If you’re targeting a mountainous sportive then having some sort of experience of riding in this terrain will certainly be a big advantage and stand you in good stead on the day. There are a number of factors that need to be considered that you may overlook when at home, such as changing conditions or temperatures, descending safely and just how severe the climbs really can be.
Although you may not ride the whole route in advance, if there is an opportunity to familiarise yourself with key climbs or sections then it really will help settle your nerves and boost your confidence. Maybe consider taking a holiday to build some experience of mountain riding at your own pace and to your own agenda away from the stress and strain that event day can bring.
Once again, there really is no rush in bagging your first European sportive. The process should be enjoyed and not feared. It’s a lifetime achievement when the time finally does come so make sure you’re ready, relax, take a deep breath and whatever happens remember the most important rule of all. Enjoy!
If you need any further help then please feel free to contact me on Twitter @Cottydale and I’ll do what I can to answer your questions.