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Last minute Wales Sportive survival tips

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Finally, the event is almost here!! The sun is out, the winter kit is bagged up and with any luck you have been getting lots of sunny mils under your belt, ready to smash the Wales Sportive. 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. 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.  The good news is that the Wales Sportive is well signposted so you should be fine, although you can often upload popular sportive 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 actually park at the event. The closest car park to the Wales Sportive event HQ is named “The Green pay and display carpark” It fills up fairly quickly so arrive in plenty of time if you need to be close to the event start. 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.

Image credit: OTE Sports

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 (it’s wales after all!) If the weather is warm, don’t forget your sunscreen and lip balm!

Image credit: Universal Colours

Take spares

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

-£20.00 note

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.

…and finally

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!

If you are taking part in the Wales Sportive, it’s worth checking to see if you have the correct level of insurance in place. Pedalcover offer a combined home and bicycle policy, travel insurance and also bicycle only insurance policies to cover sportives, cycle racing and cycle touring. Better still, Long Course Weekend and Wales Sportive participants get 15% off our dedicated cycle and travel insurance! If you need any help, just give our friendly support staff a call on 0800 121 4424


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