Anyone else here doing the Dragon ride this year? (now training and prep thread)

I’ve signed up for the Dragon Ride in Wales on Sunday 23 June this year.

I’m doing the Gran Fondo distance which reportedly is about 133 miles and around 3500 metres of climbing. Final route yet TBC.

It’s my first time on this event so super looking forward to it. Training is going ok(ish) so hoping to be in reasonable shape (via TR) for the event.

Anyone else on this forum taking part? :grinning:

Anyone ?

Am I really the only TR user taking on this event?

Yikes :astonished:

Sorry @dsirrom. Meant to reply a few days ago.

You are not the only one! I’m doing the Gran Fondo although I’m having serious second thoughts!

Not sure I’m getting the training balance right at the moment particularly between indoor and outdoor rides.

I just did a ride with mates which takes in the Bwlch and Rhigos. It was 60 miles and 6000 feet climbing and I’m toast. Not quite sure where I find the extra 72 miles and 5500 feet of climbing? How is your training going?

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Yikes - @Sundance you’ve just frightened the heck out of me !! :open_mouth:

My training has been steady but I’m fearful my progress isn’t sufficient. I’m following a polarised / masters approach which has worked reasonably well so far since I started base in early October.

I’m 51 and find recovery is an issue if I have too much weekly intensity, so have been VERY carefully modulating periodisation and taking extra easy days in-between, whenever I start to feel any additional ‘life stress’ or get some poor sleep etc.

I’ve planned my riding off the trainer (outdoors) to support and act as training events for the Dragon. So far I’ve for the ,most part stuck to my TR training reasonably well and squeezed in the following ‘training’ events to get my head around lots of tough climbing / tough efforts:

  • I did Rocacorba in March - I managed 48:35 for the official segment with a 291w average.
  • I did Col de la Madone last week - I managed to just dip under the hour for the official segment (57:31 at 273w average) after a bout of mild food poisoning the day before ( ate something bad, felt sick, was sick, felt a lot better afterwards :slight_smile: ) so feel like things are going in broadly the right direction. My FTP hasn’t gone up much since January but my TTE has really extended beyond what I’d expected to see.
  • I did my local club TT (road bike) on Saturday just gone and took 2 and a half minutes of my previous best time from 2 years ago on the same moderately hilly 10 mile course. My FTP was supposedly around 15w more back then, but I’ve dropped a small amount of weight (down to around 91kg at 190cm tall) so I feel like my TTE at a high % of FTP has definitely improved, which should assist with the long slogs on the Dragon.

Yet to come is a week in Majorca between 06 and 14 June - as a final ‘camp’ - I plan to ride Puig Major (I have unfinished business with that climb) and also plan to do a longer ride taking in Col de Soller and a few other hills in that area on another day. Puig will be full gas and the other day will be more tempo pace (assuming I can hold that) so I’ll be interested to see where I’m at.

The Dragon Gran Fondo will be my biggest / longest ever ride. Current longest distance I’ve done is only 125 miles and on a separate occasion the most elevation I’ve done is only 2600m so Dragon is definitely a big stretch for me.

My target is to hit 3.7w/kg for the event - which although probably a bit low in terms of being in the right ballpark for this kind of event, I think will be just enough to carry me through with really good nutrition and sensible pacing. With 5-ish weeks to go I know I can drop a couple of Kg and predict my FTP ought to be there or thereabouts assuming things stay reasonably steady on the same trajectory (have I just jinxed it? :rofl:).

How about yourself - are you following a specific TR plan and / or supplementing with targeted elevation and distance rides to acclimatise yourself to the type of effort?

Also - how ‘bad’ was the Bwlch and Rhigos? I’ve not ridden that part of Wales before so don’t really have a real sense of the level of difficulty of each individual ascent. Google Earth and street view provides some insight but any first hand feedback (and advice) is very welcome!

I’m also signed up for the Gran Fondo. A bit concerned about the distance but I’m getting the hours in at least so not much else to do but keep on training!

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Hi @dsirrom - I’m the same age as you (well, 51 in a few months). I’ve been using plan builder with Grand Fondo listed as the specialty. I selected the Masters version but in essence I’ve probably been ignoring the Masters element because I ride outdoors twice a week (essentially substituting the Saturday endurance ride for a group ride). That has been one of the challenges for me. How to fit in the outdoor rides with the TrainerRoad rides. I am doing what I’ve done the last few years - TrainerRoad workouts twice a week for structured intensity and two outdoor group rides. One mid week and one on Saturday. The group rides are important to me for social and friendship group purposes but I’m conscious that it probably compromises the training plan with the group dynamic. I’ve been influencing the mid week rides to be hiller and longer than normal but this also leaves me tired for the second TR workout! It’s a vicious circle as I feel like I need longer rides in the saddle to emulate what we’ll be doing on the day but Red Light Green Light is given me yellow and red days every week especially after an outdoor ride.

I feel like I haven’t really had much of a dedicated plan for the outdoor rides and have been limited to 60 mile rides so I feel like I am playing catch up a bit.

Sounds like you’ve got a really solid base behind you and some excellent training camps sorted. I also did Rocacorba last October - what a beast! Mallorca is on the bucket list!

