Matthew Pixton returned to the race this year after a few years off it, and wrote this quick account for the Rossendale Harriers Stag-ger magazine..
A fell runners’ bike race?
Every year on the last Sunday of September two noble sports combine in a blur of coloured kit, expensive machinery, agony, ecstasy and wonderment. Last Sunday, 28th September, saw the 46th running of the annual Three Peaks Cyclo Cross over Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen Y Ghent. Carl Nelson and I joined the 450 other competitors for what has to be one of the most spectacular races in the world.
The Three Peaks are familiar to many fell runners from the Harriers with races on each individual hill and the epic slog that is the combined fell race in April. This is a bit different – it goes the ‘wrong’ way round and starts/finishes at Helwith Bridge to the south of Horton. In between the three summits are break-neck descents on bogs and rocks and fast road sections just to confuse the tired legs.
Undoubtedly it is race that attracts the fell running community – the current unassailable champion is Rob Jebb; a previous winner and first to win both the fell and cycle races in the same year is Bingley’s Andy Peace; Ian Holmes is signing on this year and there are plenty others of us in the ‘also ran’ category who run more than cycle. It’s also a race attracting champion cyclists like Nick Craig, Barrie Clarke and some very good less familiar names like Lewis Craven from Ramsbottom.