Stephen Roche Q & A: how to get ready for a sportive in a rush

31st May 2016

1. Whatever a rider’s current fitness level, with three distances on offer at the Telegraph London Cycle Sportive – 48km, 104km & 166km (103 miles) – it’s not too late to get ready for this year’s event on Sunday 26th June. What would be the focus of your preparation in the weeks remaining before the big day?

If you have done little preparation, you won’t be able to catch up by panicking. Revise your target – if you wanted to go for the 166km, maybe opt for the 104km instead. Be honest with yourself, if you haven’t done the training, you don’t have the condition and you will struggle. This will take all the enjoyment out of it! Ask yourself what you can seriously achieve and train for it. I would still be trying to get some long spin in so that I can last the distance on the day.

2. And what tips for the day itself would you give riders to make sure they complete their chosen distance?

Most importantly, don’t panic at the start with all the people around you. Set your own pace until you find a group at your level. By trying to stay with a fast group you might over-exert yourself and run out of energy for the rest of the ride.

3. For anyone considering entering the Telegraph London Cycle Sportive as a way of kick-starting a season that has been slow to get going, how does riding alongside hundreds of other cyclists help make completing a long ride less daunting?

First of all, riding in a bunch is much easier than riding on your own. You will always find someone at the same level as you. Going into a season you never know what level you are – doing a sportive like this you will quickly find out. This can sometimes reveal how much you have still to work before being competitive, or you’ll get a nice surprise and find out you are at a better level than you thought.

4. This year’s Telegraph London Cycle Sportive will have one of the best sportive finishes available anywhere. Firstly, a timed-lap of the famous Herne Hill Velodrome and then a fantastic event village in the track centre, with a BBQ, bar and band for riders and supporters (everyone is welcome to come along) as well as activities for the kids. When you’re out on a long ride, how much of a boost do you get from knowing you have a great finish-line experience – does it keep you going until the end?

First of all, you have to keep focused, as before getting to the finish line there are a lot of miles remaining – and it’s important to be focused to stay safe. Remember though that your moment on the track and the glory of collecting your medal will make it all worth it. When you arrive at Herne Hill Velodrome, take in the atmosphere generated around the track by people involved in the event, family and friends. This is your chance to shine!

5. Finally, if riders are looking beyond the London Cycle Sportive to their next unique bike experience, tell them a bit about the incredible holidays and training camps offered by Stephen Roche Cycling.

The best preparation for a sportive is a multi-day training camp. The endurance needed for 1 day is built up by riding your bike several days in a row and what better than a holiday with variable flat, mountainous and undulating roads like we have in Mallorca? Visit for more information.