8 tips for tackling your first sportive

The 2023 event is fast approaching and many of you have set your sights on completing your first sportive, whilst also aiming to keep motivation and fitness levels high throughout the year. This year will be the 19th edition of the Dragon Ride, one of the toughest sportives in the UK, and whilst the majority are experienced riders who tackle the gruelling hills of the Brecon Beacons, many of our riders are first-timers.

With four amazing routes to choose from, ranging from the Macmillan 100km to the Dragon Devil (300km), the Dragon Ride appeals to all abilities and has become a bucket-list event for cyclists to conquer and a must-do event in the cycling calendar. You just can’t beat the awe-inspiring and rugged landscapes of the Welsh mountains and the almighty ascents, which will really put your fitness levels to the test. The opportunity to ride the one and only Devil’s Staircase is a challenge many will not be able to resist.

Gearing up to tackle the Dragon Ride for your first sportive? Here are our top 8 tips to be prepared and increase the likelihood of you completing the distance:

  • Get the miles in and test your hill climbing legs

The biggest piece of advice we can give to you is to get your training in early, you shouldn’t underestimate the challenge of the Dragon Ride. Training efficiently is the key to being properly prepared.

As a rule, you should aim to be comfortable riding two-thirds of your event distance whilst training. Break your training into smaller chunks. Looking at the full distance can be daunting for your first sportive, so this will allow you to prepare yourself better mentally.

The climbs on the Dragon Ride are gruelling and will really shock your legs into action. Put your hill climbing legs to the test with komoot’s Best of British Road Climbs’

  • Build your endurance

Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or swimmer, get fitter, faster and stronger with advice from pro triathlete Reece Barclay to take your performances to a higher level. Have a read of our blog ‘7 ways to be an endurance king’.



  • Plan your training routes

The route you ride matters. Like riding uphill, route planning is a skill, one that you can learn and improve. There are now lots of ways that technology can help. Our route partners komoot have put together these five tips that can help you plan better training routes in your preparation for the Dragon Ride.

  • Get used to riding in a group

Riding in a group is more sociable and you can maintain a higher average speed when riding in a group. If you’re stuck for people to train with, join our Official Dragon Ride 2023 Forum and interact with fellow Dragon Riders to arrange a training ride. Make sure you understand group riding etiquette and the rules of the road beforehand. It’s best to get some practice in so that you feel relaxed with other riders around you.

  • Check your bike and equipment

Check your bike before heading for the start line, the last thing you want is to be let down after all your hard work, training, and dedication. Make sure everything is in pristine condition before you get ready to slay the beast.

  • Ride at your own pace

Stick to the same pace you’ve set yourself in training. Don’t get too caught up in the excitement of the Dragon, you don’t want to burn out too early.

  • Fuel properly

Be sure to fuel before hard intensity sessions to make sure you can put out enough power to get the training benefit from them. On longer rides practice eating what will be available on sportive day. Experiment with different gels and bars or take homemade food with you and see what works for you.

Learn how to eat like an athlete with George Morgan, the nutritionist at Saracens RFC.

  • Enjoy it!

If you’re lucky enough to secure a place in this sell-out event, the most important thing is to enjoy it. Slaying the dragon is a challenge many riders dream of, as it has been voted one of the toughest and most legendary sportives in the British Isles. Trust your training and soak up the stunning scenery and fantastic atmosphere. We promise this won’t be the last time you’ll want to slay the beast!