29 September 2011

Adrian Nelhams returns

Adrian Nelhams has written on his Blog ...
"...apart from the toughness and the challenges on the day it's got to be one of the best events I've ever done. I had a smile on my face when over 650 of us left the start & headed up the road to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, just to be part of something like this was special & then to finish in a good time, I couldn't have been happier."
Mee too Adrian.  Know where you're coming from.  I used to be nervous at the start - now I'm just excited.

Ed Edwards, Kate Moss' charming bosom c.2001 etc

Fantastic blog here by Ed Edwards on the Retrobike forum.  I'm not sure whether Jean Paul Sartre ever rode the 3 peaks actually.  Or Kate Moss.  But it's worth thinking of at times when your head's under pressure.
"I was feeling increasingly weary and the cut off was looking a challenge so to fortify myself I pondered about what Jean Paul would do (that’s J-P Sartre, rather than Jean-Paul who featured in my ‘O’ Level French textbooks). I found that this line of thought made my head hurt so instead focused on thoughts of Kate Moss’ charming bosom, circa 2001. As if by magic I was at the bottom of Whernside in one piece."
This, my friends, is why I love the 3 peaks cyclocross.  It's like a literature festival at the moment   Ed's time of 6hrs 26 was a near time-cutoff thing, but just imagine missing out on writing like this?!

Images from 2011 race by Andy Spencer

Some very respectable and quite arty images from Andy here on his website

Only 16 images but they make up for that in quality!

Paul Myers day of compassion

Lovely write up by Paul Myers on his blog.  Paul's one of those people who I've 'known' for ageas through the internet but never met - and it was a real pleasure to meet Paul on Sunday for real - albeit in strange circumstances and with a sling round my neck.  Paul (@sprocdoc) has helped me out (on Twitter) from afar in the past with various injuries - or just chivvying me along - so it seemed appropriate that I was not at my peak fitness when I saw him.

His rideitself was another of those 'not the fastest ever' ones but ultimately a very steady ride (or as steady as they go).  Lovely anecdote too about potentially saving the life of a foreigh rider on the wrong side of the road..!

"From Ribblehead I was a bit alarmed to see a rider in front of me on the wrong side of the road, blithely riding round blind bends in danger from on-coming traffic. Catching him up I realised he was foreign, Italian I think, so shouted that he needed to be on the left. He duly latched onto my back wheel sheltering from the headwind!"
Read in full here on Paul's blog

Otley Rich defies bad conditions

It's been on the cards but we finally have found someone who had a good day and a PB !!!!  Richard Allen, come on down!

The Here Come the Belgians rider had a great day out on Sunday and bettered his PB in tough conditions.  He's shown some great analysis of his 2010 vs 2011 split times and (like me) recorded a miles faster leg on the Cold Cotes to Whernside summit section, laying foundations for a great result.  (Note to you all - don't 'save' yourself on the road sections!!).  Great ride Rich.  Blog post here

"A personal target is to drink one bottle on this section and I force myself to do it. A few glances over my shoulder trudging up the steps to see if I could spy Al (@crossjunkie) but no sign as yet and I'm hoping he hasn't had a mechanical/puncture - last year he breezed by me on this ascent. Over the top and its onto my bogey section having punctured and mangled mechs here in the past. Each 'Peaks I think I ride more and more of the descent from Whernside but I still run the first section on the left as it seems both quicker and safer - as Clint says "A man's got to know his limitations" "

John the Scone's Flickr Pics of PYG and Simon Fell

Not many images here on Flickr but some good ones.  Click here or on the one of the casual one-hander to see the set.

Adrian's first time - elation and a healthy respectful terror

My cousin Adrian Holmes is one of those people who puts some dedicated cyclists to shame.  Whilst some experienced cyclists can't commit to the three peaks, fearing its utter awesomeness, Adrian entered it as his first ever bike race.  His blog here shows how an inexperienced syslist can get round steadily just with a blend of realism, mountain experience, preparation, luck, support and food.

