Last year a local friend Mark Solomon rode his first 3 peaks cyclocross and created a ‘lessons learnt’ document so that he could improve in 2010 whilst things were fresh in his mind. Mark won’t be able to race this year but kindly shared his thoughts fresh from the few days after the 2009 event – so that we all can learn a bit more! Mark’s an ironman triathlete and used to endurance events, and finished under 4 hrs.

The worst part of the race for me was the first hour. Did not cope well with the group start and lost a lot of placings. After that I steadily got better with the strongest time being my last hour.

Feel battered and stiff today. Just had cramp in my Hamstring sat at my desk!!

Now that I’ve done it I have learnt a lot for next year.

No 1. get in the first 20 – 40 riders in the peloton to avoid the lung busting acceleration and decelerations in the middle of it as well as putting you in a good place for the fell climb. I reckon this saves you 4 mins to the top of Ingleborough for the same effort. To train for this I need to do some crits at Preston next year to get experience of handling it.

No 2. Descend like a god on all three mountains with a possibility of gaining 3 mins per descent equals nine minutes. Hard to do but again big gains for little effort. Train on the descents and weigh up flat bars or chicken brakes etc.

No 3 Convince yourself you can run sections when you feel like your quite happy walking! 5 mins? A little more running with the bike in training

No 4 Pray for a good day…

No 5 Going hell for leather at Grizedale one week before was a bad idea for me. I think I left my best performance in the forest and not in the Dales!!? Hard to measure the effect of this but I never felt right all week until about Ribblehead on the Sunday. Would have been better doing a 1 hour sharpener cross race rather than a 3 hr endurance effort.

I’m now going to file away this content so I remember it for next year…

That event is a tough one. Mentally and physically it’s not as hard as an ironman but it’s equally as tough in a different way. It’s the toughest eye balls out race I have done. Tough on the body all over. Unlike ironman where it boils down to fitness there is a much greater skill and intelligence dynamic coming into the 3 peaks. It is more of a race than a time trial and it’s easy to get blown away 40 placings in a flash. I was pleased as I managed to ride in at 170 beats at the end so after my crazy start I managed to measure the effort through the day.

We’ll have to catch up with a beer at the White Horse with DH and talk it through… [DH – We did …!]

On another note I also thought the standard of rider was high. Say much higher than Grizedale [MTB Challenge] etc. Lot of good Cat one Roadies doing that and they are strong.