Meet our 2022 Queen of the Mountain Rosie Banks

You’ve heard of Game of Throne’s Daenerys Targaryen and Elsa from Frozen, but did you know about our very own, real-life Queen of the Mountain, who went down in Dragon Ride legend for smashing the steepest and most brutal hill at last year’s event?

Rosie Banks is the Dragon Ride 2022’s Queen of the Mountain, whose title was bestowed on her for being the fastest woman to conquer the climb known as the ‘Devil’s Elbow’ in just under 10 minutes. To put this into context, the ‘Devil’s Elbow’ is a 1.8km, 10.3% incline known for it’s weapon-like ability to dig deep into the hardiest of riders. The average female time to complete the climb is 14 minutes and 8 seconds: Rosie was the only woman to complete it in under 10 minutes (9 minutes and 46 seconds).

We were delighted when Rosie agreed to be interviewed by us, as we were intrigued to find out more about Rosie’s cycling experience and what it meant to her to become the Queen of the Mountain 2022. Our conversation establishes Rosie as an inspiring role model for other women cyclists, whose positive attitude and dedication to the sport is truly fantastic.

Make sure to read the conversation for yourself below!

1. Introduce yourself! – who are you and how did you get into cycling?

I’m Rosie, I’m from North Yorkshire but live in Warwickshire now. I’ve been riding a road bike for almost 10 years and it all started after becoming jealous of my now husband Edd and his cycling adventures. I bought my first road bike and after a few initial outings, got myself some clip-in pedals and followed Edd up to the Dales to have a crack at riding around the National Park. I came off my bike a few times on my very first steep climb, but I still loved it. And my love affair with the bike started there.

2. Was 2022 your first Dragon Ride event? What made you want to sign up?

Yes, it was my first Dragon Ride event and it was actually one of my best friend Jill’s ideas. She messaged me with a link to the event just saying “you up for this?” and I had no intention of saying no. I like to have something to look forward to and the distance involved in this event meant we had a good excuse to spend a lot of time together cycling at the weekends (and getting out of parenting!)

3. What are your memories of *that* climb – the Devil’s Elbow which you got the fastest female time for?

Jill told me that there was a timed climb on the ride a few weeks before the event and up until the point at which I saw the flags ahead of me I hadn’t even thought about going for it. But at that moment I couldn’t resist and it’s the type of climb I love, steep, winding and all the views!

4. How did you feel when you heard you were the Queen of the Mountain 2023?

Surprised…I loved the Dragon Ride event from start to finish and didn’t even consider looking at the times for the climb until a couple of days later when I was reminiscing about it all so it was a really nice surprise.

5. What is one piece of advice you can give to Dragon Ride newbies this year?

When I did the Dragon Ride last year I was on maternity leave. I had no expectations for the ride except to enjoy myself and it wasn’t difficult- the weather was great and the scenery wasn’t half bad either. To anyone new to this ride, just go out and enjoy a wicked day out on the bike!

6. Tell us one interesting fact about you and cycling!

I really started to push myself with my cycling after having babies. On maternity leave I would put the baby down to nap and then jump on the turbo or race out of the front door. It was time to myself, and time to do something I loved. And coming back home to a (albeit slightly sweaty) cuddle with my little ones was perfect.

Thank you Rosie – you have gone down in Dragon Ride legend, and we hope to see you at our event again in the future!