Competition Time: Win A Copy Of My New Book [FREE to enter]

So I’ve finally finished my (erm..) much-anticipated eBook:

Sportiveur: A Beginner’s Guide To Training For, Completing and Enjoying Your First Sportive

I’m hoping to publish a ‘pre-release’ version of it next week.

For some reason I decided I should include some of my illustrations, which took a disproportionately long time compared with writing. Quentin Blake I am not.

Anyway, to celebrate this momentous occasion, I’ve decided to run a little competition here on Sportive Cyclist. The winner gets a free advance copy of the book.


I plan to make the first version of the book available for only a short time (at a discounted price). I’ll be seeking out feedback from buyers in order to improve it before releasing it more generally. I want it to be as useful a guide as possible for those who are first starting out on their sportive journey.

The winner of this competition will get the pre-release copy, plus an updated version once all the improvements have been made. Wazooo!

How To Enter

All you have to do to be in with a shout is to leave a comment below this post.

I want to know:

  • who you are
  • where you are on your sportive journey (e.g. just starting, one event under your belt etc)
  • your sportive objective for 2014 (e.g. completing RideLondon, riding 50 miles)

Each comment will automatically get a number. I’ll find a random number generator to determine which comment is the winner.


You can double, treble, quadruple your chance of winning by doing one, two or three of the following actions (in addition to leaving your comment)

1. Like Sportive Cyclist On Facebook Using The Button Below


2. Follow Sportive Cyclist on Google+ Using This Box



3. Follow Sportive Cyclist On Twitter Using This Handy Button

(I know, I haven’t updated my Twitter handle yet).

Yes, I think that’s all the social media avenues covered (anyone on Pinterest…?).

I will go through the list of new followers I receive as a result of the competition (if I receive any!) and give each an additional entry. If you follow Sportive Cyclist on all 3 sites, you get 3 extra entries.

Remember though that you have to leave a comment below to get ANY entries at all (that’s tough talking, cowboy).

If you already follow Sportive Cyclist on FB, Twitter or G+, just mention it in your comment and I’ll be sure to give you the additional entry (or entries).

What Else? Oh… Deadline

The deadline for entries is:

[plucks date and time out of thin air]

Tuesday 18th March at 9pm UK time (5pm EST)

So there we go. Really easy to enter.

I don’t know how many people will have a crack, but it strikes me you’ve got a reasonable chance of winning.

So leave me a comment below and get clicking those follow buttons.

Gladiators. READY!

68 thoughts on “Competition Time: Win A Copy Of My New Book [FREE to enter]”

  1. Hello!
    Who am I? John Kenyon.
    Where am I on my sportive journey? Nowhere – I am a terrified beginner…
    2014 objective: completing Ride London before I’m swept up by the organisers to make way for the pro race!

    • Thanks John. You’re looking pretty good right now for winning a book that might assist with your 2014 objective!
      PS. You don’t need to be terrified. With a little bit of the right training and preparation, you’ll be fine πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Andrew,

    I’m Pete Simpson and i’m also a relative beginner.
    My aim this year is to get to 50-60 miles and maybe take part in a sportive later in the year.

    Thanks for keeping us entertained and informed!

  3. Ciao!
    Who am I? Grenville Coakes.
    Where am I on my sportive journey? Absolute beginner; overweight; dodgy knees; hate hills!
    2014 objective: Complete Ride London without getting swept up by the broom wagon whilst raising Β£1000 for charity!
    On the plus side, I am having my first ever proper bike fit tomorrow assuming my bike is roughly the right size to start with!

  4. Paul Hollingsworth here, got my first road bike last year, riding my first sportive this year! Got a charity place for Ridelondon so hoping to raise lots of money and have an amazing time. Now the weather is picking up – time to put down some serious miles! Looking forward to using your book to help with the journey.

    • Thanks Paul. You will have an amazing time on RideLondon – I guarantee it (disclaimer: not a real guarantee).

  5. Who am I? Kevin Openshaw
    Where am I on my sportive journey?
    I have just bought my first road bike and started to train for the Help the Heroes 100 mile Dawn Raid ride. My fitness is improving but my sore backside is not! Everybody tells me it will get better.

  6. Hello!

    Who am I? Sarah Bowden, middle aged would-be cyclist with ‘saddle issues’

    Where am I on my sportive journey? Completely addicted to the turbo trainer, but not at all sure about this whole ‘get out on the real roads’ thing…

    Aim for 2014? To complete RideLondon 2014 and not be walking like John Wayne for a week after.

    • Thanks Sarah. Turbo addict huh? Those roads are going to blow your mind!

