Thousands expected to tackle monster Welsh climbs on longer, harder new format route

With the less than 12 hours to the start of The Wiggle Dragon Ride the weather forecast for the South Wales area seems to be improving and there's even the chance that riders could get around without getting wet. Maybe.

In recent days Wales and the west of England have endured extremely wet and windy weather but as the start time nears press predictions of a wet and windy weekend for the Wales and the West Country seem to be receding slightly with the weather more likely to turn ugly on Monday than Sunday.

That said, there is still a fair chance of some rain at some point. Either way, the event organisers are taking no risks and have informed road.cc that a number of contingency plans are in place in case the forecasts prove over-optimistic.

The Dragon, which this year is the only UK sportive in the UCI Golden Bike World Series (we're guessing that means you'd better not forget your helmet), everyone who completes the ride will get a UCI Gold bike Medal. The Dragon Ride is also celebrating its first year based at Margam Park just outside Port Talbot. Team GB sprinter Matt Crampton will start the ride bright and early tomorrow morning.

This year's Dragon Ride will feature new climbs and new routes with both the Gran Fondo and the Medio Fondo routes being both longer and featuring more climbing than last year - and while the longer routes have got longer, the shorter Corto route has got shorter - although there is 20m more climbing.

The Gran Fondo route will include Black Mountain and the return of the “hill with no name”, (Bryn Melyn or Devil’s elbow) and these ascents will be scaled in addition to the signature climbs of the Bwlch and Rhigos, plus Cimla and Cray. All of these will run in the opposite direction compared to recent years. 

Medio Fondo entrants will take on Cimla, the Rhigos and the Bwlch as well as Coelbren and Glynneath Bank.

The Corto Route will essentially be a circuit of Margam Mountain at 37km and 430m of climbing.

road.cc's Big Dave Atkinson will be amongst the thousands of riders tackling the Dragon tomorrow - straight back from his holidays and out on his bike - that's dedication. He'll be hoping that his underwater cycling skills honed as a two time world bog snorkeling champion won't be called in to action by the weather.

Good luck to everyone taking part and here's hoping for clear skys and dry roads… and if you see Dave, give him a wave.

Finally, it's worth knowing that the Wiggle Dragon Ride 2012 is being held in support of The Prostate Cancer Charity. Anyone concerned about prostate cancer can call The Prostate Cancer Charity's free and confidential Helpline on 0800 074 8383. The Helpline is staffed by specialist nurses and is open from 10am to 4pm on Monday to Friday and from 7 to 9pm on Wednesdays. Alternatively please visit http://www.prostate-cancer.org.uk

You can find out more information about the Wiggle Dragon Ride at www.wiggledragonride.com

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.