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Defeat the Devil: Ride 500km in three days in the stunning Welsh countryside

16 Apr 2019

Your chance to experience stage riding on UK roads: sign up for the Dragon Tour now - In association with Human Race Events

The Dragon Devil is the toughest one-day event in the UK. It’s a massive challenge just to finish the longest distance available. Leg sapping climbs and a total distance of 300km, the Dragon Devil is a bucket list event that many riders will only ever do once but the achievement and memories will last a lifetime.

Although what if, maybe, you just need an even bigger challenge? Well, there’s always the full Vitus Dragon Tour…

This is a rare stage-riding opportunity on British roads that allows you to conquer three consecutive days of cycling in the stunning Welsh countryside. It’s like no other event on the UK sportive calendar. Days 1 and 2 cover around 112km and 100km respectively, back-to-to-back riding that will test even the best-trained riders on the slopes and through the lanes of South Wales. But then there’s the Day 3, the Vitus Dragon Ride itself.

The Dragon Ride offers four distances for single-day and Dragon Tour riders alike: Macmillan 100 – 100km, Medio Fondo – 153km, Gran Fondo – 223km and the big one, the Dragon Devil – 300km. Just 500 riders will be able to take on the three-day Vitus Dragon Tour, and of those 30% usually opt for the 300km Devil, taking them to over 500km for the three days.

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The chance to experience stage riding

Whatever we tell ourselves when we set a new best time on a Strava segment, the vast majority of us are far off the level of the professional peloton. As such, the opportunity that the Vitus Dragon Tour gives to ride a stage event is a way of getting a taste of the pro race experience. To finish a ride and have to rest and recover to do it all again and again for three days straight is something the conventional two-day weekend rarely affords anyone. Riding the Vitus Dragon Tour is one such chance.

With the professional assistance that can be expected at any of Human Race’s sportives, riders will take on the challenge knowing there will be the nutritional and mechanical assistance to hand if or when either is needed. What’s more, the fully signed route removes the need to worry about checking a map in an unknown location, and for anyone needing a short cut the route split signs may offer a get out of jail free card.

Such a huge ride, or even three days of riding, could be a grind but this isn’t effort without reward. The stunning scenery of the Brecon Beacons will take riders’ minds away from the building fatigue in their legs, allowing them instead to focus on the unspoilt beauty of this stunning National Park. Those taking on the ride will also marvel at how quiet the route is compared to the A roads and suburban streets many of us are forced to cycle down on a normal weekend just to get the miles in.

All this combines to ensure participants will come away with great memories of the event, having achieved something many may not have thought possible.

Click through the gallery to see all the route profiles

The Devil’s climbs

Along its 300km the Dragon Devil packs in 10 categorised climbs, most with gradients well into double figures. Although this event takes place on public open roads, for the two key climbs of the day the riders will have the slopes to themselves for timed, closed road ascents. Around the 90km mark, The Devil’s Elbow will catch out anyone who’s gone off too fast with an average gradient of 10.3% for its 1.83km length, and pitches over 17%. Much later in the ride, The Devil’s Staircase is 12.3km long and its average gradient of 12.5% and maximum of twice that will make riders feel every single one of the previous 180km they’ve already ridden.

Accumulated altitude

These huge ascents come, of course, on the third day of riding. But the first two rides aren’t free from challenges. A saw tooth profile with one huge lump in the middle on Day 2 follows the constant up and down of Day 1, which also counts several climbs of note.

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Welcoming Vitus to the Dragon

This year, bicycle brand Vitus will be the headline sponsor of the Vitus Dragon Ride. Vitus’s bikes are ‘rider designed and rider refined’ and as such should be a good match for such a big day in the saddle.