That feels good

My hamstrings hurt. Three of my toes are blistered, one of them badly. My calf muscles feel like they’ve been pummelled by a steak tenderiser. What a lovely feeling to have the running season back! I came 13th out of 190 in the Radcliffe 12 mile trail race – not the usual fell race but a much flatter course. It was a challenge and sufficiently vaired under foot to keep your mind occupied. i went off from the start like a bullet and knew I was likely to suffer after the half way mark, but suffering’s good, isn’t it.

Special mention to the only uphill section of canal in the whole world, which went on for about a mile. No locks, just ‘flat’ water. The tow path felt like it was about one in ten. Maybe it was just my imagination.

National Trophy round two, Astley Park, Chorley.

The second round of the British Cycling national trophy series was very local to me in Chorley, and I had another good ride. The course was nothing like I’d have expected there – it has the potential to be very muddy – but this time round, early in the season it was dry and very fast.

Chorley national trophy cyclo-cross 2005

Lewis Craven had a great ride to finish 9th (and had the fun of being escorted post-race for a drug test), but other than that, it was not a brilliant day for Wheelbase /Ron Hill – Stuart Reid was a bit below par and seemed tired and Rob Jebb snapped his chain and could have done with a bit more mud to suit his style.

Chorley national trophy cyclo-cross 2005

National Trophy – Round 1

National Trophy round one, CheltenhamI had a great race at Pitville Park in Cheltenham on Sunday. 27th (6:29 behind the winner) was my best ever result in a national trophy event – I did very well not to be lapped, but I have no doubt that a fast dry course like that suited me well. I beat several people who I would have expected to have been thrashed by – a very impressive field. Lovely opportunity to catch up with my old club mates from Cheltenham and it really helped so much to hear everyone cheering me on. Good photo here from Larry Hickmott (thanks Larry – made my day!). More photos on the British Cycling web site here.

The race was won by Oli Beckonsale, in fine style – he disposed of second placed Jody Crawforth with about 15 minutes of the race remaining and soloed to victory. Oli was 7th in the recent world mountain bike chapionships.

Pittville Park – Cyclo-Cross national trophy

The RouteI’m on the start list for a national trophy event for the first time in four years. The Pittville Park course is special to me because i used to co-organise the race in its infancy with Pat Alexander. The field’s like a who’s who in cyclo-cross and I don’t expect to finish in the top 30, but it’ll be a good laugh and a chance to catch up with some old friends.

2005 Three Peaks cyclo-cross

Rob Jebb (Wheelbase / Ron Hill) closed in on Tim Gould’s all-time record of six wins with his fifth straight Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross race victory. Jebb’s closest rival, for the fourth race in succession was former winner Nick Craig, but once again Jebb’s fell-running expertise proved more potent than Craig’s all round cycling skills.

Rob was well clear by the top of the first mountain, Ingleborough and although Craig closed in a little on the more cyclist-friendly second half of the race, Jebb’s winning margin was still over three minutes. Craig’s Scott team-mate Dave Collins was an impressive third, whilst Geoff Beetham was fourth. My Wheelbase team mates Lewis Craven and Stuart Reid were 5th and 8th respectively, and took the team prize. I finished 26th – fairly pleased with that after some shocking preparation in the last two days (Friday: Broke a bone in my foot, Saturday, got mega indigestion and couldn’t eat enough!).

It wasn’t one of the fastest races ever – the hills have begun to absord the first of their annual winter deluge of rains and although not significantly boggy, with heavy showers also slowing progress, along with variable visibility on the higher sections, the race was tough enough to test the best.

Louise Robinson, the only woman to have won the race more than twice, took her fourth win in a row, by eight minutes from Heather Dawe, with Isla Rowntree third.

In the men’s age categories, John Wilkinson was the first over 40 (and ninth overall) with Ian Holmes second and Chris Young third. First and best first timer was Junior Josh Ibbett in 48th position, just ahead of first over 50 Carl McDonagh in 52nd. Peter Walkington was the first over 60 in 133rd place.

Full Results are here

Thanks for the original text and photos from Phil Ingham here.

Photos on the official three peaks website are here.

Phil’s first of the season

My brother did his first cyclo-cross of the season on Saunday down in Ivybridge, near Plymouth. Nice piccie of him here. We’re revving up for the 44th annual Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross on Sunday 25th Sept – the thought of which is keeping us both regular. I’ve competed in nine Three Peaks ‘crosses, and completed eight (snapped my saddle off one year and finishing was out of the question!). Best position was last year – 20th out of 256. Hoping to get inside the top 20 this year again but it’s a tall order. I’ve deliberately upped my running this year and lost quite a bit of weight – essentially all for this one race – so a lot rests on what happens on Sunday. It’s impossibly hard for me to relate how one race can preoccupy me so much more than other races, so I always spend this part of September in utter infatuation.. .my mind’s never off it for more than a few minutes – both awake and asleep. Saddo.