Monday, April 28, 2014

THE Three Peaks

Les trois sommets (well it is Tour de France in Yorkshire time)

My first ever 'cross race

It all started here, 13th October 2007. Well maybe a bit before. Tony, one of my cycling pals from Uni, oh so many years ago, had his Italian custom made steel MTB stolen. This was proper custom, integrated seat post and everything so no-one else could really use it, ironic eh? So he replaced it with a……  ‘cross bike. A what? Not an MTB, not a road bike, what is it?  “I’m gonna race it” he said, sure OK, that’s what you do. “No, I’m gonna race it over the Three Peaks”. Now I knew he’d lost the plot. But with a little further persuasion we set off for Huddersfield New College for a typical Yorkshire series points race. My first ever. I can distinctly remember two things: 1) a high speed wipe out on a super fast corner when I decided this was the sport for me and 2) Tony insisting I leave nothing out on the course (I didn’t). I was hooked. Now it was me badgering him to get to the next race.

So cut to six or seven years later and I’m regularly racing National Trophy with two bikes, supported by a great team and cycling club and enjoying it more than ever. So why spoil the party? Well, I suppose ‘cos it's there, always lurking in the background of everything, everywhere and everyone in UK cyclo-cross: The Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross Race. Tony has been racing it every year, killing his bikes and crushing wheels but placing higher each time. He makes me sick.

Now let’s get one thing straight, it’s not a cyclo-cross race. Yes there’s a mass start, yes there’s National ranking points available (lots in fact), race numbers, entry fees, marshalls, a course (!), prizes, winners, finishers, times, DNFs, DNSs, etc. You get the idea. But that’s where ANY comparison to a cyclo-cross race ends. It’s a sportive/enduro/mountaineering/fell race or something like that. But it’s there. A bit like Paris-Roubaix in that if you tried to organise this race for the first time today, you’d be laughed out of the Health and Safety briefing.  It’s surely not sensible. But yet it’s there and it seems it aint going away. So it looks like I’m gonna give it a go. My plan: do it once, finish it and hopefully forget it. Forever.

Let the training commence…..

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