There might not be many mountains to practice carrying your bike up in Cambridge, but Ffion James (Girton), Elspeth Grace (Girton) and William Weatherill (Homerton) all secured stunning results in this year’s edition of the iconic race. No wonder there’s no BUCS Cyclocross – we’d only sweep the board there too! Social Sec 2019/20 Ffion offers up the full story of last weekend…
On Sunday 15th September, three brave delegates from CUCC headed up to Yorkshire to take on the infamous Three Peaks, arguably the hardest cyclocross race in the world. It comprises 60km up and down 3 mountains in the Yorkshire Dales on a ‘cross bike: drop handlebars, survival bag and emergency whistle all compulsory… Who wouldn’t want to give it a go?!
Nothing can prepare a 3 peaks first-timer for the ascent of Simon Fell, the first summit of the route. The hill creeps up in front of you, getting steeper and more intimidating the closer you get to it. Crawling up a mountain side with 600 other crazy people really makes you question yourself. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced. The descents are no less insane. Racing blind down a steep, rocky mountain with no suspension, drop handlebars and 50+ psi in your tyres is not to be recommended!
Ffion James and Elspeth Grace nevertheless managed to make it around with both themselves and their bikes in one piece, placing 1st and 3rd respectively in the U23 Women’s category, with Ffion breaking the U23 record by an impressive 35 minutes. Relief was the predominant feeling for both riders as they crossed the finishing line, mixed with a bit of frustration for Ffion who only finished a minute behind the winner in a 3 hour 45 minute race. While she’s sure she’ll be back next year to wrap up some unfinished business, Elspeth is not quite so convinced, having said she only ‘thinks’ she enjoyed it!
Will Weatherill, with a little more experienced than Elspeth and Ffion, was competing in his third Three Peaks and aiming high. He was having an incredible ride, constantly moving up through the field, reaching 12th place by the top of Pen-y-Ghent, the final climb. The extremely fast but on-the-limit descending which had helped Will get into that position sadly came at a price, as he suffered a frustrating two punctures on the final descent. He still managed to hold on to a very impressive 17th place and 1st U23 rider, in an extremely strong field containing the likes of 12-time champion Rob Jebb and EF Education First World Tour pro Lachlan Morton.
What a day for CUCC, with three different riders on the podium at a prestigious event, that isn’t a time trial and includes hills! Bringing home this set of results is really quite special and shows how well-rounded and multi-talented the club is. Congratulations to all three of them!
Let’s see if we can convince a few more testers to take up the challenge in 2020…