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Are Cycling Sportives A Race? | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

Are Cycling Sportives A Race? | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

– Coming up on this
week’s Ask GCN Anything. How do professional riders
cope with retirement? What gears will we be
using at the Maratona? And, is a lighter bike
always faster on the climbs? And we’ve got other questions, too, but we’re going to kick off
with one that, for some reason, I managed to miss out on
last week’s Ask GCN Anything. Which came in from Mark Evison. He asks, I’m wondering if
you think there should be a separate Strava for pros? Well, that is a very good question. In my personal opinion though, I would say no because I think it’s
very nice that the pros share their races and
their ride data with us in the general public. It gives you a real appreciation for just what level they are at. I do get the sense of frustration that you might be feeling if a race visits your local road, and you get lots of
pros filling the top ten of the most popular KOM segments. But at the same time,
it’s also nice to be able to compare yourself with
some of the best riders in the world, no matter
what your level is. If you would like to try
and compete with the pros, we did a video recently
which shows you a few tips on how to get a personal best on a climb. You never know. You might manage to beat one of them. Have a look at this. – First up, we need to
work out how long the climb is going to take you. ‘Cause that is going to
have the biggest effect on just how you tackle it. – That’s right. So for longish climbs, I, anything that’s around
about five minutes or more, pacing is going to be vital. Going in to the red at the start, and you’re likely to lose any time gained in the first half over the second half. In this situation, a
steady power throughout is normally ideal. And the next question is about sportive, and it comes in from Peter Dawson. For sportive and charity
rides that state categorically that it’s not a race, what
does that actually mean? What is the etiquette? Am I not allowed to ride fast? Where is the fun in that? Well, first and foremost,
I think it’s probably down to the insurance of these events. But it’s also a suggestion
that you should just ride in a safe manner. There’s certainly no harm in pressing on and trying to get a fast
time if you want to. But you should be obeying
all the general rules of the road. And also, fighting
within a group of riders for position for a climb is
going to look a bit funny. As is attacking up a climb. However, as I said, there’s no harm in trying to get a good time if that’s what you want to achieve. But you should do it in
a manner which is safe for both you and also those around you. For some people, just
getting around the sportive will be the aim of the day. But for others, you’ll
want to set a certain time, just like somebody competing
in a marathon, for example. And if you would like to improve your time over a sportive, you need look no further than the following video. How do you go faster by going slower? Well, by starting slowly
and finishing a lot faster. It is something that we are never going to stop preaching here at GCN. Make sure you pace yourself. It doesn’t matter how
experienced you are as a rider, how much thought you put into your pacing, it’s still incredibly
easy to get carried away at the start and go too fast. Rapid fire round now, and we’ll start that with a question that came in on Twitter from Jude. What gear ratios will you be running for the Maratona dles Dolomites? Well, speaking from a
personal point of view, I’m going to be using a
52 by 36 at the front, an 11 up through 28 at the back. Hopefully, that easiest gear will allow me to get around it steadily
without actually having to walk up any of the climbs. I don’t think I’m actually
going to be using 52 by 11 at any point, ’cause I’m likely to be recovering down descents
rather than pressing on. That’s the answer to that. Next up from Ni Ko. Does a heavier bike equal better training? I always answer this one by saying that “a watt is a watt”. So for example, if you’ve got a coach or you’ve just set yourself some intervals throughout training, say 250 watts for 20 minutes at a time, by going on a heavier bike, you’re not suddenly going to find that you can ride at 270 watts. But you can only push yourself as hard as you can push yourself. However, what a heavier bike will do is make the duration of
your local climbs longer or, if you’re on a group ride, it will make it slightly harder to keep up with the rest of the riders. So from that point of view,
you might get some kind of training benefit. Next up from Scott BikeDawg. I have a question, how does one position their private parts inside the bib shorts? Right. Well, if you look at any
video where Si Richardson is riding a bike and presenting off it, you’ll get the answer to your question from his personal perspective. However, for most people,
I think it’s just a case of trial and error, and finding out what is
most comfortable for you. We would love your suggestions on this. Is there any scientific way of finding out what is the best, leave your comments in the section just down below. Al Francis wrote in, is it okay to sleep immediately
after a hard, long ride? What are your suggestions? Well, I used to take naps quite regularly after training rides when
I was a full-time rider. Unfortunately, I’m so busy now
I don’t get the time anymore. But I always have my recovery drink and possibly some lunch
first, before having a half an hour nap in the afternoon and getting up and having
my dinner later on, etc. And finally, in the rapid fire round, this one in on Twitter
from the French Tickler. He’s quoted a tweet from Believe Perform, which about depression and
retired athletes, and says, this is important. How did you guys cope with retirement? And actually, this is
something we should probably do something on in the
not-so-distant future. For myself, I had a transitional year. So I went from being a World Tour rider, I didn’t get my contract renewed, I then went to a British team
