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Event Review

REVIEW: Wiggle Dragon Tour & Dragon Ride 2015

by Sean Lacey

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REVIEW: Wiggle Dragon Tour & Dragon Ride 2015

Date: 5 & 6 June (Day 1 & 2 Tour), 7 June (Dragon Ride, Day 3 Tour) 
Distances: 61 miles (Day one), 58 miles (Day two), 95 miles (Day three Medio), 140 miles (Day three Gran Fondo) and 186 miles (Day three Devil) 
Entry fee: £52.50, £57.50, £87.50 or £199 for the Tour (including choice of distance on Sunday) 
Participants: 4500 
Start: Liberty Stadium (Day one and two), Margam Park, Port Talbot (Day three). Parking freely available in the park area. Large event village with trade stands, food and drink, massage etc. 
Feedstops: 1 on day one and two, 3 on the Medio, 4 on the Gran Fondo, 5 on the Devil 
Catering: Hot/cold drinks and food available before and after the ride (free pasta meal at the end) 
Timed: Helmet timing chip - sent out in advance with rider numbers, map and ride manual   
Signs: A clearly way-marked route with visible signage (black arrows on coloured background) 
Roads: Great routes on quiet roads for the most part, a few short sections on main roads with plenty of climbing. NEG riders, medical, mechanical and broom wagon on route to provide assistance if needed and photographers from SportCam out around the route  
Goody bag: Dragon medal, product samples, Bikes Etc. magazine 
Review pictures: SportCam, Sean Lacey 

DR1

The Dragon Ride is well established now as one of the countries favourite large scale rides, and this year a new three day option, the Dragon Tour was introduced. I'm a big fan of multi-day events and with another LEJOG on the horizon, they make perfect training events too. 

As always the focus for the three days is south Wales - the Dragon Ride itself was starting from Margam Park near Port Talbot as usual, but for the two days prior we would be based at the home of Swansea City FC and the Ospreys Rugby team, the Liberty Stadium. I elected to stay in Swansea itself for the duration, as the stadium is only a couple of miles out of the centre and a short drive to Margam Park. 

DR2

Day One - Gower Peninsula 

With the start time being 9:30am I could even afford something of a lie-in. The journey to the stadium was nice and easy and we were directed round to our own huge car park for the day, next to the start area. As all of the essential ride information had been sent in the post there wasn't any messing about. With around 150 of us taking on the three days the onus was on us all looking out for each other, forming groups where we could and making more of a social vibe out on the road. With this in mind we were let out in four groups with a few minutes in between for the initial run out of town. 

Heading away from Swansea through the beautiful coastal area of the Mumbles, the road rose and fell gently along the lanes with the smell of wild garlic in the air. Heading east along the coast it started to get a little lumpier, but nothing too taxing, with great views all around as we headed for the stop. 

DR3

The feed was at one of the finest beaches in Europe, with stunning views at Rhossili - apparently. The weather had been stunning to start with in Swansea, but gradually clouded over and as we reached the feed, and the sea mist and light rain rolled in right behind us, obscuring anything of interest.  We were however consoled with the usual fare and Zipvit bars and gels, with the added bonus of a voucher to use in the café towards a free hot drink and food item. I got to chatting to some other riders around, it seemed the friendly big group thing was working well - far more sociable than your average sportive where I guess most people have a 'get it done as fast as I can' mind-set. 

I set off with new friends Rachel and Nigel into the rain and mist, backtracking away from the tip of the coast and heading up to Llanmadoc and inland roads and scenery. The rest of the day was mostly rolling again with the odd stiffer climb, but we were all feeling pretty good for the last section of country lanes and the final pull into Swansea and the stadium. 

DR4

Once finished there was a catering truck if you wanted hot food and drinks, along with coconut water from sponsors Vita Coco and free massage. Feeling pretty good I didn't go for the massage today, reckoning it might be a good idea after tomorrow's ride though. 

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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 9 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 9 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 10 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 8 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 9 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 9 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 9 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 9 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 9 out of 10
Overall Rating 90.0%




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