Dragon ride Gran Fondo 5th June 2016

kingtubbykingtubby Posts: 45
Anybody else doing this?

Its looks like an almighty slog..any tips?

KT
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  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,947
    I'm doing the Gran Fondo, did it last year for the first time.

    My tips would be:
    - make sure you've done sufficient distance training and hill climbing. You'll need both. The climbs aren't that steep although the Devil's elbow will have you out of your saddle a bit, and the Black Mountains climb is really long and about 10% I think. Quite an effort with tired legs.
    - pace yourself, my times last year were 11:15 overall with 9:45 in the saddle
    - take advantage of the stops and refuel/rest a bit at each one.
    - enjoy the views, and hope the weather is OK!

    Which route are you doing KT? [EDIT: I assume Gran Fondo per the title!!]
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  • gethincerigethinceri Posts: 1,002
    Black Mountain, not Black Mountains.....they are in different places, many miles apart.
  • kingtubbykingtubby Posts: 45
    Yes, the Gran Fondo, think I have sufficient training in the legs..I am doing the Raid the week after, so long hilly rides will become a theme..Are the feed stations well stocked? not sure how much food to carry on the bike, will have two bottles and replenish
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,947
    Last year I left at 7:50, the pens were quite empty so I assume most people had already left. The feed stations were busy but well stocked, certainly there was plenty of food available. This time I'll just take a pack of jelly babies and a couple of energy bars as emergency rations. There was a queue to get water at one feed station I think the one past the devils elbow, so a couple of large bottles would be sensible so you only have to refill once.
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  • Dombo6Dombo6 Posts: 751
    I have done these every year since 2007 and assuming you have done some training, distance and hills, the following works for me:
    Don't start off too fast, find your own pace. There will be people tearing past you who will cane it round in 7 hours or less, let them go.
    I break the ride up into chunks, rewarding myself with a Clif Shot at mile 5, then a Torq gel every 10 miles thereafter, with Clif Shots in between.
    Keep drinking.
    On the long draggy climbs like Bwlch and Rhigos I'll twiddle a low gear.
    Enjoy the descents, a lot of them you can see far enough ahead to take a proper racing line, but beware of muppetry from other riders.
    Keep drinking.
    Jump onto groups wherever you can, and chat to your fellow riders - this year we have our names on the race bibs for some reason, either to ease social intercourse or help in an emergency.
    Remember we start and finish in the same place, so a 140 mile ride is essentially just a 70 mile ride with an easy 70 miles downhill.
    Unless you are aiming for a podium finish, enjoy the ride, beautiful scenery and great company.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 23,863
    Dombo6 wrote:
    I break the ride up into chunks, rewarding myself with a Clif Shot at mile 5, then a Torq gel every 10 miles thereafter, with Clif Shots in between.

    f'kin hell... you need to carry a musette for all that food
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,947
    I'll reward myself at each feed station with a load of Jaffa cakes!
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  • Dombo6Dombo6 Posts: 751
    drlodge wrote:
    I'll reward myself at each feed station with a load of Jaffa cakes!

    Don't forget the salted boiled spuds!
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,947
    Weather's looking near perfect, dry (except may be for some very early dampness) and up to around 19 degrees. Are you ready??
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  • kingtubbykingtubby Posts: 45
    Think so, just wrote down the packing list today...all the stuff to pack, plenty of food and enough clothes to cover all weather outcomes. As I drive back to London after it, I will try and set off at my start time and be on the road by 8am. Checking the bike out tonight and final spin tomorrow.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 7,248
    kingtubby wrote:
    Think so, just wrote down the packing list today...all the stuff to pack, plenty of food and enough clothes to cover all weather outcomes. As I drive back to London after it, I will try and set off at my start time and be on the road by 8am. Checking the bike out tonight and final spin tomorrow.

    If you are driving from London, the distance on the M4 from the A329(M) junction to Margam Park is the distance you'll be riding...

    Last time I did it I went up the first hill too hard and suffered a bit later on.
    and then the next thing you know
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,947
    Last time I did it I went up the first hill too hard and suffered a bit later on.

    I had the opposite experience, kind of. When I setoff, everyone else in the pack sped off and left me for dust. There I was cycling all on my own, but I soon picked up other riders on the first hill. Its all about pacing yourself, going at your own comfortable pace and eating/drinking regularly. Time is not important for me, just to enjoy the day and ensure I finish.
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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 23,863
    drlodge wrote:
    Are you ready??

    Yes, but I am not doing it... :(
  • Dombo6Dombo6 Posts: 751
    Good luck to everyone. Weather looks good for Sunday.
    And let's not drop our gel wrappers all over the Beacons and elsewhere please.
  • kingtubbykingtubby Posts: 45
    Dombo6 wrote:
    Good luck to everyone. Weather looks good for Sunday.
    And let's not drop our gel wrappers all over the Beacons and elsewhere please.

