Ride report - the Dragon Ride (long)



R

Richard Goodman

Guest
The Dragon Ride

In response to Arthur's request for more ride reports, here's mine for the
Dragon Ride. Sorry if it's too long! I don't know if anyone else here did
it? It's been very thoroughly discussed and disected on the C+ forum, and I
am a bit surprised it hasn't come up here.

Anyway, FWIW - the Dragon Ride took place last weekend, over a choice of 100
or 150k routes in South Wales heading up into the Brecon Beacons. The 150k
route covers two UK cat 1 climbs, the Rhigos and the Blywch, and one Hors
Cat. climb near Ystradfellte. Despite sounding impressive, actually although
the scenery is quite impressive the climbs were not that difficult - given
low enough gears which I made sure to fit ;). About 750 riders had entered,
making it probably one of the largest, if not the largest, 'cyclosportive'
type event in the UK (although I stand to be corrected if I'm wrong).
Transponder timing chips were provided for a small fee, adding a further
degree of competitive interest to the event.

The ride got underway under slightly cloudy skies at 9.30 on Sunday morning
with the first group of 50 riders. We were sent away in groups of
approximately 50 every couple of minutes so being mid-field my ride didn't
start until about 9.45, at the tail end of my group. I had done the Polka
Dot, very slightly longer and hillier, so I didn't have any qualms about
getting round, I just wanted to better my Polka Dot time. So I decided I
would not start conservatively, and as one of a group of club riders in
front of me said to the others 'ok, let's go', I thought to myself, 'right,
I'm going with you'. So as they upped their pace I followed and we were soon
leaving my start group in our wake and skipping ahead towards other groups
that had started earlier. As we went further down the road various riders
from the other groups joined and left the paceline, and somewhere along the
way I even managed to leave my initial 'ride partners' behind. The South
Wales police kindly provided a motor cycle rider who kept overtaking us and
stopping traffic as large groups of cyclists made their way around
roundabouts on the A48 - it was great fun being part of a peloton racing
through the give way signs being given priority over other traffic.

There was a slight climb up in to Neath which, on OS maps, has a chevron on
it - normally seeing any road with one of those on it makes me rather
worried - but somehow it went past rapidly as hardly more than a blip which
required a quick down change through the gears for a minute or two, then
straight back up through them as the road levelled off, and we sped on
towards Glyn Neath at a pace that, for me, was unaccustomedly fast and
furious - we were doing evens for the first 40 miles or so. Then came a feed
station where we all stopped to grab bananas and water, and unfortunately
'my' group of about 20 riders then disintegrated as we each seemed to set
off individually.

Wanting to press on, I rode off alone towards the split for the 100/150k
routes, expecting at any moment that a new group would come up on my wheel
and I would latch on to them, but after the split the road started going up
slightly and somehow it didn't happen for quite a bit longer than I
expected, in fact I began overtaking other individual riders. Eventually I
did join with another group, who started riding through and off to maintain
a good pace against a slight headwind. When it was my turn in front, I was
relieved to find that we were just beginning a descent, so I thought 'that's
good, I can do my bit to keep the pace up without making too much effort',
but thinking it wouldn't be right to just coast at the same pace I pushed
the pace up a bit to take advantage of the downhill. I cranked on as it
levelled off and eventually, after a few km, looked behind for someone else
to come through but there wasn't anyone! I was alone again! Was I impolite
to push the pace on a descent, I wondered? Eventually another cyclist from
the group did catch me and said 'I don't know what you had for breakfast but
I want some!' I felt it was a nice compliment, but not entirely appropriate
since he was then about to overtake me! Perhaps I should have had some of
what he had! I stayed on his wheel for a bit and in fact we repassed and
took tows off each other for most of the rest of the ride, at times being
part of a larger group and at times being alone.

100km came and went easily in about 3h15, a new PB for me, and it seemed we
had still yet to see any real climbs! It wasn't long after that they started
though. That it took me 3h15 for the first 100k and 2h15 for the final 50k
says a lot about the hillyness of the last 50k! I completed the ride in
just over 5h30, which I felt was not bad, placing me provisionally 32nd out
of over 220 riders on the 150k who were 'chipped', and taking an hour off my
Polka Dot time - much of that due, I think, to being able to work with
fast-paced groups early on in the ride, which I never managed to do on the
Polka Dot - I went round most of that alone.

All in all great fun, and highly recommended. Now for l'etape!

