Simon Scarsbrook aimed to take part in his 18th Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross this year, this is how he got on...

I had had an ‘ok’ start, no matter how near I think I have lined up to the front, there always seems about 200 riders ahead of me at the first bend! I managed to avoid a pile-up in the neutralised section and got to the top of the first peak, Ingleborough, nippier than expected. Weather conditions were perfect, quite balmy up high and my ears ‘popped’ to such a degree that they stayed that way for the rest of the day (and into the evening!) which gave me muffled hearing and a slight ‘out-of-body’ feel for the remainder of the race (not necessarily a bad thing!).

I took the first descent a bit cagey, definitely not as fast as Ian Taylor. I did mention he was quick downhill. A fast road section to Whernside, then a bit of a trudge up, but started making up places. Descending Whernside was better, looser and more relaxed, I was out on the road to P-Y-G incident free.

An ever growing group gave a comfortable ride and we bombed over the humped bridge at Helwith in a long line, with excellent marshalling shepherding us onto Pen-Y-Ghent lane.

The final peak, Pen-Y-Ghent, is a great leveller (!). It’s here where we descend the same track we go up on, and the first time, fittingly at the end, where you come face to face with the riders you have been battling for the past 3 hours or so.

I had missed the leaders coming down, a sure sign I wasn’t on for my fastest time, but lots of support from walkers and

Picture: final descent of Pen-Y-Ghent, by Andy Jones

Picture: final descent of Pen-Y-Ghent, by Andy Jones

spectators found me my climbing legs. Higher up, and back to the feet heralded the first twinges of cramp, but it disappeared on drinking the small amount of liquid I had left on board.

I had also worn a new pair of Giro shoes I had been given, my sensible head saying not to as I had only had them a week, but with a cycle shoe upper and a walking boot sole they proved to be the ideal solution! (review to follow). Lots of encouragement is shouted to and from riders toward the top, and I nodded and laughed with a guy I see every year in approximately the same place (must learn his name!).

The descent here I always enjoy, not quite getting the ‘air’ as some do but I emerged on the road with a guy from Deeside Thistle and we shared the pace to the finish, catching people along the way and sprinting it out. He who gets to the bridge first will win the sprint, which luckily I don’t think he was aware of and I went over the line in 231st place in 4 hours and 9 minutes. A bit disappointed with time/position, but can’t complain bearing in mind my preparation.

When I started this blog, it was in part to enthuse myself again for the race, I thought writing about it would give me the kick up the a*** to get on with it. It did gradually, as did going for a ride a couple of days before around the area and realising just how beautiful the Dales are. Here’s to next year!

Simon Scarsbrook – simon.scarsbrook@freelance.timeinc.com

Final week: Three Peaks blog

Rest has been the order of the week. It is always something I struggle to maintain enough of. When, sometime…