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Original photo courtesy of Eddie Allen

W elcom e to the random ram bling s ofa T hree Peaks obsessive as I look back at m y variou s attem pts at the race and share som e of m y experiences along the w ay. I encou ntered epic adventu re,soaring em otions and the odd hu m orou s interlu de as I took on ‘C ross’s tou g hest challeng e… .T his is m y story. T he sky is a flat g rey in every direction. W here Pen-y-G hent shou ld be, the horizon is saw n offby low m ist.T he other horizon is dom inated by a g iant qu arry, scratched from the hillside, as thou g h by som e g iant claw s. U nder m y feet, the g rass is heavy w ith au tu m naldew .A rou nd m e the car-park is filling u p steadily.I have a deep-rooted loathing for the final hou r or so before any race: I hate the overpow ering anticipation,the nerves,the fear of having m issed som e cru cialpart of m y preparation or forg otten an essentialpiece of kit,the em pty,u nknow n echo ofpains soon to be endu red. T his year’s T hree Peaks C yclo-C ross race w as m y third attem pt at this u niqu e event. B y rig hts it shou ld’ve been m y sixth, at least. I first entered back in 2003,

bu t w as laid low by a flu viru s the w eek before.A year later I tried ag ain and cam e dow n w ith a food allerg y w hich took six m onths to sort ou t.I tem porarily g ave u p at that point and w ent along in 2005 to w atch and see w hat the fu ss w as allabou t. A short m orning spent at C old C otes - not the m ost spectacu lar point of the race by any m eans - w as m ore than enou g h to g et m e hooked.I cam e aw ay convinced I had to ride the race,if only to sam ple the atm osphere from a com petitor’s point of view . T he heady m ix of a stu nning landscape, three m onu m ental clim bs and the sheer, lu dicrou s im probability oftackling them on a frag ile ‘C ross bike had g rabbed m e. A nd so, in 2006, I rode and com pleted m y first edition of the race. I w as alm ost overw helm ed by the experience and g enu inely thrilled to have com pleted the event in one piece.C alling m y fam ily to report on m y su ccessfu l attem pt,I fou nd m yself strang ely choked - overcom e w ith the kind of em otion I had only ever felt before at the birth ofm y dau g hter.B lim ey,I thou g ht,this thing has really g ot to m e. Con tin u ed >

XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE FOUR

PAGE 65

XXCMAG.COM

XXC Issue #4  

XXC Mag is a PDF eZine dedicated to endurance mountain bike racing and riding. XXC collects personal experiences and photos from pro and ama...

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