Rich
 
M

MartinM

Guest
Richard Goodman wrote:
> The Dragon Ride
>
> In response to Arthur's request for more ride reports, here's mine for the
> Dragon Ride. Sorry if it's too long! I don't know if anyone else here did
> it? It's been very thoroughly discussed and disected on the C+ forum, and I
> am a bit surprised it hasn't come up here.
>
> Anyway, FWIW - the Dragon Ride took place last weekend, over a choice of 100
> or 150k routes in South Wales heading up into the Brecon Beacons. The 150k
> route covers two UK cat 1 climbs, the Rhigos and the Blywch, and one Hors
> Cat. climb near Ystradfellte. Despite sounding impressive, actually although
> the scenery is quite impressive the climbs were not that difficult - given
> low enough gears which I made sure to fit ;). About 750 riders had entered,
> making it probably one of the largest, if not the largest, 'cyclosportive'
> type event in the UK (although I stand to be corrected if I'm wrong).
> Transponder timing chips were provided for a small fee, adding a further
> degree of competitive interest to the event.
>
> The ride got underway under slightly cloudy skies at 9.30 on Sunday morning
> with the first group of 50 riders. We were sent away in groups of
> approximately 50 every couple of minutes so being mid-field my ride didn't
> start until about 9.45, at the tail end of my group. I had done the Polka
> Dot, very slightly longer and hillier, so I didn't have any qualms about
> getting round, I just wanted to better my Polka Dot time. So I decided I
> would not start conservatively, and as one of a group of club riders in
> front of me said to the others 'ok, let's go', I thought to myself, 'right,
> I'm going with you'. So as they upped their pace I followed and we were soon
> leaving my start group in our wake and skipping ahead towards other groups
> that had started earlier. As we went further down the road various riders
> from the other groups joined and left the paceline, and somewhere along the
> way I even managed to leave my initial 'ride partners' behind. The South
> Wales police kindly provided a motor cycle rider who kept overtaking us and
> stopping traffic as large groups of cyclists made their way around
> roundabouts on the A48 - it was great fun being part of a peloton racing
> through the give way signs being given priority over other traffic.
>
> There was a slight climb up in to Neath which, on OS maps, has a chevron on
> it - normally seeing any road with one of those on it makes me rather
> worried - but somehow it went past rapidly as hardly more than a blip which
> required a quick down change through the gears for a minute or two, then
> straight back up through them as the road levelled off, and we sped on
> towards Glyn Neath at a pace that, for me, was unaccustomedly fast and
> furious - we were doing evens for the first 40 miles or so. Then came a feed
> station where we all stopped to grab bananas and water, and unfortunately
> 'my' group of about 20 riders then disintegrated as we each seemed to set
> off individually.
>
> Wanting to press on, I rode off alone towards the split for the 100/150k
> routes, expecting at any moment that a new group would come up on my wheel
> and I would latch on to them, but after the split the road started going up
> slightly and somehow it didn't happen for quite a bit longer than I
> expected, in fact I began overtaking other individual riders. Eventually I
> did join with another group, who started riding through and off to maintain
> a good pace against a slight headwind. When it was my turn in front, I was
> relieved to find that we were just beginning a descent, so I thought 'that's
> good, I can do my bit to keep the pace up without making too much effort',
> but thinking it wouldn't be right to just coast at the same pace I pushed
> the pace up a bit to take advantage of the downhill. I cranked on as it
> levelled off and eventually, after a few km, looked behind for someone else
> to come through but there wasn't anyone! I was alone again! Was I impolite
> to push the pace on a descent, I wondered? Eventually another cyclist from
> the group did catch me and said 'I don't know what you had for breakfast but
> I want some!' I felt it was a nice compliment, but not entirely appropriate
> since he was then about to overtake me! Perhaps I should have had some of
> what he had! I stayed on his wheel for a bit and in fact we repassed and
> took tows off each other for most of the rest of the ride, at times being
> part of a larger group and at times being alone.
>
> 100km came and went easily in about 3h15, a new PB for me, and it seemed we
> had still yet to see any real climbs! It wasn't long after that they started
> though. That it took me 3h15 for the first 100k and 2h15 for the final 50k
> says a lot about the hillyness of the last 50k! I completed the ride in
> just over 5h30, which I felt was not bad, placing me provisionally 32nd out
> of over 220 riders on the 150k who were 'chipped', and taking an hour off my
> Polka Dot time - much of that due, I think, to being able to work with
> fast-paced groups early on in the ride, which I never managed to do on the
> Polka Dot - I went round most of that alone.
>
> All in all great fun, and highly recommended. Now for l'etape!
>
> Rich


Well done RG; that is going some! good luck with l'Etape
(ps C+ seems to have fallen by the wayside what with the new Third Way)
 
S

Simon Mason

Guest
"Richard Goodman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> The Dragon Ride
>
> In response to Arthur's request for more ride reports, here's mine for the
> Dragon Ride. Sorry if it's too long! I don't know if anyone else here did
> it? It's been very thoroughly discussed and disected on the C+ forum, and
> I am a bit surprised it hasn't come up here.
>
>


Nice story Rich - good luck with the Etape.

