Cyclosportives Tips & Tricks
My Level of
Let's get this straight. I'm nothing more than your average
third cat rider. I'm 47 and came to cycling when I was 25. I
came from a car racing background so love the engineering and science and
technology in cycling. I'm always tinkering and will try anything to
make my life easier. Here's what I've found so far.
Always carry more food than you can eat and never pass a feed
station with only one bottle filled. Be self sufficient as far as
gels and food go. Some of the food in some of the races is less palatable
then others. Not everything will be to your taste so take your own
and use theirs as back up. Never leave the last feed without
stocking up with food.
Fill your bottles with your
energy drink at the start and drink half from one before switching to the
other. You don't want to finish a bottle then drop your full one!
Always have an option. Never leave a feed station with an empty
bottle. If you need to you can jettison extra drink later. If
you haven't got any left, again you've limited your options.
In 2003 I did the Marmotte with a 53x39 and a 12~25 block.
Some bits hurt more than others but I got round and was the first of our
group to the top of the Galibier. Experience triumphing over youth
better than Two?
In 2004 I went triple. Had the odd struggle especially when
the 15 kilometre Col de Portel took on a vicious 3 km at 12% ascent but I
didn't have to walk like many hundreds of others. Not sure if the
triple forces you to change to too low a gear just because it's available.
Would recommend one if you want to get up big hills. It saved my
bacon on more than one occasion.
In 2005 I'm going to fit a compact chainset.
Weight and q-factor considerations are at the forefront of my mind,
although I've never had any cause for concern with the q-factor of my
Campag Record Triple and the weight isn't much more than a double.
So it's probably down to having a new toy for the new year and trying
something different. I'll report back after the first few events.
For any events with cobbles in make sure you do the following
Fit Elite Patao bottle cages
▼ Loctite cage bolts then tape over with duct
▼ Fit a steel stem ~ dump magnesium & carbon ones
▼ Always carry a stem sized allen
▼ Wear the best gloves you can
▼ Fit 28mm Schwalbe Stelvio Rain
▼ Keep tyre pressures around 80 -
▼ Secure computers and seat bags
with velcro & tyraps
The fun bit about the Tour of
Flanders was dodging water bottles and seat packs. I even saw a seat
and pin go flying down the road! The Patao cages were perfect and
not once did I get a loose bottle. The cage came loose though so
loctite to get a grip and tape over the top as a double secure measure.
If the bolts do come loose you can't lose them as the tape and bottle will
keep them there .
My handlebars moved three times
and I had to stop to tighten the bolts. No matter how tight I did
the bolt the bars always moved when I hit a massive pot hole.
However doing the bolt too tight would snap the bolt rather than allow the
bars to droop. So always err on the side of caution.
Your body takes a battering
like you wouldn't believe. Good gloves or even some strategically
placed double bar tape could help.
The Stelvio's were perfect
giving loads of grip on the shoulder and plenty of absorption. Sure
it was bumpy but I never felt out of control.
Computers are as good as
useless because you can't see them on the cobbles. But they do allow
you to record your elapsed time; as long as they're still on the bike at