King and Queen of the Mountain Names Announced!
To describe the Dragon Ride as ‘hilly’ would be a gross understatement. The Brecon Beacons may seduce riders with its sublime views and rugged beauty, yet the ‘smallest’ overall climbing height is 1314m, with riders battling it out on the Devil racking up 4614m.
The sportive recognizes two outstanding participants – the King and Queen of the Mountain – who grind out the fastest timed in the brutal, timed climb known as the ‘Devil’s Elbow’. We caught up with each respective winner of this title, once they’d caught their breath of course, to find out about what took place during that vicious 1.8 km, 10.3% lascent, Without further ado, let us introduce to you the King and Queen of the Mountain 2023!
All hail the King of the Mountain… Paul Simkin!
I’m really chuffed to have got the quickest time as it was all a bit unexpected! I’d not done the Dragon Ride for a few years and seemed to remember the lead in to the climb was longer than it was, which caught me by surprise when elevation ramped up. I’d given some prior thought to how I’d tackle it though – my girlfriend who I was riding with has heard all about it at length! – so it was as simple as launching my plan of action. I went relatively steady and wide around the first bend before giving a big effort on the steep straight section. By the sharp right hander I was starting to feel it and thought I might have overcooked things. However, a lady standing on that corner actually made a world of difference – I can’t remember what she said but it definitely made me dig in for that last stretch – so thank you to her! It was then just head down and full gas to the end.
Well done Paul, who completed the Devil’s Elbow climb in a rapid time of 00:05:38. It’s great to know how spectators can really make a difference here, and it sounds like your hard work paid off!
Paul and his fiancée raring to go at the start line. Congratulations on a great ride both!
All hail the Queen of the Mountain… Jessica Prior!
As I approached the climb (basically a wall!!) the thoughts that went through my head were 1) why did I leave my 1x chain ring on the front of my bike (i.e. fewer gears) and 2) I’m definitely going to need to get off and walk up. But as I went up I felt strong (probably all those roast potatoes at the Food Station – they were awesome!) and so decided to give it some beans! It was a fun, narrow and winding road so I enjoyed that. I was very inspired by everyone getting up the climb, whether they were riding or walking, it’s a huge achievement!
Congratulations Jessica, who completed the challenge in a blistering time of 00:06:59- you make it sound easy, albeit with your chain ring on!
Jessica (left) and a friend celebrate at the Finish Line! Well done both!