Dragon Ride 2010

The UK’s favourite sportive apparently.  Last year I had a good run in this event which meant that I felt a bit more pressure going into this one which is only faintly ridiculous.  A top 10 was the target with about 1,800 starters.

In total 117 miles which is probably a bit too long and has a tendency to drag on a bit if you know what I mean.  Reasonably hilly but I still maintain it doesn’t make the best of the Brecon Beacons.  There’s a much better ride of this length on offer given the terrain.  It has a reputation as a hilly ride but I only recorded 2,500 meters which is hardly a great deal spread across a ride of this length.

The weather forecast wasn’t that great but actually it turned out rather well.  A decent Bigfoot contingent turned up at the start and we set off.  DavidM, PaulS, AndyC and I set a good early pace.  DavidM deciding that the pace on the first climb was a bit much and dropped off.  I settled for shouting “Colvin you cock, my heart rate’s already at 180”.  I had my first sign of things to come when my chain came off when shifting to the small ring on the front.  Fortunately I managed to wrestle it back on with the shifter.


I was feeling a bit dodgy.  I thought I’d try out a new nutritional strategy – never to be repeated – with a breakfast consisting of white rice, eggs and lightly smoked salmon.  It felt like it was trapped in my chest and every few minutes I’d burp foul salmon.  Gross.

Parlee Woes

On the next climb my chain came off again.  This time it didn’t shift back on so I was off the bike.  Being my usual cackhanded self meant it took a while to get the chain back on and I was in the business of chasing back on; just what I fancied doing up a steep hill with Colvin setting the pace.

This happened twice more on the next hills; each time I needed to get off the bike.  To say I was a little fucked off would be an understatement.  This problem was then compounded when I couldn’t find a gear on the back of the bike that would stick.  I managed to sort of correct this using the barrel adjuster but this meant I lost my bottom gear for the rest of the ride.

Bit of Progress

Attempting to chase back on for the third time I puked up some revolting salmon in my mouth.

I was considering packing at this point.  This was my fourth ride (out of 4) on the Parlee that had been compromised by mechanical gremlins; loose handlebars, dodgy chain and now front and rear mech problems.


I managed to catch up with PaulS in the end and I decided that I would carry on the ride; I was tempted to ditch out and do the shorter ride and head home early.

We were in a good little group with a terrific rider in Giant kit and a wicked looking new Giant bike.  We all worked well together (within reason!) and made it to the middle feed station.

Despite still feeling ropey I was cycling OK.  On a long 6% drag I put about 200 metres into the group, not intentionally as such, but just setting a good steady pace.  I considered riding off but thought better of it.

Serious Incident

Soon after we were faced with a Range Rover driving on the wrong side of the road heading directly for us.  “He will turn,  he will turn, he will turn”.  Jesus fucking Christ.  He didn’t.  I was second wheel, PaulS third.  The chap at the front of the group braked and headed for the gutter, I followed suit.  PaulS braked but to avoid an overlap of wheels pulled out a fraction to be whacked on the shoulder by the wing mirror of the Range Rover.  We were in a state of disbelief.

PaulS managed to stay on the bike somehow and pulled over.  His shoulder in a right mess.  The idiot stopped about 100m down the road and made several contradictory statements about why he nearly killed us.  I can only guess at what happened.  He must have seen us.  I think he was trying to shake us up a little and misjudged it.  That’s about as innocent an explanation I can find.  Either way it was fucking ridiculous.

PaulS was amazing actually.  How he managed to handle the situation so calmly and stoically I’ll never know.  This even extended to some well-judged comedy pointing at that it could have been so much worse; the Parlee could have been damaged! A first aider, then an ambulance and the police turned up.  PaulS ended up going to hospital to be checked out and fortunately (and incredibly) nothing was broken.

Better finish the ride…

With little motivation I decided to carry on – I had no choice anyway.  All hopes of a top 10 were gone but in fairness the mechanicals had probably done for me anyhow.  I slowly got back into the ride and actually finished quite strongly.  Working with the chap from Giant was fine until another climb came along and my chain came off again. I had to manage a bit of cramp but nothing too serious.  I motored up the Bwlych and then bombed back into Pencoed.