--
Simon Mason
http://www.simonmason.karoo.net
 
R

Richard Goodman

Guest
"MartinM" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
> Well done RG; that is going some! good luck with l'Etape
> (ps C+ seems to have fallen by the wayside what with the new Third Way)
>


;) Thanks Martin. Yes the 'Third Way' gained more out the brouhaha that C+
created, than Sam managed to achieve from the brouhaha he created here for
himself when he first tried to publicise it ;)
 
M

MartinM

Guest
Richard Goodman wrote:
> "MartinM" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
> >
> > Well done RG; that is going some! good luck with l'Etape
> > (ps C+ seems to have fallen by the wayside what with the new Third Way)
> >

>
> ;) Thanks Martin. Yes the 'Third Way' gained more out the brouhaha thatC+
> created, than Sam managed to achieve from the brouhaha he created here for
> himself when he first tried to publicise it ;)


didn't know he had ;-£
 
M

MartinM

Guest
MartinM wrote:
> Richard Goodman wrote:
> > "MartinM" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> > news:[email protected]
> > >
> > > Well done RG; that is going some! good luck with l'Etape
> > > (ps C+ seems to have fallen by the wayside what with the new Third Way)
> > >

> >
> > ;) Thanks Martin. Yes the 'Third Way' gained more out the brouhaha that C+
> > created, than Sam managed to achieve from the brouhaha he created here for
> > himself when he first tried to publicise it ;)

>
> didn't know he had ;-£


do now ;-(
 
R

Richard Goodman

Guest
>"MartinM" <[email protected]> wrote in message
>news:[email protected]


>Richard Goodman wrote:
>> ;) Thanks Martin. Yes the 'Third Way' gained more out the brouhaha that
>> C+
>> created, than Sam managed to achieve from the brouhaha he created here
>> for
>> himself when he first tried to publicise it ;)


>didn't know he had ;-£


It was some time ago and is probably mostly, and best, forgotten about - a
few days of promotional messages got some urcer's backs up.

