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Three Peaks Cyclo-cross Ltd Ed Strada Bianca

Sunday 27th September sees the 53rd edition of the “Hardest Cyclo-Cross Race In The World”. The beautifully picturesque, but equally daunting sight of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent will become the playground for 600 slightly crazy, cyclo-cross enthusiasts hoping to beat the course in the 2015 Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross.

To honour this truly unique and amazing event, Planet X have decided to launch a limited edition “3 Peaks Special” of our latest 700c, go anywhere, gravel grinding, adventure warrior. The Viner - Strada Bianca. (White roads)

As many of you probably know, our in House design team has huge experience on the bike and is headed up by ex-UCI Pro Tour rider, and former World No1 ranked rider, Jamie Burrow. What none of you will know though is that Jamie started his cycling career in the muck as a youthful, whipper-snapper, cyclo-cross prodigy!

Having dominated the under 16 category, winning the National Trophy series in the winter of 1993, I decided I was not only big enough and hard enough to take on the mighty peaks, but also take on the county's leading pro cross riders, and lay down the gauntlet with an 'I can go for the win here' attitude. How wrong was I?

I'd only just finished my junior road season two weeks previously where I'd been focussed hard on the National 10 mile TT champs. That revolved around a month of on-the-limit 30-minute turbo trainer sessions intermixed with shorter flat out efforts. To be honest, that's not the right preparation for 61 seriously hardcore Km of off-road agony. Let's not forget that a god 1/3 of these Km are actually on foot carrying your bike. Of course when you are young and dumb these things don't sound quite so daunting.

The 1994 edition of the Three Peaks turned out to include the worst weather on record. With heavy rain and gale force winds that combined to deliver near-zero visibility on the highest peaks. The fact that all competitors are required to race with a 2 meter, bright orange safety blanket and emergency whistle, under their saddle, should have hinted to me how tough it might become! Be prepared, be fit, or stay at home!

I travelled to the event with my parents, and good friend Jeff, who had ridden the 2 previous editions, and given me some useful tips. “Pace yourself and eat”. "Ok Jeff I will". So as soon as the starter's gun went, who was first across the cattle grids and onto Ingleborough? You guessed it! I think my head was still in 10 mile TT mode. I held the front runners all the way up and over the first peak. Descending through the first Pits, and past the first sign of any life that wasn’t a random sheep hiding against a dry stone wall. Jeff and mum were super enthused by my 5th Place, less than a minute behind the eventual winner, National Pro champ Chris Young.

Unfortunately at this point, things suddenly took a slight turn for the worse! Whernside proved only one thing! I had no place here! The only gear that seemed to work on my bike was reverse. I remembered Jeff’s words of advice. Yes of course I did. Fast start, no food and even faster demise! Losing an hour to the leader, on one of 3 peaks might seem impossible, but believe me it's not. Next time I came across my mum and Jeff I was ready to get out the bright orange safety blanket, and curl up in the back of the car. Mum saying “he can’t go on”! And Jeff saying, “soft lad! Wait until I tell everyone next week at club night, how you wimped out of it after only 2 peaks". 

There was no way I could face the humility of not finishing, so I gingerly got back on my bike and headed towards the final ascent of Pen-ye-ghent. As if I wasn’t depressed enough. As soon as I turned onto the bare stony peak, Chris Young came hurtling down towards me, having already made it to the top and back, with only 3 miles to go. A whole 90 minutes ahead of me.

Well eventually I made it to the finish in one piece, and it was still just about daylight. I couldn’t walk for the following 2 weeks, let alone ride. I think this is when I became a road rider! But I did say, “One day I’ll be back”!

The Three peaks is an extremely hard event, and I’ll tip my hat to any man or Woman, who takes on the challenge. Courage and fitness are an absolute must if you want to make it round. But the correct choice of equipment is absolutely crucial. That’s why we have spent months designing and testing the perfect 3 peaks machine.

The Viner Strada Bianca concept started life as the ultimate 700c Gravel grinder. It was conceived to be the ideal bike for comfort on and off the trails, without sacrificing speed on the road or adding any weight that would hold you up the climbs. Not as aggressive as a pure cyclo-cross bike- which are built for 1hour max efforts, the Strada Bianca is at home all day, on every terrain.

This limited edition, Three Peaks special has been fitted with SRAM's Force22 hydraulic groupset for its fast efficient gear shifting and superior braking power. We have chosen 34/50 chainrings to make sure you are completely at home even on the hardest of climbs, and to help you keep your speed up during the long tarmac sections between peaks.

Our high-end Selcof cockpit has been chosen for its light weight and extremely durable qualities. The bar and stem combo provide perfect ergonomic hand positioning and superior shock absorption. The most important kit choice for the peaks is no doubt, wheel and tire choice. We have gone for extra beefy, 40mm WTB Nano tyres. Super grippy in loose conditions with small knobs that bite through to give maximum grip the 40mm carcass is sufficiently large that you'll never feel at a disadvantage, especially when you overtake riders on heavier, less versatile MTB's. The Three Peaks wheelset is a fully hand built affair using Sapim Race spokes, WTB STi19 rims and our brand new Selcof Comp disc hubs. Each pair is lovingly hand built by the UK, wheel building legend Mark Minting. Wheelsets of this quality are seldom seen on ready-to-ride bikes. It's just another example of our commitment to total quality at unbelievable prices.

The Three Peaks Strada Bianca is a seriously capable off-road mile eater and it's just the job to help you tackle the Three Peaks Cyclo Cross later this month. We'll see you on the peaks.

1 September 2015

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