Preparation was going well. I’m weakest on the walking/running climbs and with a few miles in my legs and the Lakeland 50 not too long ago, I felt fit and ready.
However, with more running it meant less biking. The last week before the peaks was a rush of glueing tubs, new brakes, test rides and then glueing more tubs after a valve came off!
I was still happy enough as I knew i could make up time on the downhills, my strongest area of riding the 3 peaks.
And then, with 5 days to go, I started to get a cold. It got progressively worse towards the end of the week but by Saturday, it seemed like it was starting to go. Still not great.
Sunday – Race Day
The bike was ready, van packed, and I set off at 07:10 to go and pick up Mr Rob Jebb (he ended up winning, I can’t claim I helped one bit apart from getting him there in one piece).
It was a sunny morning and even though it was early, traffic was slow.
We arrived in good time and rode straight to sign on.
After getting registered we went back to the van, got changed, tried to eat a little, made final checks and then set off to the start line at around 09:10.
I pushed as far to the front as I could (maybe half way?) but couldn’t follow Rob to the front. I don’t have the ability to move people the way he does.
So we rolled away at 09:30 and headed along the road towards the base of Inglebrough.
I was surprised to see two more ‘fast’ singlespeeders! One I recognised as Dan Treby (I knew his name from having the SS record at Kielder 100).
We spoke briefly before he set off up the track after leaving the road. He was using an 36:18 gear! I was running 38:16 and didn’t have the power to chase. However, I knew he’d struggle on the road sections.
Climbing up Simon fell always hurts and by that time I knew my cold was still there and it was going to be a fast year. No chance of beating the SS record held by John ‘Shaggy’ Ross.
I sort of gave up there and took a backseat… until …
… the downhill. It’s too much fun not to get carried away. Trying to catch riders and overtaking them. Jumping on the lumps and bumps. Skids. Whips. I wish it was all like that!
It’s not. And it soon came to an end which meant the start of the second road section to Whernside.
The climb up Whernside was busy and steady. The higher you got, the windier it got. By the top you’d struggle to stay straight and there was little chance of riding. It made the first section of the descent very interesting!
So I still knew Dan was ahead of me and had accepted ‘2nd singelspeed’. I was surprised when I came across Dan half way down Whernside where he was having difficulty on the slabs. I shouted ‘come on Dan’ and went past on the right hand side.
This made me a little happier and gave me a bit more energy for the rest of the descent before hitting the third section of road towards PYG.
When starting the climb up PYG I knew I had a bit of time over Dan but knew he’d close in fast with his MTB gearing. It’s a slow and painful slog in 38:16 so I can imagine 36:16 is a whole lot nicer!
Sure enough he caught me half way up the track, chatted and then got back on his bike and rode up the hill.
By the top I still had him in sight and knew I’d have to push it but could still catch him and make time up on the last road section back to the finish.
Taking one of the riskier lines on the top I went over some big rocks much to the amusement of the crowd watching – I’m guessing no one else had ridden it. I kept going hard and started launching off the rocks and straight lining the descent.
I’m not sure where and what rock section it was, but I ended up flatting my front tub. A 32mm racing ralph.
I was still at the top and quickly chucked the bike down and tried to get the sealant to fill the puncture and then pump it back up.
It didn’t work.
I was out. No chance of catching Dan and no chance of riding back until the road.
I walked (couldn’t run) almost the whole way back down PYG track until I met the saviour of the day. Chris Crabtree (from hope Technology).
All he said to me “what do you need?”
I replied “A front wheel.”
He took his wheel off and gave it to me.
Chris was running discs but luckily had an open pro rim so I could still use the braking surface.
I rode down to the road and back along to the finish to get a time of 4hrs 12mins.
Dan ended up getting 3hrs 50mins still 10mins off the record. I would have been happy with that I would have liked to have seen if I’d caught dan or not. I guess we’ll never know…
So that means it’s riding singlespeed again at next years 3 peaks … and this has got to be it! I really really really want to do it fixed!!!