Hmmm, The Three Peaks Cyclocross race. Last year i crossed the finish line and threw the remaining toy out of my pram swearing that it was horrific and i would never do it again....
So at 9.15 on Sunday morning there i was lined up on the starting grid with fellow VCMers Jones, Deano and Stevo and off we went behind the sort of neutralised start (this year was considerably tamer than last years sprint to the base of Simon Fell).
The race strings out up the first climb i manage to keep Jones in sight and we summit together and he promptly drops me on the descent. I reach the tarmac section and wind myself up for the ride across to Wherneside, Hoping to be able to get in with a group of riders to ease miles away. This does not go according to plan and the group i have been chasing down for a break from the wind i catch just as we reach the start of the next offroad section up onto the second peak.
Nevermind, Wherneside is my least favorite of the 3 Peaks. The climb up to the top is not too bad, But the descent is hard and unflattering I miss a hotline off to one side and see riders i passed earlier go past whilst i mince around some sharp lumps of rock - Bugger. Eventually the trail opens out in to a gravel lane and i spy Mel and Dave A with a fresh bottle of drink and words of encouragement.
Back onto asphalt and another Timetrial on my hands across to Pen Y Ghent. This is fine as i know soon it will all be over. However first i have to get the final peak conquered.
A large portion of the final climb is rideable and i settle into a steady pace and winch myself up towards the penultimate check point. This final section is an out and back along the same trail. about a third of the way into the climb the leaders fly past on their way to glory and it is a pleasant suprise to see Nick Craig in the lead followed about 30 seconds later by Rob Jebb.
The climb continues i spy Jones up ahead and get admonished by spectators for shouting words of encouragement to him, He is suffering from badly rubbing shoes and cramps we chat for a while as we push on up the hill and slowly i pull away from him. Stevo comes past and I think i can see Shaggy in the distance.
Dragging myself up the final peaty schlep to the check point Shaggy comes past on the return leg and is flying. I reach the turn around and start mincing my way to the finish.
The finish arrives but not before i nearly bin it on the gravel just before the line, keep it upright and it is all over for now...
However a few days of recovery and i seem to have found some unfinished business with the Three Peaks.