Saddleback Staff Tackle the 3 Peaks

The 3 Peaks Fifty Years Old and Harder Than Ever

 “If the weather is like this I won’t be riding ever again, it’s been an horrendous experience and not what I want to be doing!” Victoria Wilkinson women's winner.

Saddleback staff members and Felt Colbornes team mates Richard, Scot and David headed up north for the 50th edition of the toughest Cyclocross race going. The 3 peaks is an annual Cyclocross race held around the Yorkshire peaks of Ingleborough, Wernside and Pen-y-gent

Dry weather, light breeze's even sunshine and blue skies has been a constant featured in the race over the last decade, so only the terrain to worry about then lads?

Well not this year with the country already suffering the wettest summer for years a full atlantic storm lashed the North of England making the 3 peaks more of a Triathlon than a Cyclocross race.

Dave the bear a 3 peaks virgin

"My first attempt at the three peaks, it had to be the worst conditions in 30 years according to the organisers.

I gave myself 3 goals for the race. To be within 4hrs, the top 100 and to beat two close friends Jimmy & Gabor.

What can I say? Given the conditions the plan was more or less executed to perfection. But I had to deal with the elements and a snapped rear mech.

The elements slowed everyone up with the howling wind and swamps/puddles that settled in flat ground. That aside i was on for top 80 and just outside the 4hr mark.

Its then I turned for home at the top of Pen-y-gent and the rear mech snapped off. At this point I was only a minute 30 behind Jimmy, but about 15 mins ahead of Gabor. Given that I had put over 4 mins into Jimmy on Wernside, it could have been a close finish between us. (jimmy finished 70th)

All I could do was make a single speed and get to the finish. I lost about 10 minutes and about 30 places in the process.

4rhs 20 @ 101st with all the problems. Got to be happy with that!"

Scot the experienced one

In Last year's event Scot placed inside the top 20 and was looking to improve on both his time and position in this years event, with the weather putting pay to PB's it was position that would count, and early on Scot was sitting comfortably with the leading riders and feeling good. That top 15place was well within his sights. However racing is sometimes more luck than fitness and two punctures in bad locations (is there ever a good place to puncture) and a fall cost him dear, still 41st was a highly creditable ride and with the certainty that 2013 will see far better conditions plans are already afoot..

Rich the dandy "I don’t like Walking"

For a man that takes such pride in his appearance,( if matching pink trousers and Oakley frogskins can be classed as taking pride) Richard took to the filthy weather, mud and water far from his home like a natural. He did a fantastic ride, placing inside the top 30 on his very first outing.

Maybe it was his Sartorial decision to stay warm and snug in a Castelli Gabba Jersey, flying in the face of the others clad in full race kit or flapping waterproofs, maybe its that secretly he likes walking up big hills maybe he's just bloody good on a bike?

Chapeau guys

Official Report from the BCF website

Rob Jebb (Hope Factory Racing) secured a record-breaking ninth victory in the 50th Three Peaks in North Yorkshire on Sunday, crossing the line more than ten minutes ahead of his nearest rival.

The Hope Factory Racing rider from Staveley in Cumbria covered the 37 mile course, which takes in the peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent, in 3:09:21. More than ten minutes back was his team-mate Paul Oldham, while 2011 champion Nick Craig (Scott UK) had to settle for third spot.

Low cloud and heavy rain greeted the riders as they lined up for the start at Helwith Bridge, and that was only made worse by strong winds on all three of the summits in conditions described by organiser John Rawnsley as the worst in 30 years. At the finish in Helwith Bridge the medical teams were busy treating riders for exposure and exhaustion.

Jebb and Oldham attacked as soon as the race was de-neutralised and turned onto the tracks leading to the foot of Simon’s Fell. They both had a clear lead through the farmyard, but as they ran up the fell Jebb opened up a small gap on Oldham, who never saw him again as he disappeared into the mist.

As Jebb came down off the summit of Ingleborough towards Cold Cotes he already led by more than five minutes. He kept the pressure on by switching to a specially configured bike with carbon rims as he aimed to make the most of the speed available on the road sections.

At Chapel-le-Dale with over 27 km completed Oldham had closed the gap by a minute, but Jebb was in full flow and riding at a different level to the other 650 competitors.

Over the top of Whernside and down the fast rocky descent to Ribblehead Viaduct Jebb was eight minutes ahead of Oldham. Closely followed by 2011 winner Nick Craig tagging onto a small group of riders that included Neal Crampton (Crosstrax), Dan Whitehead (Bike Station Ballater), Andrew Peace (Crosstrax) and Steven Macinnes (Isle of Mull CC).

Jebb again switched to a faster bike for the road section from Ribblehead to the foot of Pen-y-Ghent lane, and then began the final ascent of Pen-y-Ghent. At the summit he was approximately 20 minutes behind the fast schedule timing, but was still 9 minutes ahead of Oldham. The visibility at the summit was only 15 metres, with driving rain and high winds, but a small crowd had still gathered to applaud the riders efforts.

Jebb had a trouble-free descent of the steep and challenging Pen-y-Ghent, and by the time he got to the last two-mile road section at the bottom back to the finish he knew he had his ninth victory in the bag.

Victory clearly meant a lot to Jebb, not just because it was his ninth but because it was the 50th edition of this classic cyclo cross race – and some might say it could be the last.

