Training for ‘the toughest cyclocross race in the UK’

I’m racing the ‘3 Peaks Cyclocross Race’ on 15th September. Any thoughts on the best use of my training time between now and then please?
Age 53
FTP 267 Been at 267 for last 2 months.
Weight 75 kg (dropped 2kg of body fat in last 8 weeks - a bit more to go yet)
Training time available - 4 x 1 hour turbo sessions / week and I longish (4 hour) outdoor ride per week.
Currently also doing 2 x sets of core conditioning exercises per week too.
Currently on a rest week after a 1,100 TSS week last week, at an average IF of 0.63
Any expert advice very much appreciated.

I’m doing this for the first time also. For me I think the bike fitness will be OK, but need to get used to carrying the bike for long periods / confidence descending

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@Mikey , guess its your first time. I’ve done it once but dont plan a return as it takes a lot out of you. The main difference to a normal CX is the amount of walking and carrying the bike. If you’re not already, I suggest you do some long walks over the moors and find some steep banks to carry your CX bike up. Simon’s Fell will be a shock to the system, famous for its 33 degree incline (or so) and fence to pull up against. There are only 4 weeks to the event, so its a bit late to get a large base in, but with your TSS, guess you’ve put the hours in.
I’m not sure of your ability but expect to be out for 4 to 4 1/2 hours and only half of that is on road. The descents are pretty challenging - so time on technique is well spent.

The middle hill, Whernside is notorious for puncturing as there are gaps between the slabs so suggest bunny hop practise to lift the bike over the gaps.

Take notice of equipment choice, Dave Haygarth is the guru on tyre choice.
Just enjoy the day and hopefully nice scenary to be seen, and good luck.

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First time for me too. Looking forward to it…in a ‘type 2 fun’ kinda way! ;0)

Couple of questions for anyone who can help:

  • Tyre choice - any recommendations? I was thinking to go WTB cross boss based on a couple of forum posts I saw
  • Anyone tried using pipe lagging on the top tube or other shoulder protection? - my shoulders are fairly wrecked after carrying for any length of time

I was planning on WTBs too, based on what i’ve read, and a short bit of pipe lagging under the top tube…

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Those tyres look fine, and yes use lagging. Don’t forget the orange survival blanket, this can be rolled and taped up to the top tube, or behind the saddle.


I’ve used those tyres, lots of other run them too. Never used anything to pad the bike, but guess it depends on the shape of your shoulders, the top tube, and your carrying technique.

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:sunglasses: The most fun I’ve had on a bike in ages!! Managed round in 4h 20 mins, incident free (ish!) Just one fall when I tripped running uphill :roll_eyes:. Did reasonably well in my age category. Learnt loads, including that everyone lies about their expected finish time to get a good starting spot! Already planning next years training build…more running uphill with a bike over my shoulder!! :joy: ps The WTBs were faultless :+1:


First time for me as well this year. Amazing event, “enjoyed” the uphills, downhills scared the bejesus out of me! Got round in 3:40. Just saw that rapha released a film about it that’s worth a watch.


Did you and @Mikey get in through the ballot or through marshalling the previous year? I stay in Inverness so marshalling not massively appealing but I’ve got a mate who has tried three times to get in and not been successful… Looks like an amazing but tough event.

EF pro cyclist Lachlan Morton did it too, awesome video

@swgregg Got in via the ballot. I stay in Aberdeenshire, so marshalling wasn’t really an option either!

I got lucky with the ballot as well

Cheers for the reply, glad to hear there’s hope! Feel like I’m pumping you and @Mikey for info here, but what experience were you able to put on the application form? I have done normal CX races, Strathpuffer (quad), ultramarathons, CeltMan, various long hill/fell races… Also hoping to do something like Glenduro in May next year before entries open. Is this comparable to what you both have done before?

@swgregg Quite lucky as I had loads of relevant stuff to use - lots of 2 day mountain marathons, numerous Puffers including a podium, 10 years in mountain rescue, advanced first aid, CX races, a couple of Polaris MBO series, 1:01 25m TT, Bikepacking adventures etc. I threw everything including the kitchen sink at iT! Was also realistic about likely finish time. Probably just got lucky this year!

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To be honest I think you just have to get lucky. I know some pretty decent riders who, despite tons of experience didn’t get in. There were less places this year too, 500, and nearly 1000 entries for them.

While I love the Rapha video (and last year’s GCN one), the publicity won’t make it easier to get in in future years - it’s turning into a bucketlist trip for some people.

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Yeah it’s getting exactly the same for CeltMan, I think it’s oversubscribed by an order of 4 to 1 already and I think they had applicants from almost 50 countries. Fraser Cartmell did the race for GTN this year which will only increase the profile further.

As you say it’s down to luck but it’s also good that they have slightly vague entry requirements as opposed to saying “If you’ve done x,y or z race you’re in the ballot”. Some of the ultramarathons now are becoming borderline dangerous, there’s one here in Scotland that you only have to have run a 5hour road marathon to be considered eligible for a 53 mile trail ultra…