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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 5:17 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
Posts: 6853
Location: Nth Somerset, UK
I've not been road riding very long, and as I am a long way past my best before date, progress and improvements in my personal performance come slow and hard fought. So, I like to have an informal goal to work towards whether that's average speed, or power output or to ride a given distance, they are each little motivational measures of how I'm doing.

With this in mind, I thought it would be good to maybe have a go at a sportive, as this would give me a chance to ride in company (not something I usually do) and have the additional benefits of someone else setting the route, food stops and backup.

First thing I noticed was the distances; some allow for newer riders like me, and some don't. No problem, I'll just pick one with a sensible distance and maybe push my time a bit.

Then I noticed the routes. Now I understand that there are a few 'notorious' events that are for the hard core riders only, but after that they seem to fall into two types (and I'm generalising like a mad thing here). 1) The gentle pootle around Sustrans trails and nice flat roads. Or (2), the nice ride on quiet country roads, with two, three or four 'brutal and lung busting' climbs that will 'get your heart rate monitor working'.

Now I don't mind a decent workout, but getting off to pass out or puke up at the side of the road with dozens of other cyclist passing me, is not my idea of a fun thing to do on a Sunday. What's worse is that the organisers seem to be trying to out do one another in the brutality that their courses can contain.

Do any of you do sportives?

Are any of you who do, average type riders, rather than hard core roadies like my pal, who at 62 years old likes to ride 160k sportives within the gold medal time :shock:


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 6:49 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:29 pm
Posts: 1877
Location: Somerset
Road riding, somerset road club do taunton to Bampton at 18mph avg (decent size goup taking turns on the front), mostly guy's in their forties. That's 40miles, with 3500ft of climbing. Cracking 18mph avg seems to be a bit of an invisible barrier for me. see here for help, http://www.road-bike.co.uk - but I'd reccomend joing a local club for a ride, I know Cheddar is a popular start point for rides nearish you. The experienced riders don't put any significance into the bike your riding, well as long as it's a road bike LOL.

BTW - Right now I'm poor and object to paying to ride on open roads


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 7:01 pm 
Devout Dirtbag

Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:44 pm
Posts: 133
Location: West Midlands
Well, I an average 12 Mph av on the road and have done a few smaller sportives with my father in law - 60 miles are sort of the limit for me really.

The really big hills? We have been known to walk up them, depending on gradient - generally 15% !

I have one a couple olo and they are not as fun - I found people were either much faster or much slower than me - very few at my pace at the same time! Though slowing for a chat with some groups can be nice - I'm not a hardcore roadie !

For the first one it might be worth going for a distance that is within your comfort zone - last thing you want to do is go for a long distance and get stuck..

Of course , ymmv!


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 7:04 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:36 pm
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Location: Yorkshire, England
I've entered mtb ones. was good and everyone from old to young to them that only ride down the road every now and again seemed to be there.
there where two distances not too far given the riding area.

others I've seen seem to be pretty good for selection.

they are suppose to be 'personal challenges' not just a pootle. for that try the big SkyRides which are good and have a great atmosphere or try the smaller ones that run under the SkyRide name but setup by local rangers or groups.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 7:51 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
I sort of agree with the 'paying to ride on public road' comment, but I don't think it's quite the same.

As for speeds and distances, my typical evening ride is anywhere between 15 and 30 miles. I try and get in three to four rides a ( 7 day) week, with, if time permits a longer run over the weekend. Ave speed is usually around 15 to 16 mph and typically around 1200 ft of climbing, even on a short run, as I live on a hill. Of late the rides have been harder due to a holiday followed by a cold and then almost constant 10 to 15mph winds every ride :roll:

Since typing this post I have been looking at the Bristol Belter, which is a fine example, as the only course I think I could manage would be the 'Mini' at just 75K (more or less 50 miles).

I accept the 'personal challenge' side of things, but rather hoped that I didn't need to be a Elite level athlete in order to take part.

I think I'll stick with my own training for now, and see if there are any local club runs, although the last club guys I saw were the Weston Wheelers, and most of them rode round the local lanes faster than I can drive :shock:


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 9:32 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:36 pm
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Location: Yorkshire, England
Certainly didn't need to be elite for the Sportives I've been on or seen. (MTB)

Still the Skyride setup might be better for you. Basically just locals setting up some rides (outside of the big ones) http://www.goskyride.com/


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:04 pm 
Pumpy's Bear
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Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2005 10:03 pm
Posts: 8145
Location: Hereford
Why not try the 4th Annual Herefordshire Grimpeur? 50 miles, some climbing, quiet country roads, quality company, not far from you, free.

See RetroRoadRides calendar for date etc.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:07 pm 
Gold Trader / rb Rider / Special
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:26 am
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Location: Rurally close.
Will you be doing the Dartmoor one?


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:08 pm 
West Midlands AEC
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Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 11:06 pm
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Location: Stow on the Wold, Glos
ededwards wrote:
Why not try the 4th Annual Herefordshire Grimpeur? 50 miles, some climbing, quiet country roads, quality company, not far from you, free.

See RetroRoadRides calendar for date etc.



Oh yes!! One of the hight lights of the Calender 8)


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:12 pm 
The Guv'nor
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Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:19 pm
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Location: Retrobike HQ
I'd probably also suggest finding and riding with a local club before looking at sportives etc.


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