing and i did my hernia the same day.now year on went from 86 kg to 75 kg over winter training concented on climbing had 2 good 85km sportives this year things do improve and ring of kerry in 9 days time .lol what can go wrong this time

  4. Consumed an energy supplement suggested by a fellow rider, which I'd never had before. 15miles in and I had the shits! 😫😫😳😳💩💩

  5. If you use a paper map, make sure to put it in a plastic baggy. Sweat or rain can make a paper map in a jersey pocket hard to read

  6. My biggest mistake for overseas trip ride not enough water & snack , now automatically bring 3L hydration bag with a lot of snack lol

  7. Did my first sportive last Sunday. Got given a free entry 2 days before so no training and the furthest I'd ridden before was 75 miles but I got round the 125 miles ok. Smashed it a few times, struggled a few and just enjoyed it.

  8. on my first whistler fondo last fall i blew my legs up before the real climbing started in squamish. it was a tough few hours after that. record time to squamish, boat anchors for legs to whistler…

  9. I only missed the start of a sportive once, and that's because my car exploded. However, after a lucky fix from a nearby mechanic, we got to the start in time for the second lap of the 2-lap sportive.

    It's a pity we managed to get lost on that lap though. Something something asleep on the bars…

  10. 1. Arrive early – not just to park and get yourself and your bike ready without rushing, but also SIGN IN can take ages.
    2. Personally I benefit from drinking more sports drink and eating less than many fuelling guides suggest. My first sportive, I ate a small solid or had a gel every 45 minutes but didn’t drink quiet enough, and felt like I was going to vomit. Second sportive, I ate a solid or gel on the hour, and drank more. I didn’t bonk, nor did I feel queasy.
    3. Enjoy it! You’ll form small groups throughout the day with riders of your pace, so be friendly, have a chat and help each other take turns at the front so everybody gets a rest.

  11. I like the flow and format of this episode. Looks like GCN is starting to experiment a bit with topic transitions. 🙂

  12. Hello. Thanks for highlighting all my mistakes as i go into my 9th etape in Annecy. However you forgot one which I made in 2013 in Annecy -Sermoz. The sun was out so I put on plenty of sun bloke/cream. At 107km at the foot of Sermoz i abandoned because the sun cream had got into my eyes and I was virtualy blind. Wonder what will happen this year. Still learning…

  13. Dress right. I took the wrong turn on my first ride! The staff directed me to do it thinking I was some random rider.. ended up having to climb a mile back! 😂

  14. Eating too little, starting too fast, and annoying myself at the mamil's taking it too seriously (seriously, why aim at 40km/h avg speed on a 160k hilly sportive?)

  15. was lucky enough to ride the maratona last year once in a lifetime and the only advice I would have is look up enjoy the view, looking at the tarmac just in front of your wheel you might as well stay at home !

  16. Minimise faffing. I faffed for over half an hour at a feed stop at the Lecht ski station a few years ago on a pretty challenging sportive and when the broom wagon showed up I panicked and knackered myself putting a gap between it and myself.

    Missed the official cut-off time but because of the 40-50mph headwinds they'd have had to disqualify a lot of riders 🙂

  17. The first one is wrong, you need to take account the culture of the group. Being early and on time is a mistake when the group arrive 1-2 hours later because that what they usually do

  18. Hello! You mentioned about eating before and during the ride but forgot about hydration 😊 By personal experience, NOT FUN AT ALL skip oasis and then get cramps in muscles you never knew that the body can contracts

  19. Big sportiv for me this Sunday: Tannheimer Radmarathon (220km, with 3200m climbing). Eating and hydrating (water & nutrients) regularly & sufficiently is key for me. Thanks for the timely reminder guys ;-))

  20. Make sure you take food and gels etc that you can stomach and have well tested before. Especially don't rely on the feed stops apart from for water. I was short on bars and got the wrong clif bar flavour during the Lake Taupo Challenge, and just the chocolate smell of it had me dry-wretch. I was desperate for a banana or a piece of fruit, but only the one flavour of clif bar was provided. Lack of glucose made me cramp pretty hard after about 120k.