"After encouragement and flapjack from our enormous support team, I'm on my way to the Ghent, and munching a Torq bar because I said I would. As I start ascending the track, riders are hurtling down which is quite nerve racking....I've still got to come down there....but not yet. Higher on the hill, I see Steve...then Phil....then Mark....and it's uplifting to see them and the warmth of their greeting. Before long I'm on my way down, and it's great cycling. A lovely 'ski traverse' contouring decent above the path, with my Landcruisers holding their edge superbly, and then as we get off the steep bit I start cycling, and keep cycling, for the longest period off-road of the day. "

28 September 2011

Phil's Flickr Pics

Support crew to my brother and cousins: Anne, Dee & Sarah took a few photos on race day and Phil Haygarth has uploaded them to his Flickr account here along with some pre-race day and post-race day bike fettling.

Mark leaves his mark

Mark Holmes
I wrote last week before the race about my excitement to be sharing this race with two of my cousins - Mark & Adrian Holmes - this year, in strange circumstances, with Mark visiting on a round-world trip from New Zealand.

As it turned out, it was even stranger sicrumstances for me as the big family knees up planned for after the race had cold water poured on it by my sitting in hospital for the lion's share of the evening.

Great of Mark as an honorary 'Belgian' to write about his first ever cyclocross race.
"shockingly awkward descents, clicking cameras, warm sunshine breaking through, cries of "go the Belgians" and so to the finish still in one piece. With wincing triceps and sore palms I really knew I'd done something different"

Haygarth Breaks Bone shocker (no - not that one - it's Phil)

Pic: © Ed Rollason 2011
My brother Phil Haygarth has been doing the three peaks a tiny bit longer than me, having ridden his first in 1994. Epic tales ensued (on that occasion he finished the race on a bike borrowed by me - I was riding his spare wheels round but his pedal collapsed on Whernside!). As with everyone's 3 peaks, there's always a tale to tell, and this year Phil's tale wqas simply being there given that he broke his leg on the last weekend on June.  Phil's blogged about his attempts to simply get to the race - then to get round - here on the Here Come the Belgians blog.
"I was laid up all summer and the forced idelenss meant weight gain and no training. The plaster came off in August and apart from some limped training walks to the supermarket on the family holiday in Spain, I did my first proper bike ride on 1 September."
Chapeau Phil - and so chuffed you got round after such crappy preparation

Ingleborough Summit Videos by 'walker with camera'

You'd have to be a real lover of mist and murk to get into these videos by a pssing walker (I'm guessing) uploaded to Youtube.  Or... erm... an obsessive 3 Peaks Cyclocross lover

Neil Mansfield's tough time in 2011

I properly met Neil Mansfield a few weeks before this year's 3 peaks.  Neil's an experienced MTB rider with a good deal of cyclocross experience but he's always keen to learn and take on more advice and generally chew the fat... like a lot of us it seems.  This race has got hold of another one big time.

Neil's blog post here tells of how his elation at achieving a 20 min improvement on his PB turned sour when his GPS device had cruelly failed him.  Next year, eh, Neil?

"Climbing Whernside was an uneventful slog, carrying the bike up the rocky climb, passing the injured Rob Jebb (2010 winner) en route. Checking in at the summit with GPS time of 2:15 it all seemed to be going well despite the conditions; who needs a grand plan glued to the top tube? The traverse across the top is high speed - as we encountered a long section of peat bog I felt the bike initially plane across the top but then start to cut into the soft soil. Speed only reduced gradually but handling plummeted to zero and I was thrown off spectacularly. It was a big crash and I was at first pleased to realise that apart from a sore head, I was basically OK... then slightly disappointed as I realised that the hardest part of the race was still to come"

Singlespeed blues from Dave Barter

I have a mixed relationship with singlespeed riding.  I used to ride a bit of singlespeed MTB as a fun / hack / hassle free bike and had some fun times on it somehow - but to race on Singlespeed against people on gears seems a great cycling oxymoron. Essentially thought, this is the three peaks, and if you ever thought it was a level playing field you'd be sectioned.  It's a playing field though.

Dave Barter has put together a truly great heart-felt blog post here, complete with lots of F-Word stuff so don't show your mums. 

