Wiggle Dragon Ride 2014

 

For the second year running riders in the Wiggle Dragon Ride, South Wales, were welcomed with glorious sunshine and fair conditions. Over four thousand participants donned their shorts and factor 50 in preparation for one of the most prestigious Sportives in the UK calendar. Distances available included Corto and Cecletta 43km, Medio Fondo 153 km , Gran Fondo 223 km and the new Dragon Devil 300km.

 

Dragon Riders: from left to right, Pam Wilson, Suzanne Thickens, Jane Davies, Clare Carpenter

 

For me the three figure distances were a bit daunting so I played it safe and entered the shorter Macmillan 43 km Cyclette ride.  Arriving at Margam Park I was in confident mood, eager to support the cancer charity Macmillan, while having a lovely day cycling in glorious countryside.

 

At the start the atmosphere was buzzing, participants tackling the longer distance rides were filing into the starting pens and being sent on their way with cheers and shouts of encouragement from friends and other participants.  When it was our turn Gareth Davies, the ex Welsh Rugby team captain and Macmillan ambassador, joined the women riders on the Cycletta.  While he pleaded novice status, Gareth roared into the distance leaving the rest of us to nervously wobble through the first few hundred metres before we found a clear path and the appropriate gear. 

 

As a regular cyclist I had set myself a challenge of completing the ride in one hour and 45 minutes and I really reliched the ride.  I particularly enjoyed the section that took us along the very inviting shoreline of Porthcawl.  On this hot summer day with swimmers and surfers enjoying the most welcome mini heat wave, my mind started to wander… the next thing I knew I heard a voice shouting “left, left, left!”.  Coming to my senses I turned round to see that I had missed a turn and if it wasn’t for the kind intervention of another rider (thank you!) I may have been finishing at 9pm with the 300km riders!  Happily, I corrected my error and was back on track heading for Margam Park and a finishing time of one hour and 37 minutes, which I was very pleased with.

 

wiggle dragon ride Pam Wilson with Gareth Thomas

 

Like many in the field, I was riding one my own and so I took the opportunity to chat to other riders asking about their reasons for entering and their experiences.  Many of the riders choosing the Cycletta route were partners, mothers, or wives of riders taking part in the longer distances and they took the opportunity to join in at a distance that they felt comfortable with.  All of the women I spoke to found the event hugely enjoyable and worthwhile, commenting on the stunning scenery and the excellent way the event was organised. 

 

At the end of the day I caught up with Gareth Thomas and teased him about the fact that I had overtaken him with ease, whilst intentionally ignoring the fact that he had a puncture at the time!  We both joked that maybe the road bike tyres are not up to the challenge of ‘Rugby Sized’ riders and for his event at the Wiggle Etape in North Wales he should deploy a more robust mountain bike!  It was lovely to see him there, he is a great ambassador for Macmillan I hope he does well at the Etape.

 

So it was another glorious year for the Wiggle Dragon Ride and I hope to do it all again next year.

 

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