Wiggle Dragon Ride organiser Lou Lusardi has already turned his thoughts to 2012, less than one week after this year’s sell-out event.
Just 280 riders took part in the inaugural Dragon Ride in 2004 – but 3,600 cyclists lined up on the start line on June 5 ready to tame the Welsh mountains.
A timing malfunction has meant some riders are yet to receive their result, but riders are being urged to continue to check the Dragon Ride website, with nearly all times expected to be available by next week.
The 2011 Gran Fondo route topped out at 200km, with the revised route through the Vale of Glamorgan putting some 50 miles of riding in the legs before heading into the mountains.
And, despite positive early feedback, Lusardi admits the route could change once again next year – but the infamous Bwlch and Rigos climbs are here to stay.
“Reaction to the route has been positive,” he added. “People enjoyed the beauty of the coastal roads, and the challenge of the mountains. We’ll go through a process of getting rider feedback in the coming months before deciding where to take the ride next year.
“We won’t necessarily use the same start venue, but the core elements that are the most popular will remain – the climbs of the Bwlch and Rigos are what keep people coming back to South Wales, and are what people love about the ride.”
With seven hundred more starters than the previous year, riders were set off in groups at two minute intervals, and despite the extra numbers, the last riders started just fifteen minutes later than last year.
But Lusadi insists there’s room for improvement and is already working on changes ahead of next year’s event, which will be part of the presitigious UCI Golden Bike Series.
“We’re aware of a few issues with riders not getting away as early as they would have liked, so we’re already looking into having different start times for next year’s ride,” said Lusardi.
“Our proposal is that the Gran Fondo riders begin at the earlier time of 7.30am and the Medio Fondo riders afterwards, which should make things smoother.
“We don’t allocate individual start times, and this has been popular with riders who want to start as a group of friends or club mates, but we will certainly look to get the Gran Fondo riders off first next year.”