Wednesday, 12 October 2011

3 Peaks Redux

Please welcome VeloCake newcomer Piers.  He's written his account of the 3 peaks, and a race like that needs more than one report to do it justice, obviously, Steve's is the definitive view but knowledge is power

The Three Peaks Cyclocross race, it comes but once a year so you better be ready, well wash the bike, worry if you have the right tyres and have more Beachams than you should in a desperate attempt to pretend that you don't have stinking cold.

Despite the snot we all line up and as the clock winds round to 9.30 and away we go needless to say I slip to the back easy, no problem.

Simon Fell is steep, riders are slipping all around me, one guy starts picking up speed as he heads back down and is only saved by a fellow plodder.

We all use the fence to drag Man,Woman and bike up the seemingly vertical grass slope however we can. Soon were at the scramble over the fence, queuing up in a very British way, taking turns no pushing in. Back on the bike and away until the final push to the top timing station.  No view just mist, Someone is shouting the riders numbers but I have no clue where anything is. I just follow the tape. Diber dibed and back on the bike to the first decent.

People are everywhere the sort out between them who can ride the path over the rocks and those who can't, fortunately it's my only strong point and I start overtaking everyone I come across, shouting out my intention to all just before I pass. Speed does have its problems. Twice I become airborne, sailing over the bars as the front wheel digs deep in to the bog. I grab the bike each time and jump back on. Out of the mist I momentarily glance upwards towards the Lakes and see sunshine, hopefully it will head our way.
 Down to Cold Cotes and the second timing station dib, a fresh bottle of carb drink and back to the tarmac. I guzzle it and cram a few gels down knowing that there will be no opportunity to drink when we hit Wernside.

As I plod along, everyone I got past on the decent is now passing me, I rally myself and hook on to someones wheel and head on to Whernside.
Wherside is I find the worst of all the ascents I really suffer as I plod up people passing me again, my legs now feeling the effect of Simon Fell it all feels like its about to unravel here. Anyone want a bike?  I don't like this thing hanging around my neck, you can have it for free. I am off home.

On the summit ridge again. I like it now we are moving again at the right pace. Dib again with the Mountain Rescue Team at the top. Here we go full decent mode.
Look out all who passed me on the way up, the descending idiot is on his way. Its all rideable I don't put my foot down once.  It's all worth it for just this decent, I pin it, anticipate every stone, ditch, slab and drop.  I am in the zone, a happy man again.

Ribbleshead. Fresh drinks bottle and more gels and a chain gang to hide in to the final climb. Mr Hope Technology does far more work than he should on the front I feel bad, I go up and do my thing for a bit.

Left we go and back on the dirt. I'm paying the price for my time making pace on the front as the whole group pass me as the track widens out. I grind up the upwards as the faster riders are now descending, I wish i could go quicker I want to coming down that hill but I creep upwards.

A quick dib and back to down hill mode. I pass some, but the gap is to big and I am too broken to decent at warp 6 now, so stay at a comfortable speed recognising a few spectators on the way. Pop back on the hard stuff and I am on my own. 
A lone rider is in the distance, I must catch him or I am toast.  Slowly I get on to his wheel, ahh respite, not far now. I won't sprint him for the finish he is doing the work here.  He slows and I take the front. We go up the final incline "come to front" I say but he is more broken than me, so over the bridge we go to the finish and its all over.  My worst time ever at just under 4 1/2 hours.

I tell myself me and this race are finished, no need to do this again.
I will be back next year.


Steve said...

Brilliant. I recognise a lot of those feelings. Just from 20 minutes behind. Remember the jumper from a couple of spots, you were belting down pyg as I flogged up. Loud!

Rocketdog said...

and i thought you couldn't get anything worse than the pink VC top

Mullerton said...

Oh come now Gary, thats a rare Mint Sauce jersey. Its wonderful!

(thought i'd be nice now Jo's one of us)

Wool said...

Dont worry it will be put away again as soon as my Velo Cake one arrives so no more causing small children to cry.

Rocketdog said...

Mint sauce key ring/white ankle socks Jo? Oh dear