With 18 finishes over the years at the 3 Peaks, Alex Forrester is a familiar face. Alex, author of the Cyclocross Bible and a well-known UK Cyclocross figure, has a couple of blogs on his ‘How to ride a bike’ site.
1. An article on the approach to the 3 Peaks, aimed at first time / curious… “The Three Peaks”
Lot’s of people try hard on the day, but it’s training that makes the difference. I’m sure everyone tries hard in their exams at school, but it’s only those who’ve done the revision that will reap the rewards. The really smart ones go to the lessons and revise the really important bits of the course, working on their weaknesses, and honing their strength areas. The Three Peaks is no different.
2. A review of his 2018 3 Peaks … a great blog where we get to hear those familiar feelings of the emotional and mental ups and downs as well as the physical ones
It was one of those days where I just couldn’t push on the pedals hard enough, go deep, get in the zone, however you want to put it. I’d done so much training and really focused on this event so it was tough to see the front of the race drift away from me, especially as it was as we passed by my dedicated, cheering mum. I knew my running form was good so resolved to make back time as soon as we hit the steep slopes of Simon Fell.
I did indeed make up some ground here, along with legend, team mate and long-time mentor Tim Gould. If you’d told me 25 years ago I’d be racing Tim up Simon Fell I’d not have believed you. Racing round with Tim that day is a memory I’ll keep!
GCN squeezed not one but TWO vids from their 2018 day out in the Dales. We all love a good geek out. (Well… I do).
The choices? Well… we’re all individual. Whilst some of us have more experience of the Three Peaks, Simon has a vast and enviable experience of cycling in general and a great, in-depth knowledge of cyclo-cross and of course, bikes. Whilst I would disagree with a only few choices, below, I understand why he has made them. It’s worth getting off my chest. It’s my job, innit!
1. 40×42 bottom gear. Whilst I myself also use that gear, I use it because I prefer running. For someone who prefers to ride, and with Si’s 10 sprocket on the rear, thanks to the XD Cassette, a 38 tooth front ring would give him a more enjoyable Penyghent. Okay. Marginally more enjoyable. Note: THink 38 front ring sounds small for a 1x set up? Two teeth? I’m being fussy. But … a 38 x 10 at a cadence of 90 RPM on a ‘cross bike with 35mm tyres would carry you at just over 27mph. I know.
2. 45mm deep rims. I’ve seen people literally blown to the ground on top of Simon Fell (where, irnonically, it seems Simon didn’t actually fall). And the same on Penyghent. Even with pushing bikes as opposed to having them on your shoulders, the winds are nasty big up there. Add to that the fairly short road sections, and the fact that it’s normally best to consolidate on those in a small group, the advantage of plush deep rims eggs away. But yes, they look nice. And yes, I’ll have them if you want to get rid of them Si.
3. Taped survival bag: Just do it very well. Whilst I’ve never seen someone booted off the race for finishing without one, I HAVE seen them on the course sometimes where they have fallen off bikes. You could well be a DNF without it if they organisers felt shirty. Imagine the pain of that!?!
Si's Trek Crockett 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross Bike - YouTube
GCN have made a wonderful film of the 2018 race. Tracking the progress of presenters Simon Richardson and spaniard Oscar Pujol – who came away with the best newcomer award in 8th position – the video combines lots of warm vox pops, onboard camera footage, hand-held footage of suffering on the hilltops, and best of all, some in-the-pub scenes, where they fill the table with empty glasses to make it look like they had a skin full the evening before the race.
We know it wouldn’t happen, lads.
Racing The World's Toughest Cyclo-Cross Race | GCN Presenter Challenge - YouTube
Most of you will know the name Heather Dawe as that of the winner of the 2008 3 Peaks. Well Heather’s launched a kickstarter project for a new book about cycling in Yorkshire and, since there will be a chapter about “the crazy and wonderful Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross”, this qualifies…! Go and back Heather’s project here
My current project – A Cycling Year – takes its inspiration from an old map and my love of writing, painting and cycling in Yorkshire. Around 15 years ago I was walking through a flea market in Hawes up in Wensleydale after a particularly wet and windy mountain bike ride. Flicking through some old books and maps, I found a copy of Bartholomew’s Sheet 6: Wharfedale. I love maps and live in Otley in Wharfedale and was excited to find this one. Printed in 1938 and bound on cloth, this map was aimed at cyclis
Scot was mentioned in his run-up to the 2018 event with his meticulous bike prep. After the race, he got his thoughts down on the Magspeed racing blog on his finish – a shade over 3 hrs 30.
Pulling-yourself-up-with-your-hands-kinda-steep. It’s also my first chance to have a look around and take stock, look right and you see Whernside, look left and you can see Pen-Y-Ghent. Morale is high and there are a few friendly faces about, Scott Chalmers, team mate and friend is just on my heal. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot…. Cresting Simon fell and its back on the bikes heading for the Summit. Scotty is still by my side as we dib at the top (Cheers as always to the volunteers and Mou
Helen Gorman of Stirling Bike Club took over 30 mins off her debut time this year. Quite an adventure, and a brill read here on her blog.
Then I was dibbing in at the top of the third and final peak, a good half hour ahead of last year’s time and with one final, mad descent to go. Just below the summit I followed the wheels of two lads from Wakefield Junior Triathlon Club down a particularly steep, tussocky section that I am 100% sure I walked last year. I was halfway down it, the wind making my eyes stream so I could barely see what was in front of my wheels, before I wondered, “What the hell am I doing?” But it was too late to bail out
Could there be some World Tour riders on the start line of the 2019 3 Peaks?
Riders from WorldTour team EF Education First-Drapac are set to ride a series of “alternative” events such as the Three Peaks as part of the team’s new partnership with clothing brand Rapha.
There might be an EF rider at the Three Peaks next year. We’re looking at the Leadville 100 [mountain bike race], [gravel race] Dirty Kanza and trying to use this alternative calendar to generate more engaging stories around characters on the team. EF are all quite individual.
The 2019 3 Peaks cyclocross takes place two weeks ahead of its normal last-Sunday-in-September spot, to accommodate the 2019 Road World Championships also held in Yorkshire, and this could be a factor in bringing in a few more travellers.