30 September 2010

Fishy goings on

More on the photo story of the year on the Rouleur Magazine blog from Ian Cleverly

...a naked Salmon, leaping and swinging in the breeze? I have scoured the race instructions and competitor’s advice, and nowhere does advice on how to deal with such an eventuality exist. Riders must carry a bivvy bag and whistle for emergencies, such as losing your way in fog on Whernside, but it seems the chances of a naked, platinum blond cyclist springing out from behind a rock are so remote as to fail to get a mention.

Read it here... fantastic stuff. Folklore already from a 3-time winner. Great stuff.

Mark Richmond's first timer's 'blog'

Mark Richmond, a first timer from Ilkly Harriers wrote this 'blog' on their forum. Good ride Mark. Oh, for that familiar judder of cyclocross brakes.... ho hum.

The day brought pleasant autumnal conditions, perfect for a day of cyclocross racing over three of Yorkshire’s three highest hills. The temperature was in the early teens with a light wind blowing in from the North-East.

MKII found himself alongside Stefan close to the front of the line up at Helwith Bridge with an unspoken sense of nervousness, anticipation and excitement amongst the assembled riders. The start brought five miles behind the commissaire car with a ripple of banter passing through the bunch. The narrow bridges in Horton safely negotiated and two riders went clear gaining about 10 seconds to no avail, as the lead car pulled off and the serious contenders forced the pace. The arrival of the first off-road section was greeted by the familiar squeal and judder of cyclocross brakes as the course narrowed into a farm track Gill Garth. A few riders touched wheels which brought the field to a temporary standstill although there was relief at the avoidance of a pile up.

The ascent of Inglebrough was unrelenting, and after clearing the first few fields, it was possible set into a steady stride up Simon Fell where a steady cross wind picked up. Some rideable respite followed the large “Rawnsley’s Leap” stile and, thinking that was close to the summit, set off again not realising that there was another portage to the col. After “dibbing” at the summit the route turned south on to a well surfaced stone track, giving way to a grassy decent down to Cold Cotes where a good crowd cheered on the riders. A quick gel and slurp of drink and it was time for some through-and-off in a group of seven riders along to Chapel-Le-Dale. One rider wasn’t prepared to take a turn, even after comments from a few riders and it was disappointing to see him try and get away on the ascent of Whernside.

Whernside is horrible. The steps are uneven in height and their tread comprises several stones laid end up making it difficult to get a rhythm. Severe back ache set in compounding the tight calves and burning lungs. To add insult to the discomfort, the light breeze at the start was now a strong headwind making the going tough. Eventually, the steps give way to a long rolling rideable summit after which a steady decent over York stone flags leads to a fast gravel track down to Ribblehead viaduct. Some riders opted for a more direct route over the grassy peak bog although the time gains looked minimal at best. This type of fast rocky descending seemed well suited to mountain bikers and it was possible to catch several riders along this section. Another good crowd was assembled at the road junction providing support to the now tiring riders.

A second through and off group formed on the run from Ribblehead to Horton this time driven along by Jason Hemsley of Crosstrax and a rider from the RAF. Turning on to the bridleway to start the haul up Pen-Y-Gent brought a near head on collision with Robb Jebb who was only minutes away from crossing the line to take another win. It was quite some time until we encountered other rider coming down which highlights the margin of his victory. Pen-Y-Gent differs to Ingleborough and Whernside as it is about 80% rideable on a wide well surfaced gravel track, with the main difficulty being the descending leading riders who were increasingly common along the upper slopes. Stefan blasted past just before the single hairpin bend and seemed to be making good ground on the riders around him. By now the lack of stamina was evident, although it’s remarkable to find the reserves you can draw on once the summit cairn draws into sight. “Dibbing” for the final time was a great relief, the only concern now was not puncturing on the many waterbars that litters the bridleway, and not colliding with the large number of riders still ascending the final climb. Safely back to the road, the final two miles were unremarkable with few other riders around. I pulled into the pub car park to cross the line with a time of 03h55 with which I was reasonably happy as a first time effort.

A wash in the River Ribble and it was straight off for a full Sunday roast with all the trimmings complemented by four pints of Timothy Taylors, the wife providing the necessary chauffering service. This had little impact, and a second tea was consumed on arriving back to Ilkley.