He even took a few photos mid-ride.  Casual but committed to blogging.  Like it.
I reckon I had 30 seconds of easy pedaling to the bridge then it all kicked off. Suddenly my cadence was in the 200rpm area as I fought tooth and nail to stick to the wheel in front. “F**k me we’re doing 27mph!” I heard. didn’t I know it. Within one mile I was at lactate threshold just trying to hold on. “A hill, a hill….my kingdom for a hill” I thought, anything to make the furious spinning stop. Less than five minutes into the race and I wanted to get off.

Nic Bertrand's first time - will it be the last?

Nic's a dedicated road man and based in Lancaster he's seen enough of those three cheeky mountains in his life, but his first event was a toil.  His account on his blog seems to rebuiff the inevitable suction that this event has.  Nic will be on the start line of the 2012 event - we all know it, it's just that Nic wouldn't admit it until yet... that took a good 48 hours!  Welcome to the addiction, Nic.
Difficult to comprehend this race really. It's unique. Did I enjoy myself? mmm... I'd say enjoyment is a strong word. It was an interesting journey in discovering new sets of aching muscles. The question is will I do it again? most definitely. I am eating my words as I was adamant that it would be a one-off.

Russ Jones' pics on Cross Crazy

London visitors aplenty once more this year - some experienced, and some new.  "London people are always welcome in the Yorkshire Dales, and always welcome to leave" as I think the phrase goes.  (Don't shoot the messengar, please - or loot me - or whatever you do these days).  Some big smiles on the faces as the sun finally came out at the end of the day in Helwith Bridge here.  Great pics Russ

27 September 2011

Support Crew pics for Here Come the Belgians

Some of the HctB support crew's snaps from John Parkinson and the day our helping the men in (Red and ) Black on Sunday here on Facebook

Steve Riley: Once more unto the madness

Steve, left, descends to Cold Cotes
Steve's a great friend whose arm I ruthlessly twisted into his first 3 peaks in 2009.  By his turning up to do the event again this year, I trust that friendship is possibly back on.

Steve's a writer by profession and his blog posts always make a good read.  He's even written for us here on this blog before.  Read his 2011 update here
"We climb. Now we're on grass, getting muddy, getting steeper. Then it gets really steep. Nothing really prepares a first-timer for the horror of Simon Fell, but this time I was more ready for it. I got my head down and plugged away, picking off places, alone on the right away from the mule train."
He's also added some of his personal photos from the day here on his Flickr account

Paul Watson's drizzly road pics from Helwith Bridge

Based mainly in Helwith Bridge, 3 peaks and geberal cycling legend Paul Watson was snapping away whilst supporting son Rob in a great ride (and an inventive tub-free one on the top part of PYG).

Photos here on Facebopk

Crossjunkie's blog update for 2011

... not a minute too soon, Alan 'Crossjunkie' Dorrington - an utter connoisseur of things 3 peaks cyclocross - has updated his blog here

Alan's 2011 ride was a 'did better but went slower' one that almost all people seem to have recorded in this year's conditions.

"And I was faster, I 'know' I was. The splits tell a different story - slower on the descents, slower on the road - but that is only half the picture. I flowed more, I took more risks that were calculated and that paid off. The mojo was there going downhill, something I had worked on all year."

Biketreks day out, minor tumbles and all

Thorough blog post here from the Biketreks team - based in Ambleside, Cumbria.  With a large contingent this year they covered all bases and abilities. Click the clenched butt to your right or read the blog post here
"The climb up to the top of Whernside is almost completely un-ridable and relies on riders negotiating a series of rocky steps cut into the side of the mountain, following this competitors faced a long technical descent to the Ribblehead viaduct, with a very wet rocky track where many riders faced punctures and tumbles off the bike all the way down. It was at that this stage that John had lost count of the minor tumbles he was experiencing."

Twinkly Dave's hard year

Regular rider and looney-mileage-addict Dave Powell writes so enticingly it's such a joy to read his personal blog posts.  Dave's 3 peaks didn't go too well this year, after a nasty crash in training just a few days before sent him into a spiral of mechanical hassle and then unrelaxed, tense riding on the day.
The first marshalls out on the course fade back into the mist and murk as I start to grimace my way back down Ingleborough. Arms embarrasingly locked as rigid as the chunky seatstays I’m bounced wildly down the hill. Less flow than the water beating me on it’s descent I feel like a shambles. The road can’t come soon enough. I’m not carving round the kinks and corners in the grassy singletrack, I’m pinballing in the slowest way you could imagine. I’m hating it. I need some sort of reprive, something to help remove the damp-through misery I’m starting to feel.

