With the “worlds greatest sportive” (not my words, the words of Prudential RideLondon) coming up, I thought it was a good time to have a look at what you might be thinking of for that all important ride. It doesn’t have to be the RideLondon 100 miler, it could be any cycling sportive you’ve got planned to train, push your fitness goals or even, push yourself for something you’ve never done before.
With it being good old British summer time, it’s probably best to start with something… Weatherproof. I don’t think you’ll go far wrong than with a good gilet. These things are great if you’ve an early start time on a chilly winter morning with a day that will heat up or even a muggy day with rain showers. The chaps over at Huez* sent me their flagship gilet. The Starman Windproof Gilet. Fancy sounding, isn’t it?
The fancy of this gilet though goes beyond the name. It packs down neatly it to its own carry bag, in my opinion it could probably pack down even smaller than its bag.
It’s windproof and even more than showerproof and will give you a brilliant extra layer in the changeable weather. But wait, what’s this, the gilet has an extra trick up its sleeve – if it were to have sleeves that is. It’s pretty nifty, you can whip this gilet off in seconds by simply hooking your fingers in to the tabs either side of the zip and tugging outwards. The zip simply peels away and you’ll be the first in the peloton to have you gilet off. Providing you can take both hands off of the handle bars that is. The slightly annoying thing about this is though, you have to have the zip done all the way up for it to work effectively. So, you could just unzip…
It’s great, it really is but coming in at £115 it’s certainly got a big price tag. But you can be safe in the knowledge you’ll get plenty of wear out of it. While the fabric feels flimsy, it’s pretty darn durable and something you’ll get plenty of use out of.
Now, you have your clothing sorted, let us talk nutrition. One of the biggest things people forget to do is feed effectively and feed well when riding a big sportive. Do not underestimate it. Personally, I would rather come home with pockets full of food than halfway round cramping up wishing I had another energy bar or gel!
The power of Science in Sport (SiS) and their rapid growth has been extra-ordinary, now supplying Team Sky they always have discounts and their stuff is super tasty and well known across the sporting world.
Maybe it’s just my body and how it breaks down the substances but the SiS stuff is fantastic, plus when you sign up to SiS they’re giving away gels. Their stuff is far superior to any out there, with SiS also supplying Team Sky this year and I think we could all agree their performance and recovery powers at the Tour de France this year was nothing short of outstanding.
SiS actually sent me over some figures; the nine-man Team Sky team consumed over 3,000 SiS products during the 23-day challenge. In a breakdown that is:
- 570 GO Energy bars
- 580 GO Isotonic gels
- 180 GO Electrolyte gels
- 240 Go Energy+Caffeine gels
- 940 GO Electrolyte servings
- 180 REGO Rapid Recovery servings
- 210 Overnight protein servings
- 300 GO Hydro servings
You may think that that’s all they eat on the bike, somehow during the stages they also have time for rice cakes and whatever else their chef cooks up for them!
If it’s good enough for Team Sky over 2,197 miles, it’s good enough for me over 100!
Ready to race?
Hey there, hot shot. Are you race ready? Well, here is my little secret… Secret Training. I’m not on about sneaking an extra ten miles on the bike before you meet your club mates for a ride. I’m talking STRIP, or, Secret Training Race Informed Products.
This little pack might set you back £50 (special introductory offer) but my god is it worth it. It contains:
- Hand sanitiser
- Start oil
- Anti chaffing cream (chamois cream)
- Hygiene wipes
- Lip balm
- Post race wash
- Sun screen
- Micro fibre cloths
- A tin of pins
Let’s pick up on a few of those things, start oil, what’s that? Well it’s a muscle rub to put on pre ride. Word to the wise, apply after the chamois cream, it is similar to deep heat. You do not want to get that where your chamois cream goes! It also puts a protective layer between your skin and the elements, so you can keep going come rain or shine.
The sunscreen is SPF30, the size is perfect though, slip in your back pocket / saddle bag and help keep those tan lines sharp and cultivated (rule 6 of cycling).
The post race wash, many of you won’t need this as it’s for when there are no showers around. More for the racers and races this one but it is good stuff! Same with the micro fibre clothes, for personal use after a race.
While the pack is too big to carry on the bike during a sportive, the essentials are perfect size and great for the ride. They all fit in the travel case perfectly and neatly. Great to give to a family member to meet you at the finish. It really is great; I am really impressed by this pack of secrets and can’t recommend it enough. It smells good and the chamois cream is a good performer for long days in the saddle.
Go get ’em
The biggest thing to remember on your sportive is to have fun. Don’t go under prepared and it’s not a race. The only person you are racing is yourself, challenge yourself but don’t ruin yourself.
It’ll be tough, you’ll probably ask yourself why you’re doing it, you’ll probably question why you’re even doing it and then before you know it, it’ll be over. You will be elated, proud and be able to say you did it.
Now, go get ’em.
You can buy the Starman Windproof Gilet here
You can buy the SiS Team Sky Bundle here
You can buy the STRIP Race Day Personal Car Kit here
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