So, you’ve entered Tour de Broads and are watching the countdown timer on our website with trepidation – Don’t panic!
Here are just a couple of things to start considering as the day gets closer…
Last call to make any changes
Right before a major cycling event is a bad time to make changes to your position, clothing or nutrition – you won’t have time to get used to them and could find your big day is ruined by discomfort.
When it comes to your riding position, if you’re perfectly happy on your bike and not suffering from any aches & pains then it’s probably best not to change a thing. However, if a longer ride (or series of shorter ones) leaves you with a pain in the bottom, neck, shoulder, back, legs, knees, wrist, (anywhere really)….then it’s definitely a good idea to book in for a bike fit. Tiny changes can make a huge difference.
Do it now – don’t leave it to the last minute, you may not have time to see any improvements in performance that you might experience from long-term riding in a more efficient position, you will have time to adjust to changes that could make you happier in the saddle and prevent injury.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to be comfortable. However, there are key items that you’ll be thankful for if you do have them. These are:
- A jersey that’s breathable and wicks sweat, and has pockets at the rear to allow you to carry your nutrition and essential items
- Shorts with a quality chamois (pad) that you’ve ridden in before and trust not to give you saddle sores. Chamois cream can help prevent chafing
- Arm and leg warmers so you can dress up and down depending upon conditions
- A gilet or packable jacket – the gilet will keep out the worst of the wind, whilst a packable is great if rain is on the cards. Both will roll up into a small ball to be stashed in your pocket
- Mitts or gloves – good quality padding on either option will prevent road buzz from numbing your hands and protect your hands from the road should the worst happen and you fall
- A base layer, to catch sweat before it cools on your skin
- Ladies – a good quality sports bra
- Shoes, at the very least shoes with a rigid sole, but ideally with clip-in and cleat. Try to find a way to love them – your foot will always be in the correct position reducing the risk of knee injury and enabling you to transfer all the power you generate through to the rear wheel
- Helmet. Why wouldn’t you?
Check your cycling clothing now for signs of wear & tear and replace anything necessary well before the event. You’ll need time to get used to and thoroughly test your new shorts / shoes / gloves, to make sure it will work for you over a long distance on the day.
We have several food and refreshment stations along the way, however it’s always a good idea to make sure you carry enough food and drink to go the distance. It’s also not ideal to test a new brand for compatibility with your stomach on event day! It’s best to learn your own nutrition strategy, and what works for you, in training.
Energy drinks, gels and bars are easy to consume for most people opt for these. Generally energy drinks provide carbohydrates and electrolytes, and get into your system quickest. Gels are the next quickest, and also contains some electrolytes to help ward off cramp, and bars are slower to be absorbed but feel more like real, wholesome food. It’s up to you which brand you decide to go for, but test them and keep it consistent.
If you prefer real food, there’s no reason you can’t wrap up a jam sandwich, rice cakes or flapjacks. Experiment over the next month, not on the day.
Although we have a mechanic and broom wagon on call during the day, you’ll have much more fun if your bike is a smooth running, well-oiled machine that will help you attack those hills and whizz down the descents without too many hiccups along the way. A week before the event is perfect time to service your bike – either on your own or by our qualified mechanics in store. Book your service early – we get real busy before Tour de Broads!
Check your gears are working properly, your tyres are inflated to the right pressure and are in good order to avoid suffering repeat punctures. Make sure your chain is clean and lubed and that your brake pads have plenty of tread left on them.
Finally, a clean bike is a quick bike!
Get used to riding in a group
A sportive is usually a solo effort and most riders will be aiming for a solo achievement. However, the roads are not closed so you’ll be sharing the highway with other road users as well as the 3000 cyclists we’re expecting to take part in this year’s Tour de Broads.
Why not come along to our Saturday morning social rides starting at our shops in Norwich and Gorleston – they’re totally free and you’ll get used to cycling in groups, learn how to point out hazards and just how much fun social cycling can be.
Finally: don’t forget you’re cycling for fun! You’re all set to have an amazing day at Tour de Broads – so get out cycling and enjoy your next four weeks of preparations.
What to take on your Sportive
Ideally, you’ll pack your bag the night before your big event so you can ride or drive off in the morning safe in the knowledge you’re well prepared.
It’s worth running through this list at least a week in advance of your event, to give yourself time to pick up any essentials you’ve not already acquired, or find any items you’ve lost.
- Rider number
- Rider info pack
- Car park pass
- Emergency contact details
- Venue directions and satnav (charged)
- Venue contact details
Comfortable Ride Gear
- A jersey
- Padded shorts
- Arm and leg warmers
- A gilet or packable jacket
- Mitts or gloves
- A base layer
- Ladies – a good quality sports bra
- Shoes & socks
- Sun glasses
- Sun cream/ bug spray
- A change of clothes for the drive home if you drove to the event!
Food and drink
- 2 Water bottles – check out our commemorative Tour de Broads water bottles available soon in-store or online
- Gels/bars/drinks/tabs/ your usual nutrition
- Snacks for the way home
You’ll probably want a record of your ride, so don’t forget your bike computer or phone – and make sure you charge it the night before! If you’re using heart rate, you’ll want the monitor.
If you’re opting to record the ride on your phone, remember your event might be longer than your average ride so check out our
- Close your apps. Most people don’t even realise that they still have them running in the background. Getting in the habit of closing your applications after you have used them saves a tonne of battery
Decrease your screen brightness. Every little helps to keep that battery fully juiced.
- Charge it in airplane mode. It’s not good to do this all the time but if you’re about to leave for a ride and don’t have enough time to fully charge your phone, do it in this mode. It will charge almost three times quicker!
- Don’t play music. You will be surprised at how much this helps to save smartphone battery life
- Invest in a wireless charger. There are many out there to choose from, including solar and crank powered devices. There are even some pedal powered chargers
- Don’t put your phone on vibrate. Your phone uses more battery trying to vibrate than it would using a regular ringtone, so switch it to silent when you don’t want to be disturbed
- Set a short screen timeout. This is the time it takes for your phone screen to go to dark and turn off when it’s not in use. Giving it a lower timeout will help save juice!
- Turn off your Bluetooth/GPS/wi-fi/location services. These are obvious vital features for a lot of cyclists, but turning them off when they’re not needed will help
- Update your phone’s software and apps. Companies update their apps all the time, often with the features they know their customers need the most, like using less battery life
Tools in a saddle bag
We have a mobile mechanic on the day but you must bring the basics:
- Mini pump (or Co2), tyre levers and a spare tube and patch
- A multi tool, ideally with a chain tool
- They’re not really tools – but ‘be seen lights’ are a good idea in case visibility is reduced by rain or fog
- The knowledge of how to use the above
Money, Phone, Keys, ID
- Money. Both cash and a card are a good idea, just in case you need to stop somewhere that doesn’t take cards – or you need to purchase something expensive (new bike … new legs…)
- Some form of identification, with emergency contact details (paper and stored on your phone)
- phone – see our battery saving tips
- keys to get back into your car or home
You can pop these all into your pocket loose, or opt to use a plastic bag to prevent items such as your phone getting wet. Alternatively, if you want a useful memento of the ride, our branded Tour de Broads riding pouch is available soon from our shops and website for just £5.Though far from essential, these do keep your belongings scratch free and separate from the residue of squashed bananas and leaking gels…
You’d be surprised….!
To help you on your way, we’ve compiled a simple checklist of all the things you need to take care of before the big day … Tour de Broads checklist