Off-road legend to celebrate turning 50 with ride in epic North Yorks race

Off-road racing legend Tim Gould will return to the Three Peaks cyclo-cross this weekend in celebration of turning 50.

The six time winner of the event has not raced bikes for over a decade and last competed in the epic North Yorkshire cyclo-cross in 2000.

He turned 50 in May and intends to continue racing cross this season, including National Trophy events.

“I’ve had the urge for the last two or three years but it’s taken some time to get the fitness,” Gould told CW.

The Derbyshire based postman will start alongside his brother Julian in the colours of the Zepnat-GSG team.

Their jersey will bear the dates of his six consecutive wins in the Three Peaks, the first of which was 30 years ago.

After his final win in 1989, Gould stepped away from the Three Peaks.

“I was riding as a professional mountain biker and the Peaks was usually a week after the world championships,” he recalled. “It didn’t really fit in any more.

“Six was the record so I thought I’d leave it at that.”

In mountain biking, Gould won several world cup events, the 1990 world hill-climb championship and took a bronze in the same year’s worlds cross-country. He was also the first cyclist to beat their four legged rivals in the annual Man v Horse event in Wales.

When Gould last returned to the Peaks in 2000, it was at the request of John Rawnsley – the event’s first ever winner and for many years its organiser.

On that occasion, it was the event that was celebrating a landmark year; it’s 40th edition.

“He wanted to make a bit of a show of having the previous winners there,” recalled Gould.

Despite eleven years having passed since he’d last raced over the triple whammy of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent, that occasion turned out to be something of a handover.

Gould finished second behind young upstart Rob Jebb. The Lakeland based Yorkshireman has subsequently won nine more editions of the Peaks to supersede Gould’s record and will start again on Sunday as the main favourite.

The race gets underway at 9:30am on Sunday at Helwith Bridge.

See more in this week’s Cycling Weekly magazine (September 25 2014), out today.