Seven thoughts every rider has when taking on Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales

These are the things that you'll probably be thinking about when you're riding the Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales by Le Tour de France. In association with Human Race Events

Dragon Ride. Photo: Jesse Wild
(Image credit: Jesse Wild/Cycling Weekly)

Every year over 5,000 riders take on the epic challenge of Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales by Le Tour de France. The spectacular sold out routes that offer challenges from 100km up to 305km have become the stuff of legend in the cycling community.

Ahead of the annual rush to secure an entry (which started on Tuesday September 27) we have summarised seven typical thoughts that every rider has when taking on Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales by Le Tour de France.

“I’ve not done enough training”


Despite the best made plans, inevitably life happens, and you never get out for the amount of training rides you wanted to in the weeks leading up to the big day.

Then on event day as you arrive in the village, and head to the start line, it dawns on you just how monstrous the challenge you are about to embark on is.

Suddenly your weekly 80km weekend rides seem insufficient for the 230km Gran Fondo you so confidently clicked on months ago.

Don’t worry though, everything will be fine, and crossing the finish line is that much sweeter after the earlier panic attack.

“Who knew Britain had riding quite like this?”


We’ve all seen the pictures on the website, and heard our mates go on about how stunning it is, but nothing quite prepares you for the real thing.

There are some simply breath-taking moments of beauty, maybe most notably at the top of Rhigos (which is unhelpful as you’re already out of breath), where the scenery is so spectacular you just want to sit down for an hour and have a pint looking at it.

However with another gazillion miles to go it’s best to keep cycling - plus that would really mess up your Strava time.

“These climbs are tougher than they looked”


You’ve checked out the elevation profile, and done some decent climbs in preparation, but the relentlessness of the Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales route should not be underestimated.

By the time you are halfway up the 5km Devil’s Staircase climb, which features a gradient of 20%, you are pretty sure there must have been a printing error.

To find out more, and to book your place, click here.

“I feel like a pro”


Once you hit the Devil’s Elbow climb you will see the familiar polka dot branding on flags, signifying the start of Le Tour de France timed King (& Queen) of the Mountains section.

The roads are closed allowing you to spread out a little, and suddenly you get the rush. With no traffic, and the alpine like views around you, it’s easy to imagine you are Geraint Thomas or Nairo Quintana on a crucial stage of Le Tour. Well, until some show-off breezes past you anyway.

“I’m too cool for a medal, but I still really want one”


I’m a fully grown adult, I should have got over being rewarded with a medal years ago. However it does look quite awesome shaped like a yellow jersey, and I’ve just completed an incredible challenge, so why not.

Actually while I’m at it I’m going to go and stand on that Le Tour de France podium and pretend I’m Chris Froome. In for a penny…

“I’m never going to stop being hungry”


You work off many thousands of calories during the ride, so despite eating your weight in salted potatoes at the feed station (surprisingly delicious) and the pasta at the finish, it’s going to take a while to replace all that spent energy.

Reports of multiple service station stops for food on the way home are not uncommon, but anybody who slays the dragon deserves it.

“Where can I sign up for next year?”


As you get into bed after the event you can barely move your legs, you’ve got some mild sunburn, and you don’t really want to sit on a bike in the foreseeable future.

You know though that in 12 months’ time you will be ready to experience it all again, and contrary to how you felt 100 miles in, you might even try a longer distance. It’s all worth it.

To find out more, and to book your place, click here.

Entries into the 2017 Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales by Le Tour de France opened on Tuesday September 27 at 9am, so sign-up before it's too late!

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