Monday, 1 October 2012

Three Peaks Cyclocross 2012 - An epic

Once again I had entered this event but this time I had done some practicing, it amount to about three times carrying my bike up the steepest bit of Winter Hill I have found and coming back down the Belmont descent. Although I wasn't fast at either I could do it. The one thing I didn't do was any running for months, just a couple of runs in Cornwall. But it was soon too late to worry about that and instead I was planning clothing options. The forcast wasn't great, rain and wind, but not uber-cold, 10 degrees. I went for the more cautious option of roubaix 3/4's, merino base layer, jersey and a waterproof, I also wore work shoes with wool socks, they are much easier to walk in than my usual race shoes.

Lining up and I wasn't enjoying taking layers and my waterproof trousers off but I honestly believed it couldn't rain all day. I lined up at the back as I knew how slow I would be on Simon Fell. Off we went and I moved up a bit on the road and was just loving being on my bike. The road section was longer than I remembered but that meant that I could see a decent average speed for at least the first bit of the race! Off-road we went and it was boggy, so off the bike early and pushing. It wasn't long before I was carrying but I knew this wasn't the steepest bit. Onto the vertical slope and this time it wasn't as much of a shock as I was expecting it. I wasn't fast but I didn't stop, it felt like a big improvement. At the top they were lifting our bikes over and then holding onto us as we scrambled over the stile. Then it was onto the top, I remembered riding a fair amount of this section in 2009 but this time there was hardly any riding, the wind was doing its best to blow me off the top. I bumped into a twitter friend and there were three of us making our way up together. The descent was where I was meant to make up time but a combination of the weather and me still being nervous descending meant that I didn't really. Still off at the bottom and Ali was cheering for me.

I worked on the road but also made sure I ate something, getting to the start of Whernside they let us go up even though we had missed cutoff by 5minutes. I was so pleased so I worked as hard as I could up the hill but once again it was a slow slog and a try not to be blown off. I followed Eric from Horwich CC down the hill but lost him as my rear brake was making odd noises, it took me a while to realise I had buckled my rear wheel. That meant the rest of the race was done with only my front brake, another reason why I NEED disc brakes! Coming off Ali was there again looking wet, I was sure I had no chance of making cutoff but made the decision to work hard as I didn't want to miss it thinking I could have made it if I had worked harder.

Officially I had missed it but they waved us on to PyG, I was so so pleased. I was loving it! There was a big puddle to wade through on the way up but it was nice to be riding up hill and I actually passed quite a few people of the climb. The top was really bleak and apart from people coming down I couldn't really see anyone! Eventually I saw the marshalls at the top and turned to head down, it was a great descent once I got on my bike! Throught the puddle at the bottom, which was more like a swim now and out onto the road. Ali was here cheering again which was a lovely suprise as she had said she was heading to the finish when I last saw here. Head down to the finish and I crossed the line in 6hrs 20mins. A lot slower than in 2009 but in the conditions I was so pleased.

I finished 31st (and last) female and 494th out of 504 finishers.

So next year???


  1. Fantastic effort, glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Well done on finishing, looks like lots didn't.

  3. Well done. I would never dream of attempting something like this. Its interesting what you say about discs as I think they are now allowed on cross bikes. Any pictures?.

  4. Brilliant! Saw you on the last climb and really pleased you'd get under the cut-off. How about that weather?