This is it. You’ve put in the training for the past two months for the big event, you’re well rested and feel properly fueled on the start line. But what’s that? A cold wind starts to blow, followed by some spots of rain. As it starts to get heavier, you reach into your jersey pocket for your jacket, before realising that you left it at home. That 100-mile ride has just started feeling a lot longer.
Does this scenario bring you out in a cold sweat? If so, then look no further than our guide to seven sportive essentials that will make sure you’re well prepared for any situation.
Madison Road Race Premio waterproof jacket
The perfect solution to a potentially wet sportive is the Madison RoadRace Premio jacket. Designed to be lightweight and unrestrictive, the garment is guaranteed to keep you dry if the heavens open, while also maintaining an aero fit. Also, if the rain stays at bay, the jacket will remain unobtrusive for the duration of your ride.
The hem and cuff’s elasticated grippers prevent unwanted drafts or water getting in, while reflective prints and trims will come in handy if your ride stretches into the night. And with the Madison Genesis team using it throughout this season, the jacket comes with a pro peloton seal of approval too.
Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Aero mitts
These gloves from the American manufacturer are sure to keep your hands supple as your day in the saddle stretches on. The durable synthetic Clarino leather on the palm will help keep you comfortable, while the textured aero fabric on the back of the hand will give you that extra edge.
Pearl Izumi has also employed its own ‘1:1 Glove Fit’, which it claims leads to back of hand support and the minimising of bunching.
Secret Training Stealth citrus flavour energy gels
Stealth gels are made by Secret Training, the creation of European Champion Track Cyclist, Tim Lawson. This expertise and experience ensures that one of its gels should help pull you out of any approaching bonk while you ride your favoured sportive.
Secret Training claims that its Stealth gels are the most advanced in the world, and when you take a look at what goes into them you can see why. Multiple energy substrates, including sticky rice starch and fructose, are used to give its gels a natural backing, while Secret Training only uses natural flavourings and sweeteners to improve on the jarring taste that is often associated with other gels.
As well as passing the taste test, Secret Training has ensured that its gels provide a quicker supply of energy to the working muscles than a non-isotonic gel. Caffeine is avoided too, keeping them good for digestion and preventing cyclists from having too many comfort breaks.
TruFlo Minitrack pump
Punctures are an inevitability in life, so it’s always best to be prepared. This is especially true in a sportive when not having a pump, replacement tube and tyre levers could leave you waiting for the event organisers or, worse, having to write off the ride completely.
Avoid this by packing the TruFlo Minitrack pump - an innovative product that combines the footplate of a track pump with the portability of a minipump. Packable into a jersey pocket or easily attachable to the bike via the bracket that comes in the pack, the pump is a great choice for all your inflating needs mid sportive. Just try not to turn into a mechanic on wheels...
Rema Tip Top Bicycle repair kit TT 02
A pump will be pointless without a functional tube and there are only so many spares one person can carry. Rema’s puncture repair kit makes a perfect backup if you are unfortunate enough to puncture on multiple occasions, and the brand makes the bold claim that its patches are ‘probably the most effective permanent puncture repair kit in the world’.
Rhetoric aside, the kit’s lightweight metal tin makes for easy stowing during a ride, and instructions are included if you need to brush up how to patch a tube mid-ride.
Park Tool MT-30 multi tool
When you are looking for a multi-tool, it’s hard to go wrong with Park Tool - and the brand’s MT-30 in particular.
The tool’s forged aluminum side plates make it robust, while a mix of hardened and plated tools should be able to fix any of the problems you’ll come across mid ride.
Infini Mini Luxo Rechargeable Light Set
Lights are an obvious essential for an early starting sportive or late finisher, while there’s a growing trend of using lights in the day for added visibility.
The Infini Mini-Luxo lights are an easy choice if you are looking to upgrade your lights ahead of a sportive. A single LED is housed inside a simple aluminium case, with there three modes of lighting - flashing, pulse and constant. Its Lithium-ion polymer batteries are rechargeable by USB too, making it a wallet-friendly choice.