      Now get off your bike and drink your milk….

  7. Hi
    Me .. Paul Keeler

    Where am l .

    Sat waiting for my new Ribble GranFondo to arrive.

    As to sportives im a total beginner . Am hopeing to do the Manchester 100 this year.

    This is after not having ridden a bike for 30 plus years.

    Got a cheap road bike last July and the bug well and truely bit.

    Look forward to reading your book for some help.


    • Hi Paul. I’m a big fan of Ribble. My sister and brother-in-law both have one and are very happy with them. Quite fancy the Ribble winter bike for myself… Good luck in your training!

  8. I’m Mark Hughes (@mrsheepuk), and after much commuter city cycling over the last three years, this year I’m doing the Ride London so getting in shape for that. My objective is for myself and my partner to finish the 100 miles in a respectable time – hopefully between 6 and 7 hours.

  9. Hi. Love your site – lots of good advice.

    I’m Mike Taylor – of retirement age, but still keen to take on new challenges!

    In August this year, I’m taking on Rat Race’s 400+ mile, 4-day London-Edinburgh Road Trip. I’ll be riding with my son Dale (see, raising money for my long-term cause, Cancer Research UK.

    I’m massively apprehensive, but, strangely, really looking forward to the event & several other 50-100 mile events to prepare for the “Big One”.

    I do have a road bike, but it’s not-recently-ridden (after a riding incident that landed me in A&E!) & 25-years-old, so I’m about to buy a new bike, have tried out a few, but am still looking & note your massive support for your new Trek Domane.

    Thanks for the site. I’ll keep reading.

    • Thanks Mike for your comment. Glad you’re getting some value out of it! I can appreciate the mix of fear and excitement that your multi-day event engenders. Should be an awesome experience. I wish I owned shares in Trek πŸ˜‰

  10. Mark W
    Did the Savernake Sizzler “medium” last year aiming to move up to “well done” this year, also signed up for the White Horse Challenge on 13 April which might be a bit to soon for a training plan to kick in!

    • Hi Mark. Had to look up the Savernake Sizzler. I like the name. I see they went for White Horse Challenge over Tour de Swindon (which would have been my choice). It’s always good (not always) to beast yourself on an early season challenge!

  11. Name:Mark Blackman
    this is my second year of riding sportives and would still class myself as a beginner. My target this year is to complete the 100 mile red dragon ride and ultimately ride from London to Hereford, about 150 miles

  12. Greetings Andrew Well done!!

    I am in for Ride London 100 and been accepted. Simply want to get round and beat Boris’s time and keep my sanity!
    Training last night in Richmond Park your comments about people new to Sportives worrying about the hills….. but in fact it is the DISTANCE that is the key thing. You mentioned this in one of your postings. I am late fifties, 6’4″ and too heavy and I climbed Box Hill no problem on my road bike (Thank you Jim and Brian at Surbiton Cycles brilliant). I did Newlands Corner from the steep side last week…..harder but OK and didn’t stop. Leith Hill to come!!!

    Andrew you are an inspiration (crawl crawl)



    • Thanks Duncan. I’ve only been to Newlands Corner on the day of RideLondon. I assume we climbed by the less steep side? I certainly remember that descending from Newlands Corner on a totally car-less road was amazing!

      [Adopts stern tone] Now Duncan – I have to ignore any crawling whilst administering this contest [/stern] πŸ™‚

  13. Pete Griffiths – I started cycling last year in an attempt to lose weight and regain fitness lost long ago. I’m riding a Giant Escape Hybrid at the moment but looking to go for a road bike in the next few months. I ride 3 or 4 times a week – total is around 80 miles for most weeks. i’ve never ridden a sportive but I’ve been lucky to get a place in RideLondon this year so that’s my motivational target. Oh! and BTW I’m 70!

  14. Name: Andy Button-Stephens, 26, live in London

    Where I am: I survived the 50 miles/8 climbs in the 2012 Legs of Steel sportive and completed RideLondon 2013 in 6 hour 2min

    My sportive objective for 2014 – compete in both Legs of Steel and RideLondon again, gaining PB’s in both and I want to cycle (recreationally) in the Peak District

    • Hi Andy, as unofficial representative of the Peak District, I will welcome you! You aiming for sub 5hr 30 for RL then? Or even less?

  15. Hello there, good luck with the book, Andrew!
    Name: Ben Buffham
    Been riding about 18 months, mainly solo weekend efforts as a perverse form of “relaxation”, usually a leisurely 40-50 miles. Signed up for a charity place for this year’s London100 with a pal, so very excited. However, I’ve not ridden in any mass events so will do a couple of the Wiggle Sportives earlier in the summer to feel more comfortable about the big day in August!