which was still paying me, but I also go the opportunity to do some commentary and some video. So it was like a transitional year, which made things a lot easier in then going from being
a full-time athlete to being full-time non-athlete, in effect. Same really went for Matt. He was a rider/manager
for the Sigma Sport Team, so he was combining a bit of both. And with Si, he stopped his pro career, but he already had the
job lined up here at GCN. And obviously, doing something like GCN, where it’s still your
hobby from your entire life which you made your profession, it does make things a lot easier. But it is a really big subject. Because of course, there are hundreds of professional riders, and there’s not enough jobs
within the cycling world for them all to stay within it. If you’re Pete Sagan or
Mark Cavendish, for example, you’re going to have enough money that you’re not going to
have to work afterwards, and besides, you’ll still be
getting lots of endorsements. For people below that,
it is quite difficult. The thing as an athlete is
that you always have goals in front of you, whether
that’s the following day’s training or week in front
of you or training camp in a couple of months, or maybe a race that’s in a few months time. And what I personally found
is when I stopped that, that was the biggest difficulty. Not having my life planned
out if front of me. Next up, we have a question
in again on Twitter from Edward Earl. How do you eliminate or reduce wind noise in your ears, generated
from speed while riding? Well, that’s a quite difficult thing to do unless you choose to use ear plugs, which I certainly wouldn’t
recommend hours on the open road. The other thing you
could do is to go slower. I’m certainly hearing
a lot less wind noise in my current training
than I was a few years ago. We spoke though to Robbie Ketchell, who is one of the scientists at Team Sky, a couple of years ago over in Mallorca when he was doing some aerodynamic testing for Geraint Thomas. And interestingly, he said
the equipment you can use can vastly change the sounds around you. That the best time trialists in the world will use their hearing to make sure they’re in
the best position possible. Now that will be down to the fact that they’re using aerodynamic helmets. And when you’ve got your ears covered, that is accentuated in terms
of noises that you hear. Apart from that, I’m afraid
I can’t help you too much. But you might be able to get a few tips from this next video. And if you want to skip
straight to that bit with Robbie, it comes
towards the end of the video. – I would say that everybody
thinks that lower’s better, but it not necessarily is. Everybody’s different, so you have to you have to find what works for you. But typically, you can
find those types of things with equipment that fits
on your body better, by listening to the wind around you. You can hear when it’s buffeting or if it’s whistling around
with certain types of equipment. So, trying to make it as quiet as you can. You can listen to that. That’s actually, the best
time trialists in the world, that’s what they do. They can hear when it’s quiet, and they’ve learned to do that over the course of their career. – Before we get on to our
final question this week, a reminder that we’ll be
looking through the questions beneath this video in the comment section before we do next week’s video. Or if you prefer social media, you can use #torqueback, and ask your questions on there. The last question comes
in from Jonathan Lim. Are aero bikes faster on climbs than regular climbing bikes? #torqueback Again, that’s a very good question, and it would depend on a few factors. The severity of the climb start, but necessarily the gradient. It’s about how fast you’re
actually riding up the climb. I seem to remember the
cutoff point or tipping point is around about 16 kilometers per hour, or 10 miles per hour, where
one starts to trump the other. However, it also depends on
how much of a differential there is in the weights
between the two bikes, and also on how aerodynamic you
are on one versus the other. One thing to bear in mind though is that the pros still have to go by the UCI’s minimum weight rule, which is at 6.8 kilograms. So they can’t take full advantage of a super lightweight bike like you or I. Plus there’s the fact
that they’re probably pushing out enormous amount
more power than you or I, so they’re going faster up the climbs. So for them, the majority of the time, aero is always better. This is a subject which we did a video on, as you can probably expect. This is myself and Si comparing a lightweight bike and
an aero bike on a climb. – But the fact is though,
if your average speed, when you get home from a
normal ride on a Sunday, is 26k an hour, actually, you’re not really
going to see any benefits from riding an aero bike except
for one or two exceptions on your ride are you. First of all, there’s comfort as well. ‘Cause aero bikes have
always had a bit of a rep for being slightly harsher
than a lightweight bike. I mean, they’re also, ironically enough, flexy generally, aren’t they? Because they’re now in
their frontal profile, so they don’t get that
kind of torsional rigidity. – But certainly, I had
a misconception really when I first got onto deep section wheels. You know, you look at
these things, and you think they look incredibly stiff. And actually when you get on
them and out of the saddle, the side to side flex of
these deep section wheels is quite significant compared
to a normal box section, even training rim. All right, that is it for this week’s Ask GCN Anything. If you’ve yet to subscribe to
the Global Cycling Network, you will see a globe on
your screen right now. Click on that, and you
will be subscribing. It’s free to do it. If you’d like to support
us by visiting our shop and making a purchase, there’s
a few new products there. Amongst them, this brand
new (clinking) enamel cup. Your support is always
very much appreciated. All right, a couple more videos
for you to watch right now. A recent one, in case you missed it, is just down here. And that is Matt explaining
how to ride up and down hairpin bends. Or if the numbers that I
quoted in terms of gear ratios were completely confusing to you earlier, you might want to see an
explanation of gear ratios, Which you can find by
clicking just up there.

