Ruth leads Wheelers’ charge in gruelling cyclo-cross race
THIS weekend saw the 52nd edition of the Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross race, which is not only the toughest but also the longest event of its type in the UK.
Taking in Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Wearnside, the race is 61km long with 33km unsurfaced and between six and eight kilometres unrideable by even the most skilled – or foolhardy.
Macclesfield Wheelers were out in force with nine riders entered – in a total field of 650 – and many more clubmates, family members and friends acting as backup.
As always, there were some stunning performances. Club captain Matt Lawton was aiming to better his sixth-placed finish last year but three punctures put paid to that and he finished a battling 68th, vowing to be back next year.
Fell runner Simon Harding, was the highest placed Wheeler in 14th place, itself a superb achievement.
The Wheelers were on the podium though when Ruth Gamwell – fifth lady overall – took the prize for the first lady rider over 40 years old. Malcolm Fowler chose this event as his introduction to cyclocross racing and finished 181st, just behind Eelco Docter (117th) and Dave Clark (119th).
Mark Rowson completed his second Three Peaks in 213th place with a personal best and veteran Brian Renshaw completed his 16th edition of the race in 378th place.
On the track, Chris Higgs added to her collection of European titles when she once again took gold in the women’s pursuit at the European Masters Championship at the Newport Velodrome.
Next up for Higgs is the World Championships, which will be held in Manchester from October 4-11.
Long distance expert Becky Burns completed the Venetian Nights Audax event.
This 210km ride starts at Broken Cross and heads out to Bunbury, before returning to Macclesfield via Matlock Bath and its famous illuminations from which the Audax event gets its name.
Sarah Lewis rode the Macmillan Cycletta Cheshire, one of a series of women-only bike rides supported by Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton, and completed the 50 miles in less than three hours.
Terry Hayward took part in the 75-mile Peak Punisher Sportive which started and finished in Bakewell, taking in a number of the area’s big climbs to make up 7,500ft of climbing.
James Russell competed in the Weaver Valley Hill Climb held on the Cat and Fiddle.
Conditions were tough with a headwind most of the way and Russell was pleased with his time of 24.47min which put him eighth in his age category.
●● Macclesfield Wheelers’ Ruth Gamwell (centre) on the podium at the Three Peaks Cyclo Cross