  21. Too many too long breaks (on refreshments stops). Maybe it is individual, but I find it difficult to get back to a rhythm for a while (sometimes for a long while)

  22. Fantastic video! Continue doing high-quality content and you can expect to build up quick! Subscribe to our channel and also we'll subscribe back!

  23. You can tell that they are totally in a different level when they are at their talking speed and everyone is they passed by is suffering in the climb…

  24. My sportive mistakes
    not fully charging my DI2 and it running out getting stuck in one gear
    not eating ….. I now have a 20 min timer on my Garmin to remind me to eat and drink
    turning left and joining a tandem who where not competing
    doing my first 100 miler and getting to the end to find that it was 97 miles …. and then joining the rest in cycling around the aerodrome to get my 100 miles in
    dont drop litter Etc not a good thing for our sport
    Enjoy

  25. Lay down on the bed two hours early the night before and try not to pack yourself with extra food than what you usually eat, except fruit. That is one of my preparation each year for a 420km back to back event.

  26. I have a couple. My first real sportive, I was running late and forgot to properly inflate my rear tire so, I was pushing extra hard just to keep up with my friends until the first station and a bike mechanic pointed out that I had almost no pressure in the tires.

  27. biggest mistakes I find in sportives have always been bunch riding with strangers (crash danger due to half wheeling, turning, passing etc.) and treating sportives like a race

  28. Need some time to get used to looking at buffed up GCN presenters 🤣

    This year presenters challenge will be an interesting one, mountain and sprint stages perhaps?

  29. These are mistakes that even experienced riders often make. Good advice in this video for not only your first event, but for every sportive.

  30. First mistake was in the feed zone where i took a full glass of some kind of liquid and poor it on my head to cool myself, but it turns up that I splash myself with some kind of izotonik drink and I was half blind for next 10 minutes and quite sticky till the end of the race 🙂

  31. The new presenters are… boring. And I'm including Emma. They lack the sense of humor of Matt and company.

  32. Not being able to stomach all the sweet food provided by the organisers… A friend of mine takes a slice or two of cold pizza to eat!!

  33. Welcome new presenters 🙂 You go, guys! To all who moan in the comment section: let them arrive first, it's like their first video! They'll be funnier when they get to know each other better, sheesh)))

  34. Great presentation and is advice I'll heed if I ever get up enough courage to enter. I don't expect to win on the first try, but I'd certainly like to make as few mistakes as possible and still be competitive, this list will help avoid potential disaster!

  35. Great video! @1:25 nice Canyon too! Which model is that? Couldn't find anything identical on their website.

  36. I try and ride 15 @ 15, first 15 miles average 15 mph, once that's done I know legs are warm, drink and food are working and can increase speed if possible. Worked for my first and second 100, will do the second for my first Prudential Ride London 🙂

  37. Check the elevation profile for the sportive and, if necessary, change your rear cassette. There's nothing worse than having to get off on a steep climb because you have run out of gears, especially in cycling shoes.

  38. #1 RULE – don't pay for the sportive, just start half a km from the start line and join in for free 🙂 You'll soon have enough for a new bike with the savings made

  39. At my first event I started right in the back of the bunch and took my time till the first climb, where I took over 30 to 40 people (there were only 280 contestants) without much of an effort. For the next 70km I almost rode on my own without a group. The next climb, the hardest, I also took over about 40 riders. Then 40 km flat in a small group of 4 and on the last climb again taking over 10 to 20 riders. On the last descend I missed a turn and went wrong for 1km. Had to climb up again, but somehow I still had lots of energy left. Finished 165 out of 280. I think I could have done better, if I went faster on the first climb and started further in the front. Still much to learn..
    Race stats: 150km 2500hm 3 climbs

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