Team Scott UK rider Nick Craig has taken 1st at what is hailed as the 'toughest cyclocross event in the UK'. A long-standing competitive rivalry between Nick Craig and Rob Jebb of Team Wheelbase has seen the two riders neck and neck for years however Jebb missed the 2011 event due to injury, but Craig still had tough competition from Neil Crampton of Crosstrax who finished only 3 mins 13 secs behind Craig and Hope Factory Racing's Paul Oldham finishing only 53 secs behind Crampton.
Nick Craig at the checkpoint below Ribblehead on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Cyclocross 2011.
Due to the absence of 8 times winner and defending champion Rod Jebb, there was much pre-race chatter concerning who would be victorious in the 49th Three Peaks cyclo-cross race. The fells were covered in a thick, heavy blanket of fog as the 650 riders got underway from Helwith Bridge situated in the heart of the North Yorkshire Dales. The first section up the Dale required riders to follow a safety car through Horton in Ribblesdale, once at Gillgarth the riders parted company with the tarmac and were let loose on the mountains looming in the distance.
As the rain began to pour the riders began their ascent of Simon Fell.
Number 54 Matt Brown (team Inov-8) finished the day 56th overall, with a time of 3 hours 45 on his single speed machine.
Any sense of direction was lost as the competitors plunged deeper into the fog, on the near vertical, slippery hill side towards the summit of the first peak, Ingleborough. Notorious for its limestone plateau, riders weaved in and out of low visibility before attempting the 500 metres of flowing descent to Cold Cotes. Leaving the main road at Chapel-le-Dale for the steep rocky paths of Whernside awaiting ahead.
A split second line choice could make or break the day on the Three Peaks course.
On the descent of Whernside, Dave Collins (Hope Factory Racing) finds himself a victim of the race having experienced a collapsed wheel ending his race at Ribblehead.
The two way track at Pen-y-ghent proved to be a challenge to all riders as it became congested with those descending with mental and physical exhaustion and those attempting the long haul upwards.
Towards the end of the race the fog lifted over the entire Yorkshire Three Peaks course to reveal the enormity of the task endured by all competitors.
A satisfied customer reflects on his day's adventures whilst resting tired muscles in the finishing field. First place overall went to Nick Craig in a time of 3hrs 8 minutes, 2nd place to Neil Crampton achieving a time of 3hrs 12 minutes and 3rd went to Paul Oldham in a time of 3hrs 12.53.
Images and report - Andy Spencer - http://www.andyspencerimages.co.uk/
|well done nick - 26/09/2011|
|well done nick fantastic effort|