    Agree to that one...short sleeve weather too
  • Mad_MalxMad_Malx Posts: 3,852
    I was signed up for the Medio but was thinking this morning I should have signed up for the Grand.
    In the event I was knackered by the time the split came after the main Medio climbs and wouldn't have done the Grand easily.
    Really enjoyed the day and pretty well organised. Should have had some isotonic drinks on offer at first feed, but ohterwise good provisions. Riders all pretty sensible and didn't see any madman descenders.
    Using the a same section of road as a running event (in the oppposite direction) wasn't great idea and whoever authorizes these probably made a mistake. Caused a lot of traffic holdups round the reservoir, but drivers I saw were considerate.
  • jasgilljasgill Posts: 18
    Mad_Malx wrote:
    I was signed up for the Medio but was thinking this morning I should have signed up for the Grand.
    In the event I was knackered by the time the split came after the main Medio climbs and wouldn't have done the Grand easily.
    Really enjoyed the day and pretty well organised. Should have had some isotonic drinks on offer at first feed, but ohterwise good provisions. Riders all pretty sensible and didn't see any madman descenders.
    Using the a same section of road as a running event (in the oppposite direction) wasn't great idea and whoever authorizes these probably made a mistake. Caused a lot of traffic holdups round the reservoir, but drivers I saw were considerate.
    +1
    Really enjoyable event; just signed up for next year :D
  • kingtubbykingtubby Posts: 45
    Very enjoyable event, I suffered in the last 40km but got home in an ok 9:24, loved the climbs, but that last drag from Port Talbot to the park is a pain....Great organisation and the other cyclists are 'proper' riders in terms of behavior, friendliness etc....
  • Chastise1943Chastise1943 Posts: 773
    The Gran Fondo never disappoints. The section after the new third feed stop through undulating lanes with high hedgerows to the old the old third feed station by the cattle grid haunts me. As does Cimla Road. What a last kick in the goolies. After 140 miles, Port Talbot always looks bleakly beautiful. A shattering but oddly compelling experience.
  • specialmanspecialman Posts: 22
    Very interested in this next year... seems to be a proper event that people rate highly.

    Did the Rhigos (both sides) and Bwlch on the weekend while down at the in-laws, which peaked my interest for 2017 - amazing hills, even better on a bike... think I'll not be billy big balls though and I'll do the medio :)
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 7,248
    specialman wrote:
    Very interested in this next year... seems to be a proper event that people rate highly.

    Did the Rhigos (both sides) and Bwlch on the weekend while down at the in-laws, which peaked my interest for 2017 - amazing hills, even better on a bike... think I'll not be billy big balls though and I'll do the medio :)

    The Black mountain is pretty special - it's the extra hill on the Gran Fondo. The extra 50 miles makes it a different prospect though.
    and then the next thing you know
  • Mad_MalxMad_Malx Posts: 3,852
    Lots of people this year signed up for the Grand and dropped down at the split, which this year didn't come until about 65 miles. I found the medio quite challenging enough, and found the last 20 miles (which features in both) much more tiring than they appeared on the map.
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,947
    I've done the Gran Fondo this year and last, it is quite tough. A hit a low point this year about half way round due to being knackered, but then things picked up as I realised its just more of the same and while tiring, isn't impossible. You just need to keep going. I had trained well this year and did it 20mins quicker than last year despite stopping more often.

    The last 20 miles is certainly tough, a long climb that has no good reason to be there.

    Sign up for the Gran Fondo, make a day of it and enjoy the ride!
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  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 3,926
    edited December 2016
    I'm considering this for 2017 - the 230km ride. There is now a 305km option, but that looks like a stretch too far. My last challenge was the 2015 RideLondon.
    I didn't do any sort of challenge this year, and was less motivated to get out and ride (Though I did manage a local 130 km loop that Garmin tells me set my personal best for climbing). I think signing up now for a ride next summer may give me some motivation over the winter.
    I may need even more hills to practice on as my record is 1,400 metres over 130 kms. Need to double that and a large chunk more for the Grand Fondo (3,600 metres)

    Am I being realistic?
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,947
    Yes its realistic, but I wouldn't worry so much about the climbing, its more the duration and getting your body equipped to deal with 12 hours in the saddle. If you have appropriate gearing then the hills aren't so much of an issue (OK the Devils elbow is a bit steep) but cycling 140+ miles will be a test of endurance.

    I would suggest increasing your weekend ride distance and in the spring of next year you need to be doing 100+ mile rides most weekends. Leading upto this years Gran Fondo I did a long ride which totally knackered me, but my endurance went up quite a bit as a result.
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  • mrfpb wrote:
    I'm considering this for 2017 - the 230km ride. There is now a 305km option, but that looks like a stretch too far. My last challenge was the 2015 RideLondon.
    I didn't do any sort of challenge this year, and was less motivated to get out and ride (Though I did manage a local 130 mile loop that Garmin tells me set my personal best for climbing). I think signing up now for a ride next summer may give me some motivation over the winter.
    I may need even more hills to practice on as my record is 1,400 metres over 130 kms. Need to double that and a large chunk more for the Grand Fondo (3,600 metres)

    Am I being realistic?

    Compared to the Ride London is a completely different ball game, but there is no reason you shouldn't have a go at it. As you say, you need to double the effort. Realistically, you will be on the road twice as long as the Ride London (where many finish around 5 hours, here we are talking 10-12 hours).

    I find in long rides the most important thing is to build the right attitude... it's a long day, things won't necessarily go the way you want, just make sure you wear sensible clothes and carry enough food and water
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 3,926
    To be honest, it's likely to be a shorter day out than RideLondon, as that was a ridiculous faff getting to and from the start line - I left home 4:00am, got home 8:00pm ish. I have family in Cardiff and Port Talbot, so will likely be staying very near the start line. That's if I go for it.

    Any takers for the 305km route?
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,947
    The Gran Fondo is hard enough, I would do that first before considering the Dragon Devil route.
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  • mrfpb wrote:

    Any takers for the 305km route?

    That might be one step too far... 300 hilly Km is serious, you are looking at 15-16 hours on the bike... you still have to see if you can do 8, the other 8 will be much harder than the first 8
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 3,926
    mrfpb wrote:

    Any takers for the 305km route?

    That might be one step too far... 300 hilly Km is serious, you are looking at 15-16 hours on the bike... you still have to see if you can do 8, the other 8 will be much harder than the first 8

    I'm not considering it myself, just asking if any one here is up for it.
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