My longest ever ride is 106 miles (and much flatter) so it’s a significant step up for me and the thing I’m most worried about. I am doing it with two buddies who are stronger than me this year so I need to make sure I don’t over cook things trying to stay with them on the climbs.

How are you managing your weekly mileage total? Although I am now trying to build up the longer Saturday rides I am not sure what’s a good weekly total to aim for. I am currently doing about 130-150 miles per week. This includes the 2 TrainerRoad rides which I count as an arbitrary 20 miles each .

To answer your question. Yes, I’m now targeting some routes with sustained climbs to try to simulate the terrain for the Dragon Ride, hence last week’s ride.

The Bwlch and Rhigos are actually not too bad. The gradient is pretty steady and never really goes over 10% so they are both climbs where you can find a rhythm. Mind you, they were the first 2 climbs of the day for me so might give you a different answer on the day of the Dragon! Road surface is good and wide. There are some temporary traffic lights on the descents which was a bit annoying!

Good luck with the training - sounds like you are are on the right track to me and will have plenty of hill training in your legs!

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@Sundance this has been one of my challenges this year. I did an extended base that ran into January and then overlapped the base into build to try and maintain steady mileage as I started to bleed in more intensity over time before moving over to sessions with genuinely higher intensity.

After that, I decided to move to a more personal periodised cycle of mileage, given I’d upped the intensity, so that I didn’t get ill or burn out (both which I’ve done in the past by being too liberal with multiple weeks of multiple intense workouts plus outdoors rides!).

My mileage since November is noted below in blocks of a few weeks, with annotations for context:

This week: target is 180 to 200.
165 (TT) / 113 (Madone) / 91 (recovery week)
175 / 128 / 88 (Trip away minimal bike time)
142 (recovery) / 241 (Girona & Rocacorba)
179 / 177 / 136 / 42 (short head-cold and work commitments)
175 / 177 / 138
173 / 174 / 162
170 171 / 176
131 / 100 / 63 (recovery week)
167 / 151 / 170 / 164 (Start of November)

My aim for the remaining 5 weeks is to maintain around 180 / 200 a week and use the steady but not too severe ramping up of intensity increase within that, to drive some final adaptations that will happen in the ‘rest and recovery’ week prior to the Dragon (actually about 8 days according to how I’ve planned it).

I doubt my FTP will increase more than 3 or 4 watts maximum, between now and the Dragon, but I am hoping I continue to see gains in TTE whilst trimming some more body fat at a sensible and sustainable rate.

The culmination of the next 4 weeks is the trip to Majorca that will be less even in riding terms, with 2 or 3 longer much harder (higher TSS and greater intensity) rides punctuated by a few very short easy days. Should leave me nice and ‘cooked’ :slight_smile:

Best of luck with your own training :muscle: :muscle:

@MrEkul and @Sundance - looks like we are all doing the same distance and all equally as worried about the challenge :rofl:

I’d be happy to keep some dialogue on this thread going to maintain a bit of interest and a bit of a sense of TR-user camaraderie if you’re both interested? Maybe just even an update on training progress in a few week’s time?

I’d suggest meeting up at the start to try and share the workload over the ride but I fear I’d be an ‘anchor’ for you both given my bodyweight and lack of relative w/kg so will sidestep the issue to save that particular awkward discussion :joy: :joy: :joy:

I was due to be doing the Dragon Fondo as well… But I had a tumble off my bike while cycling home last week and managed to fracture both my hips in 5 different places so I’m off the field.

I did the medio 2 years ago and loved it. Really awesome event. Great vibe and lovely hills. Yes, it’s hard but the last 40kms are downhill so if you can do the first 175km you’ll be fine.


Signed for Dragon Devil (296km/4614m // 184 miles/15000ft).

Not sure I feel particularly prepared, completed Dirty Reiver (200k/3800m) last month and the idea of doing 50% of that again did fill me with some dread, but I figure if the weather is ok then it’s just a case of keeping turning the pedals and at some point I’ll arrive back at the start.

Will check in here over the next few weeks to see how people are getting on, or maybe not as everyone sounds very well prepared!

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Really sorry to hear you’ve been injured. Hopefully a full and quick recovery is on the cards for you. :+1:

Great to hear the positive feedback about your past event experience - it’s good motivation :sunglasses:

Well done on completing the Dirty - I didn’t know much about that but having just done a quick search it seems to be pretty tough!

I very briefly toyed with considering applying for the Devil distance, but it scared the cr*p out of me. I elected to go for the (still scary) Gan Fondo and then if I manage to get through that unscathed I may come back another year for the longer / harder challenge - best of luck in your prep :muscle:

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I’m gutted to be missing the ride. Pace yourself and you’ll be fine.

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I’ve changed the title of the thread to reflect it’s morphed into a training thread and hopefully can encourage/ motivate and share tips in advance of the 23 June event.

My effort yesterday was an ‘experiment’ to attempt to knock out around 60% of the Dragon Gran Fondo in both distance and elevation.