What a great event! I’m already looking forward to next year! I can’t recommend this event enough and would encourage other earlybirds to have a go next year.

29 September 2010

Another video - great movie from Andy Holden

Another corker of a video fromt he 2010 3 peaks cyclocross - Andy Holden's movie is some first hand evidence of the severity of Simon Fell, and the speed at which Rob Jebb gets up it.  I've know Robb for a while now, ridden with him, on occasion drunk pints with him and shared hotel rooms at dark times in our relationship... but it doesn't stop me from gazing at awe in the presence of a monster when I see the 25 second point of this video.

More Photos - Bina Briggs and Matt Muir

Some more sent in to Keith on the official website here:

289 Flickr photos by Matt Muir, who has taken the time and trouble to put everyone's name on the photos (YAY) but put a watermark on them all (BOO)

Great photos Matt. Click on Alan's gorgeous white FMB 34mm tubulars to view the set
327 - Alan Dorrington  - Here Come The Belgians, Three Peaks Cyclo-cross 2010 - photo ID 101

Zillions of Photos from Bina Briggs on Photobucket

Click on those dodgy socks that clearly cost Neal his podium place ;-)

Penyghent Video

Another video made by someone gradually making their way down PYG.

Includes footage of an illegal Mountain Bike rider riding off a right of way. The police have been informed.

Lionel Meyringer: Broken in the front of saddle department

Lionel Meyringer's blog has a few photos, and little words, and the words he has used seem to imply a problem in the trouser department has arisen, too, after his first attempt at the Three Peaks.

Click on the hiking rucksack to see Lionel's blog.

Shaggy John's bikes before battle commenced

John Ross smashed his own singlespeed record on the 3 peaks last year but came back on gears to see what he could do.  Here's some of his bikes... looking very clean and tidy... complete with dry stone wall.

Click the shiny new Tufo T34 tubulars to view more

3 Peaks bikes

More Wheelbase photos on Flickr

Team Wheelbase / Cannondale / Gore Bike Wear's entourage have uploaded a load of other pics:

Billy Reid's photos - click Rob's hand to help him grasp the handlebar to view
3 Pea

Dave Powell's photos - click Millie's cheeky cheeks to view.

28 September 2010

Jason Miles' 3rd attempt leaves a bitter taste

Jason Miles is one of those nutters for whom the 3 peaks isn't enough. (Nice nutter though) A very experienced and rather good 12-hour and 24-hour mountain bike man, Jason's face is well known as he churns out mile after mile on his Titanium Ragley 29er.

So after a PB but just short of his sub 4hr target, Jason set off home on his bike to Manchester, making it a 90 mile day. Yes. I know.

Denied my target by the same kind of niggly mechanicals I mentioned earlier and one hell of a crash, I congratulated friends and fellow finishers for a while, changed into a clean jersey, got some food from the car and then turned a 38 mile race into a 90 mile day out and rode back to Manchester…

Click on Jason's hairline-cracked helmet to see his blog post from the 2010 race

Jase and Richard

Neil Coverley's 'very special' photos of a dedicated Nick Craig fan

Hayfield's Neil Coverley was witness to one of the strangest 3 peaks photos I've ever seen, or want to see.  Lost for words.... It's a famous ex- 3 peaks rider, too.  That's all I'm saying. Click where you think is appropriate to see the small but very entertaining gallery. And yes - it was cold up there, wasn't it.

Paul Myers' faceplants and cramps... all in a day's 3 peaks work

Paul's harrowing account of a grim but addictive race reminds me of the grip this race gets on you. It's only three hills... yeah... that's right.

I discovered the problem with braking from the drops and was catapulted over the handlebars on a section I should have walked. The landing was one of those awful, bone jarring, crunches on my chin which caused some real alarm amongst the people ascending. Luckily there was no blood evident and teeth seemed ok so I ran off down the bit we’d watched the night before and wondered why people didn’t ride it!

Click on the bruise of your choice to view Paul's account of the 2010 race

Keith Murray's support team's photos from Penyghent and Ribblehead

Mainly Horton and Ribblehead - some photos by the guys looking after 16th place finisher and cyclocross hero Keith Murray

Click on Keith emerging onto the final road section to view

Russ Jones' Facebook photo gallery

Lots of nice pics of an enjoyable day out for Russ Jones, (Brixton Cycles) who finished in a great time of 3:51 on Sunday, and some podium photos.

