Training

Starting Sportives

Start Finish Tent - C. Knight / krider

Another day, another new activity 😉 Given the husband’s enjoyment of cycling, and my preference for long rides rather than runs for cardio he suggested we try a sportive. A sportive is not a race, but an organised ride. I think this quote sums it up quite well:

Sportives are to cyclists what marathons are for runners – long distance challenges. Most people who run marathons are not racing, they’re just trying to complete the distance.

Maybe, one step up from that, they’re trying to beat last year’s time, or their personal best for the distance, but it’s still not a race. A sportive is just like a marathon then, except we’re on two wheels not two legs!

Read more

There are plenty of sportives around, but we went with one organised by Evans Cycles that was quite local to us. We signed up to a short route of 32 miles/51 kilometres. If you are more experienced in riding for longer durations or are training for (half) Ironman events, then they also offer medium and long routes. In this case of 54 and 75 miles respectively.

Route Map - C. Knight / krider

Route Map – C. Knight / krider

The ride took place a couple of weekends ago, and aside from the coldness, it was a pretty decent day. The sun was out most of the time, and the rain held off until later in the day. You can see the route that my Polar V800 tracked in the image above, with markers every 5 kilometers. Despite myself, and not being 100% leading up to it, I really enjoyed it. I did struggle mid-ride with energy as I had done nothing in the way of carb loading and most of my training rarely goes over an hour. But some gels in my bike bag from one of the triathlons last year came to the rescue. Along with the feed station where I made use of a large container of jelly beans 😉

With better energy, and relaxing into it all, I found the second half of the ride more fun. I got into a good rhythm and cycled more consistently too. I also found I enjoyed not having to plan a route other than watching out for the waymarkers. I had no need to keep up with anyone as hubby, and I had agreed to meet at the end that meant there was no pressure there either.

I did discover that my shoes while usefully airy in the summer months, are ruddy freezing at this time of year. Especially adding in wind chill factors as well as the ambient air temperature. My right foot, which rarely unclips during a ride, suffered the most. As a consequence, I now have some overshoes. As well as being a lot warmer, I’m guessing no one will miss me in these 😀

Overshoes - C. Knight / krider

Overshoes – C. Knight / krider

 

We’ve now signed up for another couple of events (so far!) in May and June, and will combine this with triathlons and kettlebells in July and August. It is great being able to be active, and it is something we both want to ensure we can do for as long as possible. Age is just a number! 😉

Us Afterwards - C. Knight / krider

Us Afterwards – C. Knight / krider

 

If you are at all concerned about trying one, don’t be. These events are well organised and well signposted. The marshals at the start/finish are very friendly and explain everything to you, including reiterating that it is not a race! Usually, there is a range of start times too so not everyone heads out on to the roads at the same time. Staggering the start reduces event start pressure from a competitor point of view too.

See you out on the roads!

 

Leave a comment. Go on. You know you want to!