100 comments on “Are Cycling Sportives A Race? | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

  1. #torqueback – I've been cycling for about a year now on two Hybrids, and am getting ~£700 for Christmas this year to get a road bike. Any suggestions on what bike or what style (Aero, Lightweight etc). I live in quite a hilly area in Northern Ireland if that helps.

  2. How do you figure out which 'Zone' your riding at, without the use of any gadgets, just roughly by feel? #Torqueback

  3. I noticed in a previous video that Matt said one of his knees tends to lean in towards the bike frame and rub against the top tube. I find that this happens with my left leg but not my right. Can you recommend anything that would help?

  4. It's not realistic to think it's fair that the pros beat out Strava times….remember…they get closed down roads and streets just for them.

    Bottom line: There's nothing fair about trying to beat times on busy, traffic roads which are set on no-traffic roads.

    With that being said, it's super fun to follow them on Strava!


  5. I am training for a triathlon: when going from the swim to the bike, I am always soaking wet even after using a towel. Will being wet cause any damage to my bike? Cheers! #torqueback

  6. Hello Boyz here's one for you when it comes to crank lengths why 172.5 and not 172?
    Like with 175 and 170's #torqueback

  7. Why do riders have their TT skinsuits with their zippers at the back? Wouldn't they have an aerodynamic loss from that? #Torqueback

  8. Private part poisition should be down for Matt because he is a peak down guy as illustrated in many of his previous videos. Sounds painful but it is true.

  9. What personal details should you take with you when cycling and how would you take them? Would you endorse wristbands such as those sold by onelifeid? #torqueback

  10. I am riding the 100 miles Ride London at the end of July, what food should I eat in the day(s) leading up to the ride? #torqueback

  11. Are cantilever brakes more aero than normal road bike brakes, are they any less powerful than normal road bike brakes? #torqueback

  12. Is going to bed hungry a good way to help loose weight or better to be satiated to aid recovery? #torqueback

  13. @edwardarl26 #torqueback there is actually a product that might do the trick. don't have any experience with it but i too find i sometimes annoying when there is to much wind noise. i think even christoph strasser is using them in the acutal RAAM. you might take a look:

  14. #gcnstore Do you anticipate getting the Dom Estique Art Print Cheese saying back in the store or is that possibility of purchasing that item gone?

