A beginner’s guide to cycling your first sportive (long distance)

It’s decided: this year, you will cycle with your first “sportive” – the official term used to define a non competitive (not a race) long distance cycling event, a cycling challenge over the 100km or mile mark.
Just like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, you probably have no idea what you are in for. This article will introduce with with humour to the wonderful world of cycling, full of MAMILs – Middle Age Men In Lycra– fanatic amateur cyclists, or, as the Oxford dictionary defines the word since its entry in 2014 “A middle-aged man who is a very keen road cyclist, typically one who rides an expensive bike and wears the type of clothing associated with professional cyclists“.
When I set myself to complete, Vatternrundan, the largest sportive in the world (30.000 participants biking a 300km loop around a lake, somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Sweden), my knowledge of biking was limited to the occasional tourist exploration and the standing bike of the spinning class. In this article, I am bursting myths and whispering inadmissible secrets – this is all I wished I had known when I signed up for my first long distance race plus a few funny anecdotes about my journey from newbie to collecting enough knowledge to write this how to guide.


Table of contents:

1. How to choose your sportive
2. Cycling gear:
– Bike and Equipement
– What to wear when cycling
3. Training for your first sportive:
– Setting up a training planning
– Other tips
4. Getting ready for race day:
– Last week before the race
– Don’t show up uninformed
– Race day: getting to the finish line
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From newbie to cycling a 300km sportive in 6 months

vatternrundan_medalI woke up wondering if I had been dreaming. Did I really finished the long sportive that I had been training for? Was it all over? The medal on the bedside table, shinning under the morning sun, was leaving no doubt. I did it!
For me, Vätternrundan was not a 300km recreational ride around a big lake in Sweden, it was a 6 months race that required more than 1500km of riding and total of 90h on the bike.

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Completing a Swedish Classic – “En Svensk Klassiker”

Biking 300 km, swimming 3km in a river, running for 30km, and skiing across 90km. 4 disciplines, 4 competitions across Sweden. One goal, one year.

I always love the moment you contemplate a challenge and just think “whoooo… that’s crazy” and the second that follows when you think “I should totally try this“. And then, as quickly as that, you are set. And I was. This was in fall 2015, and I found out what will keep me busy for the next 15 months!

What is “A Swedish Classic”?

It is a scary, exciting and fun challenge: four competitions to complete within 12 months that test your endurance at proper viking standards. The “Swedish Classic” (Svensk klassiker) is all about pushing yourself and doing so by completing 4 swedish classic competitions within a year. Continue reading

10 mistakes to avoid when preparing your first triathlon

In 2012, I run my first sprint triathlon, in Stockholm. Crossing the finish line, I was happy, tired and proud -even got a cool tee-shirt!-. But I was also a bit disappointed. It’s only when I actually run the triathlon that I realised how I should have trained. Here are the 10 mistakes I made, and what I think I should done instead, combined in a post I wish I read when I started training for my first triathlon.

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