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My First Sportive


Due to an injury to a tendon in my foot, I had to stop running and so to keep my fitness ticking over I bought and entry level Carrera Karkinos road bike from Halfords and decided to focus on cycling rather than just stop training. I did a month’s worth of training, a couple of 25 mile rides before work and on Sundays I pushed myself, completing a ride of 50 miles and a round trip of 60 miles in preparation for the Brewood Cycle Challenge which was 63 miles (100km).

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With an hour and a half journey time I got up early, had a breakfast smoothie consisting of Almond milk, blueberries, Promax Lean vanilla protein powder, a spoonful of Fage yoghurt and a 30g serving of porridge oats. With the event starting at 9:00am, I had to leave at latest 7:00am to allow time to register and put my bike together. Advantage of having to get up early means I had time to allow my body to prepare and digest my breakfast smoothie ready to ride.

With foodstations as a part of the event, I opted to keep to what I knew – I had 2 SIS energy bars, one for the first half and the other for the second, taking a bite every 7 or 8 miles to keep my body fueled. At the halfway point I stopped to transfer the Myprotein Tri-Carb blend from my bottle into my Camelbak as by this point I had consumed a litre of fluids. So, took a breather, had a PhD protein flapjack, rehydrated and I was on my way.


I had everything I could possibly need in case of an emergency, innertubes, pumps and all manner of tools but fortunately I didn’t need them. I had passed many a cyclist making roadside repairs to their bikes, making me extra cautious of potholes and other such potential problem causers on the roads. The wet weather made it hard going at points, lots of road spray, a few inconsiderate motorists who on more than one occasion drove through puddles instead of having the courtesy of just waiting splashing me and my fellow riders.

The weather is what it is, you can only prepare and get on with it. For a June, it really was cold, wet and miserable. It did dampen my spirits a little but I carried on, making conscious efforts to eat and drink regularly and having a couple of wee breaks! Being my first sportive, I did wonder what the rider etiquette would be with regard to toilet breaks. Seeing riders having a crafty pee just behind bushes was a relief as I didn’t want to lower the tone of the event by being the only one doing it! No way was I able to hold it in until I found a toilet. Cramp is always my Achilles heel with endurance events, whether it be running or cycling, so hydration is important to me. With that comes the need to wee……often!

With the hilly nature of the ride, the dreaded cramp caught up with me on a steady incline. As I stood to power up the slope my right quad was the first to go. I had to get off and stretch it out. The slope was steep enough to stop my jumping back on the bike to continue to the top. The organisers stressed it’s your ride, not a race but again being a noob, I didn’t know how if it would be frowned upon walking up a hill……Turns out I was not the only casualty of the hill, even experienced riders were caught out and there were a few of us stretching out at the top!

My problem was I was too afraid of what others may think as it was my first event. With very little training but loads of enthusiasm, I wanted to avoid newbie mistakes. I did a little research and reading as I mentioned, it was my ride Fellow riders have nothing but support and admiration for any cyclist, whatever their shape, size or fitness level. At least you’re there and not sat at home.

The route was well marked, even on stretches where I was on my own, I never felt as if I had taken a wrong turn or missed a sign. Junctions were a bit of a nightmare, being a noob I had to remember to take my feet out of my pedal straps……Which I had forgotten to do on one of my practise rides!


Was really pleased with how my bike held up. Being new I wanted a half decent bike but didn’t want (and couldn’t afford) to spend loads. There were loads of positive reviews about my bike and it didn’t disappoint. Never had any problems on my practise rides and one event done – no problems to report! I passed loads of experienced guys with flash bikes making roadside repairs – I know that some of this stuff is just unlucky – but being a noob I dread to think what I would’ve done if something happened to mine!


I saw cycling as originally a ‘filler’ exercise until my foot had healed but I now have the bug and can see the benefits of including it as part of my training program.