  15. Hope you can do a video on how to avoid being chased by dogs. Thank God, I've sprint quickly 😂 #torqueback

  16. #torqueback any recommendations for anyone that wants to become a cycling commentator or part of the cycling youtube media

  17. One of our local segments, Gun Hill, has someone called Daniel Lloyd in 5th place. Ever heard of him?

  18. #torqueback Is biking the future of sailing? Have you seen that stationary bikes have replaced hand grinders on Team NZ boat in the America's Cup? It would be interesting to see the tech involved. You can obviously generate more power with your legs than arms, so I can see the reasoning behind all this. However, as someone who's been on both a sailboat and a bike (but never raced on either), I do not want to be clipped in on a bike when the boat majorly heels and definitely not when it capsizes.

  19. If you could afford only one, would you buy a power meter to use outdoors and with a basic turbo OR a top smart trainer, to improve your training results?? #askgcnanything

  20. As someone who is heavily involved in an annual charity ride: when the organizer says it's not a race, they mean that the purpose of the ride is to raise funds for the charity and to build camaraderie among the riders (again, related to the primary goal, which is to raise funds for the charity). In my experience, charity rides are not timed. You can ride as fast as you like, but most of the riders in a charity ride aren't even "weekend warriors," let alone racers. Just my opinion.

  21. #TorqueBack So I currently ride a hardtail mtb with slicks and I'm looking into buying my first road bike and i cant really decide which of 2 bikes to get. An Canyon Endurace Al with 105 and disc brakes (wouldn't trade my hydraulic discs for nothing on my mtb) or the same bike with Ultegra and rim brakes. The price is 50€ different so basically the same.
    Your feedback would be very appreciated. Love the show!

  22. When climbing up a steep gradient out of the saddle in wet or dry conditions my rear wheel is slipping. What am I doing wrong.

  23. I recently started doing Sprint intervals and my lower back starts to feel discomfort, stifness and pain. is this normal to beginners to sprinting? I never get this feeling riding in the saddle #torqueback

  24. Hi, i'm planing to move to suthern europe after high-School, so i'll be able to ride during the winter. Where do the pro's live?

  25. #torqueback no question but a statement : Anyone can ride a bike, but etiquette makes you a cyclist.

  26. #torqueback Being a big, boofy bloke, I'm running 25mm tyres on my original 23mm aero Mavic rims. I found in the last Haute Route, my downhill times weren't as high as previously. Should tyre widths be matched with rims?

  27. You should not tackle the private parts question until you've solved the hat brim up/down debate. Oh, wait….I guess it's the same question then?

  28. Hi GCN, I am buying a new bike with the option between Dura Ace 9100 (mechanical) or Ultegra DI2 for the same price, please help me decide. Which is better? #TORQUEBACK

  29. I have a question.

    I hear in commentary on stage races for instance that someone from a team has gone up the road with or to a breakaway to bring them back to the peleton.

    I assume that means to slow the group down so the peleton can catch up.

    How do they do that?

  30. #torqueback What makes a cycle team a 'team'? When they have a major sponsor change what's the minimum that needs to remain to make it the same 'team'?

  31. I think that many of us would like to watch some guide lines in which order the gears shall be changed during acceleration.
    Supposing that one has the small gear in front and the largest one at the back, when do you advice to change to the big gear in front. Do you advice to change one step to the next bigger at the back, while changing to big one at the front?

  32. I had one guy come up to me after a sportive and yell at me for attacking up one of the climbs. Yes, I did end up 'winning' in an uphill-sprint finish. I had an average speed of 43.23km per hour over 82.6km.
    Note: Nom I did not raise my arms at the end, I was tempted but decided that since it was a small 'race' I thought it was a little unfair. Albeit it was quite a good win, so I'm told.

  33. Pretty Hardcore gearing I will ride 53/34 and 11/32 etap hrd so i don't have to grind when i'm tired

  34. As a man that is well endowed I do wear pants under my lycra, as when I don't I get friction and rub which you don't want: but I do keep myself, my pants, and my lycra clean.

