Our guide to preparing for your Sportive in 2016

Preparing For a Sportive

Sportive season is fast-approaching and it takes preparation to get the absolute best out of yourself and your bike. Whether you’re an experienced sportive rider, or have discovered them recently in the hunt for a new cycling challenge, we have some advice on how to get ready.

It’s all about the bike
Choosing a good sportive bike can help you get results and it’s important to select the right ride for your experience and ability – fortunately Specialized has a model to suit every experience level. The Allez E5 Sport is an excellent choice for beginners or those on a budget – it delivers superb handling, long-distance comfort and the combination of aluminium frame and carbon fork delivers all the benefits of carbon with an accessible pricetag. At the higher end of our price range is the Roubaix SL4 Expert Disc, which delivers great performance and will keep you comfortable on those extra-long sportive rides – great for sportive experts. It’s Fulcrum Racing wheels give an extremely smooth ride, while the Shimano UDi2 drivetrain delivers seamless switching. In between those sit the Tarmac Sport and Diverge Elite Smartweld, with the Tarmac leaning towards lightness for ease of climbing, and the Diverge designed for out-and-out endurance.

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Train smart
Any bozo can train hard, but training smart is a rare skill. Don’t waste your time putting in hundreds of junk miles, when you could be honing the specific weapons you’ll need in your arsenal for a given sportive. It stands to reason that if you’re planning to take part in an extremely hilly sportive, you ought to start out by practicing on some of the local cols. If you don’t have a local col, try sitting-standing intervals – spend a minute riding seated, then get out of the saddle and maintain the same speed for a minute. Do that ten times and you’ll soon see growth in those all-important climbing muscles.

Eat, sleep, ride, repeat
Never underestimate the importance of good nutrition and plenty of sleep in the run-up to a sportive. Pay attention to what you eat and work out which combination of pre-ride calories brings out the best in you. For some it’s porridge with chopped-up bananas, for others it’s a tupperware full of tuna-mayonnaise pasta – to each, his (or her) own! The importance of nutrition goes double on the day of the sportive itself. Keep eating, keep drinking and keep pedalling!

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