Cross season is finally here and for me it kicked off last Sunday with the classic 3 Peaks Cyclocross race in Yorkshire. Now in its 50th year, it involves a circular navigation of the peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-Y-Ghent and includes 60kms and 1,500m of ascent, frequently involving rough and steep terrain – with a bike on your back.
This year two Shand Stooshie’s were taking part ridden by myself, and Robin who’d bought a frame from us earlier this year. Robin had previously competed two years ago and was looking for a steel cross frame with disc brakes for his next race. For my part, I’d run the 3 Peaks fell race a couple of times so knew the hills (albeit different to the cyclocross route) and had for year always wanted to give it a go with a bike in tow. I was also happy to have discs and knew the descents would be ‘entertaining’ with a mountain bike never mind a cross bike.
To add to the fun, the weather was the worst experienced over the past 50 years with heavy rain and 50mph winds on the summits making it a challenge just to stay upright. Shouldering the bike on the steeper sections was tricky with wind making it difficult to balance on rockier sections with cleated shoes. Quite a few competitors pulled out after the miserable decent of Whernside deciding it was too cold and wet to face another summit, although after years of hill/fell running I didn’t mind the conditions too much, although would agree it was all a bit grim…
In the end both Stooshie’s (and riders) finished in one piece with Robin in an impressive position of 89 and me in a less impressive 243 out of a 700 start list. I’d originally been planning a better finish time/position so was a bit disappointed with the result, but reckon it should be achievable in better conditions next year.
Special thanks should go to all the marshals who braved the elements for hours on end out on the hills – along with Malcolm, Fraser, Christina and her parents who supported Addy and me with spares, food and motivation on what was a very grim, but most excellent day.
Picture courtesy of Edward Rollason.