    • Thanks Ben. Your excitement is entirely justified. Nothing will prepare you for the ‘mass-ness’ of RideLondon – in a good way!

  16. hello my name is ron Mahoney
    been cycling nearly 3 years and my daily commute is 50 miles
    my aim is to do 1 sportive a month starting with the wiggle mercia 92 miler in march
    and definatly flat out in the fens 150 miler in Peterborough
    completed the ride 100 in just over 5hours last year and hoping do shade under 5 hours this year

    • Wow Ron. Why have you entered a contest for an ebook aimed at beginner sportiveurs?!?! Maybe if Ron wins, I’ll run the random number generator again to find a second winner.

      Thanks for your comment anyway – much appreciated πŸ™‚

  17. 71 yr old former road rider/racer. Last 20 years Mountain Bikes (New England and Arizona since 1998). Bought new road bike (Trek Domane 4.3) last month but have been in SE Asia for the last 3 weeks. Anxious to get home and back to training (25 mile mountain bike race with 5,000 ft of climbing) and road ride across Iowa (RAGBRAI) in July. Since it’s been a long time since any long road rides I’m looking for any new information I can get.

    • Hi Dale, thanks for your comment. That mountain biking event sounds steep! I understand your desire to get back to your beloved Domane πŸ˜‰

  18. Hi Andrew

    I’m Ian Evans
    I am coming back to cycling after a twenty year break, aiming to complete the help for heroes dawn raid 100 mile sportive with in the time limit, main concern box hill not the greatest climber out there.
    Good luck with the new book.

    • Thanks Ian. The Dawn Raid event sounds like an amazing ride. You might be surprised by Box Hill – I reckon you’ll enjoy it. The road is really smooth and the climb is steady. You just need to set a rhythm (even if its slow) and you’ll be at the top before you know it. Best of luck!

  19. Byron Henry here. Bought new road bike last year (a steel framed salute to my long lost youth). Contemplating registering for the “medio” (55 km) version of the 2014 Whistler GranFondo.
    Maybe with a goal like that, I won’t notice so much all the weight I’m not losing…

    • Sounds good Byron. Stop contemplating and start registering :-). As you may know, I covet a classic steel-framed road bike…

  20. Hi,I am Barry Atha, completed my second ride since October last night, 16 miles. Need to work my way up to a 100 mile social ride with Otley Cycle club on June 22nd , this is in preparation for Ride London100 which is still terrifying me. This is why I started following you for advice on my first sportive.

    • Hi Barry. Thanks for your comment. Am I right in assuming you’re in Leeds/Wharfedale? If you’re training around there, RideLondon should hold no terror for you. Good luck!

  21. Hi Andrew.
    I’m 52 years of age, c. 20lbs over weight, never going to break any records, but still managing the Somerset Hills!
    Changed to road bikes six years ago after major back surgery and this helped greatly with my recovery. On third road bike now (Domane 5.9 as per comments some six months ago).
    Aiming to lose as much of the 20lbs as possible and completing the London 100 in under my 6hrs 3mins of last year. Cycling in at least five 100km events before then, the first only eight weeks away!!!
    Note to all those who have expressed concerns about their first major cycle event. No worries, you will love it, guaranteed!

    • Thanks Nigel. I agree with your last comment, certainly. You seem to be another one who is not exactly in the target audience for my book! Good luck for your RL training.

  22. Wassup everybody, I’m Kristian Slatina, cycling all my life but took it to the ‘next’ level last year only, and completed 2x charity night rides, a sportive (Wiggle Haywards Heath Howler) and the Etape du Tour. Still don’t own a road bike and I consider myself as advanced beginner πŸ™‚

    The plan for this year is Etape 2014 and a few more sportives like the Financial Times London Cycle Sportive but the big one is to do a bike-touring holiday – a ferry to Amsterdam and cycle back to London, maybe.

    P.S. To Mr Dale James, Mike Taylor and Pete Griffiths and others out there, wow, I hope to keep it going at least as long too πŸ™‚
    @Duncan, I was riding in Richmond Park at the same time too, probably the only guy on hybrid with suspension and a big bag in a rear-basket.

    • Wassup Kristian. To be clear, you rode the Etape on a hybrid? Maybe this year you can do it on a Boris bike (or a Velib bike from Paris). I agree with your ‘PS’!

