Welcome to the beginning of an exciting series of articles bringing you all you need to know about taking part in a sportive this summer.
We have enlisted the help of experts and sportive veterans to produce a complete guide to getting involved in a sportive, and will be bringing to you the sum total of that combined knowledge over the next 16 weeks.
Our eight-part guide will bring you tried-and-tested advice, detailed training schedules, technical tips, gear discussions, performance strategies and much more, all designed to help you smash that sportive.
We’ll also be discussing the social element of the event, and reveal some of the insider cultural and informal practices that will be of great value to newbies.
Sportives are one of the most exciting and fulfilling events a road cyclist can be a part of. The atmosphere of the day, the chance to test your fitness, technique, and carefully curated gear – all while surrounded by like-minded people – is enjoyed by thousands of cyclists every year.
But be warned – once you get the sportive bug, it’s difficult to get rid of it.
To help you prepare for your event, we have partnered with one of the world’s leading authorities on cycling performance and training, the UK’s national governing body for all things bike related, British Cycling.
This has allowed us to provide bespoke training schedules for those taking part in both long (around 160km and upwards) and shorter events (around 60-80km), so whether you’re a sportive novice or a veteran, you’ll find something of value in our sportive guide.
To see a list of sportive events near you, check out British Cycling’s sportive events listings.
For events around the European continent, visit cyclosport.org.
As mentioned above, The Hub has teamed up with British Cycling, the UK’s national governing body for cycling, to produce a number of training regimes that will suit novice riders all the way to experienced cyclists. With over 137,000 members across the UK, British Cycling is one of the most respected organisations in the sport globally.
We’ve partnered with the organisation to bring you these bespoke schedules that will help you get in stunning form for your sportive this year.
And, as part of our new partnership, The Hub is able to offer an exclusive deal for our readers, giving you 25% off membership of British Cycling.
Just visit their page, BritishCycling.org.uk/membership, and use the promo code CRC18. Membership provides an array of benefits including liability insurance, legal support, priority access to tickets for major cycling events, plus 10% off purchases at Chain Reaction Cycles.
Take a look below at three training overviews designed for riders of different experience levels.
Follow our links below each plan where you can open the original PDFs where you’ll find live links to detailed training advice from British Cycling or the full day-by-day training programme.
If you’ve just got into cycling, then don’t worry – with a bit of dedication and training, even you can be ready for a sportive by the summer. British Cycling’s 8-week Sofa to 50km plan will get you ready to tackle a mid-range sportive and provide you with the tools to perform well.
The regime asks you to ride for around an hour three days a week, building up to a long ride on a Sunday. By adding distance and intensity over the eight weeks, you should find yourself fighting fit for a sportive by its conclusion.
This intermediate training regime is perfect for experienced riders. It increases the intensity over 12 weeks, reaching over nine hours of cycling per week in the final period.
Obviously, you will need to taper your training in the weeks before taking part in a sportive, and again The Hub will be discussing this training strategy in future articles.
The Off Season Base Builder is suitable for riders already capable of comfortably completing a 100km ride (60 mile) and regularly logging 5-6 hours of riding time a week.
This eight week Pre-Season Plan is for strong riders, prepared to cycle between five and eight hours per week. It involves a range of training techniques, such as threshold testing, tempo training, and interval training.
For more information on these types of training, download the PDF and follow the live links. The Hub’s sportive training guide will also be providing detail on these training methods in future weeks.
The Pre-Season Plan is designed to follow on from the Off-Season Base Builder above, but is also suitable for riders who have trained consistently, typically logging 6 hours plus of riding each week and are capable of 4-5 hours or 160 km (100-mile) rides.
Over the next 16 weeks, our sportive training tips will bring you everything you need to know about getting ready for the event.
We’ll be offering advice on how to maximise your training time, how to toughen up for the challenge ahead, techniques for staying motivated, and tips on nutrition.
The series will also look at basic cycling techniques, such as cadence, cornering and cycling in a bunch. We’ll discuss sportive strategy, handling event-day nerves, and give you insider advice on gear, biking upgrades, and preparing your steed for the demands of the long ride.