My first ( and maybe last ) Sportive .

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  • My first ( and maybe last ) Sportive .
  • bikebouy
    Member

    Well I think you chose a good Sportif to start with. That area of the South Downs is a lovely place to ride with some great single lane roads with climbs and descents combined with some long rolling pace making tarmac, well worth checking out.
    It’s not unusual to find that you’re riding on your own in big groups or indeed being wheelsucked, but that’s part of Sportifs I’m afraid. Some are super friendly and some are really stand offish. Can’t say the Wiggle ones are any different to others I’ve done, but can see your point. It’s a shame you couldn’t find a like minded buddy to go along with. I’ve entered many Sportifs and has to be said made some good riding buddies out of them. But there are a few I’ve done that I’d never go back to.

    At least you did it, at least you got out to ride and enjoy the environment, that alone needs a big thumbs up.

    Even ignoring the fact that the UK is part of Europe, you’re still wrong. There are climbs with nasty bits all over the place – from the Mur de Huy in the north to Angliru in the south…

    Ok – I give you *mainland* Europe.

    However,
    – Mur de Huy – Average grade of 9.3% and some sections around 17% (up to 26% in one bend)
    – Hardknott pass supposedly hits 33%

    I’m not saying there are no steep sections across the water but I’d maintain that most of the big ‘tour’ ascents are long and tough but not as out and out steep as you’d expect whereas in the UK we have some very nasty short, sharp, climbs.

    Well I didnt really mean to start any rows , just a write up of an event.
    I have done a few xc races and mtb marathons , each with around 300 – 400 riders . I think there may have been 1000 at the Wiggle ride. It was set up accordingly with ample parking and staffing levels.

    To empathise I AM NOT A ROADIE . I have never had someone half wheeling me before and found it off putting .

    I pretty much rode the whole thing alone. I would catch riders , try and chat or simply say ‘hi , hows it going ?’ , get blanked then push on. Maybe it was my Humvees, which arent that baggy actually.

    And my bike is only 2 x 8 so without a full groupset change Im stuck with what I have got.

    Plus if I put in my OP ‘Im not fit or fast ‘ , well done for then saying back to me ‘ Oh you are simply not fit or fast enough to enjoy it’ . Judging by the guys blowing up on the hill up to the Goodwood Grandstands , they really werent going to enjoy it in any way shape or form ( 2 miles in )

    Thanks BikeBouy , sensible and concise reply.

    oldgit
    Member

    My first sportive was an awful affair that clouded my opinion of them altogether. Crashes, poor riding and stupid underhand copetition.

    Then I did a winter one. there was a good turn out even though it was pee’ing down. The riding was good and the pace was high. I had to do a double take and up the pace. Then we hit a hill and four of us just got over the top and broke away. Although we’d never met we had a great ride working together for thirty miles, then they pulled off at the halfway stop.
    I saw just three riders after that. One young guy I rode with for a bit and two Putney Rowing Club riders that went flying past in tandem.
    I enjoyed it enough, but nowhere near as good as an RT.

    crikey
    Member

    I think the problem, if it is a problem, with sportives is that the format has been imported from Europe. In Europe, very few people would ride a sportive without an amount of practice/training in riding with others.
    In the UK, 10 or 15 years ago, cycling on the road was very much club based, so everyone would be aware of the basic concepts and the way to ride.
    I think it’s also the case that the roadie/mountain biker thing is a peculiarly UK thing; the riders I know from that foreign all ride anything and everything and don’t define themselves in one way or another.

    Cycling in the UK has boomed, and there are a correspondingly large number of cyclists who haven’t had the benefit of riding in a controlled way with other, more experienced cyclists. All of these things combine to make large scale events something of a lottery if you go alone. I’ve done a Manchester to Blackpool ride a few years ago that was bloody carnage from the first mile; I just got on with it and ignored anyone who couldn’t keep up largely for safety reasons.

    Riding on the road can be fun, it can also be tedious and frustrating.

    Anyway , the times are online .

    I reckon im about 1/3 down the list at 5hr18.

    So maybe not so slow and unfit after all.

    I got a ‘silver’ classification , although I dont know what this means.

    Some poor souls were out for 8+hrs 😯

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Wish I was as slow & unfit as you 😉
    But you really had to walk up a hill? Oh the shame!

    PS. After next week, I vow to get out more.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    I got a ‘silver’ classification , although I dont know what this means.

