I'm visiting the UK from New Zealand with my wife for a few weeks and was press ganged by my fun hungry cousins Phil & Dave Haygarth into putting in an entry for the 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross Race this September. As mountain biker by trade I thought the whole drop handle bar thing a bit odd, and when Dave handed me a a "Here come the Belgians" shirt to wear on race day I certainly felt I had alot to learn about this local psych.
After a couple of anxious short off- road practice rides on Phil's second bike I suddenly found my self lining up in the rain at the Helwith Bridge race start. Lovely - this was shaping up to be the classic English damp slog! Before long it was bike to the shoulder as the ground started sticking to the wheels and up over Ingleborough, down the mad messy descent and onto the road. With all the road and carrying sections I was finally understanding why mountain bikes may not be the most useful tool after all.
Onward over peaks 2 and 3 with shockingly awkward descents, clicking cameras, warm sunshine breaking through, cries of "go the Belgians" and so to the finish still in one piece.
With wincing triceps and sore palms I really knew I'd done something different - like Dave said, the off-road section simply isn't suited to cycling!
My huge thanks go out to all that helped me and roll on the Belgians. I think I'll have to join!
Mark Holmes, Nelson, New Zealand - a guest Belgian for a day.