Click on the smiling southern types to see the gallery...

199 Photos from Team Wheelbase

Chris West was out taking photos on behalf of Team Wheelbase.co.uk / Cannondale / Gore Bike Wear

199 Photos now on the Wheelbase Flickr account.

Click on the Jebbmeister below to view


Full rankings at each of the checkpoints 2010

Someone simply called Neil (?) has out-geeked me and uploaded a great spreadsheet to Google Docs based on all the checkpoint times...

Click here to view the spreadsheet

Paul Masson... first time report

Paul kindly posted a couple of blog posts here on the 3 peaks blog before his first attempt and his long journey down from Aviemore was worthwhile, with an exceptional ride on the first attempt.

"but hang on a mo', steps, steps, steps, nooo that wasnae what I wanted! Jings, what a slog, really wasn't ready for that."

Paul's first time experiences have been well documented in the build up on his twitter account and his story of the day's learnings and experiences below are fine reading.

Read Paul's report here

Ben Butler: 1st time, 1st U23, 1st of many

Ben Butler was a first timer in 2010 and took the U23 trophy away for his troubles. His blog here makes good reading, and typifies that 'first time' feeling:

This grass covered wall was the hardest part of the race and seemed to go on forever, then once it was over the descent was as terrifying as the hill was tough!

Read Ben's blog by clicking on his remains.

Rider video on the British Cycling site

The video below was shot by a rider in the 2010 race and originally posted on the British Cycling site here

3-Peaks Cyclo-Cross from British Cycling on Vimeo.

Another Penyghent slideshow from Anthony - 'wonkytripod'

Received this messgage from Anthony on my earlier post...

I added an extra slideshow from Pen-y-ghent. All the videos are linked from my blog here

If anyone spots themselves in the slideshows, email thefairweathercyclist@gmail.com and I will send you the hi-res image.

27 September 2010

My own blog of the 2010 race - "So I had to crack on with it."

One bike, one brake, but luckily a one track mind.

It was a memorable year for me after a mechanical on Ingleborough, my own droning on, borrowed photographs and excuses can be found here

Richard Seipp's photos available to buy in their original high quality...

The photos posted by Richard Seipp on the British Cycling and Flickr sites are now on his own site for anyone wanting the perfect momento of a tough day in the dales.

See Richard's site here

Mark Baker - back after 16 yrs away

Mark Baker of Deeside Olympic last rode the 3 peaks when I rode my first - he was back this year to PB by 22 mins.

I had forgotten how steep this is(16years is a long time) the pain in my calf's was unbearable but once over the top I could get into my stride across the top of the fell before hitting the rocky climb to the summit.

Read the blog here

Alan Dorrington: The obligatory, cathartic post Peaks blog post

Alan's a top blogger and very well respected 'voice' in cyclocross. I always enjoy his turn of phrase and wordsmithery on his tweets, and his blog's well travelled with lots of regular readers from around the world.

This year's race saw Alan (a former top ten rider on a long, sustained comeback!) sneak back inside four hours and record a great finish for his Here Come The Belgians team.

Click on the bespectacled gentleman sealing his lips for safety as he enters the daring 'water splash' below. (Just ahead of another 3pcx blogger, Trevor Page, as it turns out)

I should also publicly thanks Alan for coming to my rescue with just three days to go before this year's race, and supplying me with a set of wheels after a dire discovery of a threadbare sidewall.  A true friend.

Andrea Halman's blog post from the 2010 event

Andrea's post on the 'Trepid Explorer' blog brings home the effort that goes into a hard day's 3 peaks ride. Andrea was part of a team of 3 women riding for Norton Wheelers.

The descent was much improved. Over the years a clear path has been worn around each of the drains on the descent track. On the drains which haven't a route around, most have the odd pebble or stone which helped stop a wheel dropping down so far between the sharp corners. There are viable lines through a number of the loose stone sections on Pen Y Ghent Lane.

