TORQ Team hit the 3 Peaks

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With the mountain bike race season now virtually over, TORQ Performance Mountain Bike Team riders Ed McParland and Neal Crampton took to the start line of the 52nd Annual 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross Race in the Yorkshire Dales - the UK’s biggest and toughest cyclo cross event...

Neal told us: “Pre-race prep passed in the usual flurry and all too soon I was on the steepest slopes of Ingleborough, the grass inches from my nose, considering my own mortality. I was happy to get down the descent fully inflated, but alone for the linking road section to the second peak, Whernside. Whernside is my least favourite climb: short rideable sections interspersed with rocky steps make it impossible to find a rhythm. The descent passed in a blur of muttering: left at the funny heather tuft, stay right for three drainage bars, look for the wiggly bit in the wall, right, tall fence post, hop the big slab. All this got me to the next road section three places up with Lewis Craven in 5th place.

All that was left was Pen-y-Ghent, my favourite: a long sinuous ribbon of white gravel winding its way steadily to the summit. This year I spotted Ian Taylor up ahead and set to work on catching him. Ian is renowned for his descending and is skilled and reckless in equal balance, so as we dibbed at the summit checkpoint together, I prepared for the descent that was likely to be more reckless than skilled! The descent was fast – very fast - and full inflation was in serious jeopardy, thankfully Ian’s luck broke before mine and I got out onto the road with a clear gap.

“A quick spin back down the road and I came in fourth. A result I am pretty happy with, but that ‘one place off the podium’ is always a bit disappointing.”

Ed told us: "I had a good start, making it comfortably and inside the top 10 with Neal going up Ingleborough, the first major peak of the race. On the descent, disaster struck, I snapped my chain and couldn’t retrieve it! After 10 minutes of scrabbling around on the section of course that I had just ridden, frantically looking for my chain, I was saved by a fellow competitor and friend who sacrificed theirs.”