Wiggle Dragon Ride

 

It was with a significant degree of excitement, tinged with just a little trepidation, that I accepted the challenge of entering this years 10th Wiggle Dragon Ride.  It is one of the UK’s most prestigious cycling events and it is known not only for its fantastic views of the Welsh countryside, but also its long and demanding climbs. 

 

Wiggle Dragon Ride takes in awesome scenery

 

And therein lays the attraction of this event, because whilst it is undoubtedly a serious challenge, it is organised in such a way that makes it accessible to riders from a vast range of abilities. I’m a great example – I ride about 40 miles a week, I’m an over 50 female and I normally only endure serious hills by accident, usually due to a lack of adequate navigating skills!

 

I loved that I had a real choice of distances.  I could have played it safe and opted for the rather tempting 38 km Cycletta route that was introduced only this year.  However, with enthusiastic friends already signed up and a romantic vision of my turbocharged legs powering through green country lanes, I opted for the 128 km / 1875m Medio Fondo. 

 

The Medio Fondo followed a figure of eight route, initially heading north and following the picturesque Neath Valley, before turning east to take in the Rhigos and Bwlch as its major climbs.  The ultimate challenge would have been the Gran Fondo route which covers 210 km, climbs 3,350m and takes riders north into the Black Mountains from the Neath Valley.  Perhaps next time…

 

Wiggle Dragon Ride Route Medio Fondo 

 

Arriving at Margam Park on Sunday 9th June, the weather was perfect; sunny blue skies and a cooling breeze to help us up those winding hills.  The events village was a mass of cyclists being patiently corralled by the Marshals into their starting pens and with an amazing 4,000+ riders to start, the organisers and helpers did a truly fantastic job. 

 

Throughout the ride, the atmosphere like the weather, was bright and cheerful, with friendly words of encouragement from passing cyclists helping me up the tiring ascents and on reaching the top I was greeted by sunbathing locals who were cheering everyone on from their hilltop deckchairs. 

 

An added, and most unexpected bonus to the day, was the encouragement from motorists, who, enlightened by the warning signs placed by the organisers along the route, patiently manoeuvred round cyclists leaving plenty of space. 

 

Wiggle Dragon Ride climb 

 

In order to successfully complete the ride, my plan was to ‘ride not race’, pacing myself in order to get round and give myself the time to take in the breath-taking scenery across the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains.  The climbs were testing and you have to concentrate in an open road environment with large groups of riders taking part, but all that added to the challenge and enjoyment of taking part. 

 

For me, completing the event proved to be a real achievement, which was enriched by the staggering views, exciting descents, unique Welsh villages and heritage, plus the wonderful camaraderie of my fellow cyclists – there was an almost overwhelming sense of achievement at the finish. 

 

I have hung my Wiggle Dragon Ride medal in pride of place amongst all my other hard earned charity and sporting medals.  All in all it was a superbly organised event and a fantastic day of cycling – definitely a ‘must do event’ for anyone who enjoys cycling. 

 

I would like to thank and congratulate everyone who was involved in the organisation of the Wiggle Dragon Ride, they did a marvellous job and I hope to be back for more next year.

 

Margam Park plays host to Wiggle Dragon Ride

 

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