  35. I have a question about UCI World Tour. All the major races give riders points, but for some reason World championships doesn't. Do you know why? #torqueback

  36. Dear GCN, is it okay for cyclist to have a bike frame which is touches the toe of the shoe when the wheel is turned? It touches the shoe when cranks is on 3 o'clock position even if I use 170 mm cranks. Should I change the frame to avoid such situation at cornering? Thank you. #torqueback

  37. I suppose Strava could easily identify pro cyclists and just like they do for the leaderboards anyway, filter out by pro or not pro (inc/exc) like they do for male / female and this year / overall

  38. There are those things called cats ears or something that attach to the straps in front of the ears and create an air void around the ear. No idea if they work, only seen a couple of commuters using them

  39. How does folding bike vs road bike speeds vary at same power? I've never seen anyone fit a power meter to a Brompton so am really curious about the cost of flex, position and small wheels #torqueback #askgcn

  40. Cat Ears helmet straps are great at reducing wind noise but they make you build too much heat in the summer.

  41. Hi, can you review an iPhone app for mapping the commute and see at the same time the speed? Google maps if good for planing the city commute but it doesn't show the speed or show an odometer for my bike. Thanks

  42. Hey GCN guys, would love to get a review of some of the Eddy Merckx line of bikes like the 525 and the San Remo. Have you reviewed them? How do they compare to some of the more popular bikes from Pinarello, Canyon and Cervelo? #TorqueBack

  43. #Torqueback do professional riders ever remove their jerseys to prevent overheating? I occasionally zip down to cool off, but it occurred to me, why are we wearing these things in the first place? Minor UV protection?

  44. #torqueback #gcn #askgcn
    if you could pick a current professional rider to join the GCN presenter team who would it be and why?

  45. Hi GCN, are you guys sponsored by specific brands or pro-teams? I would like to know, becuase you guys give lots of tips and tricks without blurred brands. Love the show! YouTube schould give and award or something. #torqueback

  46. Hi! One quick technical question: can one fit a sram red bb30 bottom bracket in a canyon aeroad frame? Thanks Carlo Pirazzi #torqueback

  47. Would a Cyclocross Bike with Road Wheels/tires be noticeably worse than a road specific bike on the road? or much the same? 7#torqueback

  48. I've read a lot about lower back pain and how to prevent it through core exercises but is it really something that you can eliminate entirely? Spinning rather than grinding gears has helped, but I still get a twinge on my right side when riding hard. Does everyone get a bit of that at end of a long ride? #torqueback

  49. I just finished my first 300km ride (vätternrundan in Sweden) and mostly got pain in my upper back shoulders and arms. Do you have some training tips to prepare the top part of the body for long rides? #askgcn #torqueback

  50. Are the pros allowed to use a head up device like a garmin varia vison??? A guy like Froome has his eye on the head unit most of the time on a climb. One would think it was safer w a HUD..

  51. Thanks to your videos I've learnt the control and security you get from holding the more vertical parts of the drops on descents. But what about the lower, more horizontal sections? It sometimes feels comfortable to stretch out in that position, but it's harder to reach the brakes. Am I set up wrong or, on a more general note, should a rider ever be holding the lower bits of the bars? #torqueback

  52. There are actually hearing protection which are molded into your ear, which allow to cancel the wind noise (or part of it) while you still hear the traffic on the street. Just google something like hearing protection for cyclists (works at least in german).

  53. you should be able to filter out cat 1 and above riders. from strava. and ex pros for 2 years after retirement.

    noise reduction search for cat ears they are ment to help

  54. I had the bike shop reverse my brake cables as my new bike came with the rear brake on the right lever and I'm used to it being on the left. I'm originally from the UK but live in California now. Are these brake lever preferences regional, or did someone mess with my childhood bikes? #Torqueback #AskGCN

  55. Hi, I have searched for a good answer for my question: When is my carbon wheels worn out and need to be replaced?
    On my alloy wheels, there is this small holes on the rim, that indicate when they worn out, but not on my carbon wheels. I measure the depth of the brake track to see how much they been worn. But still not a clear answer from different manufacturers.
    And the related question, how many kilometers can you expect from a carbon wheel? And holds more expensive brands longer then cheaper wheelset? #TorqueBack

  56. hello GCN, could you advice what to dress for road/cross bike for to go to work, but without opportunity to change clothes. something like comfort casual panths

  57. Hi – question: with some innertires you can screw the core out of the valve. Not a problem, unless you have a screw on pump (which are some of the best pumps nowadays.) Now when i screw on my pump-extender onto the valve, pump it up and screw it loose again the core of the valve sometimes comes out also. (quite frustrating) there is often no way to tighten the valve core so hard that it won't come of after pumping the tire again.
    The trick is of course to tighten the valve-core extra hard before you leave home, but what if you are on the side of the road and can't do that?