Read his unmissable blog post here

Warren Edmond's video of the start

Lovely subtle mainly slo-mo build up at the start here from Warren Edmond on Vimeo

3 Peaks Cyclocross Race Sept 2011 from Warren Edmond on Vimeo.

Ivan Boyes toils and battles with friends

A four part report here from Ivan Boyes of Huddersfield Star Wheelers (result here) on the Huddersfield Star Wheelers forum here

"...not sure whether I was just knackered or trying to delay the inevitable rocky descent which you can check out as your trudging up as riders who have already got to the top are coming back down on the same track."

26 September 2011

Jason Miles : Chasing the big four-o -o

Jason Miles is one of those monsters who rides 12 and 24 hour MTB things very very fast and then eats more cycling for his tea.  His blog from this year's race, his first as a big grown up 40 year old, is all about chasing the big 4 hour PB.  But it's wet and windy - will he make it?  Read here

I had powerful brakes, bar-top brake levers and a very short stem. I suppose I was cheating. But it looked pretty impressive and was immense fun.

Andy Holden's PYG and Simon Fell photos on Flickr

There's something sinister about photographing a man sitting on the ground clutching his collarbone*, but incredibly fascinating for some of us at the same time.  I won't sleep so well tonight thinking of this one from Andy Holden on Flickr - but they're some great shots!!

*only kidding Andy

The Kinesis Crossdresser

Found 4 photos from (I think) Marcus Shields on Flickr - one of those sets of before and after shots.  Marcus had five punctures this year and still finished in just over 4 and a half hours.  Anyone better that?

Pics here

Wheelbase's year to forget... almost

With Rob Jebb and Stuart Reid not riding this year, and no Noel Clough for the second year in a row,  it was always going to be a hard year for Team Wheelbase.co.uk/Cannondale, and in many ways it went from bad to worse with Lewis Craven suffering a badly timed mechanical and my own feeble flailing on Penyghent. 

But out with the old, in with the new.  Steve Clark's third 3 peaks saw him mature with a very solid 13th place, and Tom Armstrong's debut ride - just 17 years of age - saw a fantastic win in the junior event.  There may not have been any team prize or ornaments taken home to Jebb Towers, but it wasn't such a bad day at the office.

Singletrack forum aftermath

It's one of the most vocal cycling forums in the country, and will shortly descend into someone being derogatory about someone else, so go and check out the thread on the Singletrack site before it gets too negative ;-)

Ed Rollason's blog post of 2011

Ed Rollason was deployed on photo duty for British Cycling on Sunday and as well as uploading loads of his pics, his own website update is an interesting insight into a day out in the mist and wind.  Read it here

Dave Haygarth's cracking year

Dave 'Hey - that's me' Haygarth of Wheelbase had a bit of an off year this time round, culminating with a bit of an off on the top of Penyghent and a long walk / coast back to the finish.  Never mind, we're all in one piece...  read the blog post here

Neil Coverley's gallery on Facebook

Neil very kindly emailed me a 7mb image of myself suffering on PYG lane so I can relive it in great detail.  Here's a gallery for you lot on that private whole internet in a site thing known as Facebook

Cycling Weekly photos

Some cracking shots from Andy Jones @ Cycling Weekly here on their site here (thanks to Keith Parkinson who uploaded this link and a few others to the official 3 peaks sit ebefore me - I'm a bit slow today!)

Gavin Hetherington's Video of the 2011 race on Vimeo

Watch here in a new window or below - wonderfully edited from stills and motion footage.  Great work Gavin
Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross Race 2011 on Vimeo.

Martin Henson's CyclicngImages pics

Plenty of photos to browse / for sale on the cyclingimages website by Martin Henson.  Click on the poor little chap's battered legs as he walks down Penyghent to a personal worst...

