Our sport is extremely versatile and in particular marathon riding / sportives can bring out lots of challenges. Therefore, we have created a list of tips and tricks for novices and even the most experienced riders based on observations from our own experiences as well as advice from other endurance riders and specialists. Regardless of competency, every rider should thoroughly read these points to make sure that every eventuality is covered and you get the most out of your riding experience.
Please have a read through, if we have forgotten anything that you think should be included, please drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. You are using a machine: make sure that machine works as well as it possibly can! Ensure your bike is in perfect condition when you come to the events. If you are no good with a spanner yourself, take it to a good bike shop and get it given a quick once over. Otherwise, get the spanner and the oil can out and prepare your steed by getting it in tip-top condition. You will be surprised what a difference it can make to yourself and to the safety of others.
2. You are out on your own: ensure you can sort most problems out on the trail! The events are mass participation events. Although it is unlikely that you will be on your own during the event, it is essential that you take some emergency tools and spares with you – so that you can sort out problems without relying on others. Look at the list in the technical page. Take the time to learn how to fix all common mechanicals - a puncture, broken chain, and how to set up gears and brakes, etc. If you need some last minute help, visit the mechanics who will be at each event.
3. You’re the engine of your machine: get in shape for the ride! MTB marathons and sportives are supposed to be enjoyable. From personal experience we can tell you that it is far more likely to be fun during the ride if your body is capable of tackling a long distance ride. Get some long rides in beforehand so that your legs, back and bum get used to being in the saddle for long periods of time.
4. Fuel your engine! Please don’t wait until you’re hungry or thirsty to eat or drink - when those feelings occur you’re already running at a deficit. A good rule of thumb is to drink between 500 – 750mls of fluid, eat one energy bar or three gels per hour of riding.
Feed stations will be out on course but are purely there for topping up your supplies. Check out the TORQ offers at the event village: it is good stuff and it works! You can find more in-depth info on the diet pages.
5. Enter soon – to avoid disappointment on the day! The events are very popular. Every year attendance at each event increases. We have come close to the maximum number at every location - this will probably result in day entries soon becoming a thing of the past. To avoid disappointment of being turned away, ensure you enter well in advance for all events. The newsletter, which you can subscribe to will keep you updated on the status of entries for each event and when we will get close to maximum capacity.
6. Don’t be late and don’t mix up the days! You might miss the fun otherwise. You have to register yourself: we can’t accept a friend or family member to do it for you. If you have not signed on, you can’t ride. Registration opening times are as follows:
ELBNO & Marathon weekend –
Saturday: 12.00pm – 8.00pm
Sunday: 7.00am – 9.00am
In 2013 we are running all events except the 1st round in Builth Wells in the order SATURDAY = MTB Marathon – SUNDAY Road Sportive. Please make sure that you keep that in mind when you are planning your journey.
7. Toilet traffic jams on Sunday morning: be prepared! Everybody will need to go to the toilet between 7.00am and 10.00am on Sunday morning. It is impossible for us to have toilets for 1000+ riders at the same time - we can only suggest keeping the ‘toilet traffic jam’ in mind and going earlier rather than later, if you can.
8. Pace yourself: no point burning out in the first couple of hours! 100km even 25km off-road and 100 or 50 miles on-road is a long way. Don’t put the hammer down straight away; it’s not a race! It is very easy to get carried away by riders storming past you at the first hill but you will be surprised how many of those you will pass later on if you just keep it steady. Pace yourself, once you figure out how much juice you have left - then go hell for leather.
9. Respect other riders and other trail / road users and road traffic: this is not a race! You will be out there with around 1000 other riders on the marathon and a few hundred riders on the sportive. You might get in someone’s way or vice versa. If
you struggle with a climb or a downhill and you have to get off, please clear the trail straight away so that riders behind you can keep going. If
someone in front of you can’t get out of the way quickly enough be patient and polite and remember: this is NOT a race.
Treat fellow riders and other trail users like walkers and horse riders; or other road users in the way you would want to be treated – with utmost respect.
Respect the traffic on the open road! Please keep in mind that parts of the MTB Marathons and obviously the Road Sportives are run on the open road so you will be mixing with other traffic. Make sure you:
take a good look around before you overtake other riders or go into blind turns
always ride on the left hand side of the road
always watch out and don’t rely on other riders to do so for you
10. Help others: remember it could be you! The emphasis at our events is very much on ‘riding together’ rather than in the good old racing days of ‘racing against each other’. Besides being respectful also means that if you see someone in trouble, please stop and help and make sure that they are okay.
11. Wear a helmet: no helmet, no ride! Don’t forget to bring your lid. No helmet, no ride: no further comment necessary.
12. When tiredness kicks in! If at any stage of the ride you feel that you cannot carry on just take one of the marked shortcuts back to the event village or make your way to the next feed station where we will arrange a pickup.
13. Marathons are little adventures – be prepared for everything! The 2012 season demonstrated what extremes UK weather can go to. Every location, seasons and general conditions presents a different challenge for the organisers as well as for the individual. Make sure you prepare yourself as much as you can by:
carrying extra water
having the right clothes with you
comfortable riding shoes
comfortable pair of riding shorts
quick drying top
wind/waterproof in case the weather changes
taking a little backpack with a bladder
And…by simply keeping an open mind!
14. Smile when you see a camera: in fact, smile all the time! Our event photographer Jon Brooke and his colleagues will be at most of the events taking pictures of pretty much everybody. You’ll want to give people who think that you are slightly insane the impression that this is mega fun! The photos will be up on www.rightplacerighttime.co.uk to view and purchase a few days after each event.
15. And finally…don’t forget to have fun: it might hurt but it is fun! It might not feel like the greatest idea whilst you are doing it but believe me; you can’t get tired of the feeling of achievement once you cross the finish line. If you keep this in mind then the whole ride is going to be one big FUN experience.
We will do our best from our end and hopefully all of us will have an enjoyable and successful 2013 season ahead of us.