A beginner and the dragon ride

#david2012
#david2012 Posts: 275
edited June 2013 in Road beginners
Only been riding properly since last October time, and got persuaded to enter the dragon ride (medio fondo) so not the big one :shock:
With the winter not being great for weather etc I've managed a 100k ride and lots of 40+ rides but am slightly concerned with only 3 weeks to go I'm not strong enough. I've planned approx 10 more days of riding building up extra 10 miles each week, without over doing it.
Last 3 days have been 36,16,20 miles taking on a mix of routes and feel each one could have been longer, anyone got any advice or ideas of how to train for the next 20 odd days or have I left it all a bit too late :?
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Comments

  • Calpol
    Calpol Posts: 1,039
    edited May 2013
    In my opinion you have left it too late to do it with comfort. I am sure you will get round but I suspect it will be a slog. Others may disagree but what I am learning about this sport is that the only thing that prepares you for riding 80 miles is riding 80 miles. Your base fitness might be decent but 5-6 hours on a bike is a different proposition. Add to the fact that it will be challenging terrain which may prevent you gaining a good rhythm. the weather can also seriously affect your efficiency on the bike so if you are only riding in still, dry conditions then you could be in for a shock. The wind (less so the rain) can be energy sapping.

    I would try and get a few longer rides in interspersed with good quality rest. I wouldn't obsess to much about mileage (although I know most of us do) but try and get used to being in the saddle and pedalling for 3-4 hours. Easier said than done if you work and only have weekends, I know.

    Plan your nutrition regime well and make sure you keep well fed and watered on the day. Try and enjoy it and if possible ride with a few others to help you get round. Good luck
  • jezzpalmer
    jezzpalmer Posts: 389
    You'll be fine, but if you haven't already practice your climbing, there's a lot of climbing. But not so steep it's impossible, but will help if you can practice sitting and churning for 20-30 mins at a time.

    There's a couple of short leg/lung burners, the climb out of Maesteg to bryn is a bit nasty, and the Efail Fach section stings.
    The rest of the climbs are not so steep, but they go on for a while. There are three climbs that are around 2 miles each before the gorgeous Rhigos and Bwlch climbs; these are 3.5 and 4 miles respectively and average ~5%
    Having done them a fair few times, it's hard to believe they are only 5% average.

    It really is great route though.
  • #david2012
    #david2012 Posts: 275
    Thank you both for your replies! Good advice and pretty much what I was dredding lol .. But I hope I can finish on the day! I did tick the 6hours+ box when I entered, I'm hoping to hook up with some groups along the way to share the pain, as I'm not the best at climbing but hoping to get into a rhythm, jezz when u say 5% is that the majority of the climb? And is it acceptable to stop every now and then? :)
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    Calpol- Your logic is fallacious at best. How are you supposed to prepare to ride a distance by riding the distance? Cycling is not like running where you have to gradually up your mileage. You can easily increase your mileage by 50% and even 100-200% isn't as big an issue as people think.

    @OP- Jezz is correct in his description of the climbs. Bwlch and Rhigos are quite easy back-to-back. The trick with those types of climbs is to find a rhythm and keep it.
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  • jezzpalmer
    jezzpalmer Posts: 389
    5% is the average for both of them according to strava. Rhigos has a couple of flats, meaning that some bits are steeper, the Bwlch is more constant.
    You'll be having so much fun you'll not want to stop. :)
  • #david2012
    #david2012 Posts: 275
    Grill wrote:
    Bwlch and Rhigos are quite easy back-to-back. The trick with those types of climbs is to find a rhythm and keep it.

    I will keep reminding myself of your quote Grill :D
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    I'll push you up for a small fee ;)
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  • Calpol
    Calpol Posts: 1,039
    Grill wrote:
    Calpol- Your logic is fallacious at best. How are you supposed to prepare to ride a distance by riding the distance? Cycling is not like running where you have to gradually up your mileage. You can easily increase your mileage by 50% and even 100-200% isn't as big an issue as people think.
    If you read what I said carefully then you will see that I prefaced it by saying "others may disagree" and "what I am learning". I am not saying my contribution is expert or logic for that matter but it is my experience. You will also note I wrote about time on the bike and not mileage. I gave my opinion based on what I have learned therefore I don't think it warrants being flamed. Like all internet forum advice the OP is welcome to accept or disregard any replies as they see fit.
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    Can you explain to me how you prepare for 80 miles by riding 80 miles? Do you have some sort of training plan to accomplish the preperation ride? :P
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  • paul2718
    paul2718 Posts: 471
    I rode the long route last year, and looking at it now the bits that really hurt, you get to avoid....

    So pace yourself, eat something at the stops and see what happens. Finishing will feel good.

