Monday, September 26, 2011

I finished the 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross 2011

This year at the 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross was going to be my fastest, and by a long way. I've done the race three times before, and always been the wrong side of 4 hours 30 minutes.This time my plan was to be pretty close to, if not under 4 hours.

Pic- Ed Rollason.

I'd trained really hard, lots of fell running and lots of miles on my bike. My trusty bike had just one fixed gear, so in theory little could go wrong.

Off we go from Helwith Bridge. Steady away for me, it's hammering down with rain, and people are all over the place. Once we turned off the road at Gill Garth I started reeling people back in. That is until I passed the farm. My rear tubeless tyre decides after a week of being ridden hard over pointy stuff that now is the time to unseat itself from the rim. It is pissing it down with rain, and getting the valve out of the rim is a nightmare. Long before I finally get the tyre re-inflated, I am in last place. Last place in the three peaks at Gill Garth farm is cool if you are 70 something years of age, not when you are 45 and fit.

I dig in and before Simon Fell proper I've already got a few places back. By Ingleborough I'm  120 places up, but ~20 minutes behind my 4 hour timetable. 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.

Away on to Whernside and I'm motoring I pass everyone who's passed me (twice) and by the top I've made another 15 places. No need for elaboration but before the viaduct at Ribblehead I first pass loads of people, puncture once, get passed by loads of people, pass loads of people, puncture again etc.

At Ribblehead (now 30 places down) my wife is puzzled why I want more tubes and Co2 cylinders (which she has left in the car). Ace. I bark " Run to the car, get to Horton before me."

I ride the road slowly chatting to someone I've not seen for years. No point getting to Pen Y Ghent lane without any extra tubes. Ann eventually catches me up with replacement tubes etc. Time to push on again.

I leave Mairi and though 4 hours is already nearly up, my other goal to beat the fixed gear record of just short of five hours is still a goer. I ride and run up Pen Y Ghent lane by the top (40 places up). All is needed now is to get back down in one piece.

I descend fast, and then the chain falls off. I wait until the bike comes to a natural stop, and then put it back on again. Shortly after the chain falls off again, but this time it gets caught between the frame and the cog, resulting in a locked rear wheel. No problem I think. I stop and unwind the chain from the wheel only to find that more than half of the chain is no longer there. Oh well, game over. Consoled though that I'm not broken like some others.

Scooting and rolling gets me back to the road.

My pal Chipps Chippendale and someone who I don't know assisted me back to the finish via Madison style slingshots and other towing techniques. Thanks.

So my slowest ever 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross at 5:07 , but definitely the most eventful.

Lessons learned for next year.

3 Peaks Cyclo Cross 2011 Aftermath


  1. Any idea what was throwing the chain? Did the first few throws bend the chainring or teeth?

    Small block 8's? Simon's fav tyre at the mo.

    Good attempt!

    Maybe I'll keep you company next time...

  2. Don't know, just put another on now. When it's happened before, it's been due to muck getting between the chain and ring.

    Kenda Kommandos.

  3. The chainline indeed is ever so slightly out. :)

  4. Top Top effort Rich
    I may get around to doing this one. Just became a Team Belgian myself

  5. Cheers Daz, welcome to HCtB.

    A race that might suit you with your fell running and cycling skills.