Yes, it’s that time of year again. Suddenly it’s time to start worrying about what tyres, what wheels and what shoes for the world’s most iconic cyclocross race, the Three Peaks. This year will mark the 57th running of the event (which makes something like 59 years since the first running, by our maths, given the two years off for Foot and Mouth) and the race’s popularity shows no signs of waning. There really is nothing out there like it and it has to be on everyone’s cyclocross bucket list.
There are a few changes this year, though. For a start, the traditional Three Peaks race date of the last Sunday in September has been shifted forward by a fortnight to September 15th this year. Inconveniently the UCI Road World Championships are happening in Yorkshire at the end of September and, rather than the UCI moving its event out of respect to the Peaks, the Three Peaks kindly elected to move its date.
The organisers have reiterated that there are strict limits to the number of racers allowed into the event, with a field capped at 500 racers. These entries are what are open next week. Riders must apply to race, while persuading the organisers in their application that they’re not going to explode in the first hour and become a burden on the Mountain Rescue personnel, who’ll usually be busy enough as it is. A background of cyclocross racing, mountain bike racing or big-mountain experience is usually enough. But then it’s a lottery as to who actually gets in. We’re not entirely sure how it works and assume that the biggest fields (probably Senior/V40 men) are the hardest to get a spot in.
Successful completions of previous events seems to count to an extent, though we all know racers who haven’t got in after doing it five times… And we know racers who’ve tried three times and given up again. By the end of June, though, the successful racers know if they’ve got in and they can get on with some frantic training and some booking of Yorkshire Dales B&Bs.
Unsuccessful applicants either have to try again in a year, or they can elect to marshal the event instead, which gives them a guaranteed (though not free…) entry to the following year’s event. However, this year the Three Peaks is also going to try operating an almost live reserve list up to the last minute, to take advantage of any spare places from riders who aren’t able to start. This can be for a number of reasons – injury, illness or even a car breaking down on the way to the event. Rather than have these places go to waste, the Three Peaks organisers are going to operate a live list of spaces on the day, so that reserve riders who have perhaps come up to support or spectate, are in with a chance of being able to enter on the day.
Quite how this will work, what time the cut-off is for DNS riders is and how many spectating riders will come to the event fully kitted up to race, we don’t know. But it’s a very novel way of using up every one of the limited race spaces.
Entry forms should be live on June 1st here:
And they usually stay live for ten days to a fortnight, but don’t delay! And, hopefully, we’ll see you there!