Read the post here

Melodrama from Steve Fleming

Steve Fleming's 'dark sky' photos have started to do my head in to be honest. The effect he uses impresses at first but it's just OTT for my liking. The photos he's posted without any doomsday skies are simply fantastic... it's a shame really.

Click on Lewis Craven, a man about his business below, and make your own mind up.

First man off the tarmac

Cycling Weekly's 25 well crafted pics

Some very high quality dramatic shots from Cycling Weekly, including the absolute corker below.

Click on the inconceivably steep slope and the inconceivably fast climber to view

CyclingFocus photos from 2010

Loads and loads from CyclingFocus

Click just between the rock and the hard place to see them

BikeRadar article on 3 Peaks 2010

Here's a link to a race summary on BikeRadar, who posted a neat summary of the race, and a photo of a polish rider warming up at the 2008 world cyclocross championships. For some reason.

"It feels brilliant to get my title back,” said Jebb afterwards. “Nick rode really well last year and did a good time, and I think I was maybe a bit complacent. It was good for the race that someone else won, but I’m really pleased to have got it back now."

"I got away from him on Ingleborough, and got a gap and kept going. By the top I had about two minutes on Nick, and I just kept going and didn’t look back. I just had to keep the pressure on and survive."

View article

109 more photos from 2010 uploaded by Richard Seipp

Rich has now posted the remaining shots he deemed not good enough for British Cycling to his own Flickr account.

Click on the man who was officially the First Noel in the 2010 race below to view them

Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross 2010_51-3

Garmin GPS records for the 2010 3 peaks cyclocross race

In only a couple of years we've really seen the GPS posting thing really take off.

Here's some links to the Garmin GPS files for a number of riders this year:

c. 1400 Photos on the SportSunday website

Someone's been busy! If you're not on here, you've been very unlucky.

Click on the trail of ants...

Penyghent and Gill Garth videos AND photos from TheWonkyTripod

Quite a lot of good action captured here on this pair of videos from 'The Wonky Tripod' from Gill Garth PYG lane

Some video slideshows of lots of stills too...
Penyghent | Gill Garth

50 pics from Richard Seipp

Some wonderful photos with all the passion of the race coming through from Richard Seipp (of www.qwertyphoto.com) now uploaded to the British Cycling Flickr Account - click on the working party below

Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross 2010-15

James Eddison

Nice comment on my blog from James Eddison, who returned to the UK for the fourth time in succession for a 3 peaks ride yesterday. The comment was actually left on Saturday but I didn't get to see it until this morning...

I'm back home again from Switzerland for my forth year on the trot. Hooked on it now, and for some reason getting more and more nervous about it every year.

Read his comment and pre-race thoughts here

James finished in 4:06 yesterday - not a PB but it was a hard day and a good result nonetheless - making his visit worthwhile, I hope. We never did get that pint together though.

8 Photos by Bryn Lennon / Getty Images of 2010 race

Bryn Lennon's taken some lovely photos on Simon Fell and Penyghent - only 8 but quality rules over quantity ! Click on Shaggy John lugging his geared machine up Simon Fell

Cycling Focus pics on Flickr

Only 8 pics in this short but sweet suite of piccies... click on the hapless dabber below

Three Peaks 2010

Wig Worland's 2010 photos for British Cycling on Flickr

Photos by Wig Worland here on Flickr. Click on the last train out of Gill Garth to see the set.


94 Photos from Ian Hodgson on Flickr

Great series of pics as usual from Ian Hodgson - click Lewis's casual open-zipped jersey to see them all...


British Cycling article, video interviews, and full 2010 results

Great summary of the race and no doubt will be added to over the course of the day. (Video interviews on Vimeo so not available on iPhone) - link here

26 September 2010

My Photos of the Helwith Bridge finish area, 2010

Just time for a few snaps this year - on my Flickr Page - click on the only current British Champion in this year's race to see the lot...

Isla Rowntree - Three Peaks Cyclocross 2010

Bike News Asia feature on Robb Jebb and the 3 peaks

Blimey these guys are quick.... (or maybe in reality it seems just stored this one up). Big 3 peaks article on this blog.
It’s the epitome of amateur sport, something seemingly long forgotten in modern day cycling, but despite holding down a full time engineers job with British Telecom Rob Jebb’s sporting performances are anything but amateur, be them on a bike and on foot.
Full article here
Lots of mobile uploads from Suneil Curwen on Facebook here... prizes for the quickest uploads of 2010 I think...  Click on the road to hell to see more.

