Pretty chuffed with the Three Peaks this year; 10th, in a stacked field in 3:17:15 with some big names behind me. The race only really got going on Pen-Y-Ghent, no big mistakes before this, just steady progress keeping out of trouble.
At Ribblehead Emma shouted out I was 17th, this seemed ok, not great but ok in a strong field so I pressed on to Horton feeling not-too-bad. Starting the climb up Pen-Y-Ghent I felt fairly strong and quickly dispatched my two companions from the previous road section (definitely aided by mum who waited on the hill to chuck me a bottle of coke). As the climb progressed and the gradient steepened my legs felt increasingly tired as cramp started to set in but I still seemed to be passing people. I don’t think anyone feels good on Pen-Y-Ghent, it’s more a case of who’s hurting less or who’s able to just block out the cramp and keep it going.
I’d lost track a bit of my position but approaching the top of Pen-Y-Ghent knew I must be somewhere close to the top 10. Four of us dibbed in pretty much together so my goal was to be first back from this group and see what my time and position would be (I’ve never raced with a watch or any ‘data’ preferring to just ride to how I feel). My plan for the descent was to keep it neat, safe in the knowledge that I would have strong legs for the final road section. However it turned into a flat out sprint all the way down- great racing with no one giving an inch and a few hairy moments. Nearing the bottom of the hill three of us were all still close; decision time, either sit in and work together or break it up straight away? By this point my confidence was high and with my family and pal John cheering loudly I quickly decided to go for the immediate break. This worked perfectly and after passing some slow moving cars I quickly had a gap of ~30 seconds so could relax and just occasionally check back to make sure my pursuers weren’t gaining- happily they weren’t and I crossed the line a delighted 10th place.
A top 10 at the Three Peaks has been a goal for a few years now so I’m chuffed to finally crack it with a respectable time in a strong field. My aim was always to get that result then have a rest but… I’m addicted now, there’s just nothing else like it in the UK (or the World really!). Also the event does seem to suit my strengths and it’s nice to get strong results. This year felt good and my time was an improvement on before but I still feel there’s plenty more to come. The Three Peaks is not a race where you can really have a ‘perfect’ ride, there’s always something to improve and work on for next year. As in previous years I have a small scrap of paper in my diary with notes on what worked well and where I need to improve.
There was some fantastic coverage of the race this year. Thanks to Nathaniel Rosa for the cracking picture in this post, it summed up my race perfectly, check out his other shots of the race here.
Finally as always with this race a big thanks to Mum, Dad and Emma for an awesome job chasing me round with wheels and drinks!