Finally, spring is here!! The sun is out, the winter kit is bagged up and with any luck, this relentless cold, soggy, wet weather won’t be rearing its ugly head for another six months or so. Hopefully, you’ve had a good winter of training in preparation for the 2023 sportive season, ready to smash it. But before you pack your bike up for the weekend, we thought we’d write a survival checklist for you to ensure that your day goes as smoothly as possible.
Is your bike working?
As obvious as it sounds, is your bike working? If you haven’t had your bike serviced recently, you need to make sure that you have given it a good check over. Make sure your bike is well cleaned and dried before carrying out these checks before your sportive.
-Electronic gears: Are they charged?
-Are your tyres correctly inflated, in good condition and free of cuts?
-Are your brakes operational, running centrally and with adequate pad depth?
-If running a tubeless set up, ensure that you have adequate sealant in the tyre.
-Check all bolts are torqued correctly paying particular attention to the stem, bars and seat post.
-If you have had a number posted to you, put it on before you leave. Fumbling around with zip ties in a hurry isn’t fun!
-Ensure your chain is cleaned and lubricated. If the weather is looking bad, use wet lube. If it’s dry (fingers and toes crossed) use dry lube. If you’re super fancy, and riding a ‘waxed chain’ just make sure it’s still within it’s ideal operational window.
Do you know the route?
Having a general idea of your route is key to having a good day out. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably targeted an event based on it’s particular characteristics, in my case, I like flat and rolling events. Knowing the key points of the route will help you pace correctly and assist you in your fuelling strategy. Additionally, some of the bigger sportive events have multiple route options so be sure not to take a wrong turn. Although most events are well signposted, you can often upload the routes to your GPS bike computer via a .GPX file.
Where are you parking?
To minimise the stress of leaving on the morning, be sure that if travelling by car that you can park at the event. For some of the big events that start in the city, you have very little chance of getting close to the start. You may need to pre book your parking well before the event starts. I have found a really cool app that allows you to book parking on somebody’s private drive. This is a really cost effective way of getting near to the event start, if all other multi story or parking options are exhausted. Whilst we’re on the subject of parking, be wary of low carpark entrances. I’ve seen on a few occasions, people writing off their bikes on their way into a car park. Event ruined, not cool!
Plan your food
What are you eating the night before and on the morning on the event?
To ensure peak performance during a long bike ride, it’s essential to eat a nutritious meal beforehand. Base your diet on complex carbohydrates like whole grain rice, fruits and vegetables, and include lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, and beans. Contrary to popular belief, consuming large portions the night before a big ride is unnecessary, as long as you’ve had a well-balanced meal.
On the day of the ride, choose low GI foods that release carbohydrates slowly, such as porridge, muesli, granola with yoghurt, scrambled eggs with wholegrain toast or a fruit smoothie. Don’t forget to hydrate properly and limit your coffee intake.
During the ride, try to eat regularly with food that you’re familiar with and won’t give you any stomach issues. We previously wrote some blogs on nutrition. You can find our carb loading blog here and a hydration blog here.
What kit are you wearing?
Before you travel, check the weather forecast. You need to pack for all eventualities but as most sportives start during spring, there is always a chance of grim weather. Wearing the right kit on the day will mean the difference between finishing comfortably or having a memorably miserable day because you forgot to pack an essential piece of kit. Our advice here is to pack for every eventuality. If the weather is warm, don’t forget your sunscreen and lip balm!
Is your saddlebag primed and ready for a big day? At the very minimum we recommend you have:
-2x inner tubes
-Micro multi tool
-Co2 pump and 2x canisters
-2x plastic tyre levers
-Nitrite gloves- stops the white bar tape getting dirty and keeps hands clean
-ICE details on laminated paper
If you’re driving to an event, you may as well take your tool kit and track pump just in case you have an issue at the 11th hour. Besides, you may find that someone else has a problem which you can help fix.
Get out there and enjoy the event. Ride safe, ride strong and ride sensibly. Don’t forget that you’re taking part in an event which is going to be packed full of riders with a multitude of differing skill and strength levels. You aren’t racing for the Maillot Jaune, so there is no need to take unnecessary risks. We want you to enjoy the event rubber side down with a smile on your face. Have fun!
Whatever sportive or event you choose to take part in, make sure that you are fully covered for any accidents that may occur before, during or after the event by taking out a cycle insurance policy with Yellow Jersey. If you need some help, please give our support staff a call on 0333 003 0046