3 Peaks Cyclocross 2018 Part 1

Scot Easter and Scotty Chalmers lined up in Helwith Bridge on Sunday against 600 other riders to compete in the prestigious 3 Peaks Cyclocross race. Known as the toughest ‘cross race in the UK, it takes in the three highest peaks in Yorkshire: Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen Y Ghent. At 9.30 on Sunday morning those 600 riders left the start line and followed the lead car for around five miles until they reached 90 degree left and the race started for real – and all hell broke loose…

Here are the views of our man Scotty: it wasn’t quite the day he was hoping for,

This year was my fifth go at this mad but amazing race and I was really looking forward to seeing what I could do. Training had gone pretty well leading up to the event, bike was ready, I felt pretty good on the start line, albeit a little nervous – this race always slightly ‘gets me’, I guess it’s the sheer size of it, the peaks that lay ahead, the fierce competition…

A pretty grey and cool start to the day meant for a chilly first few miles behind the race lead car, this is always a slightly sketchy bit of the race, with that many people all raring to go, mixed with nerves and the fact that, what seems like, the top few hundred ALL want to be at the front. We left Helwith Bridge and headed towards Peak one: Ingleborough. Once the road section was done, we turned 90 degrees left and BOOM, we’re racing, here goes! Straight away, the race split, the top boys (including my buddy, teammate and Peaks-master, Scot Easter) pushed the pace. I picked people off as we hit the first slopes and eventually hopped on the ‘Magspeed train’ and then One T and myself hit the steep section of Ingleborough – the steepness of which ALWAYS takes me by surprise – and we use the wall and fence to help pull ourselves to the top. Glued to the back wheel of Scot, the climb seemed to go a little quicker that normal for me and then we hit the top…it was bloody windy, my bike kind of tried to blow off of my back. We got to the first check point together, and had our dibbers ‘dibbed’ by the fantastic volunteers who help make this race such a cracking event. Then we headed across the top and to the decent. It always feels like you’re heading off the edge of the world! As we dropped off, down to the track that would take us to Coldcoates, (the first ‘pit stop’) I jumped back on the bike and started the decent, dodging the nasty jagged rocks along the way, saving myself from a sliced tyre or a buckled wheel. Within a few minutes of descending, BOOM, my race was all but over…heading down the technical decent I think I managed to glance off of one of those many nasty, sharp rocks that we have to negotiate our way around (poor negotiating on my part there then!) This then fired me ‘off- piste’ and into a nice set of rough old rocks which I then promptly crash-landed into, hip first…bugger. The fall knocked the wind out of me somewhat, and I wasn’t helped by being clouted with my trusty steed (I thought we got on!) I had plenty of riders pass me checking if I was OK, one of the things I love about this race…everyone looks out for each other, knowing that, if things go wrong up there, it can get serious! Once I’d managed to breath properly again, I conducted a quick bike check and I headed down. Not long after, I was caught by my buddy Chris Metcalfe (Fabric) who had just sliced his tyre open, putting an end to his chances of a top result, so we rode to the bottom together. I was now absolutely freezing and rather sore. Battered and bruised, I spoke to Pit man Jon and Pit man Stu, who were waiting to hand out bottles or a spare bike… then decided to ride the road section to the bottom of Whernside and see how I felt. Not great was the answer…so, with the pain and the thought that there is a long season ahead, I decided it was best to head back. I hate having to pull up in a race, but…there is always next year! Up next, National Trophy racing…I’ll try and stay on!

IMG_9498
One T and Two T

Magspeed’s Scot Easter faired much better, coming home in a cracking time of just over 3hrs 30minutes. A Scot’s eye view is coming your way soon…! It’s back to the shorter, but no less intense, 1-hour blasts this weekend coming, with the big boys, in the National Trophy.

 

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