Highwood’s Tracey Haywood conquers the tough Dragon Ride cycle event

No stranger to a cycling challenge, Highwood’s Finance Manager, Tracey Haywood has now conquered one of the sport’s most prestigious and toughest events in the UK in a gruelling 95.5-mile ride that took in some of the longest and hardest climbs in the South Wales countryside.

Tracey’s journey took her up six mountains that totalled 7044ft of climbing, including two Category 5 ascents, notably the Devil’s Elbow, which featured a one-kilometre timed ascent with an average gradient of 9.8%. It took her 6 hours 50 minutes to complete the ride, no mean feat on a hot day with over 4000 riders on the route.

Following an early start that kicked off with a 5.30am breakfast and a start time in the race village of 8.45, Tracey left Margam Park in the Brecon Beacons with less than five miles before the first and steepest ascent of over 1700ft began.

 

 

‘The hardest climb was the Devil’s Elbow that had a maximum gradient of 22%,’ she recalled. ‘I was determined to complete it all on the bike and, as it got steeper, my speed slowed to just three miles an hour, but there was no way I was going to get off!  There were two feed stations en route serving salty and sugary snacks to boost energy levels and water to top up the three water bottles I was relying on. It was worth it; the views at the top of the mountains were spectacular and the event was fantastic.’

Undeterred from the epic Dragon Ride tour, Tracey will be back in the saddle again in September – this time at the Rotary Dorset Bike Ride, an arduous 108-mile tour of the county, but which will certainly be a lot flatter than the perilous mountains of South Wales.