    Paul
  • gazhilla
    gazhilla Posts: 48
    As long as you have done 50-60% of the distance and some climbing in that you will do it on the day. Before Way of the Roses (170 mile) my longest this year was 85 and longest last year was 114. My advice, drink more than you think you need to and eat something every 1.5 to 2 hrs...
  • Flâneur
    Flâneur Posts: 3,081
    I reckon you will be fine, unless you are collapsing of fatigue after your current rides. Your body can go a lot further and harder than your mind says. For my first 100 ( well 98) I hadn't ridden for more than a few months and nothing bigger than 40, but my friend was making the route and I wasn't going to bail out. At the end it turned out fine and I could have done the extra 2 miles without worry.

    As someone said above get on the hills and learn/develop your pace so you don't have a detrimental effect on the later parts
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  • djm501
    djm501 Posts: 378
    #david2012 wrote:
    Grill wrote:
    Bwlch and Rhigos are quite easy back-to-back. The trick with those types of climbs is to find a rhythm and keep it.

    I will keep reminding myself of your quote Grill :D

    I've done Bwlch and Rhigos back to back loads of times and in both directions (Ogmore Vale - Hirwaun and Hirwaun- Ogmore Vale) - I currently weigh 17 stone and I find them quite easy - if a lardass like me can do them then so can you :D . They are not tough climbs, just long and gorgeous. The first time I did Bwlch was just after christmas last year after spending about 6 weeks training myself to conquer Caerphilly mountain just outside Cardiff. That half killed me but I did it eventually - after that I took on Bwlch thinking I had no chance - I sailed up it (still think Caerphill mt is much tougher). You will be fine.
  • andrewjoseph
    andrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    jezzpalmer wrote:

    There's a couple of short leg/lung burners, the climb out of Maesteg to bryn is a bit nasty,

    the start of most of my road or mtb climbs! 8) Cymmer hill is a bit tougher.

    I've only done the medio ride (several years ago from pencoed), but regularly ride the bwlch and rhigos.

    Cimla hill can be hard, not sure if this years route goes up it though.

    my wife will be doing the women only ride. I plan to ride my MTB around margam forest.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • jezzpalmer
    jezzpalmer Posts: 389
    jezzpalmer wrote:
    Cimla hill can be hard, not sure if this years route goes up it though.

    That's probably the bit I referred to as the Efail Fach section, from just after Pontrhydyfen up to the top of Cimla before it drops past the school? Yeah that's in this years, it can hurt a bit. :D
    http://app.strava.com/segments/3266291 there's no easy way up it, can't just sit there tapping a rhythm like with the bwlch etc. 4:10 is my best up there, the first time was 9:57 LOL.
  • TheSmithers
    TheSmithers Posts: 291
    Grill wrote:
    Can you explain to me how you prepare for 80 miles by riding 80 miles? Do you have some sort of training plan to accomplish the preperation ride? :P

    I understand his logic perfectly. The preparation ride is like a rehearsal, therefore it doesn't matter if the OP completes it, takes all day over it or decides to turn back after 50 miles. Whatever happens, he will learn and gain information from it. He can then either choose to take that knowledge to the Dragon Ride, or have another attempt at the preparation ride.
  • Zoomer37
    Zoomer37 Posts: 725
    Be carful descending down the Bwlch and Rhigos. Not because they are difficult to descend, its just the Dragon Ride so you'll see some amazing numpties putting themselves and others at risk on your way down.
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    Zoomer37 wrote:
    Be carful descending down the Bwlch and Rhigos. Not because they are difficult to descend, its just the Dragon Ride so you'll see some amazing numpties putting themselves and others at risk on your way down.

    Sound advice as it will be chopper heaven on the way down.

    @TheSmithers- It's a logical paradox. If you prepare for a distance by riding the distance then how do you prepare to prepare to ride the distance? To put it another way, if you were to run your first marathon would you prepare by running a marathon? Of course not. Not only is it an idiotic approach to training, but it would also make your first intended marathon your second. We can do this all day, but I'm not wrong.
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  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,479
    Calpol wrote:
    Grill wrote:
    Calpol- Your logic is fallacious at best. How are you supposed to prepare to ride a distance by riding the distance? Cycling is not like running where you have to gradually up your mileage. You can easily increase your mileage by 50% and even 100-200% isn't as big an issue as people think.
    If you read what I said carefully then you will see that I prefaced it by saying "others may disagree" and "what I am learning". I am not saying my contribution is expert or logic for that matter but it is my experience. You will also note I wrote about time on the bike and not mileage. I gave my opinion based on what I have learned therefore I don't think it warrants being flamed. Like all internet forum advice the OP is welcome to accept or disregard any replies as they see fit.

    If that's what you're learning I'd say you're learning wrong. I did 210 miles in a 12 hour last year having previously ridden a maximum of 110 miles. I managed it at an average speed I'd normally be pleased with on a 30 mile ride.