  58. #torqueback I'm reasonably new to road riding, and I'm finding that when i really give it the beans on a short sharp hill, my front wheel tends to lift. To fix, is it as simple as changing my centre of balance?

  59. My company is forcing cycles to be stored in designated bike sheds. Are you aware of any cost effective external commercial storage solutions that mean I won't have to lock my nice road bike up against some steel or concrete fixings?

  60. #Torqueback Dear GCN if I run 23c tires in the front and 25c tires for the rear, what tire pressure should I set for the front and back?

  61. This is an interesting question: has there been any wind tunnel research on the effect of a tailwind on cycle speed? Does a 20 km/h tailwind mean you're travelling 20 km/h faster with a given power, or is it a constant-ish proportion of the wind speed. Does this vary when in an aero position or riding on the tops (probably yes).

  62. #torqueback Hi, I've had a road bike for a year now but every now and then when changing from the small to the large ring on the front I end up with the clumsiest clunky change ever, whereas other times it happens very smoothly and I can't work out why. Any tips? Thanks.

  63. What computer are you using on your Canyon? I have an Ultimate but don't want a Garmin, which I believe are the only make on the market with the right mount. Any good hack/bodge advice to mounting other computer makes?

  64. hi guys, im a young cyclist whose only just got into the sport over the past 6 months but everytime I go into the 2 easiest sprockets on my cassette there is a click with every pedal revolution, what could be the cause of this clicking?

  65. How do I know what my correct zone is for training in terms of numbers? There seems to be a bit of difference from Training peaks to British cycling and Wahoo app etc. I'm fairly new to riding and have done a ftp as recommended but not sure how accurate the reading was (static bike). It seems to me that it's much easier then should be in the recommended endurance and tempo zones when out cycling. Who's zone calculators are best to trust?

  66. #torqueback while training indoors with an aerodynamic rear wheel, would the benefit from the aero wheel make it easier to go faster?

  67. If you adjust yourself in the right way, then you can also kill three birds with one stone bringing along a spare thermal sock. You catch my drift

  68. Seriously, mis-positioning of the bobby has sent me to the Dr before. He's no cyclist and so no help. I keep the little guy dry, but chaffing results. Do you stuff? Do you wrap? And no more deflecting to Si…we've seen you in your white shorts, Dan….

  69. When riding clipless, what is the best technique for getting back into the pedals after stopping on a steep pitch for traffic?

    We have a lot of intersections where a stop sign or traffic signal is at the top of a hill (6% – 13%), and riders frequently get caught mid-way up the hill and have to snap out of their pedals. I have often found it challenging to get snapped back into the pedals and moving in this situation. What's your technique?

  70. Are worn out tires one of the reasons why inner tubes often gets a puncture after an intense ride? #askgcn #torqueback

  71. #torqueback Please stop promoting the use of Strava until they respect the community, restore the chronological feed, and stop filling the feed with SPAM. Users hate the changes, but Strava continues to ignore the nearly universally negative feedback.

  72. Hello Cyclists,
    I am looking for a computer/app which compares my performace with my history. Either on the same route which I ride regularly or on some parametes like slope/temp/caloris.
    I mean competing with average speed doesn't make sense, but if I know my average speed @5% slope, 25 deg, it would be a lot more informative. Some kind of maschine learning algos.
    If you at least got my idea, I would be happy to read your comments.

  73. Hey guys wondering if you can tell me if there is a proper way of breathing on the bike. I have heard many different ideas and would love to hear your opinion. I would also like to know if you recommend taking supplements like glutamine creative and agmatine sulphate. These are more geared to body builders but is there a spot for cyclists.

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