7 Top Tips to Help You Conquer the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive.

Posted on May 23, 2017 @ 2:30 PM in Cycling

Sportives are hard, and the Giant's Causeway Coast Sportive is certainly no exception. To help you prepare for the day, whether you've signed up to the 35, 85 or 115 mile legs, we've got some great tips from top Irish long distance triathlete and coach, Lorcan Healy

1. Get the miles in!

Don’t underestimate the challenge. As with other endurance events – such as half marathons, marathons and triathlons – you wouldn’t complete them without any training. This means getting the miles in on the bike and increasing your fitness to meet the demands of your sportive. A general rule of thumb is that you should be able to comfortably cycle two thirds of your sportive distance in training. For example, if you’re riding the 115 mile leg of the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive, you should be able to clock 77 miles in your training. Also, mimic the terrain of your course in training. If it’s a hilly sportive you are planning, get your climbing legs on during training and try a few hilly cycles.

 

2. Break the distance of your sportive into chunks

Your sportive cycle can seem daunting, especially if it is a super hilly 115 miler, or a distance you haven’t cycled before. If you break the distance of the route into sections, it becomes less daunting and will help keep your motivation levels up. Aim for the food stops which you’ll come across every 20/30 miles. This is a great way to break the distance down. Food stop to food stop; it will help keep your morale high and the sportive will seem to fly by.

 

3. Make sure your bike is in good condition

Your bike is the tool that is going to get you across that finish line so it to needs to be in good shape. Make sure your bike is fighting fit the day before your sportive. The last thing you want is to be fit and motivated to complete the challenge ahead only to be let down by a mechanical issue. Consider leaving your bike into Chain Reaction Cycles to get a service before your big event. Or if you’re a keen amateur bike mechanic check your tyre pressure and brakes are working and not rubbing on the rim. Don’t forget, mechanics from Chain Reaction Cycles will also be on standby throughout the day to help with any technical problems!

 

4. Take the right kit

Anyone familiar with the weather in Northern Ireland will understand that one minute the sun can be splitting the sky and the next it's bucketing out of the heavens. Being cold on the bike is a miserable experience, therefore being prepared is key. Suitable kit is a must when undertaking a cycle that will last a few hours. Check the weather forecast the day before your event. If there are showers expected then fold a lightweight rain jacket and keep it in your back pocket of your cycling jersey. It's best to be prepared so you have nothing to worry you on the morning of your sportive.

 

5. Pace yourself!

This is huge. It should be in your head as you prepare for your sportive and yet this is the most common factor that sees people withdraw three quarters of the way into the cycle. Don’t pay the price for setting off too fast - you'll just end up wanting the road to open up and swallow you as you dive deeper into the suffer fest. In a big event such as the Giant's Causeway Coast Sportive, it is easy to get caught up in the atmosphere and with fitter riders; it is a mass participation event but NOT A RACE! Ride at your own pace or with people who you may have trained with. This will allow you to keep plenty of energy in reserve for the more challenging aspects of the course.

 

6. Nutrition

This is an important factor on the day of the event. Any cyclist who has run out of fuel and has “bonked” or felt the “knock” will tell you that it is a very unpleasant experience. Make use of the food stops available during the sportive. Keep drinking energy drinks every 10 / 20 minutes and eating energy bars and gels every 45 / 60 minutes. If you do feel yourself getting tired, a good idea is to have a caffeine energy gel. After this, you'll feel like somebody has given you a new set of legs. Also the night before the event try to eat foods that are high in carbohydrates such as pasta and rice as it is this that will provide you the energy to conquer whichever route of the sportive you're doing.


7. Enjoy it!

You’ve done the training and worked hard in preparing yourself for the challenge so enjoy the experience! There's no doubt you will find the going tough at certain points (cough Torr Head cough) but think of all the work you've put into preparing yourself for it. Completing a sportive is a huge achievement and highly rewarding so enjoy the whole experience. Enjoy crossing that finishing line and meeting other participants and sharing your stories from the event. Enjoy the after party! There's no doubt in my mind you'll be buzzing for a few days after and will be signing for your next sportive very soon.

Enter the Giant's Causeway Coast Sportive now!

Lorcan Healy is a professional physiotherapist and triathlete coach with Peak Performance Coaching. He has ridden competitively across Europe and provides indepth coaching lessons and training programmes.

Lorcan Healy
Lorcan Healy  Triathlete and PT

Lorcan Healy is a top Irish long distance triathlete and coach. He has raced at the highest level within Ireland, the UK and Europe.

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