But afterwards, Jebb said: “There has been some talk today about this being the last race, but I hope it continues. I feel I’ve got a lot more years in me and I certainly want to make it ten wins, also I want the race to continue so that my children can race and I can come and support them.”

And Paul Oldham added: “I was outclassed by Rob Jebb today, there was no way I could catch him when he disappeared up Simon’s Fell.

On the road section I put in a huge effort to reduce the gap, but I paid for it on the climb of Whernside. There was ten minutes gap at the finish, and that’s a good indication of how much better Rob is than everybody else.”

And last year’s winner, Nick Craig, said: “When Jebb and Oldham attacked on the road I couldn’t hold their wheel and I had to let them go and as soon as I went through the farmyard at the foot of Simon’s Fell I knew I was racing for second or third place.”

The women’s race was won by Skipton-based Victoria Wilkinson (JD Cycles) – 40 years after her father Chris Wilkinson won the race in 1972.

She clocked 3-59-17 to beat 2011 winner Louise Robinson (Isla Bikes) by more than three minutes, and afterwards said: “If the weather is like this I won’t be riding ever again, it’s been an horrendous experience and not what I want to be doing!” Experience and history shows that Victoria will probably be back for more, it's in the blood and she can't get away from it.

And Robinson added: “Victoria is a world class fell runner and she’s done a brilliant ride today. The conditions were in her favour because there wasn’t much riding today but lots of running and walking. But whatever the conditions next year I will be back next year to get my title back.”

Meanwhile at the prize presentation, retiring organiser John Rawnsley thanked all the volunteers and riders for their involvement in the race over the last 50 years and said he is in talks with other interested parties to keep the race going and hopefully an announcement will be made in the very near future.

Results: Top 50

1st Robert Jebb Team Hope Factory Racing M 03:09:21

2nd Paul Oldham Team Hope Factory Racing M 03:19:55

3rd Nick Craig Scott UK MV40 03:25:02

4th Neal Crampton Crosstrax M 03:27:18

5th Dan Whitehead Bike Station Ballater MV40 03:29:01

6th Andrew Peace Crosstrax MV40 03:29:36

7th Steven Macinnes Isle of Mull CC / Carnethy MV40 03:31:30

8th Simon Harding Macclesfield Wheelers M 03:36:28

9th Ryan Henry Go Run & Ride M 03:36:29

10th Ian Taylor Craven Energy Triathlon MV40 03:39:58

11th Dave Collins Team Hope Factory Racing M 03:41:11

12th Matt Lawton Macclesfield Wheelers M 03:41:31

13th Dan Booth Team Hope Factory Racing M 03:41:58

14th Geoff Beetham Cycling Club M 03:42:37

15th Tom Randall Rock Racing Team UK M 03:43:37

16th Andrew Taylor Craven Energy Triathlon M 03:44:47

17th Matthew Armitage VS Cycles Brighouse M 03:45:19

18th Steve Halsall Velo Club Moulin M 03:45:43

19th Paul Caswell Harrogate Nova CC MV40 03:46:05

20th Morgan Donnelly Beacon Wheelers M 03:46:20

21st Richard Bellamy Ashfield Road Club MV40 03:46:56

22nd Mark Ferguson High Peak Cycles MV50 03:48:17

23rd Bob Addey Otley AC M 03:48:39

24th Tim Goodall Islabikes M 03:49:43

25th Dave Haygarth Planet X Bikes MV40 03:49:51

26th Mathew Prichard Evolution Bikes M 03:50:42

27th Ben Bardsley Cyclewise MV40 03:50:46

28th Richard Mardle Felt-Colbornes RT M 03:51:23

29th John Hick Honley Holmfirth MV40 03:51:30

30th Thomas Frischknecht SwissCross Racer, Switzerland MV40 03:52:16

31st Stefan Macina Team JD Cycles Ilkley MV40 03:52:21

32nd Nathan Harrison Buxton Cycling Club/Sett Valley Cycles M 03:52:29

33rd John Murfin Craven Energy Triathlon MV40 03:53:15

34th Simon Rodgers Halifax M 03:53:43

35th Robert Watson Paul Milnes RT/Bradford Olympic RC MU23 03:53:46

36th Fred Salmon Peak Revolutions MV40 03:53:54

37th Peter Windsor Dwyfor CC MV40 03:54:51

38th Seth Smith Paul Milnes RT/Bradford Olympic RC MV40 03:55:04

39th Richard Dunnett Diss CC M 03:56:30

40th Greg Ketteringham Harrogate Nova CC MV50 03:56:34

41st Scot Easter Felt-Colbornes RT M 03:56:53

42nd Stephen Bottomley Crosstrax MV40 03:56:57

43rd Joe Moses Paul Milnes RT/Bradford Olympic RC MU23 03:57:20

44th Robert Hope Crosstrax M 03:58:16

45th Oli Cox Pedal Power Loughborough M 03:58:47

46th Philip Hinchliffe Bradford RCC/Lynn Motors MV40 03:58:54

47th Victoria Wilkinson Team JD Cycles Ilkley F 03:59:17

48th Edwyn Oliver-Evans MU18 04:00:06

49th Gareth Whittall Clay Cross RT casco/torq/moda/american classics M 04:02:16

50th Paul Mace High Wycombe CC MV40 04:02:17