You put in a lot of hours. Most of the time you are not even paid for putting everything together. Volunteers are running around like headless chickens. Emails pouring in about everything from using mopeds to picnicking on the side of the road. The Weather Channel is locked on your television and phone. Oh, and a road just washed out three days before the event; all the while, you want your sportive to be talked about in a positive light among the riders. Here are a few things that will get that:
- Registration and pick up must be easy. Have a lot of encouraging volunteers running two or three lines to avoid long waits. Music is nice. A bike shop near by is always positive.
- On the day of the ride, stagger the leave times farther apart to avoid the sweet ladies on their cruisers and the cute couple in matching kits on a tandem blending with the more serious riders of the longest ride of the day. Also, it will avoid something else later listed.
- Have a three or even four support vehicles responsible for certain 25 miles sections, instead of someone needing help and the only support vehicle being 40 minutes down the road . . . especially if you are predicted to have bad weather.
- This is big: Have the break stations well stocked with supplies. Nothing is worse than getting to a station around mile 85 and finding that they are waiting on ice or water or both. In my latest sportive, one station had one loaf of bread and one thing of peanut butter for the field. Wait what?
- As the century riders roll to the finishing line, many times . . . MANY times the 25, 40, or 60 milers have come in way before and have scarfed up the post ride goodies! Grrrrrr . . . have a section only for century riders or monitor consumption better; at the very least, have something to drink. (Footnote: In March I rode a sportive that raved about the huge barbecue and ice cream post ride. I made a decent time 4:26:11 and was the eighth rider of the century guys to make it in . . . only to find no ice cream left and a few hamburgers grilled out of desperation. Good luck to those way back.)
Sportives are wonderful. They are a great way to challenge yourself. Riders sign up for the events not expecting perfection, but they do expect to have basic needs met for the amount of money being paid. Yes, events are critiqued and talked about in the club rides. Make your sportive the one everyone wants to do.