Three Peaks Cyclocross Report
As the weather forecast for Sunday in the Yorkshire Dales gradually changed from bright and sunny to torrential rain the Welland Valley riders’ excitement turned to trepidation (except for Dean who seemed thrilled at the prospect). This was going to be tough. They experienced fantastic views of the western end of the dales in glorious sunshine riding out on Saturday, but conditions were due to be ugly for the race. As it turned out the timing of the forecast was wrong and the torrential rain swept through in the early hours to leave difficult ground conditions on the off-road sections, considerably reducing the 20 miles of “rideable” off-road. The race would experience occasional light rain and overcast conditions throughout.
10 Welland Valley riders took the start line:
- Chief Muddy Marvel Dean Barnett was aiming for his 17th completion.
- Adrian Killworth was looking for his 10th finish to join the echelons of the gnarled and bearded double-figures completers
- Steve Coulam and Marc Henderson were both competing for the 3rd time – Marc after marshalling last year when he didn’t get in to guarantee an entry this year and Steve after getting a late entry after not getting in initially.
- Nik Kershaw and Hans van Nierop lined up for the second time after completing their reccie laps in the race last year.
- Nikki Traynor, Mark Fiddy, Josh van Nierop and Fraser Ayears all took the start for the first time.
Charlie Simpson sadly didn’t get in, but was marshalling to guarantee an entry for next year and would be cheering us on entering and exiting Penyghent lane.
The team lined up on the start line amongst 500 riders for the mass start at 9.30. The pace from the off was brutal as riders fought for position ready for the first off-road section. By the turn at Gill Garth across the cattle grid it was already strung out as they rode through the farmyard and up onto Simon Fell for the first stint of bike-shouldering. This was hard going will no rocky path, just sodden grass and peat as the gradient ramped up to 45o. They scrambled up onto the ridge – on and off their bikes up to the summit of Ingleborough and then onto the long rocky and then peaty descent to Cold Cotes. Nik crashed heavily damaging his ankle, costing him time on the descent – and ultimately his race as, although he could still ride, he was unable to walk up the rocky steps on Whernside carrying his bike and was forced to abandon.
There were no views to the Lake District and The Howgills from Whernside’s whaleback ridge in the cloud. They rode onto the long tricky descent where most would have a minor “off”. Adrian and Dean had more major ones. Adrian hit the deck at speed, ironically after the technical section, when his front wheel was deflected by a rock in the path after a lapse in concentration – he’d cracked a rib which would slow him down for the rest of the race and make the ascent and descent of the last peak even more painful – but the bike was okay – “He’d had worse!” Dean attempted to ride the rocky ford through the headwaters of the Ribble – most had opted to run – and spectacularly performed an over-the-handlebars headfirst dismount into the river. This was dramatically caught on camera and will be practised in future Muddy Marvels sessions!
They rode down past the Ribblehead viaduct and onto the long road section to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. They turned onto Penyghent lane keeping left to avoid faster riders already clattering down barely in control. They rode high onto the slopes of the last peak, shouldering their bikes for the rocky section and steps up to the summit and then onto the fast technical descent – just in control – back down to Horton and left for the last road section for the final sprint back to Helwith Bridge.
The final results were:
- Hans van Nierop – 118th & 47th V40 in 3:52:45 – 2nd completion
- Joshua van Nierop – 151st & 12th U23 in 4:00:4 – 1st completion
- Fraser Ayears – 203rd & 16th U23 in 4:13:08 – 1st completion
- Dean Barnett – 209th & 37th V50 in 4:13:35 – 17th completion
- Mark Fiddy – 213th & 205th overall male in 4:14:49 – 1st completion
- Marc Henderson – 363rd & 78th V50 in 5:01:15 – 3rd completion
- Steven Coulam – 394th & 133rd V40 in 5:19:04 – 3rd completion
- Adrian Killworth – 399th & 90th V50 in 5:22:10 – 10th completion
- Nicola Traynor – 421st & 26th FV40 in 5:36:51 – 1st completion
- Nik Kershaw reached the summit of Ingleborough in 297th place and slipped to 345th at Cold Cotes after his crash before abandoning.
See link to overall results
There are also thousands of event photos on the galleries page