Sunday, September 7, 2014

Less than a month to go (before 3 Peaks of course)

So with less than a month to go (!) before the big race it's time to summarise my 3 peaks run up. I did indeed get the running shoes out and entered and ran a full 10 kilometre running race on a course that I know well on our local farm tracks that I use for CX training. Suffice to say I completed the run, but I didn't worry any of the local club runners other than finding my way to the excellent tea and cakes well ahead of the 'faster' competitors. Always thinking!

I also managed a walk up the final hill of Pen-Y-Ghent (hill of the wind) and by golly it was. That's when I realised I needed to either A) bail out completely or B) get radical with my CX bike gearing. I've gone for option B for now. Local gal Joanna Rycroft recommended Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe in Settle for post fell recovery.

I then retuned to Horton in Ribblesdale a few weeks later to take part in the excellent 3 peaks training day organised by the legendary John Rawnsley which was truly epic. Horizontal rain, a broken front brake, and some of the trickiest terrain I've ever encountered on a 'cross bike. And we didn't even go up any of the fells! Coffee and an abundant supply of cakes courtesy of Phil and Nora Thackray saved the day (seems like a theme developing here.....?).

In the mix also I've 'competed' in our club time trail league (slashing a whopping 35 seconds off my 25 mile PB) and combined that with a few of the local summer 'cross series (although a cynic might say that by combining these two I deliberately avoided a series ranking in either). Still, all good fun. And did I mention the little training ride we took with the entire IAM Cycling Team who we found lost in Harrogate looking for the sumptuous Rudding Park hotel where they'd been billeted for the start of the Tour de France. 

I even dug out the old MTB to take part (race?) in the final round of the Nutcracker MTB series on a seriously challenging course above Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales, persuaded by Tim Evans that it'd be good 3 peaks style terrain. It was just that. This time I didn't take any chances and brought along some Eccles cakes from our local baker but I needn't have bothered, the organisers had a full on BBQ on the go so it was burger and salads all round after the racing was done (with a latte to wash down the cakes).

Then the real training began, after an excellent (for me) sub 8 minute Norwood Edge hill climb I began a week of intestinal issues that saw me drop 3 or 4 kgs and become weak as a kitten. But I'm down to 3 peaks fighting weight, only with a serious lack of power and endurance. Oh well, one out of three ain't bad?

So like a naughty schoolboy I'll be cramming for my exam now just a few weeks away by taking a trip to Majorca to see if I can find some of that elusive strength and/or endurance. But most likely I'll find some cafĂ© con leche and tarta de almendras. ¡Que bien!

Finally, assuming all goes well and I find myself on the start line I'll be thinking of club mate Darryl Varley who has been seriously injured while out riding his 'cross bike in preparation for the peaks race.

For more cyclocross in your life head over to Cyclocross Magazine where you'll find a free (yes Yorkshire folk, you read that right) digital edition of the magazine including an excellent article on the upcoming Milton Keynes World Cup race.

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