Rich
 
P

Peter Goddard

Guest
"Richard Goodman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> The Dragon Ride
>
> In response to Arthur's request for more ride reports, here's mine for the
> Dragon Ride. Sorry if it's too long! I don't know if anyone else here did
> it? It's been very thoroughly discussed and disected on the C+ forum, and
> I am a bit surprised it hasn't come up here.
>
> Anyway, FWIW - the Dragon Ride took place last weekend, over a choice of
> 100 or 150k routes in South Wales heading up into the Brecon Beacons. The
> 150k route covers two UK cat 1 climbs, the Rhigos and the Blywch, and one
> Hors Cat. climb near Ystradfellte. Despite sounding impressive, actually
> although the scenery is quite impressive the climbs were not that
> difficult - given low enough gears which I made sure to fit ;). About 750
> riders had entered, making it probably one of the largest, if not the
> largest, 'cyclosportive' type event in the UK (although I stand to be
> corrected if I'm wrong). Transponder timing chips were provided for a
> small fee, adding a further degree of competitive interest to the event.
>
> The ride got underway under slightly cloudy skies at 9.30 on Sunday
> morning with the first group of 50 riders. We were sent away in groups of
> approximately 50 every couple of minutes so being mid-field my ride didn't
> start until about 9.45, at the tail end of my group. I had done the Polka
> Dot, very slightly longer and hillier, so I didn't have any qualms about
> getting round, I just wanted to better my Polka Dot time. So I decided I
> would not start conservatively, and as one of a group of club riders in
> front of me said to the others 'ok, let's go', I thought to myself,
> 'right, I'm going with you'. So as they upped their pace I followed and we
> were soon leaving my start group in our wake and skipping ahead towards
> other groups that had started earlier. As we went further down the road
> various riders from the other groups joined and left the paceline, and
> somewhere along the way I even managed to leave my initial 'ride partners'
> behind. The South Wales police kindly provided a motor cycle rider who
> kept overtaking us and stopping traffic as large groups of cyclists made
> their way around roundabouts on the A48 - it was great fun being part of a
> peloton racing through the give way signs being given priority over other
> traffic.
>
> There was a slight climb up in to Neath which, on OS maps, has a chevron
> on it - normally seeing any road with one of those on it makes me rather
> worried - but somehow it went past rapidly as hardly more than a blip
> which required a quick down change through the gears for a minute or two,
> then straight back up through them as the road levelled off, and we sped
> on towards Glyn Neath at a pace that, for me, was unaccustomedly fast and
> furious - we were doing evens for the first 40 miles or so. Then came a
> feed station where we all stopped to grab bananas and water, and
> unfortunately 'my' group of about 20 riders then disintegrated as we each
> seemed to set off individually.
>
> Wanting to press on, I rode off alone towards the split for the 100/150k
> routes, expecting at any moment that a new group would come up on my wheel
> and I would latch on to them, but after the split the road started going
> up slightly and somehow it didn't happen for quite a bit longer than I
> expected, in fact I began overtaking other individual riders. Eventually I
> did join with another group, who started riding through and off to
> maintain a good pace against a slight headwind. When it was my turn in
> front, I was relieved to find that we were just beginning a descent, so I
> thought 'that's good, I can do my bit to keep the pace up without making
> too much effort', but thinking it wouldn't be right to just coast at the
> same pace I pushed the pace up a bit to take advantage of the downhill. I
> cranked on as it levelled off and eventually, after a few km, looked
> behind for someone else to come through but there wasn't anyone! I was
> alone again! Was I impolite to push the pace on a descent, I wondered?
> Eventually another cyclist from the group did catch me and said 'I don't
> know what you had for breakfast but I want some!' I felt it was a nice
> compliment, but not entirely appropriate since he was then about to
> overtake me! Perhaps I should have had some of what he had! I stayed on
> his wheel for a bit and in fact we repassed and took tows off each other
> for most of the rest of the ride, at times being part of a larger group
> and at times being alone.
>
> 100km came and went easily in about 3h15, a new PB for me, and it seemed
> we had still yet to see any real climbs! It wasn't long after that they
> started though. That it took me 3h15 for the first 100k and 2h15 for the
> final 50k says a lot about the hillyness of the last 50k! I completed the
> ride in just over 5h30, which I felt was not bad, placing me provisionally
> 32nd out of over 220 riders on the 150k who were 'chipped', and taking an
> hour off my Polka Dot time - much of that due, I think, to being able to
> work with fast-paced groups early on in the ride, which I never managed to
> do on the Polka Dot - I went round most of that alone.
>
> All in all great fun, and highly recommended. Now for l'etape!
>
> Rich
>
>


Well done for finishing! A group of 6 of us entered the Dragon Ride. 4
attempting the 150k and 2 the 100k. I unfortunately succumbed at the 71-mile
mark. If you see the thread about 'Severe cramp sufferer', that's me trying
to make sure I can get all the way round next year!



Cheers



Peter.
 
R

Richard Goodman

Guest
"Peter Goddard" <[email protected]> wrote in
message news:i[email protected]
>
> Well done for finishing! A group of 6 of us entered the Dragon Ride. 4
> attempting the 150k and 2 the 100k. I unfortunately succumbed at the
> 71-mile mark. If you see the thread about 'Severe cramp sufferer', that's
> me trying to make sure I can get all the way round next year!
>


Ah, that's too bad Peter. I'm sure you weren't alone in suffering cramps
though! A lot of people seemed to be complaining of that or dehydration
(and AIUI the latter can be a cause of the former). I think the answer must
be to eat and drink well (not just plain water but sports energy
drinks/additives such as electrolytic powders), spin low gears rather than
mash, and generally get fitter and more accustomed to hills and distances
(says he who until earlier this year had never done anything like it
either).

Good luck for next year then!

Rich
 
M

Mike Jones

Guest
Richard Goodman wrote:
> The Dragon Ride
>
> In response to Arthur's request for more ride reports, here's mine
> for the Dragon Ride. Sorry if it's too long! I don't know if anyone
> else here did it? It's been very thoroughly discussed and disected on
> the C+ forum, and I am a bit surprised it hasn't come up here.
>
> Anyway, FWIW - the Dragon Ride took place last weekend, over a choice
> of 100 or 150k routes in South Wales heading up into the Brecon
> Beacons. The 150k route covers two UK cat 1 climbs, the Rhigos and
> the Blywch, and one Hors Cat. climb near Ystradfellte. Despite


It's a Bwlch ("pass" in saesneg)

> sounding impressive, actually although the scenery is quite
> impressive the climbs were not that difficult - given low enough


A good outing, but you seemed to have missed all the pubs!