I found this in a box in the loft. When I lived in Cheltenham for a few years I was a bit out on a limb when it came to the 3 Peaks – not many people down there knew much about it, so the local paper wanted to interview me.
Cheltenham cyclist Dave Haygarth aims to reach his seasonal peak in time for the gruelling Three Peaks cyclo-cross event. Haygarth will compete in the September race in the Yorkshire Dales after helping Cheltenham and County Cycling Club win the team price at the Valley of the Cotswolds road race.
The 29-year-old who finished 25th in that recent event, has competed in the Yorkshire test regularly and is looking forward to this year’s slog. His best placing has been 21st in the 240-strong challenge and he would like to make a similarly good showing this time.
With competitors cycling and carrying their bike up and down hills, cyclo-cross puts strenuous demands on the body. While it would not be everyone’s cup of tea, Haygarth. also a keen fell runner, relishes the challenge of taking on the natural elements and some of the best competitors in the world. “I always try to peak in September for the Three Peaks, when the road race season ends and the cyclo-cross season starts.” he said. “It keeps you really fit. It’s really intense and you give every-thing for an hour. “You can’t quite know how you are going to do because you’re really a slave to mechanical failure. I had four punctures last year. Wheels buckle, things like that.
“You can also have helpers but sometimes they can’t get to you. It’s not down to luck but it helps not to be unlucky.”
Originally from Cumbria and a keen cyclist for most of his life, Haygarth is no stranger to the peaks and troughs presented by the Three Peaks. While he was studying fine art at Sheffield Hallam University. he enjoyed putting his books to one side and cycling out on to the Derbyshire moors. “It’s the sense of adventure”- Haygarth said.
Married to Katie, a teacher at Balcarras School, Haygarth came to Cheltenham five years ago and joined Cheltenham and County. Since then he has become racing secretary of the club, a time-consuming role which. includes the organisation of events. Haygarth is employed by the Countryside Agency. He is based mainly in Cheltenham. But he is currently on a secondment in Birmingham. His work with the agency involves creating village greens around England as part of the Millennium Greens project. With his many commitments, organising his time could take some doing but he is happy with things at the moment. “I try to put as much as possible into cycling but we’re all human and have got other lives.” he said.
“Work is fairly important and my wife, of course.
“Including racing, I put between 10 and 12 hours into cycling , week and I don’t think I could afford to put much more it. ‘ never find it a chore and don’t want it to get to that at point.”
He intends competing for as long as he is enjoying himself, moving into the veteran ranks when the time comes.
For the time being, the Three Peaks is demanding his attention.
The determination to achieve something will be his motivation.
“It’s all about the feeling of doing well”, he said.