Ed Rollason's 2011 photos on Flickr

Ed was snapping away (a bit like me) this year on Blea Moor and on eor two other spots for British Cycling.  See the pics here on Flickr

284 Photos from Steve Fleming on FLickr

Steve Fleming's posted a wealth of photos to Flickr from PYG and a few of the Gill Garth section here

Singled Out: Richard Seipp's fixed gear record attempt

Richard Seipp's attempt at the fixed gear record this year wasn't to be - his account here shows that even the best laid plans don't always bring results.

The going down off Ingleborough is gloopy, I never touched the brakes until the very last bit to Cold Cotes. Frustratingly twice my chain falls off. The chain tension is OK, how does that happen? At Cold Cotes (another 20 places up) I stop and tighten the chain, and swear a lot (sorry kids), and loads of people who I've passed now pass me.

24 September 2011

Everything's gonna be all Whyte

Great geekwork by 3 peaks first timer Ian Alexander of Cheltenham & County CC here. You'd expect it a bit - Ian's a bike designer for Whyte Bikes so loves the detail. Check out this article on the Cyclist No 1 site.
Whyte were very fortunate to secure a set of the not-yet-released Hope Hydraulic disc brake converters to try out which means I should be hoping for rain and wet conditions to maximize any advantage these fantastic brakes are going to liberate.

My review of the same prototype Whyte cyclocross bike (that I'll be riding tomorrow) is here on the UKcyclocross site too

23 September 2011

To the launchpad

Quick post on my own blog talking about how I'm feeling about things / preparation, bikes, etc.
I’m feeling the usual nerve/excitement cocktail at the moment. It’s not the best of times to get much focused sense out of me. It actually helps to write things down a bit.

Feeling good about somethings and feeling bad about some… so here’s the list

View the blog post here

22 September 2011

Recce - in the nick of time

A few recces have been taking place as usual.  It's the kind of race that attracts you more and more as you do it (don't I just know it...) and it's a healthy thing to do in many ways.  Just simply familiarising oneself with the basics of the hills brings a bit of comfort.  For the connoisseur there is the working out of lines etc.

Alan 'Crossjunkie' Dorrington and Konrad Mannning went up for a fairly late recce on Tuesday. It's a good thing to do if you can spare the time, of course, because the weather's affect is generally a done thing by now.

I enjoyed a brief sojourn up Whernside 'the wrong way' back in August too.  It's a nice thing - to have a few moments to immerse yourself in the finer detail, and amongst the actual canvas.  I stashed the bike once I got to the 'not allowed to ride' bit of Blea Moor and headed up to look at the upper part of the descent in detail.  It does change subtly each year.  Nothing major this year but just a few things to work out and scratch the head about.

The one recce I've never managed to make time for in a busy life is over Simon Fell.  It's not legal to take the bike up there but I'd love to wander over the top and onto Ingleborough, then jog down the descent.  Two cars probably needed but would be good to feel the terrain I only see when I taste blood and sweat in my mouth.

Tapering blues (a short verse)

Another year, nearly there
Kit laid out, checked all the spares
Checked tyres, spokes, links on chains
Bars straight, brake pads changed.
Dread this time though every year
Emphasising the tiniest fears
"Did I tighten that cassette?"
"What do I wear is it's not that wet?"
Strangely though it's somehow great
Knowing that by now it's too late
Training is replaced with rest
Drinking water, keeping stretched.
No more working on those lines
Hopping storm drains twenty times
No more pounding up Bull Hill
What's done is done - time to chill

21 September 2011

Genes reunited

2011 is going to be even more special than usual for me - and for my brother Phil. Both lovers of the 3 peaks come what may, some strange string of events has led to two of our cousins riding this year's race. Not hugely strange to most people, but basically eldest cousin Mark Holmes (right) has made a bit of an effort to get to Helwith Bridge from his home in Nelson, New Zealand.

His travelling round the world on a mid-life career break with wife Sarah has brought him back to his home country of England in September. Fitting in with Dave, Phil and friends in September - as you'll imagine - means one thing really. "You're welcome to come and stay, but you'll have to enter the 3 peaks cyclocross". That type of thing.

Luckily, Mark's a very active mountain biker down under and is up to the challenge, but has never ridden a 'cross bike until last week(!!). His digging deep experience as a former fell runner (not a shabby one either, completing the Ben Nevis race in '93 with me, as I recall)

To compound matters, and celebrate the family spirit - Mark's brother Adrian (still living in Blighty) thought he'd better join in as well. Occasional off-roader and cyclocross bike commuter, Adrian too has never done a cyclocross race - but will draw upon extensive mountain experience to put together a first good effort 'inside the time limit' as he modestly puts it.