Cheryl King's images from 2010

Cheryl King has been putting out some corking photos on behalf of British Cycling this year, and her photos of this year's race are in tip top standard. Click on the handsome chap below to see her set of photos from the 2010 race.

23 September 2010

Dave Haygarth (hey... that's me!) blogs pre-race

Bull Hill cyclocross training -
the author does 'epic'
for photographer
Alan Dorrinton.
Added my blog post on my own blog this year... have tried to record a bit of my own thoughts and expectations on there as I like to look back on older ones at this time of year.

Some older ones from my blog here for posterity too, and may take you up until sign-on time on Sunday to read through them all.

2009 | 2008 | 2006 | 2005 | 1995

Cleverly underprepared

London 3 peaks regular Ian Cleverly is not in buoyant mood int he run up to this year's race.  In his rouleur magazine blog,
Why the apathy? The most likely explanation/excuse is lack of fitness. The usual routine of taking the whole of August to get racing fit after a summer of relatively leisurely riding went out the window. Holiday, illness, new job, and before you know it, September is here. Playing constant catch-up on the one-and-only training ride with fellow Peak-ers was thoroughly demoralising. My mojo is missing in action.
Ian already seems resigned to a shocker of a ride this year after a summer of poor circumstances.  Come on Ian... pull yer finger out.  Still two training days left ;-)

Another weather resource

Ribblehead weather station observations (in a mobile-friendly format too) - thanks to Alan Dorrinton

22 September 2010

Get LIVE updates on rider positions in the 3 peaks online

Martin Stone of SPORTident has promised LIVE updates for this year's event

"Follow the Progress of Friends & Family During the Event in real time on your computer or mobile phone - SPORTident Live Event Monitor”.

Tune in online and get those checkpoint times as and when they happen on the day... http://live.sportident.co.uk/3peakscyclocross

That's progress. Now... do I stay at home or go to Helwith Bridge on Sunday? Hmmmm...

21 September 2010

Konrad Manning's countdown to the 'Peaks on RoadCycling website

Great summary, info-hub, and checklist here from Konrad Manning on the RoadCycling site
My base fitness seems good though and race day will be about pushing hard on the climbs and concentrating on the descents. The area has had a wet September and heavy rain in the past few days. All the indicators are that I'll struggle to match my PB from 2009, but I hope that I now have the race experience to get me round in under four hours and possibly in the top 20 veteran finishers once again.
Read here in full

20 September 2010

What's Done Is Done

A final-week thought from last week's first-timer blogger Paul Masson, and seemingly much the same sentiment as me...!

Well that's the training done. Is it enough, no, is it as much as I could have done, yes.

The last hard week, pushed the "training envelope" out to eight and a half hours, not a lot to some people, but probably one hour too much in my family/work/life delicate balance.

I must admit to being selfish in the last week; I really wanted three hard sessions, 1 x 3hr, 2 x 2.5hr and a 30 min run and no-one was stopping me, cue a few tense "are you going out again" moments and my short temper with the young un's (so tired by the weekend). This added to my strict diet has made my wife wonder if it's all worth it. I mean it's not like I'm a contender or anything, it's just that this race has really got under my skin!

What will all this hard won training yield? I have no idea, as a first timer sub 4 hr would be nice, but unsupported means a Camelbak, and mechanicals will have to be fixed as no spare wheels or bike.

Actually the bike needs those Landcruisers fitted, otherwise it's all good to go, but it's bloody heavy - 22lbs on the local bike shops scales, jings, my full suss' 29er only weighs 2 odd pounds more!

So, just a few moderate sessions and some easy spins on the bike this week, "resting", dodging anyone that so much as sniffles near me, oh and no "comfort" eating either…… see you there.

The Anxiety Thing

It's all part of the routine. I've had this uncertainly before. Each year there's a few nagging things that start to take hold.  We're past the point of no return now. There's little that can really be done with six days to go that will be of that much help.