The teething problems aside the Parlee with the Zipps was simply awesome on the run-in to the finish.


Shitty, frustrating day in summary.  I managed 6hr08 but taking off my stationary time and adjusting for mechanicals I would have scraped a top 10, or 11.  On a better day without misfortune I probably could have made another place or two.  My time was also 10 minutes quicker than last year but minor consolation frankly.

AndyC did really well placing 7th which is awesome.  DaveM rolled in at 6hr17 – a good hard ride.

The route was well-signed and the support and marshalling seemed pretty decent.  The food stations always draw criticism but I thought there were OK this year.  The timing chip in the number was genius.

Pictures to follow perhaps.  Though pictures of me covered in oil don’t really appeal!

No Comments on “Dragon Ride 2010”

  1. 1 Hugh G said at 9:09 pm on June 7th, 2010:

    Paul, great read as ever. Are you considering revising your opinion of the ace Bespoke mechanic expressed in your previous post? Also, your wild breakfast choice seems peculiar in the extreme – did it come to you in a dream?

  2. 2 paulnixon said at 9:19 pm on June 7th, 2010:


    Well… he is actually a great mechanic. Of that I’m sure. I think perhaps I’ve had a little bad luck. New cables stretch and all that. Also I’ve not taken the bike in for a ‘two week check-up’.

    There is some logic behind the breakfast choice. White rice obviously for the carbs. I thought I’d balance with a bit of good, ‘natural’ protein. I might just have eaten too much. Maybe it was just a bad idea. Back to porridge perhaps :-) .


  3. 3 Mark said at 9:24 pm on June 7th, 2010:

    Great write up. I remember seeing you at the start (my Parlee is currently in build). Very unfortunate on the gremlins but I’m sure they will be sorted, fantastic time though. There were indeed a few ‘moments’ on the ride – cars stopping for no reason, etc. But a good day although I seemed to attract every red light going.

  4. 4 Reuben said at 9:24 pm on June 7th, 2010:

    Agreed, good read.

    Shame about the shifting problems though – as long as its not a fundamental problem with the SRAM system (very much doubt it!) then at least it won’t/shouldn’t persist…

    RE the breakfast: I had the same thing with curry once. Nasty. One meal I’ve found pretty decent before a big ride;

    Fry up an onion (or some other veg) (optional)
    Take cooked rice (for me, normally from the night before) and put it in the pan, fry the whole lot until it looks cooked.
    Whisk up a couple of eggs, pour them over the whole lot. These only take a minute or two to cook so make sure you’ve sorted the rest out beforehand!

    Quick, tasty, with as much carbs as you want and plenty of protein (8g per 100g of rice + the eggs). No nasty aftertaste burps either.

    Fancy a hilly ride this weekend?


  5. 5 paulnixon said at 9:31 pm on June 7th, 2010:


    Thanks – I forgot to mention the red lights that held me up when trying to chase back on. Rare for me to miss out on an opportunity to moan and to excuse my performance :-) .

    The Parlee is an awesome bike. As I said, the run back into Pencoed was simply awesome.

    I actually felt a bit guilty on Sunday as I felt my riding wasn’t doing the bike justice. Especially as I got quite a few compliments on the bike.


    Thanks mate. Congratulations again on your race over the weekend. Well done. This weekend PaulC and I are off to do the so-called Magnificat. Another weekend, another sportive!

    Thanks for the recipe too. I think the rice and eggs might be a winner – maybe the salmon was a creative flourish too far :-) .

  6. 6 Reuben said at 9:46 pm on June 7th, 2010:

    You’re off to do a song of praise from the Bible?

    Not to worry. And thanks. Hopefully a sign of things to come.

  7. 7 DaveC said at 9:51 pm on June 7th, 2010:

    Both my road bikes have Deda Dogfang’s fitted, the chain never comes off the small ring.

  8. 8 GarryG said at 8:37 pm on June 8th, 2010:

    On my bikes I opted for the k-edge from Wiggles,it should do the trick.