Great times for my family, come what may.
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20 September 2011

Rapha's Konrad Manning on a 'peculiar' race

Konrad's been featured here before, and taken a short break from organising the Rapha Supercross seried and is lugging his bike over three large hills.  Bring on the obsession.

"A goodly part of this unique race is spent walking up rocky mountain paths or near vertical grassy slopes with your bike perched on your shoulder. Hill reps have been done, mountains have been climbed, so bring on race day."
Read his article on the Rapha site here

19 September 2011

2011 Preview on British Cycling wqebsite

A great summary of what's to come in just under 6 days time here on the British Cycling website

"The big news is that last year's winner, Rob Jebb, who has won the event 8 times, is out recovering from shoulder surgery. In his absence Nick Craig who won in 2009 and was second last year will probably start favourite. However, Hope team duo Paul Oldham and Dave Collins, both returning to the race after missing it for several years, should also be in the hunt.

Of the women competitors, the last two years' winner Renee Saxton is back, but may find it hard to retain her title with the return of four times winner Louise Robinson, who holds the women's record over the course, 3-39.33, considerably quicker than Saxton's p.b of 4 hours 18 minutes. Nick Craig's 2009 win showed that being a veteran is no bar to winning the race, so if Robinson is fully committed, she could just do it. Also likely to be in the frame is Isla Rowntree, another former winner."
Read in full here

15 September 2011

Rouleur extract from Matt Seaton, from Penyghent 2010

Those folks at Rouleur mag get about a bit and always come up with a great read. They've just published an extract from Matt Seaton's 3 peaks write-up last year on their blog.

"My thumb is throbbing, my ankle hurts, there are muscles in my legs I didn’t even know I had which are now threatening industrial action. I just want to get off that last hill."  

Read it here

14 September 2011

Rob Jebb not riding the 2011 3 peaks

Defending champion Rob Jebb (WHEELBASE.co.uk/Cannondale) won't be defending his title in this year's Three Peaks Cyclocross. 

Rob Jebb underwent shoulder surgery on Monday 12th September for a persistent unstable shoulder and internal fracture at Wrightington Hospital.  The surgery went well and expects a complete and comprehensive recovery. The procedure was reasonably complex and as such the rehabilitation time will be slightly longer than with normal unstable shoulders. This will mean that Rob will miss the 3 peaks on the 25th of September and probably the entire cyclocross season in order to facilitate his full rehabilitation.

All his treatment and rehab will be undertaken with the team at thebodyrehab in the Millyard at Staveley, who sponsor both Rob and the WHEELBASE.co.uk/Cannondale team.  He will be using their altitude/hypoxic equipment to train at altitude throughout to maintain fitness and working hard in to come back fitter, stronger and faster for next year.

As a team mate of Rob's and someone who know how much this race means to him, I obviously feel for him immensely at this time, and I sincerely wish him a full and speedy recovery

04 September 2011

Steve Riley "goes long", punctures, bends bars, eats... a grand day out

Terrific taster of some more training obsession creeping in to people's lives here from previous contributor Steve Riley. Steve's second attempt at the 3 peaks this year will build on 2009 when he "was on a borrowed bike I'd not seen until a couple of weeks before" - this time he know's what's what a bit more and is dealing with the luxury of experience.

Read Steve's blog post of a good hard three and a half hours on an unsuitable bike at the Llandegla forest trail centre.

03 September 2011

Rob Jebb shoulder rumours... the truth

Two or three rumours going around on Twitter that Rob Jebb's shoulder injury (sustained in the English Championship fell race at Whittle Pike on 31 July) is now threatening his ability to defend his 3 peaks cyclocross title at Helwith Bridge on 25th September.

Rob's injuries were serious but he's been able to continue training with his usual dedication.  However, Rob will undergo a scan in the coming week and it will be determined then whether surgery is needed - and if so, when that surgery will be.

Needless to say, it's on until it's off, and I'll do my best to keep you posted.