THE RACERS VEIW: 3 PEAKS CYCLOCROSS
The World’s toughest cyclocross race
Sunday 27 September 2014
Yorkshire Dales National Park
To ride well in the 3 peaks you have to start thinking about it in July. August should include some long cross rides getting shaken about on bikes designed for muddy parks. With a bit of running introduced come September your form is on the up and you should be chomping at the bit come the last Sunday of the month.
This year my preparation had gone well and in the two weeks before felt like I was flying. A succession of strava koms adding to my confidence and secretly I thought a podium should be achievable. Come September 28th and I was better prepared than ever.
The race soon got underway and I positioned myself in the first twenty behind the lead out car. In previous years I’ve narrowly escaped the inevitable crash before Horton as riders not used to peletons brake hard and leave competitors around them nowhere to go but into the back of them. This year the sound of the crunch of metal happened a little further on than last year, but happened all the same.
Off the road and up onto the fields before Simon Fell I nudged to the front of the race before Mr Jebb cruised past and off into the distance. This year up Ingleborough I felt great, running comfortably in the first half dozen and enjoying the seldom dry moorland. Cresting the top with Ian Taylor we soon started eating into the small gap to Nick Craig and u23 joe Moses. After last years spectacular crash this year I took the descent carefully and arrived at cold Coates with Nick.
Onto the road and I grabbed a musette from stu to quickly get some food in on the fast descent to Ingleton. At the sharp right turn with Nick some 20 metres ahead I pressed on upto white scar caves to get onto his wheel. At this point my race turned. From feeling comfortable over Ingleborough I suddenly started to struggle holding nicks wheel. I eased off approaching whernside hoping to save alittle energy for later. Whernside proved as difficult as ever. Once over the top I can usually use my descending skills to make back some time. This year I seemed to hit every rock going and took some appalled lines. At ribblehead I looked back to see Neil crampton on my wheel. It truly was the worst descent ever!
Now into survival mode onto the road towards penygent. How many gels does it take to make me go faster? Answer: more than the three I down out of desperation.
Once off-road and beginning the climb Neil slowly edged away from me towards Ian Taylor who looked to be struggling now. With know one in sight behind I knew I didn’t gave to go too deep, but I still couldn’t slow the inevitable 3 peaks cramp from calf to groin. Finally on reaching the summit I was able to enjoy the descent back down. Knowing it well from mtb rides in my youth I kept my speed and managed my annual cross up for the cameras half way down.
The final road section is bitter sweet. Your legs are stiff with cramp as you drive towards the finish. The last little rise on the road reminds you that this race destroys your body and soul. I eventually finished 6th which when looking back considering how bad I felt before whernside isn’t too bad. I could walk properly until the following Thursday, but like a fool I’ll be on the start line next year having blanked out the 2014 edition.
1st Rob Jebb Hope Factory Racing
2nd Nick Craig Pioneer/Scott/Syncros
3rd Joe Moses Wheelbase Altura MGD
4th Neal Crampton Torq Performance
5th Ian Taylor, Jedi Cycle Sport
6th Lewis Craven, Wheelbase Altura MGD
7th Ryan Henry, Numplumz
8th Gary Macdonald, Hope Factory Racing
9th Thomas Randall, Huddersfield Star Wheelers
10th Steve Halsall, Velo Club Moulin