GrassMoots Racer and world traveler Patrick Wilder writes in this week about sticking to your “creed” as best you can and his time bagging the toughest course in the world on a Cyclocross bike….Patrick writes…..
Years ago I came up with a “creed” to summarize my riding/ racing goals:
“To ride the toughest course in the most challenging conditions against the best competitors.” I had heard 3 Peaks was touted as the toughest course period. Little would I know my “creed” would be tested in full.
The story begins like any good adventure should, over a beer with friends. In January of this year I’m sitting Brugge with the guys from Pave Cycling Classics sipping an enormous glass of brown liquid. Each man is recapping highlights from the day (Koskidje World Championships). The conversation moves onto each man’s riding interests for the upcoming year. Alex mentions 3 Peaks Cyclocross. I come to full attention. Impulsively I say to Alex, “if you can gain me an entry into the race I’ll do it.”
Fast forward to June. A suspicious European email hits my inbox. I hit delete thinking its spam from the European cyclocross feeds I’ve streamed all winter. Later I get a message from Alex telling me we’re in and I should have received notification of the entry. I frantically dig through the trash folder of my inbox.
Over the next few months the plans come together. Over the years I’ve learned to enjoy the logistical pieces of these adventures. Travel schedule, airfare, bike preparations, rendezvous and supplies all start months before an event like this. One of the key challenges I had to manage was the rendezvous with the guys. Pave Cycling is based in Lille, France. They planned to bring Clem’s camping car across the English Channel and pick me up at Heathrow. Not wanting to hassle with the bike I arranged to have the Moots shipped weeks in advance through Bike Flights to William’s house in Lille. He’d assemble and I’d step off a plane and race the next day.
6 hours later on the wrong side of the road we arrive in Yorkshire Dales National Park in Settle England (about 100 miles from Scotland). We proceed to immediately get the camping car stuck only to be pulled out by a trusty Land Rover. Quickly we unpack and head out for a ride to spin the legs in some of the most amazing country I’ve ever seen. After a proper English meal (meat, potatoes and local ale) we’re fast asleep.
The alarm comes quickly. Excitement quickly dilutes the jet lag. (My start time is essentially 12 a.m. back in the states). Also perking my attention grey, sky and light drizzle. I smile and tell the guys, “Looks like a typical Pacific Northwest Sunday”.
The ride would be anything but typical. I finished in 4:50. My goal was simply to ride within myself and finish. To compete the 3 Peaks, that’s a whole other level. The conditions were so grueling and intense I can’t imagine turning Rob Jebb’s time of 3:09.
Weeks later I’m still contemplating what exactly makes a tough race. One thing I’m certain 3 Peaks sets the bar for my creed: toughest course, conditions and competitors.
Well done lads, well done.