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Help needed for newbie doing Dragon Ride Wales

mitchcumsteinmitchcumstein Posts: 8
Hi,
Just entered the Dragon Ride Wales, June '09.
I've got no road riding experience, so I need to get onto a training programme ASAP. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I'm 32 years old, fairly fit, and do a bit of mountain biking at Afan Argoed.
Looking forward to any replies,
Cheers.

Posts

  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Gradually* build your riding up so that you can comfortably manage a ride of 80% of your target distance or time over similar terrain by the month before your event. With other riders on the road during the event itself and the adrenaline flowing, the extra 20% shouldn't even be noticeable.

    Also I'd strongly recommend joining in on local club runs and learning how to ride in a group on the road. You will save yourself a lot of energy on the day if you can correctly draught behing other riders and you'll be safer and less likely to come a cropper too.

    * - normal recommendation is to increase weekly mileage by no more than 10% a week
  • Ken NightKen Night Posts: 2,005
    Hi,
    Just entered the Dragon Ride Wales, June '09.
    I've got no road riding experience, I'm 32 years old, fairly fit, and do a bit of mountain biking at Afan Argoed.
    Looking forward to any replies,
    Cheers.

    do lots of riding at afan, pushing hard as you climb to get to the start of all the rides

    change your knobblies on the day for slicks, fill your Camelback with some Isostar, wear a new pr of baggies and your helmet with the biggest visor you can find....... :wink:
    “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best..." Ernest Hemingway
  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,513
    Hi,
    Just entered the Dragon Ride Wales, June '09.
    I've got no road riding experience, so I need to get onto a training programme ASAP. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    I'm 32 years old, fairly fit, and do a bit of mountain biking at Afan Argoed.
    Looking forward to any replies,
    Cheers.

    You may already be doing this, but if you can get to the stage where you can finish W2 or Skyline with your legs still in reasonable shape, then you should be in with a good shout at the Dragon. If you can translate that into some good-paced 4+ hr road rides around the same area, then so much the better..
  • Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated. I rode Penhydd followed by The Wall today, didn't feel too bad, but started to cramp up a little on the last bit of climbing. I rode Skyline last month and found that very hard, but managed to finish it in around 5.5 hours - it didn't help that I missed the Skyline turning at the top of Whites, and only realised I'd gone the wrong way 'till I was at the start of the Energy section!

    I've got a Trek Pilot 1.2 gathering dust in the garage that I bought on a whim 3 years ago, time to have a bash this weekend I think, I live just off the dragon course in Llantrisant, so I think I'll tacklethe Bwlch climb and see how it goes.

    Cheers.
  • chill123chill123 Posts: 210
    for now just get out and ride. do not push it too much just get some time in the saddle. nearer the time you can start doing specific workouts to improve certain aspects of your ridng (avg speed, climbing, endurance etc).

    depending on your goals you may want to get a more specific training plan to follow.
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    One aspect of the Dragon is how many riders there are. So as per Bronzies advices above good to practice riding in groups as this will make the event both more enjoyable (and easier). Easiest way is to take part in some club runs.

    Since going up means coming down, if really got no road riding experience then worth practicing a few descents. Mtbing should help but techniques a bit different. (While I think about it there was one especially tricky bend last year. prompted some discussion here:
    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=12548772&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=dragon&start=225

    Otherwise, given your mtb experience /fitness, think you will be fine.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • DaSyDaSy Posts: 599
    From where you are you have lots of options to get to all the main climbs on the Dragon, I'd just look to try riding Bwlch and Rhigos from either (or all in the case of the Bwlch)direction. That'll give you an idea of how you fare on the main climbs.

    I ride from Skewen quite often, and tend to do a shortened Dragon ride of around 80 miles taking in Cimla, Rhigos and Bwlch or Maerdy Mountain.

    It's a great area to ride a road bike.
    Complicating matters since 1965
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    I'm a local lad as well. You've got no excuse living in Llantrisant, put the mtb away, get the roadbike out and go climb those hills.

    A nice ride for you would be go down to Bridgend, across to Neath (a48) up the Neath valley, climb the Rhigos, drop into Rhondda then climb Bwlch. Go down the Nantymoel valley then take one of many routes back to Llan. I say nice because that's what I'll be doing tomorrow. :wink:

    I can point you in the direction of a few good clubs in the area if your interested in 'getting the miles in' on a Sunday. You may also get some good advice.
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Oh and can I ask, why do you bother ridding around the trail centres when you're surrounded by forest and mountains?

    I should add I've never been to a trail centre, but I don't see the fascination when you're kind of living right next to them. :?:
  • I enjoy riding trail centres because in just 2 hours you can experience a wide variety of technical riding, such as bermed corners, drop off's, rock gardens and jumps. A route such as Whites in Afan is nearly all singletrack, which is more interesting to ride than grinding up a forestry fireroad, plus its really well drained, and so can be ridden even in the foulest of Welsh wet winters. The other benefit of riding at Afan is of course the Drop Off Cafe, amazing food, proper coffee, and great service too!

    I do ride some of the natural terrain around here, Llantrisant forestry has some mountain bike trails, but its a bit too downhill oriented for my tastes. Llantrisant is a great place to start an offroad epic though, as from here you can link up with Gilfach and Ogmore forestry, go up to the Bwlch, and then join up with Afan forestry. Offroad riding around here is very demanding though, 'Rhondda miles are hard miles' is a quote I often here on the forums of mtb-wales.com, and after riding offroad to the Bwlch I'm inclined to agree - great traiing for the Dragon though!

    As regards to local club rides, are there any offering slower runs, of rides for novices? I doubt I've developed the speed to keep up with a club run, maybe I should consider it after a couple of months of 'base' training?
  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,513
    chrisw12 wrote:
    Oh and can I ask, why do you bother ridding around the trail centres when you're surrounded by forest and mountains?

    The Afan centre is in those exact same forests and mountains. It wouldn't be much of a trail centre if it wasn't. And the trails there are all 100% rideable, all weather and mostly free of cow and sheep censored . There's some who say that 'real mountain bikers don't ride trail centres', but most of them disappeared up their own ar5es long ago.. ;)
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Thanks for your perspective Mitch'

    I didn't realise that the trail centres had so much variety.

    I live in the Rhondda and agree with your quote. A nice ride is to start at Porth train station and climb up the valley on the Rhondda Fach trail, cross the Rhigos then ride the to the top of the the skyline trail (Highest point in S. Wales Valleys apparently.) I think it took me nearly 2hrs of pretty much continuous climbing (I don't think Ventoux would take that long :wink: )

    As for clubs, Acme wheelers (Rhondda) only do a slow club run and I'd imagine that novices would be more than welcome, trust me you would keep up.

    I think they leave Penygraig around about 10 (on a Sunday) and always head towards Llan. on the bypass. Hang around the area and you might see them and sort something out. They're a very welcoming bunch.
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