I normally leave a good recce later than this but I was staying over with the in-laws at Ingleton for a flying visit last night so squeezed a swift run up Whernside in this morning.
As most of you should know if you’re interested in riding the 3 peaks, there are only a couple of spots on the course that you can legally ride a bike apart from during the event itself, but luckily, running servers at least three purposes. Firstly, you need to run anyway as part of your training. Unless you’re Dave Collins or Ian Wilkinson, you can’t turn up here and expect to do well if you don’t run as at least part of your training. Secondly, running the route up Whernside, which no-one can ride anyway, is basically good preparation for the under-foot parcours. And thirdly, if you did want to look at some trick lines round a few of the rocky outcrops or eroded bits of path, you don’t really need your bike that much. Visualising it generally does the job.
What’s also great about a good recce run that isn’t that obvious is that it’s good for the soul. Here I am in the middle of a very enjoyable summer of crit racing, fell running, MTB skills-and-general-awesomeness fun rides and the usual juggling of work and family life, it almost escapes one’s head that it’s eight weeks til the Three Peaks. My ‘cross bike’s still got it’s mudguards on. Summer’s absorbed me and I’d almost forgotten what was on the horizon. (Well – almost).
So an hour and a bit up, round and down from Ribblehead is all it takes. it’s got my head into the countdown.
Of note (geeks only)
- It’s a bit muddy already. Just three weeks into the hose pipe ban (i.e. three weeks of rain). Not lacking much moisture up there. (But it was soggy two weeks before the race last year and dried up incredibly – last couple of weeks are the important ones)
- New gate replaces twin stiles on final wall of Whernside (i.e. before the really steep bit.) I saw Stephen Bottomly getting taken from the top of that stile to the floor last year right in front of me in a gust of wind. No-one’s going to miss those stiles!) Expect someone may even be manning the gate on the race day but probably not an official.
- Top of descent (the ridge bit) seems to be more eroded and a bit wider to me. More exposed rocks, but possibly more lines to choose from!
- No big changes on the descent. A couple of fairly substantial path repairs but no long stretches of anything new. Still bumpy and generally rough.
- No big notable changes on the Blea Moor section and it’ll be well drained and fast as usual.
I also found a great line off the summit that’ll save me a good ten minutess. Oh okay… but it was a nice run anyway.
Some photos here or short slideshow below