This year's anxieties largely stem from a few larger blots on the training record for 2010.  Whilst last year was on paper a more worrisome preparation (broken collarbone in the spring and unable to run that much until later in the summer), this year's preparation has 'only' been marred by the now usual compromise of having to fit it all around family life.

The specific training routine started in earnest after our family holiday in August and I started to feel like things were really coming together a week or so ago.  The weight was starting to come off (see my separate weightloss blog!) and the longer rides had started.  But it's all started to ebb away now, and my confidence is sliding downhill quickly.

In essence:

  1. Last Wednesday was meant to be a long ride. I rarely can get the chance with family and work to ride more than 3 hrs, so I'd taken a couple of mornings off work.  The wind and rain was appalling, so I eventually clocked 2hrs 50 mins.  Not really long enough for a 'long' ride.  I know.
  2. Last Friday, tyre sidewall blew to bits whilst doing my specific 'Bull Hill' hill reps.  It was meant to be a very high intensity workout - 'the last one' before a longer session on Sunday.  Had to cut it short and run home with the bike.  Still trying to source an appropriate replacement 34mm tub.
  3. Sunday's very-early-morning 3 hr session didn't materialise. Torrential rain came overnight along with a not very nice feeling that Katie was getting sick of all my going on about the 3 peaks on Saturday evening. Big chat had. Felt depressed and in limbo.  The rain was the final nail int he coffin. It was incessant, heavy, and with it still being dark, I opted for staying in bed. Not good, a week before the big day.
  4. I have a cold.  I know... it's not a bad time to get one really - hopefully clear it out of the way, but it's annoying. I want to have some sort of spring in my step at the moment and I feel like a moany old man.

Lewis's words to me were that it's all done now anyway - there's little I can do this week.  In the back of my mind, I know that a good hard ride the week before the 3 peaks (last year's Grizedale MTB challenge) was a good thing for me.  I haven't had that this year, so I feel like something's missing. I'll hit the slopes of Simon Fell this year exactly 5 weeks after my previous competitive outing.  I know that's too long, but it's just life.

I feel like I'd better balance this out though... just for the record.  So here goes.

  1. Last Wednesday was meant to be a long ride. I rarely can get the chance with family and work to ride more than 3 hrs, so I'd taken a couple of mornings off work.  The wind and rain was appalling, so I eventually clocked 2hrs 50 mins.  Not really long enough for a 'long' ride.  I know.
    It was a dead hilly ride, and I rode the hills pretty hard. I'd done three separate training sessions on Tuesday, too.
  2. Last Friday, tyre sidewall blew to bits whilst doing my specific 'Bull Hill' hill reps.  It was meant to be a very high intensity workout - 'the last one' before a longer session on Sunday.  Had to cut it short and run home with the bike.  Still trying to source an appropriate replacement 34mm tub.
    I was going really well carrying the bike and felt great - the 'laps' were the quickest I've done until the puncture, and the bike handling felt like it was getting really good too.  I actually have a decent tub that's suitable too - it just doesn't 'match' the grey Vittoria XG one.
  3. Sunday's very-early-morning 3 hr session didn't materialise. Torrential rain came overnight along with a not very nice feeling that Katie was getting sick of all my going on about the 3 peaks on Saturday evening. Big chat had. Felt depressed and in limbo.  The rain was the final nail int he coffin. It was incessant, heavy, and with it still being dark, I opted for staying in bed. Not good, a week before the big day.
    See (4) below. I could have done myself a load of damage in that rain, with a cold coming on.  The 8.3 mile hilly run I managed to squeeze in alongside family life yesterday was a great, tough workout, and I'm not overly tired from it, and can train hard until Wednesday now as a result.
  4. I have a cold.  I know... it's not a bad time to get one really - hopefully clear it out of the way, but it's annoying. I want to have some sort of spring in my step at the moment and I feel like a moany old man.I am an old man.  Get used to it.  I'm 40.  If I can finish within the top 25 on Sunday it's still something to be very proud of, alongside a busy work and family life.. 

Like I said up the top of this though, it's part of the routine to some extent.  My glass is half full.