      • Etape wasn’t that bad. Did it on a SCOTT METRIX 20 – disk brakes (needed tweaking midway), no suspension, uncomfortable seat (ok, that’s personal preference), granny gear πŸ™‚ and 11Kg after all my @upgrades like bike computer and lock attached to it πŸ˜€
        This year I’m upgrading to a Scott Speedster 30.

  23. Hi ..Joe here..I am 48… I have completed a couple of Wiggle / Evans Sportive events last year…30 – 40 milers…I have taken the plunge and I am riding for Cancer Research UK on the Ride London 100 in August, so need all the help I am can get..!!

    • Hi Joe. You’re riding for a great cause. As Nigel mentioned (and as I say frequently), you’ll love RideLondon.

  24. Hi, I’m Adam Hodgson. 44 yo, overweight ex-rugby playing, wine importer, recovering from knee surgery. Like plenty of others it would appear.
    Proud owner (for exactly 1 week and 3 hours) of a Trek Domane 4.3, thanks to Cannondale selling all their Synapse 105-5’s elsewhere!!! πŸ˜‰ was recommended Domane as replacement option and read your glowing review which swung the jury….
    Aims? To embrace the pain and learn to love 2 wheels. After that…the world is my oyster. Apparently. Even though I hate oysters.

    • Thanks Adam, another member of the Domane mafia.

      I like wine. I’ve had some nice ones. Then I became a cash-strapped stay at home dad and have downsized to the Β£4.99 price point…

      I think you need to spend your next French vineyard trip cycling rather than in a 2CV (which I assume is how you do it currently).

      PS. You won’t have to try hard to learn to love 2 wheels…

  25. Hello friend’, I’m Michael 40 years old from northumberland. Took up cycling this time last year and not as far forward as hoped. Did complete my first and only sportive last year, bike for bobby 72 miles with no where nead enough training. This year I havnt started as well as wanted but have several sportive slimed up which will finish with ridelondon which both excited and frightens me!!

  26. I’m Chris, 57 years old but not quite 57% too fat. Yet.
    A DD conviction in 1989 saw me back on a bike for the first time since I was 16 and now I see no reason to own a car here in London. I seem to have accumulated a bit of a collection of bikes (6 and counting). I commute on a hybrid, lap Richmond Park at the weekends and on summer evenings on my 2004 Cannondale CAAD4 (the third set of BB bearings on my 2011 CAAD10 are clicking yet again) and last year bought a 1973 Gitane for L’Eroica.
    I rode the 75km route in last October’s event and my name’s been drawn out of the hat for this year’s jaunt so I’ll try 135km this time around, which goes through Siena, subject to getting enough training in. I’ve also entered L’Eroica Britannia, based in Bakewell, in June, so ‘the French bike’ will get the call-up for that.too. I also have a 1991 Alpinestars MTB which has been sitting untouched since I bought it last year but I plan to ride that to Birmingham along the Grand Union Canal towpath over Easter. The best laid plans… We’ll see!

    • And there was me thinking Gitane was a type of cigarette. L’Erioca sounds fantastic. I’d love to do it one day. Presumably the Britannica is just up and down the Monsal trail ;-).

      Again, 6 bikes and a penchant for dressing up in retro cycling gear doesn’t exactly make you the perfect fit with my beginners guide but I’ll let it pass.

      • Hey! I’ve done just one sportive of 48 miles, and that was for old gits on old bikes where the feeding stations were far more important than the bits in between, so I definitely consider myself a beginner!

        I lost out in the ballot for the London Surrey 100, which I have mixed feelings about. I was looking forward to the 100 mile challenge but I’d be on an alu bike with just 20 manual gears alongside people barely a third my age on carbon things with 22 push-button gears. Intimidating.

        We’ll leave the dressing-up comments to one side for now – excuse me while I pop upstairs and don my Mondrian-esque La Vie Claire jersey. But before I climb the stairs, FYI a gitane is a gypsy singer/dancer, as I discovered once I’d bought an old bike that is heavy, with insufficient gears, and brakes that make a great deal of noise but minimal deceleration.

        • Yes, I’m sure the feeding stations on L’Eroica are light years ahead of those at RideLondon. You’re best off out of it, in that sense!

  27. Paul King, 50. Was to do a sportive last year but was knocked off my bike and broke my shoulder. I’m going to do the Sport Relief 50 next weekend, and I’ll hoping to complete an easier sportive towards the end of the season, as I’m really busy over May and June.

  28. And the winner is….. Michael Chappel!

    Commiserations to everyone else, but thank you all for your comments. I’m glad to see everyone has sportive aims to shoot towards. Very best of luck with your training. Be sure to let me know if I can be of any help on the blog.

    Michael – I’m about to email you the book.


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