Regular www.LondonCycleSport.com viewers will probably know I’m something of a Three
Peaks obsessive. Actually, that’s putting it mildly. I’m a Three
Peaks nut. While most of you spent the summer turning up at races only to find
them cancelled due to yet another downpour, or hammering along in the rain,
peering through misted glasses, cursing the persistent drizzle, I’ve been
loving every minute. It’s character building stuff, perfect preparation
for the coming off-road season and the annual pilgrimage to the North Yorkshire
Moors on September 30.
For those of you unaware of what this event entails, it’s the Hardest Cyclo
Cross Race In The World ( says legendary organiser John Rawnsley, and I wouldn’t
argue with him ).
Get a standard cross bike, hit the road for a few miles, then scramble up and
down the three biggest mountains in Yorkshire, then grovel to the finish as
best you can.
For some, it’s an endurance marathon, an achievement just to get round
inside the cut-off time. For others, such as legendary six-times winner Rob
Jebb, it’s a flat-out, lung-bursting, three hours of sheer pain.
Ian Cleverly is a Three Peaks obsessive
I find myself somewhere in the middle, finishing well ahead of the also-rans,
but nowhere near the top boys, so this year special measures have been put in
Firstly, an even earlier arrival in Yorkshire. An early Friday start will see
me up there by lunchtime. This will allow an on-foot recce of Ingleborough (bikes
are not allowed on the mountains for training) and, especially, the descent
and the point where I, rather incredibly, have managed to crash two years running.
Not having my machine with me, I may have to improvise a little. I’m thinking
that running full-pelt on the descent, making clicking noises ( Campag cassette
impression, obviously ), then banking over hard to the right, all the time being
aware of the steep drop-off on the left, should get the whole scenario straight
in my head for the big day.
Genius, eh?……..No, I didn’t think so, either.
Secondly, I’ve bought a new bike. Did I need one, I hear you ask? No,
probably not, but I deserved one. I wanted one. I had to have one. You know
how it is.
Thirdly ( and, I imagine ), most importantly, I have a coach. ‘That’s
cheating!’ said my training partner, and he may have a point. As an infamous
slacker with a hatred of all things organised ( not joining the Boy Scouts was
never a big issue in the Cleverly household ), the concept of having someone
who would be privy to my every waking moment was somewhat anathema. Having to
buy a turbo trainer ( the last one exploded some time ago in a shower of brittle
plastic ), was bad enough, but being given specific short, sharp, training sessions
in place of the usual steady-state plodding that made up the bulk of my normal
riding, was a downright imposition. All that training manual stuff you read
about ‘lactate threshold’ and ‘this threshold’ and ‘that
threshold’, it’s all piffle. Suffering, that’s what it’s
all about. You have to learn to suffer. And, hopefully, I have. (Only joking.
No ripostes from irate coaches, please!)
Under 4 hours and a top 20 placing in the Vets category. That’s the target.
The work’s been done. Back to you in a few weeks with the results.
46TH Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross
Helwith Bridge, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire.
Website – www.3peakscyclocross.org.uk
Like Marmite – http://londoncyclesport.com/news/article/mps/UAN/907/V/2/SP/
The Notorious PYG – http://londoncyclesport.com/news/article/mps/UAN/904/V/2/SP/
Simon’s 3 Peaks Ridley – http://londoncyclesport.com/news/article/mps/UAN/846/V/2/SP/
SE/London finishers – http://londoncyclesport.com/news/article/mps/UAN/897/v/2/sp/