    It means you’re not as fast as Gold and not as slow as Bronze. 😉

    Seriously though, well done on getting round and it’s a good honest appraisal. The Wiggle events are amongst the best organised in the UK. As others have mentioned though, the group that you’re with can make or break the day – maybe you just got unlucky this time round.

    mrmo
    Member

    I know of one locally that’s about a 1:3 and yes, when I’m fresh, I can get up it on a 32:36 bottom gear. Wouldn’t want to do it after 30 miles already on the bike to be fair, but most people I know that ride can’t do it at all even with a 22/32 or lower bottom gear! But I also know of a few road climbs locally that are just as steep. Agreed, most places in the UK aren’t as steep as the Malverns are in places.

    ? can’t think of any really stupid steep climbs around Malvern, certainly not at the level of the stupid climbs in the Cotswolds, Bushcombe Lane or some of the Stroud Valleys.

    More to the point, use the winter to get stronger, then you can spin the gears you have up climbs.

    Dez .- You too can walk up the hill of shame , its only 5 miles from your house.
    I nearly crashed trying to stop on a load of wet leaves just up the road from ‘The Hampshire Hog’ and almost shot across the A3 slip road.
    Great decent though off the side of Butser.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    ? can’t think of any really stupid steep climbs around Malvern

    Nope – me neither, and that is where I live, hence my comments above – I mention 2 of the more obvious very steep road climbs. I wondered about one of the lanes in West Malvern, not somewhere I generally ride, but nothing there merits more than a single arrow on the OS map. I don’t know about the ones you mention, but there’s nothing I’ve found here as steep as the climbs I’ve done north of Worcester – eg Wynniattes Way at Abberley. Still waiting for mboy to get back to me on where exactly this killer climb is.

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    Still waiting for mboy to get back to me on where exactly this killer climb is.

    REALLY? Some of us have got, dare I say it, more interesting stuff to be doing! Like I dunno, cooking a nice Cottage Pie, going for a brief bike ride, going cicuit training, eating said cottage pie etc… 😛

    I wondered about one of the lanes in West Malvern, not somewhere I generally ride

    Forgetting exactly which one it is, but it’s steeper than 1:4 for the last few hundred yards for sure. Certainly steep enough anyway.

    There’s more short sharp climbs of that ilk littered through Worcestershire as you’ll proabably know, and then of course Ankerdine though not that steep at a mere 17% average (25% in places) but goes on for well over 1km.

    I’m crap with the trail names on the Malverns, but to be fair the only climb I’ve ever even struggled with (and more to do with grip than the gearing) offroad on my 32:36 gear on my hardtail, is the climb back up to the Reservoir below British Camp. Even the steepest peak is just a case of body position and making sure you’re not spinning the back tyre up, to get up it, fitness allowing of course.

    It’s only twice as hard if the equipment and road surface etc. was identical, which they’re clearly not.

    Friction due to the surface and the tyres is only a very small factor in what controls your rate of progress when hills are concerned, due mainly to the large forces acting upon you by gravity! So it matters little whether you’re on a skinny tyred road bike, or a fat tyred MTB in relative terms, when it comes to going up very steep hills.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    singletrackmind – Member

    I got a ‘silver’ classification , although I dont know what this means.

    It means that after they removed all the dopers, you won the Tour de France.

    rudebwoy
    Member

    I’m with crikey on this one, once a sportive reaches a certain size,the dynamic seems to change , one of borderline anarchy, which in road riding is a pain for those who have discipline and understanding. Its why i find so called cycle paths a problem–some people on them seem to have no clue about ‘craft’.

    jota180
    Member

    Friction due to the surface and the tyres is only a very small factor in what controls your rate of progress when hills are concerned, due mainly to the large forces acting upon you by gravity! So it matters little whether you’re on a skinny tyred road bike, or a fat tyred MTB in relative terms, when it comes to going up very steep hills.

    Yeah, you’re right
    All these years and it’s just been in my head, the fact that one’s on tarmac and the other off-road is totally irrelevant 🙄

    Now remind us again just how old you are and how long you’ve been road riding

    Still waiting for mboy to get back to me on where exactly this killer climb is.

    You’ll have to get in line there, I’m still waiting to see his calculations for building an F1 engine

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    All these years and it’s just been in my head, the fact that one’s on tarmac and the other off-road is totally irrelevant

    There has been a lot of research into the effects of aero, friction, weight and other effects on bikes and their riders in the past, you may be keen to know…

    Funnily enough, aerodynamic drag and mechanical friction (tyres on the road, drivetrain etc.) are important factors in wattage required to maintain a certain speed on the flat. The rider and bike’s combined weight will have little bearing on the power input required to maintain a speed, other than affecting friction slightly.

