Trevor Page, Lune RC and the 2008 Three Peaks’ first crash victim tells his tale exclusively for you here on the three peaks cyclocross blog!
This year my preparation was steady. I hadn’t done any running but a few road and mtb races in the preceding months and some walks in the hills over the final few weeks made me feel ready this year, especially after the disappointment of the cancelled 2007 race. All was well until with 5 minutes to go on race day I slipped and slashed my leg on my pedal – the cut was long and deep and I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to start. A fellow competitor helped with a temporary plaster before the mountain rescue first aiders patched me up. As they were working one of them said – “sorry you have missed the start” – I was a bit puzzled as they had also said that the cut would need stitches, but after a few more exchanges I realised that they thought that I may be able to ride. In the end I set off about 10 minutes after the start with instructions to stop if the bleeding came through the bandage.
It was a strange feeling riding through Horton on my own to shouts of – “Couldn’t you get out of bed?” – when I should have been in the craziness of the bunch. Just past Horton I passed a couple of people with early punctures and then didn’t see anyone until the foot of Simon Fell but I could see a huge, and impressive, swarm of colourful competitors on the steep bank ahead. After walking on the steep part of the hill for a few minutes I realised that my leg seemed reasonably OK and that I had to make sure I didn’t put too much stress on my ‘good’ leg as it was begging to get tight as I was favouring it. By the time I reached the top I was feeling more positive about my chances of finishing and wasn’t too disappointed about the queue at the style as I wasn’t really aiming for a good time anymore.
On the first part of the descent of Ingleborough I saw Leanne (my girlfriend) who had stopped with a puncture and was having trouble with her CO2 pump, so I stopped and helped her: it was good to see her as I wanted to let her know I was OK and so that our support team knew I was still riding and didn’t move on without me. We rode together until the road climb out of Ingleton where I decided I may as well try hard as I had trained quite hard for the race. Moving through the field was a fairly positive experience as it gave the impression that I was moving fairly quickly and I was begging to get into clearer territory as the day went on. The line of competitors was a bit heavier on Whernside where I caught a friend, Phil Haygarth – it was good to see him as he was upbeat and looked to be going well.
For the rest of the race I concentrated on eating and drinking well and not getting a puncture, all 3 of which meant that I had a good steady ride to the finish and that I felt the best I have ever done on Pen-Y-Gent. The road sections seemed to pass quickly and I rolled over the line thinking that I was glad I had completed the course (better than a morning in A&E, although I had an evening in A&E to come) and I was surprised to still have done 4:12. Overall a positive experience given the circumstances – so, thanks again to the helpful competitor at the start and the mountain rescue crew for getting me on my way. Let’s hope we get another dry day next year!