Three Peaks Entries are open!
It’s the most ‘must-do’ event in the sport of cyclocross. The Three Peaks is over 50 years old, but more importantly, it’s the most extreme example of an event that pitches completely unsuitable bikes at a completely unyielding landscape. The hills are steeper than you can imagine, the descents are (to quote a visiting American last year) ‘Gnarly! No… dangerously gnarly!’ and yet over 600 riders fill the start line every year ready for their chance to pit themselves against the mountains of the Yorkshire Dales.
Once you’ve tried to make out what the commentator has been saying all morning, marvelled at the Hope balloon floating overhead and lined up with your fellow competitors, the race starts with its famous ‘neutralised start’ – which is neutral in that no one is allowed to overtake the leading van. However, the leading van seems to drive at about 30mph, so you’re generally hanging on for dear life before the race even turns off road.
And then when it does, you wish you were still on the road because in about a mile the course turns near-vertical as you make the ascent of the first mountain, Ingleborough… And while nothing’s quite as steep as that first grass wall, the subsequent peaks have their own character – like the stone steps of Whernside and the endless out and back grind of Pen y Ghent.
Here’s where to enter:
Anyway, the entry forms are out today, June 1st from the Three Peaks Website. Don’t worry if you don’t have a super-fast internet connection, you have a leisurely week or so to get your entry in – which is helpful as it’s not a case of being quick on the draw, but more about how likely you are to be able to complete the event and not have to invoke the (fantastic) Mountain Rescue Teams that help with the event. You’ll be asked to list your previous attempts and your racing palmarès. Not everyone gets in – as this video from Oli at Morvelo shows.
However, for those that do get in, the last Sunday in September will always be a day to remember – and it’ll always improve as time goes on.
Important rule changes:
This year there are some rule changes and the organisers recommend reading the new rules and printing them out to bring with you to sign on. A quick scan of them reveals that the most interesting to riders is the fact that (approved) aluminised plastic foil emergency blankets are finally allowed. These are much more compact than the previous, compulsory orange plastic survival bags (that are still allowed if you want) and many riders will be thankful of the lack of bulk.
And we’ll see you on the start line in September. Oh yes! Forget on-bike training – it’s time to get on the stair stepper machine at the gym!