Prepare for a Sportive

Spring-time is a great opportunity to put your name down and commit to an event. So, in this post, we offer some tips and advice to help you prepare for a sportive.

Sportives are organised cycling events, of varying lengths and difficulties. They’re not considered competitive. Instead treat them as a personal cycling challenge.

Sportive tip no.1:

Pick the right event for you

There are few things you’ll want to consider when you book a sportive. Where is it? How long is it? What’s the terrain?

The event you choose, will ultimately depend on your cycling ability. Whilst you may want to give yourself a challenge, don’t be unrealistic. If you’ve not ridden further than 30km, we wouldn’t suggest booking a 150km route. That said, if you’re a seasoned cyclist, give yourself something to aim for; perhaps an ultra-endurance event. Or try out a different discipline – gravel specific sportives are catering for the growing number of people choosing to do their riding off-road.

Many cycling events will put on at least a couple of cycling routes to cover differing abilities. You’ll find various websites listing sportives or events to get involved with. For example, in the UK, you can head to British Cycling or UK Cycling Events.

Choosing the right sportive for you.
Sportive Tip no. 1: Choose the right sportive for you

Sportive tip no. 2:

Do some training

Once you’ve chosen your sportive, it’s time to get training! You don’t want to rock up without some level of fitness to get you round. Whether you decide to work with a coach, download a training plan or devise your own, start steady and increase your training efforts gradually.

It’s also worth bearing in mind the type of sportive you’ve booked. If there are some big hills in the route, then plan some of your training on hills, to get your body used to those particular efforts. Similarly, if you’re going to be riding on gravel, don’t leave it until event day to test out your riding skills.

We’d also recommend doing some group riding. Sportives can be busy places, with lots of wheels to contend with. So if you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to join a local club and get out on some club rides. You’ll learn how to ride in a group, some general cycling etiquette and you’ll make some friends too!

However you choose to do your training, consistency is key. Work out how you can fit training into your routine and try to stick with it.

Apps such as Strava allow you to record and track your training, share your progress with friends and set goals. You can even join the Hiplok Strava club and share your cycling journey!

Sportive tip no. 3:

Get organised

You’ve done your training, and event day is nearing. It’s time to get organised and prepared, so you can avoid any unnecessary stress on the day.

Check the event details

Make sure you’ve checked the date and times for your sportive. What time do you need to arrive and register? It’s also worth downloading the cycling route to your head unit, as a back up. The route should be signposted as you go round, but they may be easy to miss.

Get your kit ready

Prepare your kit and cycling gear the night before. The last thing you need is to get to the sportive and find that you’ve left your shoes at home!

This is where the Hiplok ORGANIZER comes into its own. It provides a one stop gear storage solution for cyclists, and you can even attach it to an AIRLOK if you want to keep your bike with your kit too. Store all your essentials in one place and tick them off your checklist the night before:

  • Helmet
  • Shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves
  • Jersey/gilet/jacket
  • Shorts/tights
  • Socks
  • Energy gels
  • Garmin/Wahoo
  • Water bottle
Get organized for your sportive with Hiplok ORGANIZER
Get organised for your sportive with Hiplok ORGANIZER

Plus, don’t forget to take a lightweight bike lock with you, for those all-important mid-ride fuel stops. Z LOKs are lightweight and surprisingly robust – a great option to stuff in your jersey pocket to deter any opportunist thieves.

Two people at café with bikes locked with Hiplok Z LOK.
Hiplok Z LOK – keep your ride secure at pit stops

Sportive tip no. 4:

Travelling to the Event

Before you head to the sportive on the day, review the parking facilities and check out the route to the venue, so you know how you’re going to get there. The last thing you need is a stressful journey because you’ve taken a wrong turning somewhere.

Transporting your bike

If the sportive you’re signed up to is a bit further afield, you’ll probably need to drive. In which case, consider how you’ll transport your bike.

If you decide to carry the bike inside your car, the Hiplok RIDE SHIELD is a simple yet effective solution. Designed to protect both your car and bike, it features a water-resistant padded liner to prevent damage. Plus, a security cover to shield your bike from view when it’s in the car. There’s also a large pocket to store all your dirty kit and gear on the ride home.

Road bike being put into a car with Hiplok RIDE SHIELD
Transport your bike to the sportive with Hiplok RIDE SHIELD

Get there early

You don’t want to be rushing around on the morning of the sportive. So get there early. This will give you time to register, get kitted up and crucially check your bike over.

Don’t overlook a quick bike maintenance and safety check before you hit the start line. Check your tyre pressues, wheels, any quick releases and chain.

Whilst you probably don’t have space for a full size work stand, the FLIPSTAND is a great compact alternative to get your bike prepped.

As the name suggests, it is designed to work with your bike flipped upside down, without damaging your handlebars or saddle. It also acts as a handy tool roll, to keep basic maintenance tools, such as allen keys, chain lube etc. An ideal cycling event companion.

Person preparing bike for sportive with Hiplok FLIPSTAND
Prep your bike before the sportive with FLIPSTAND

Sportive tip no. 5:

Fuel right

First and foremost, make sure you’re eating a balanced and healthy diet, and stay hydrated. But alongside this, there are a certain things you can do before, during and after your ride to ensure you perform at your best and recover well.

The day before

Carbohydrates are the food group that will give your muscles the energy (glycogen) stores they need, for strenuous physical activity. So the day before the event, opt for rice or pasta to build up your reserves.

Event day

In the morning, you’ve got the opportunity to top up your glycogen levels. Nothing too heavy, but think porridge, toast and jam, banana and dried fruit.

During the ride, the key is to fuel regularly. Try to eat and drink every half an hour to ensure you keep your energy supplies up.

After the event

Fuelling after a big ride is all about recovery. There are various recovery drinks you can have which will help with your hydration levels, but try to follow this with a protein filled meal.

If you’re looking for more information on event day nutrition, we’d recommend checking out Veloforte’s blog post.

Team Hiplok at Ride London sportive
Final sportive tip: Have fun!

Finally, enjoy the ride. You’ll smash it!


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