With the exception of Boris Johnson, who headlined made the news last year for participating in the Ride London Surrey 100, the average sportive rider does not expect to end up in the national papers and Cycling Weekly after their weekend exploits.
Funnily enough, this is exactly what happened to Matt Adams a few weekends ago at the London Revolution. The portly pedaller, who had the misfortune to come a cropper in the wrong place at the wrong time, embodies the spirit of the sportive. Anyway, let’s be honest. We’ve all been there.
What exactly is the spirit of the sportive? Well I think that in general I’ve always done them to have a bit of fun, and see if I can learn some new roads a bit further out from home. There is also a lot of camaraderie and banter between cyclists that you would not be able to find on normal rides! Sportives are always going to be amateur events, not unofficial road races.
It’s good to set yourself a target time, especially when you’ve been training for an event all winter and you know your capabilities. However, you cannot win a sportive. If you can buy a good photo of yourself at the end, then you’re a winner.
So I can understand the thoughts going through Matt Adams’ head as he spread his arms to emulate the pros in an iconic spot from the London 2012 games. He has since said that he thought he was making himself look a fool as he was doing it - a thought, which, I may add, was confirmed five seconds later. But this photo opportunity would have been too good to miss and I definitely would have struck a pose too, had I been there!
Also, we should all remember that it is never too early to celebrate a climb (he was about halfway up Box Hill); so long as you’re feeling good, it’s a cause for celebration anyway. You look better on your bike when you’re smiling; that’s a fact.
I almost admire the bloke more for committing to his pose in a way that meant he could not prevent his own upendance. Importantly, he is ok, and he was not putting any other riders at risk in the process.
Even if you are a seasoned sportive cyclist, you should never forget that there are people who are less confident than you on the course and it is important to be considerate. If you can take the time to say a quick “good morning” as you pass someone on your way, you might get one back and that might make a huge difference for the first timer who has been passed by many others.
Whenever someone has said something to me in a sportive, I have generally remembered it (and probably put it in a blog!) because it cheers you up especially when you’re struggling.
This brings me to the final thing that we can learn from Matt Adams. If you did something memorable and thought it would go unnoticed, you’re probably wrong.