I didn’t realise at the time what a great year 2009 was for the Three Peaks Cyclocross race. It must have been dry, windless and I must have been super fit. Whatever, it’s taken me until this year to beat the time I set then and thank goodness – I’m pleased!
The race went well for me. Dave Haygarth was a bit more open with his advice this year since he wasn’t riding and I took it all to heart. I RACED to the top of Simon Fell, glad that I hadn’t put an extra layer on at the start in the fresh breeze. I RACED down to Cold Cotes, overtaking several people and feeling confident with my position on the bike after a bike set-up in January.
Picture from Sportsunday.
The road section to Whernside seemed slower than before and although I was working with another competitor we could have done with a bigger group.
At the top of Whernside the wind was hilarious. I had several attempts to get back on my bike as it wouldn’t stand still, once even smashing the back of my knee on its pedal. Watching the riders in front riding along leaning at an angle of about 30 degrees into the wind with the drop to the right was amazing. I still can’t ride all the way off Whernside but fortunately I’m quite good at running downhill. . .
Again the road section was tough and the ascent of Pen y Ghent dragged on but the return was fantastic RACING past several others on the recently sanitised, but still rough, path. The support from spectators here was fantastic.
Finally a RACE along the road, dodging past the traffic jams and keeping ahead of the rider behind who gallantly reassured me he wouldn’t overtake over the bridge.
All great stuff made all the better by being able to see what was going on and where you were heading.
I’m used to doing much longer (and, dare I say it, harder) events than this where pacing and nutrition are important. I have done some events like the Blencathra Fell Race or the Hadrian’s Wall Half Marathon where it’s much more of a sprint (relatively). The Three Peaks sits somewhere in the middle and so is difficult for me to judge but Dave’s approach of really going for it and racing seemed to work for me this time. All on one bottle of water and a cup at Bruntscar.
Great to see some Twitter friends, Ali, Rich, Steve and others on the route and to chat to. Most seemed to have had a good day.
So a much happier event than last year but much heightened respect for those who get under 4 hours – I didn’t even beat Dave Haygarth’s broken collarbone time!