16 September 2010

Mark Solomon's 'lessons learnt' from 2009

Last year a local friend Mark Solomon rode his first 3 peaks cyclocross and created a 'lessons learnt' document so that he could improve in 2010 whilst things were fresh in his mind. Mark won't be able to race this year but kindly shared his thoughts fresh from the few days after the 2009 event - so that we all can learn a bit more! Mark's an ironman triathlete and used to endurance events, and finished under 4 hrs.

The worst part of the race for me was the first hour. Did not cope well with the group start and lost a lot of placings. After that I steadily got better with the strongest time being my last hour.

Feel battered and stiff today. Just had cramp in my Hamstring sat at my desk!!

Now that I’ve done it I have learnt a lot for next year.

No 1. get in the first 20 - 40 riders in the peloton to avoid the lung busting acceleration and decelerations in the middle of it as well as putting you in a good place for the fell climb. I reckon this saves you 4 mins to the top of Ingleborough for the same effort. To train for this I need to do some crits at Preston next year to get experience of handling it.

No 2. Descend like a god on all three mountains with a possibility of gaining 3 mins per descent equals nine minutes. Hard to do but again big gains for little effort. Train on the descents and weigh up flat bars or chicken brakes etc.

No 3 Convince yourself you can run sections when you feel like your quite happy walking! 5 mins? A little more running with the bike in training

No 4 Pray for a good day...

No 5 Going hell for leather at Grizedale one week before was a bad idea for me. I think I left my best performance in the forest and not in the Dales!!? Hard to measure the effect of this but I never felt right all week until about Ribblehead on the Sunday. Would have been better doing a 1 hour sharpener cross race rather than a 3 hr endurance effort.

I’m now going to file away this content so I remember it for next year...

That event is a tough one. Mentally and physically it’s not as hard as an ironman but it's equally as tough in a different way. It’s the toughest eye balls out race I have done. Tough on the body all over. Unlike ironman where it boils down to fitness there is a much greater skill and intelligence dynamic coming into the 3 peaks. It is more of a race than a time trial and it’s easy to get blown away 40 placings in a flash. I was pleased as I managed to ride in at 170 beats at the end so after my crazy start I managed to measure the effort through the day.

We'll have to catch up with a beer at the White Horse with DH and talk it through… [DH - We did ...!]

On another note I also thought the standard of rider was high. Say much higher than Grizedale [MTB Challenge] etc. Lot of good Cat one Roadies doing that and they are strong.

14 September 2010

Paul Masson's first Three Peaks - Exclusive blog for 3PCX blog

First time rider in 2010 Paul Masson is making a lengthy trip down from Aviemore to the Dales for the Three Peaks. Paul's a MTB trail designer, with some amazing experience in off-road cycling, so to ride a special event like this after a few years out of competition seems to have him really fired up (on Twitter - his prolific and regular tweets about his training are great inspiration - follow him at twitter.com/aviemoron

After a break from racing for the last several years, I once again felt the urge to pin on a race number and therefore started looking at the race calendar for something suitable in the Autumn, giving me the "summer" to get back up to speed (having not ridden all winter due to snow cover). There were a number of these new fangled "sportives" locally, but they're not races - are they? Road races and mtb races were highlighted and planned for, but there was still something lacking, a proper challenge……. Not yet mad enough to do a 24hr solo and too late for the Keilder 100 I saw a link for the 3 Peaks cyclo-cross race, "now that sounds more like it" I thought.

I already had a cross bike, having used a Kona "Jake the Snake" for several winters as a training bike, but after researching on the 3 Peaks website and blog I quickly realised that taking off the mudguards and fitting cross tyres was not going to suffice! Oh, and the fact it had a "roadie" drivetrain of 53/39 and 12-27!

So after trying various "bodges" using old mtb drivetrains lying around the garage and more web research I plumped for a SRAM system of Force STI's, compact chainset, Apex rear mech' and 11-32 cassette. Once I slapped this lot on it became my new most ridden bike, with my lovely full sus' 29er Santa Cruz left languishing in the garage. After many evenings spent pouring over any 3 Peaks information I could find I realised that this was "a hell of a race" I had stumbled across, with a rich history behind it and a legendary status in the cross world. Oops. Time to get serious.

