Sarah’s took part in The Dragon Ride last weekend to raise money for Hospiscare. Here’s how she got on!
“When anyone asks me what it was like doing the L’Etape Wales aka The Dragon Ride the only word that seems to sum it up is ‘epic!’
“We cycled 140 miles and climbed 12,300ft, in one day, in Wales around the Brecon Beacons. By most people’s standards that’s a pretty big ride. There were 1250 riders on the day who all looked pretty serious, only 50 of which were women.
“A bit like childbirth, I’m sitting here 5 days later with rose tinted glasses remembering the good weather, glorious views across Wales, incredible alpine climbs, fast descents, the fun of cycling amongst such a big group, the elation of climbing up the toughest ascent on the course, Devil’s Elbow, and the utter joy at crossing the line – but the reality was it was really bloody hard.
“The climbs were long and unrelenting and just kept coming – and whilst that kind of suffering is kind of ‘my bag’ I spent a large part of the ride vowing to never do such a huge ride again. I love long rides and I’ve done many ‘century rides’ but that amount of climbing and that distance combined was pretty insane. 10.45 hours in the saddle is exhausting and uncomfortable. You go through dark times mentally and physically. There are bits of you that you kind of expect to hurt and then surprises like ‘hot foot.’ I didn’t even know that was a thing until Sunday. Apparently the result of long hilly rides, the sensation is exactly as is sounds although personally I’d say it should be called ‘excruciatingly painful firey foot’.You feel like your feet are on fire and it’s very painful, the result of your metatarsal bones being aggravated by the ride.
“Finishing the ride was emotional, you never know with cycling whether you’ll finish something you start. There are accidents and there are mechanical failures, so you never really take anything for granted. We witnessed a few accidents en route and a few cyclists ended up in hospital that day.
“Crossing the line was the best feeling ever, I felt quite choked. We’d done it. After 6 months of preparation and lots of sleepless nights worrying about it, it was done. Woo!
“So the good news is that we’ve raised almost £1,000 as a result of my efforts so far. There were times on the ride where it really helped to think about Hospiscare and the work they do and the people they help. It really motivated me to keep going. I’d said to a friend pre-event how anxious I was about the hill climbing and that person had said ‘I bet many of those people in the hospice would do anything to be cycling next to you that day’ and it put it all in perspective.
“Next stop The Devon Classic in 3 weeks time. Another really hilly ride but this time locally. I’ve bounced back pretty quickly this week and I’ve been amazed how good I’ve felt physically. I guess I’d better start preparing for the next epic?! You can sponsor me here.