I have previously reported that part of my plan was to book up a sportive a month to measure my progress.
Well, I was true to my word and last Sunday was the date of the first of these.
If any of you dont understand what a sportive is then allow me to explain. A sportive is a planned event where your average cyclist pays for the privelidge of riding a preconceived course.
These planned events occur all over the country all year round. They seem to offer cycling for all types too whether you are a super-dooper-paratrooper-cyclist (Rob) or big fat lazy bearded type (me). To accommodate all there are normally two or three diferent distances, this year the mileage splits seems to be;
Short – 35ish miles
Medium – 65ish miles
Long – 100ish miles.
My first sportive was a planned short distance. The next one I plan to do at the end of April will be for the middle distance. By June I plan to be riding the long distances. Although you should already know this as I have discussed this on a previous blog.
So, last Sunday was my first sportive and 35 miles later I was driving home, feeling quite proud of myself.
But why would anyone pay for the priviledge when they can just get out on their bike and ride whatever distance they like.
And you know what, I agree. Why would any muppet pay to ride their bike on public highway roads. So here it is, justification why you should do sportives.
1. The payment is a bit of a pain but for that you get a sign posted route that clearly directs you around the loop, normally in an area you have never ridden before. So the change is nice.
2. You also (normally) get a few energy gels, possibly a free t-shirt, maybe a water bottle.
3. More importantly, you’ve paid the money so there is no way you wont bother turning up (unless you like wasting your own money) This incentive really helped me. I made sure Karen knew exactly how much these were costing, which meant there was no way I was not getting up and heading off without justifying the wasted money. Not that she would care but I’d rather ride than try fobbing a sob story onto deaf ears. THIS IS GOOD GOOD INCENTIVE for a right lazy bar-steward.
4. Free maintenance. Normally these places have an experienced mechanic that can sort out any basic issues you have with your bike. I have a huge problem with gears on a bike. I know how they work, I know all about the cable tension and the HIGH and LOW nuts. Still, everytime I try to tweak my gears I always mess it up. Answer – go to a sportive and get someone who knows what they are doing to do it for free – SIMPLES!!! Before the sportive my gears clunked like a bad-un, now they sing like a songbird.
5. Social side of the ride. I ride a lot on my own. I dont really know anyone else that rides, where I live. A sportive gives me chance to ride with others, have a quick chat, slate that last bloody hill, complain about the twat driving the audi back there…
So I did the 35 mile route (that only showed up as 30 miles on the old GARMIN). There were a few hills but I didnt mind that. I live in possibly the flatest of areas so hills are few and far between. Hills are good for training, mainly because they get you sweating harder than the Malaysian Minister of Transport at a Press Conference (apologies if that last comment is in bad taste but at the time of writing they had not found the plane – I mean how on earth can you lose a plane???).
Anyway, back to the riding. It was super cool to do the sportive. Mainly because it is part of the plan to ramp up the miles in preconceived steps. I now have a month to get up to the 60 mile mark, ready for the next one. I am actively aiming to be ready for that first 50 plus mile ride and the future looming sportive is helping bucket loads, which means my plan is working.
How awesome am I?
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