The plan was to:

  1. carefully ‘pace’ as many of the hill repeats I did as best as I could, to hold around / just under threshold and at the end of the ride assess how I felt and whether or not I had much left for another 40% or less

  2. Practice a nutrition strategy that would involve eating a lot more than I’m accustomed to

Ride link below:

I I covered 91 miles and 6700ft (2000m) so there or thereabouts for my target.

Thoughts post ride:

  • I ate a LOT (for me) and used MyFitnessPal to log everything- came to 1500 calories and I still felt chronically underfuelled towards the end, so I need to significantly improve in that area

  • My average speed was 15.5mph which is quite a bit down on my target of 16.5mph - so I either need to reassess my target or figure out some methods to improve across the board on that area

  • I actually didn’t feel too bad at the end of the ride and despite feeling under fuelled I feel like I could have carried on, at a similar pace for maybe another 20 miles / 1500 feet (450m) ish, so around 75% / 80% of the full Dragon Gran Fondo distance.

Plan for the remaining 5 weeks is to increase mileage and elevation on big weekend rides in the run up and look to address the fuelling and average speed issues on the way.

Hi Guys,

I’ll be doing the Fondo again this year. I also did it last year too.

Make the most of the nutrition at the aid stations and you should be good. There were gels, iso tabs, flapjacks and awesome salty potatoes. I’m pretty sure it’ll be similar this year

Keep adequately feed and watered and keep the pedals turning and you can’t really go too far wrong.

The some of the hills drag on a bit. Some of the descents are brilliant. The last big descent I found really dicey as the roads are open and small side roads for traffic to appear from - you’d just hope the drivers are observant

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Thanks for the top tips @GreenRyan88 - good to hear a TR user completed the GF and is coming around again for a second stab at it :grin:

Just to add to my earlier points;

Just go out and enjoy the day. Some of the views are fantastic. Meet some cool people. See some cool things including lots of lovely bikes. There are plenty of people to chat to or ride along with.

If you are feeling good take a pull, if you are struggling then sit on a wheel.

Don’t stress with pace or averages or power outputs. If you’ve trained adequately the outcome will take care of itself.

I didn’t last time out, and this year again I’ve not trained specifically for this event. That’s not to say I’m not in fair shape but that this isn’t an ‘A race’ for me.

People will pass you, and you will pass others. Just be kind, courteous, considerate etc. It’s not a race so don’t behave like it is. Save your ‘race legs’ for the timed climb if you really want to throw some power down.

Be sure to make the most of the event and don’t spend the whole time staring at your bike computer.

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Another weekend closer and another hill-reps outdoor ride, trying to gradually increase distance and elevation.

I tried really hard to eat more, upping my total from 1500-ish calories from last weekend’s 92 mile / 6700 feet ride to 2100 calories for this 106 mile / 9100 feet ride. Started to feel a bit sick at the end of the ride (last 10k) and I think although my pacing (holding threshold +/- a small amount) on the climbs, wherever feasible, helped to moderate my match-burning, I still feel like I under-ate overall because of the added distance and elevation :thinking: - not sure I could stuff any more in though?!

Average speed was poor - really worried about that aspect, although a cycling friend reckons with multiple hill-reps I’m losing a lot in the downhill, turnaround, start again approach and on a ride that has longer climbs and longer downhills, the average speed will be higher?

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Hey @dsirrom - sorry for being so slow in jumping back into the thread. Looks to me like you are absolutely smashing it. Yesterday you got pretty close to the Dragon Gran Fondo elevation and you’ve broken the 100 barrier!

I definitely feel like I am 2 weeks short in my prep thanks to weather and a 2 week April holiday. I have managed to get some longer rides in the last 2 weeks (75 miles and 6000 ft last week and 90miles, 7000 feet yesterday). I’m trying to do rides that mimic the Dragon terrain and yesterday’s incorporated a 17 mile section of the actual route. This included the Pen-y-fan climb which is the re-route instead of the Devil’s elbow. It’s actually along the A470 which is an incredibly busy road so an interesting choice as hundreds of passing cars and motorists. It goes past the main start and parking of the Pen-y-fan hiking trail so on a bank holiday weekend it wasn’t relaxing. After the climb (very gradual but a bit of a drag) there is quite an exposed section on the A4059 which could be tough in poor weather conditions. Nice scenery though if you can get past the hundreds of cars whooshing past. I was on a recovery week and took it easy in the week and probably should not have done a long ride yesterday but felt it was necessary to get enough long rides in. Plan next weekend is another hilly 95-100 , then another 100 miler following week before tapering. Not quite sure how what mileage to do in the final 2 weekends?

I am riding for Macmillan Cancer Support and they have hosted 2 webinars with a cycling coach from Elite Cycling. That’s been good and one of his key messages is to try to do 75% of the mileage as your longest ride so you’ve achieved that already!

I’m also probably not eating enough but lots more than I usually do. My training partner hardly drinks or eats and was still relentlessly strong after 90 miles. I am waiting for him to bonk but he never does!

Legs were fried at the end of the ride and any slight bump was an effort. The thought of another 42 miles and 3,500 feet of elevation after that does fill me with dread slightly!

I think you have definitely got matters well under control though so kudos!

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Are you expecting to be out of time and the finish closed when you get there?

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