For many people, just getting the end of a sportive is the main objective and actually a very big achievement. But for others, it’s all about improving their times and going quicker. Here are a few tips on how to improve your time on a sportive.
Choose the Right Feed Zones
One way in which you can drastically reduce the time taken to complete the sportive is by not stopping at every single feed
Travis McCabe takes on some fluids at the feed zone. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com
station. It is crucially important that you consume enough calories and drink enough to get yourself round. However, you should be able to do this without continuously stopping, or your effort before is all wasted.
Then, when you finally stop at a feed station, stock right up, so fill both of your bottles up and fill your pockets up with food as well. Don’t hang around too long, because every sportive requires certain time to enable people to adapt. If you hang around too long, you have to take more time to adapt to the sportive. Just get on your way very quickly. And your legs are probably going to thank you for it.
Besides, it’s also of vital importance for you to study the route in detail, because the last thing you want to happen is to run out of vital supplies when it’s still very far from the next feed zone.
So, start your event with two big bottles of drink. If your stomach is used to energy drink, it would be perfect. Also, bring plenty of food and put them in your back pockets. You should be able to start with enough that you can just cruise past the first feed station without stopping, and it’s already saving five minutes or more.
Buy a Tight-fitting Rain Jacket
Unfortunately, not all sportive are held under ideal weather conditions. It may sound cool to competing in the rain, but it is not when you get cool or a fever. So, you should be prepared for anything with your clothing, especially rain. You would like to invest in a rain jacket, which brings us on to the next point.
The difference between one that flaps about all over the place and one that fits nicely is significant in terms of aerodynamics. The one that fits your body nicely can reduce wind resistance and increase your riding speed. Instead, the one that flaps about all over the place will not only increase the wind resistance, but also increase the risk of riding, for the clothing may block the view of the road.
You’ll probably see lots of people riding around with capes or jackets flapping all over the place like a parachute, costing them about 20watts, which for a lot of people is about 10% of their energy or their power. So, you should choose your garment wisely. You won’t want something that’s like a compression top, but you don’t want it too flappy either.
Find Your Proper Pace
Improving your time on sportive doesn’t mean that you have to speed up your riding rate or something. Make sure you pace yourself, that’s what really matters. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are as a rider, how much thought you put into your pacing, it’s still incredibly easy to get carried away at the start and go too fast. So, you should ignore those other riders blasting off around you. Find you own pace and stick to it. It might be a little hard at first, but ultimately, it’ll lead to a faster time and the satisfaction of overtaking those riders at the end who start off way too quick.
It’s your body that makes the biggest difference when it comes to sailing through the wind, not just your kit, helmet, bike or wheels. So, practice getting aero in training and execute the same tactic on the day. It doesn’t make much difference on the climbs but on the flat or downhills, it’s going to make you a lot quicker. If you manage to find a group of riders to ride with or even just one other rider of a similar ability to yourself, that is a great way of going faster whilst using exactly the same amount of effort. And that is because, by alternating the rider on the front, they will be saving the team we’re behind, about 30% of their power.
However, make sure you do occasionally come through and do your turn in the front because it can be quite infuriating if there’s one person who just decides, they’re going to sit on and save all their own energy.