3PeaksCX_CX_209, a photo by britishcycling.org.uk photos on Flickr.The Photo is credited to © Ed Rollason Photography
On Sunday I completed my 10th 3 peaks and my first as a HCTB. I did my second worst time ever, but it was my best yet. Why?
On the 26th June I broke my leg after a spell of Tom-Foolery involving the Dent beer and folk festival and Andrew Talbot's stag do. I was laid up all summer and the forced idelenss meant weight gain and no training. The plaster came off in August and apart from some limped training walks to the supermarket on the family holiday in Spain, I did my first proper bike ride on 1 September. I was shocked at how I had lost it, I actually had to get off the bike when ascending 'normal' road hills, because no fitness, a racing pulse and no power. I felt like I was starting from scratch, lugging my even-larger-than-normal body around. Nonetheless I kept training and managed 16 sessions before the big day (accompanied on two memorable ones by friend Richard 'kick my ass coach' Bardgett), fitted around work trips to China and Ireland.
So on the day I was simply delighted to have started and the pressure was off, having no expectations other than to finish. During the race I used my head like never before, keeping the lid on it, never over cooking on the climbs or the descent. I had to be careful not to blow out because my training was limited and so my racing pulse threshold was lower. Additionally, on the descents I could not risk bashing my still weak and sore leg. And funnily enough the whole strategy worked, I did better than I thought, only 25 minutes slower than last year, a fully contained, resilient ride, using 4 gels and 2 bottles (I think the hot pot, sweet potato and beetroot helped on Saturday, recommended). Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the social experience catching up with folk, not least the joy of my first timer cousins Mark (from New Zealand) and Adrian Holmes, also completing the event for the first time.
Of course the big downer during the race was witnessing my brother Dave, coming down Penyghent clutching his broken collar bone. Hang in there Dave, there is light at the end of the tunnel post fracture. I'm coming back. Phil Haygarth