How to Prepare for your First Cycling Sportive


If 2024 is the year you’ve decided to tackle your first cycling sportive, check out these tips from our experts at Wattbike to help you get to the start line race ready.

It pays to do plenty of preparation before your first cycling sportive, from tightening the cleats on your cycling shoes to calculating how much food to bring with you during the event. Test everything out beforehand to ensure there are no surprises on the day. If you have one of the best electric bikes, it’s worth checking you’re allowed to use it – though that should be OK with most sportives.

how to prepare for your first cycling sportive Men's Fitness UK

1. Study the event information

The first step in your preparations should be finding out all you can about the event. Most sportive organisers provide maps and route profiles – be sure to study these well for any areas that might pose a challenge. Will you be able to cope with the distance and amount of climbing?

2. Identify your challenges

Did you find anything in the route profile which looks particularly tricky – maybe a long climb or tough terrain? Once you’ve identified your challenges, be clear about what you need to improve to ensure you can tackle them head on. For example, if there’s a long or steep climb, you might need to improve your power-to-weight ratio to optimise your performance.

3. Assess your fitness

The next thing you’ll want to do when preparing for your first cycling sportive is assess your current fitness level and identify any gaps between where you are now and where you want to be.

Top Tip: A cycling test is a great way to measure your performance and track improvements. Take a look at the full range of cycling tests via the Wattbike Hub App, which can be downloaded for free and used on any Wattbike – in the home or the gym.

4. Implement specific training plans

After identifying your challenges and assessing your performance, you’ll want to start adding structured training to your schedule.

The Wattbike Hub App also offers a selection of Sportive Training Plans, and it might also be worthwhile dropping the event organiser a note to see if they can recommend a particular training programme.

Look the part for your first cycling sportive with a Pactimo Merino Cargo Jersey


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5. Remember the warm-up

A good warm-up can increase your muscle and core temperature and, more importantly, help you focus and get mentally ready for the challenge ahead.

It’s as important to warm up for a training session as it is to warm up on race day. All you need is 5-10 minutes of slow pedalling (90-100rpm) to get ready for the session ahead.

6. Prioritise rest and recovery

If you’re following a Wattbike training plan, you’ll notice there are at least two rest days each week. It’s important to stick to these, so you can recover and get more from your training time.

7. Taper your training

Two weeks prior to your first cycling sportive is the perfect time to start tapering your training. Tapering helps you peak at the right time and will help you feel fresh and ready to take on the challenge.

8. Pack with care

You’ll have spent the last few months increasing your power to improve your power-to-weight ratio. So when it comes to packing the essentials for your sportive don’t ruin it all by packing everything but the kitchen sink. This added weight could make you climbs harder and your sportive less enjoyable overall.

The Wattbike Atom is priced at £1,599.99. When teamed with the free Wattbike Hub App, it becomes an unrivalled training tool for accuracy and detail, with feedback such as pedal stroke efficiency (PES), power and heart rate available for detailed session-upon-session analysis. Visit


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