Ben Hardisty writes…
Despite the distinct possibility of heavy rain at the 2010 Dragon Ride, the weather kindly relented and the sun broke through to bathe the event in sunshine for most of the day. Former Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt and team riders added some professional glamour as did former World Keirin champ Jamie Staff who turned up with his Academy. Also there was ex pro Maurice Burton and his De Ver cycles squad.
And of course there were also a couple of thousand amateurs riding the three course lengths of 190km, 130km and the new 40km corto route.
The longer Gran Fondo route is a 190km loop over the challenging but beautiful hills and valleys of South Wales. With around 3000m of climbing, the route takes in the classic Milk Race/Tour of Britain climbs of the Bwlch, Rhigos and Brecon Beacons mountain roads.
The event takes place 3/4 weeks before the Tour of France Etape participation ride and due to the long but gentle gradients of the climbs the Dragon Ride offers compatible climbs, ideal as training for the Etape.
This really is a cracking ride which was made more evident by the fine weather, affording fabulous views from the various mountain tops, across the Brecon Beacons National Park, fast descents on lovely straight roads or wide sweeping bends, with the climbs generally being long but benign in nature.
A very well organised ride, I can thoroughly recommend.
The winner Ben Simmonds from Team Wiggle completed the course in an excellent 5:40 with the last few competitors finishing in around the 10 hour mark.
Finally a mention must be given to fifteen year old Germain Burton (son of ex pro rider Maurice) from De Ver cycles for coming home in 5:45 (4th place), a remarkable time from someone at such a young age. Watch this space !