VIDEO and Photos: Bombtrack Bicycle Co’s 3 Peaks CX UK Experience!

bombtrack bicycle company 3 peaks uk

The toughest cyclocross race in the world. Staged in the Yorkshire Dales National Park since 1961 the Three Peaks is a grandparent to every adventure race that’s come after. The first off-road event of its kind, it follows in the muddy footsteps and tyre tracks of a 14-year-old Yorkshire schoolboy who first completed the arduous route by bicycle in 1959. Since then the course and event have expanded to become the largest and most feared cyclocross in the UK.

Climbing the eponymous summits of Ingleborough, Whernside, and Pen-y-Ghent, some of these are so steep even the winner will struggle to jog up. Often beset by bleak weather the event is inseparable from the beautiful yet harsh landscape of the Yorkshire Dales. Scrabbling up misty summits or racing downwards beside the epic Ribblehead Viaduct, the conditions and terrain are as responsible for the character of the race as the attitude of its hundreds of competitors.

bombtrack bicycle company 3 peaks uk

With gradients so severe that those taking part will need the skills of a fell runner, as well as the talents of a bike racer, only standard issue cyclocross bikes using drop handlebars and thin tyres are allowed. Normally closed to riders, the route is opened just once a year for an event that’s remained largely unchanged over the course of its long existence.

bombtrack bicycle company 3 peaks uk

Bombtrack rider Clem Shovel now has his own history with the race. Last year saw him returning for the sixth time in search of a sub-four hour ride, and a coveted first class categorisation. Like thousands before him, the Three Peaks has captured his imagination and monopolised his ambitions like no other race.

“The trail is beautiful” he explains. “It’s hilly, it’s savage, and it’s absolutely natural. That’s why it’s unique.” Now well acquainted with the agony of spending over an hour shouldering the bike up muddy hillsides and steep flagstone paths, Bombtrack’s latest film documents his ongoing love affair with the race and his most recent attempt to crack the four-hour limit. “It’s hard because it’s made to be hard,” says Clem.

bombtrack bicycle company 3 peaks uk

bombtrack bicycle company 3 peaks ukWe first met Clem at the European Singlespeed CX Championships in Mons-en-Pévèle back in 2015, not far from his home in Lille, northern France. Home to races like Paris-Roubaix and the Ardennes Classics as well as being close by the Tour of Flanders, it was instead the area’s rougher routes that drew Clem’s young eyes.

Now an accomplished ultra-racer with strong finishes at the Transcontinental Race, Highland Trail 550, Tuscany Trail, Trans Germany, and French Divide, he’s been instrumental in the design of our long-distance Audax rage.

Making it look easy, none of these efforts seems to have lined Clem’s baby-faced features. Perhaps older than you’d expect, he balances life as a father and husband with his riding.

Along with his gang, the Malteni Ultracross Bootleggers, Clem is also responsible for organising a 270km ultra-cyclocross that starts and finishes at the Brunehaut brewery in Rongy, Belgium. A regular competitor at Gogo Hellcross and the Singlespeed CX European Championships, he’s now ridden the Three Peaks six times and plans to be back for a seventh attempt in 2019.

bombtrack bicycle company 3 peaks uk

Find out more about Clem at Instagram here
Find out more about Clem at Facebook here
Find out more about Clem at Youtube here

bombtrack bicycle company 3 peaks uk

Photo Credits

Iain Francis / (Videothumbnail)
Mick Kenyon
Emma Osenton / Smith Photography
Emma Osenton / Smith Photography
Iain Francis /
Jason Sellers /

Many thanks to our friends at Bombtrack Bicycles for this contribution.

3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross

9 comments on “VIDEO and Photos: Bombtrack Bicycle Co’s 3 Peaks CX UK Experience!

  1. Thanks for posting this, JOM,
    I love the raw beauty of Yorkshire and of this race. It’s scenes like this that make me go out and ride my own “3 Peaks” locally
    Sven de LAGG

  2. This event follows the walking route of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks which is a challenge to walk never mind ride. Well done to all competitors

  3. I so have to do this but getting to that remote area is difficult. I couldn’t find a train or bus route and this Dogg is too old to learn how to safely drive on the left side of the road for just one event. Does anybody know of a travel service that can get me there for this event?

    1. It’s called JOM rents a car, you sit in the passenger seat and look at the pretty scenery 🙂 Remember, JOM was born in Australia, where they drive on the same side of the road as the UK.

    2. Hey K-Dogg,
      In Oz and the UK , we drive on the “correct” side of the road…..

  4. Yeah, yeah. All you Down under’s are SO defensive about which way to point a car.
    This old dog never has the ability to practice.

    Also, I don’t even know where “Ludd” is or upon what side of the road they drive.


  5. Actually K-Dogg,
    I’d like to know who it was and why they decided that some drive left and some drive right…..

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