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How to prepare for a sportive

Monday, February 29th, 2016 3:49pm
Category: Latest News

How to prepare for a sportiveSportive cycles – mass road rides with hundreds or even thousands of participants, sometimes on roads especially closed for the purpose – have exploded in popularity.

Non-competitive in nature and generally featuring a choice of distances and/or routes, sportive riders can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that a full support organisation, including food and drink stops plus mechanical support is always there should they need it. You can see all our sponsored sportive rides on our events page.

How to prepare for a sportive with Sean Kelly video

Build up your mileage

Get the miles in to suit the ride you’re taking on. Scope out the route so you know what to expect – don’t get caught out by a big climb or tough descent. Strava is a great place to research and find new routes.

Why not track your ride, compare data with friends and upload your routes with the help of a training aid? Heart rate monitors and GPS systems like this Garmin Edge 520 are perfect performance indicators, so why not log your activity throughout this year’s riding challenge?

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Garmin Edge 520

Don’t let a mechanical ruin your day

You’ve prepared yourself physically and mentally, so take the same approach to your bike – make sure it’s in good working order with a kit like this from X-Tools.

Check that your brake pads, tyres and chainset are in good condition, and that your gears are shifting smoothly, ready for a big day in the saddle!

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X-Tools Bike Tool Kit - 37 Piece

Prepare your bike for a sportive with Muc-Off

Bike comfort is key

Contact points, areas of your body in direct contact with the bike, are the main areas you’ll want to look after on big-mile rides.

Your handlebar, like this carbon model from Thomson, plays a key role in how comfy your ride is, offering a variety of different hand and riding positions – on the top of the bars for in-the-saddle climbing, on the hoods of the brakes for going uphill or accelerating, or on the drops for sustained high-speed effort in a lower, more aerodynamic position.

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Thomson Road Carbon Handlebar


Few items of cycling equipment are more personal – or more important – than the saddle. A well-designed and well-fitting saddle, like this Astute Skyline VT Taca, will make epic days in the saddle a breeze.

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Astute Skyline VT Taca Saddle


A good pair of clipless pedals, like the Shimano Ultegra SPD-SL 6800, offer a smooth pedal stroke and better energy efficiency. Don’t forget to make sure your pedals and cleats are set up properly for maximum pedal-pushing comfort.

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Shimano Ultegra SPD-SL 6800 Clipless Road Pedals

Clothing comfort

The clothing you wear can make or break your ride, so make sure you’re wearing the right kit for the conditions.

Look for a good quality jersey, like this Endura model, that offers effective moisture management and a degree of UV protection if it’s going to be hot.

Rear pockets are perfect for carrying gels, bars or other items of clothing on long sportive rides.

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Endura FS260-Pro SL Jersey 2015


Bibshorts, like these from Endura, have straps that go over the shoulders, rather than a waistband, and are regarded by many as being more comfortable as they are less prone to chafing and have no waistband to dig into the stomach. Your ass will thank you for buying a good pair after a long road ride.

It’s handy to have a pot of chamois cream at the ready – it helps reduce friction, prevent overheating and generally offers a soothing barrier which prevents chafing and pain.

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Chamois cream

Endura FS260 Pro Bib Shorts II SS16


Well worn in shoes, like these Shimano R171 shoes, with a comfortable fit and which offer good power transfer will make the difference. Don’t debut a fresh pair of shoes on your first long ride!

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Shimano R171 Road SPD-SL Shoes 2016

Nutrition and recovery

Hydrate yourself before, during and after your ride – whatever the distance. Eating and drinking little and often will produce the best results, so even if you don’t feel overly hungry, try to take some food on board.

Endurance: Typically loaded with high-energy complex carbohydrates, High5 Energy Source like this is used to maintain fuel stores prior to or during training and competition.

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High5 Energy Source 4:1 Drink 1.6kg


Hydration: Products like these High5 Zero Electrolyte tablets are aimed at efficiently replacing fluids lost during exertion as well as other key nutrients such as electrolytes (salts).

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High5 Zero Electrolyte Drink Tablets


Recovery: Protein-rich recovery products like this Science In Sport REGO Rapid Recovery helps to restore tired muscles after exercise and aid in the creation of new muscle.

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Science In Sport REGO Rapid Recovery 1.6kg

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