Riding your first sportive – the do’s and dont’s

Ok, ok everything you read here will be obvious but it’s amazing that even though I knew this stuff I still managed to fall into every trap possible for lasts years Prudential Ride 100, which I recommend everyone to do at least once in their lifetime

Preparation
Basically, do some! Just because you can do 50 miles and you may have done more before doesn’t mean you still can. A friend of mine who was a top martial arts competitor and is now a GB coach says ‘train hard, compete easy’ i.e. the more preparation you put in the easier it will be.
Find out how hilly the course you will be taking on is. If its flat then train flat, and if its hilly – guess what train hilly!

The day before
Don’t go out and have a skin full. Wait until after the event. Riding while sweating alcohol is not recommended. Do eat pasta. It really does give you more energy on the day! Get a decent night’s sleep. Don’t choose a room mate who decides that he wants to tell you how great Alfie Bow is and then plays you one of his albums at 3am! (you know who you are!!). Get your bike and kit ready for the day so when you get up at stupid o’clock you don’t have to think. Find out where the start line is and how long it will take to get there.

On the day
Don’t get to the start unnecessarily early and don’t get their five minutes late. You won’t get any prizes for the person who stands around the longest, but you may get disqualified if you miss your start time!

During the race
If you’re not Brad Wiggins when you train, you won’t be Brad Wiggins on the day. Don’t let the adrenalin get to you. Ride at your own pace and enjoy the event. The Prudential 100 is a closed road and the crowds are amazing, cheering you on along the route. You have 7 hours to complete the course so don’t be afraid to enjoy every minute.
Take on water and energy. That feeling of invincibility you may be feeling will not last – trust me! And if you wait until you are feeling tired to take on calories it is too late. Take little and often. The time you take to take on fluids and snacks will be made up with maintaining a standard pace and not dropping off
Find someone who is cycling at a similar pace and don’t be afraid to slip stream for bit. You my even want to team up for a few miles taking turns at the front.
Enjoy the finish. The feeling of personal achievement is second to none. YOU’VE DONE IT!! Take 5 mins and then do some warm down stretching exercises. Trust me you will thank me later. Take on fluids and have some more carbs. When you can have a bath. Last year I rode for MacMillan and they actually offered massages. Now that was a happy ending to the race event!

The days after
Don’t stop cycling, book in your next event and tell all your mates. Cycling is a real community and events like these bring people together. Remember the feeling of the finishing line and finally don’t forget to train hard and compete easy!

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