    Also funnily enough, when it comes to climbing or descending a slope, due to gravity acting upon the rider and the bike as a force of the cosine of the gradient, aerodynamic drag and mechanical friction have much less of a bearing on the power input required to maintain a certain speed whilst either ascending or descending a slope. The frictional losses due to being offroad on knobbly tyres over being on road on narrow slicks, will be marginal compared to the extra forces required due to gravity!

    Capiche?

    Now remind us again just how old you are and how long you’ve been road riding

    I’m 32, I’ve dipped in and out a couple of times in the last 10 years, but only done any real milage in the last 6 months or so… But so what? I’ve been riding mountain bikes pretty regularly for the last 17 years. A bike is just a bike. Perhaps it’s the fact I’m looking at road riding without a whole host of hang ups a lot of people who’ve been doing it for a long time have, that I question what other people may not.

    I’m still waiting to see his calculations for building an F1 engine

    What do you want to know exactly?

    Bore to Stroke ratio?
    Cam lobe profiles?
    Valve sizes?
    Piston speeds?
    Valve overlap?

    Unless you actually design the things yourself, I’d bet I know a fair bit more about engine design, how they work, and how to get performance out of them than you might have imagined or indeed know yourself.

    The problem is, on an internet forum, it’s the man who shouts the loudest that everyone listens to. In the real world, you can’t argue with Science or Facts!

    😉

    mrmo
    Member

    @aracer,

    The top one of the three is Bushcombe Lane, which for reference touches 1:3 at the steepest point. The others are a fair bit easier but are still 1:4ish

    View Larger Map 

    and for a stroud climb, which to add to the fun tends to be damp and muddy, and 1:4

    View Larger Map 

    jota180
    Member

    There has been a lot of research into the effects of aero, friction, weight and other effects on bikes and their riders in the past, you may be keen to know…

    But we’re talking about gearing needed off road Vs gearing needed on tarmac, I don’t ride my road bikes off road and I don’t try to ride my MTBs on tarmac
    You can’t compare the gearing of 2 bikes if you have one on tarmac and the other on a lose surface. Road bikes have higher gearing because you can get away with it on tarmac.

    A couple of weeks ago you were asking how to ride a sportive ride, suddenly you’re an expert and telling everyone they have their gearing wrong because it’s too hard for you

    [/quote] What do you want to know exactly?

    Exactly, you were going to let us in on your calculations that McLaren could use to convert their road car engine into a 2014 spec F1 engine

    mrmo
    Member

    this ankerdine hill?

    For comparison some steep climbs which i recommend you try, not too far from Malvern after all.

    Bushcombe Lane

    Knapp Lane

    and for some more stupidity

    Porlock hill

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    Exactly, you were going to let us in on your calculations that McLaren could use to convert their road car engine into a 2014 spec F1 engine

    I said it wouldn’t be difficult to base the engine on their current road car engine, in the same way the Metro 6R4 (later Jag XJR11) engine was loosely based on the Rover V8. The pistons are roughly the size you’d want for a 1.6L V6, the layout is nice and compact. Obviously very few components would end up being shared, but my point was that it wouldn’t be too hard to develop from parts already existing in their workshops. BMW did it in the 1980’s when they took production 2L 4 cylinder blocks and used them for a 1.5L turbo engine in F1. Cosworth created a fire breathing 3cyl engine for Aprilla in MotoGP by taking 3 cylinders from their current (at the time) F1 engine and essentially making an engine from the parts bin. It’s not unusual for engineers to make use of existing products for new designs, regardless of their current use, for small scale high performance applications, especially when it will save a lot of money in R&D!

    You can’t compare the gearing of 2 bikes if you have one on tarmac and the other on a lose surface.

    I run treaded tyres on my MTB for grip. Granted, there’s still some loss of traction compared to a slick on a road, but actually, for the same reason you don’t drive everywhere in first gear in the snow (you short shift), you’re better off getting out of the saddle and pushing a harder gear on an MTB more often than sitting and spinning I’d say. Something I just can’t seem to manage as much on a road bike, that’s all!

    mrmo, thinking back, I remember climbing up Bushcombe as a teenager, on my old Marin, in about 1996. Well, I say climbing, but definitely had to walk the very steepest parts back then even! It’s a bugger and for sure steeper than anything over this way, but there’s plenty of hills steep enough to make use of lower gearing for a lot of people. If not so much when you’re totally fresh, more so when you’ve say already covered 50 miles or so.

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