Ok, training, I like training, but I'm self employed, as is my wife, we've got two pre-school boys, no local family and time is soooo precious. But, through very early starts and riding home from weekend family outings I reckoned I could squeeze 1 x 3hr ride a week, 1 x 2hr ride and 2 x 1hr rides, with maybe a couple of 45 min' runs into a week. That's 7 or sometimes 8 hrs a week to play with.

I've set a couple of goals on the way to the "big" day, a road race, an mtb race and get down to my old racing weight of 69 kgs. The road race was trained for and done, a good hard day with me just attacking everywhere - just for the training - then sitting in 'til the finish, great fun and the first outing for my "newly" shaved legs. Next, the mtb race, a wee bit more stress and pain, as I used to be "alright" and therefore had a lot of mental pressure to do well again - and it was on a local course which was really "techy" i.e. my sort of race. For this the cx bike got ignored for a couple of weeks and I focused exclusively on short hard climbs quickly followed by steep and technical descents. Boy was I gripped the night before! Several years since my last mtb race, it was really praying on my mind, glad I was in alone babysitting - don't think I would have been good company! Anyhow, all went well with a third, more importantly I really enjoyed it and if time permits next year I'd like to do more of the sxc series (well, only the techy ones)

Intermediate goals achieved, the last 4 weeks to the race have been a ramping up of the efforts; with a mixture of repeated long slogging 30 minute seated climbs, short hard faster steep climbs, road speed work, running and the most painful one (due to a badly healed collarbone) repeated hill intervals whilst carrying the bike - ouch, but I refuse to use pipe lagging.Yet. But, being unsupported, I might end up using a lightweight Camelbak which, with a bit of a shoulder strap, might help cushion that area. The only kit issue to sort out is tyres, with the Conti' Speed Kings I've been using probably being ditched in favour of the forums favourites, the Schwalbe Landcruisers.

Well, into the final (hard) week now and I intend to train every day with a mixture of hard, easy, harder, easy, harder again sessions, then an easy weekend of whatever can be squeezed in, some hill walking perhaps, then taper down 'til race day.

Oh and through cutting out post ride cakes, cheese (I love cheese) and evening snacks the weight is now down to fighting weight, but my wife thinks I look terrible and "haggard", excellent, job done then!

I'll blog again in the final week....

Thanks Paul - looking forward to it - and hope the haggardness develops more! In the mean time, you can read a bit more about Paul and his CycleTherapy MTB trail design company here.

05 September 2010

Crossjunkie's take on East Lancashire Sufferance: and some dates for your diaries

Alan Dorrington
Crossjunkie (AKA Alan Dorrington from Here Come the Belgians) has contributed a couple of times to this blog and Alan and I regularly help whip each other into 3 Peaks frenzies on the phone and on training rides together whenever we get the chance.

Noun: sufferance - patient endurance especially of pain or distress

This blog post by Alan is written in his inimitable style and goes into fine detail of how piecing together bumpy, uncomfortable, and agonising 15 minute loops of a small moorland summit can get you mentally and physically on the road to a good 3 Peaks. The Bull Hill training sessions are well worth a visit even if you aren't doing the 3 Peaks but just like pain and fancy a break from hitting yourself on the head with a hammer.

... and it has reminded me to let you all know that two further Friday Lunchtime Training Sessions are planned this Friday 10th Sept and Friday 18th Sept in Helmshore, Lancs. See UKCyclocross.com for meet-up details. They are remarkably Peaksy loops we do on the East Lancs Moors and well worth a drive if you can get Friday dinertime off or somehow skive work.

British Cycling 'hints and tips' from Nick Craig and Phil Ingham

British Cycling's Phil Ingham has put together this ace summary about some of the more niche hints and tips that go into a good day out in the 3 Peaks Cyclocross. He'll have me out of a job if I'm not careful...
I'm always keen to better my previous times, but my main goal is to enjoy one of the most remarkable events in cycling. It's super-tough, but it also, in the words of Wallace and Gromit, "A Grand Day Out!"

01 September 2010

The annual weight loss obsession

It's all started now. I'm feeling fit, spritely and ready to fine tune the training for this year's race... then 'it' happened. I got on the scales. Duh. I've started a special new blog to obsess about my new challenge: losing 9 lbs in 25 days. View my new blog, which will run from today, 1st September until 25th September. Share the pain - feel the burn - avoid the carbs.