    The thing I would say with something like the Dragon Ride is you need to get used to climbing when knackered, I did a 100 mile sportive 6 weeks before the 12 hour and the final hill at 85 miles almost had me in tears!
  • #david2012
    #david2012 Posts: 275
    Thanks again everyone for your replies... In the short time I have left is there any advice with preparing for the climbs other than just go out and climb? Not to hilly where I live ... My longest ride was in feb and included 4000 ft of climbing. Worth getting a 12-30t rear cassette lol?
  • Calpol
    Calpol Posts: 1,039
    Grill wrote:
    Zoomer37 wrote:
    Be carful descending down the Bwlch and Rhigos. Not because they are difficult to descend, its just the Dragon Ride so you'll see some amazing numpties putting themselves and others at risk on your way down.

    Sound advice as it will be chopper heaven on the way down.

    @TheSmithers- It's a logical paradox. If you prepare for a distance by riding the distance then how do you prepare to prepare to ride the distance? To put it another way, if you were to run your first marathon would you prepare by running a marathon? Of course not. Not only is it an idiotic approach to training, but it would also make your first intended marathon your second. We can do this all day, but I'm not wrong.

    Personally I don't think training for a Marathon and a 80 mile bike ride are particularly analogous. Running places quite different demands on your body and whilst you are quite right that many beginner to marathon runner plans are a steady ramp to 80% of the distance I don't see that cycling need necessarily follow the same regime. I suppose it also depends on your objectives in entering a sportive. As a beginner in your first sportive then maybe you are focussed on completion however I bet there are many seasoned riders who are focused on a timed achievement and will be training up to and beyond the distance/elevation of the event.

    My point to the original post was that in order to complete such an event as the Dragon ride in comfort then his training to date of one 100km ride and several at 40km may not be the ideal preparation. It might be fine if he is a fit individual but for me I would be far more confident entering the event knowing I had coped with similar demands before. As I said, i am not professing to be an expert but merely sharing what I have experienced in the last 18 months as a more committed 40 something cyclist.

    If you can ride 200 miles having only covered 110 miles as a previous max then good for you. People like that are obviously pretty fit and comfortable on their bikes. I would gauge however there aren't too many people who began cycling in November that can replicate that degree of endurance. Anyway, all that matters is the OP enjoys the ride and gets round safely - not flaming people for contributing or calling them idiots for expressing an opinion.
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    You've (unsurprisingly) managed to miss the point. I did 230 miles on my first 12hr TT and I'd only been riding for 2 months with a longest ride of 88 miles. My third ever ride was a hilly 83 miler that included the Bwlch. Point is you don't have to prep for a distance by riding it.
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  • Calpol
    Calpol Posts: 1,039
    Grill wrote:
    You've (unsurprisingly) managed to miss the point. I did 230 miles on my first 12hr TT and I'd only been riding for 2 months with a longest ride of 88 miles. My third ever ride was a hilly 83 miler that included the Bwlch. Point is you don't have to prep for a distance by riding it.
    Good for you Grill. Your level is probably far more consistent with the posters and readers in Road beginners than mine. I bow to your superior knowledge and ability :)
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    Probably for the best.

    The point -> .
    Your head -> :)
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  • #david2012
    #david2012 Posts: 275
    I will let you know how I get on....
  • robbo2011
    robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    Just go at a steady pace (don't set off too fast) and don't let your heart rate go too high on the hills and you should be able to go on for a very long time.
  • andrewjoseph
    andrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    jezzpalmer wrote:
    jezzpalmer wrote:
    Cimla hill can be hard, not sure if this years route goes up it though.

    That's probably the bit I referred to as the Efail Fach section, from just after Pontrhydyfen up to the top of Cimla before it drops past the school? Yeah that's in this years, it can hurt a bit. :D
    http://app.strava.com/segments/3266291 there's no easy way up it, can't just sit there tapping a rhythm like with the bwlch etc. 4:10 is my best up there, the first time was 9:57 LOL.

    i didn't find those sections too bad when i did them recently, (fairly fresh from house). but i was referring to my first dragon ride, we came into neath from north, so riding up cimla hill to school with tired legs was hard, lots of people cramping on that section.
    --
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  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,479
    That hill in Cimla used to be towards the end of the old 5 Valleys Road Race (after Blackmill, the Bwlch from Price Town side and the Rhigos from Treherbert). In my experience it was the worst of the lot!!
  • #david2012
    #david2012 Posts: 275
    Just to say I made it round in 5hrs 58 and loved every minute of it :)
    Beautiful day, learned a lot about climbing mountains!
    Didn't stop on any of the hills apart from the feed stations, only upsetting part was the accident on the decent from the final climb,rescue helicopter / paramedics closed off the road for a good 20 mins taking injured guy away :(
    Fingers crossed he's ok
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    Congrats, glad you enjoyed it.

    The crash at the bottom of the Bwlch is a perfect example of why I don't do sportives though.
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