Plan to Succeed at the Dragon Ride

By Ed Laverack

Whether you are signed up to the Macmillian 100 or the full Dragon Devil you want to put our best foot forward and be ready for the day. With more people looking to push themselves, not just in the form of racing but by setting themselves challenges, now is the perfect time to be bold at the Dragon ride. This event keeps on growing, and no doubt there are plenty of you out there that see it as a challenge to not just finish but to finish with a flourish and in a time, you can be happy with .

Coming Up

Over the course of the next few months, in follow up articles, I’d like to offer my own experience to those of you heading to the event this year. I’ll come at this with a unique angle, using my own performance at the 2023 event to achieve the fastest time over the Dragon Devil. I’ll delve into each topic separately, beginning with training, fuelling, pacing, equipment and finally preparation on the day. So, as we get closer to the event, you’ll be informed on things that will become more of a focus and specific to the day itself.


Let’s cover training first,  we are into the new year already after all. First, we want to collect some data on the event before we even get to planning training. Let’s use the Dragon Devil as an example. 296km and approx. 4600m elevation gain. Ask yourself if you have a goal time in mind, if not then maybe you have a goal power, or maybe you just want to be able to be just as strong on the final 2 climbs as you were on the first one. There’s lots of goals to be had, not just time based. However, let’s say you want to complete the Devil in 10hrs flat, an average speed of 29.6kmph without factoring in stopping time. This sounds scary at first, but it’s worth looking at the ride in a few chunks, possibly 3x100km sections. The first 100km is the least hilly, the second 100km gets a bit more rolling but from km 180 until 270 you will have the largest chunk of climbing. Simply put you will need to have good legs in the final few hours. We will save the topic of pacing and nutrition for another time because they play a HUGE role but for now let us see how we can arrive at the event with good fatigue resistance to tackle those final few hours.

If you are reading this in early February then you have around 19 weeks of training ahead. Ideally, you’ll have been gradually building a typical amount of consistency riding in the winter on the indoor trainer or getting out for a ride when you can. Let’s assume you are ready to move into some tastier event specific work. The widely accepted rule now is that the closer you get to your event the similar your workouts should become to your event. One way you can do this is by matching the intensity you plan on riding on event day to your weekly key sessions. Splitting 19 weeks down I would first allocate 2 weeks to a taper, leaving 16 weeks (remember rest weeks) to gradually build your endurance as well as your ability to ride at or below your threshold heart rate or power. One way you can monitor this early on is to naturally ride a hilly route at the target power/heart rate and aim to accumulate more time working at that intensity on the hills until you feel like you are ready to move into something more structured. As you get closer to your event you might want to be able to complete any one of these examples of breakthrough sessions:

  • 4 x 45min at 80% FTP with 10min recovery between blocks
  • 7hr Endurance Ride with a 30min effort in the final hour at 80% FTP
  • 2 x 40min at 90-100%FTP with 10min recovery between blocks

The process of building up to these is very much individual and is about consistency and slowly filling in the blanks. Don’t get me wrong, they are hard sessions, and you’ll need to really make sure you are ready for them, but there is no doubt you will feel motivated for the event and your time goal if you can tick them off at some point in the final 5 weeks.