The first year cyclocross race Three Peaks lived up to the pre-race hype of an epic event. This race is modeled after the Iron Cross ‘cross in Pennsylvania and the legendary Three Peaks in England. Like those races the competitors faced a challenging descent, steep 18 to 20 percent ascents and terrain that forced riders to shoulder their bikes. For those who might not have the conditioning to complete the 75 kilometers there was a 35 kilometer route as well as a relay or mountain bike option.
The race was held under perfect weather conditions – a slight overcast to keep temperatures cool. While the atmospheric conditions weren’t a factor the terrain was. The race started with a forty meter run up to a gate followed by a technical 20 minute descent and then the three climbs up Beech Mountain.
The descent was so fast that riders were already out of contention for the overall. Just ten miles into the race the contenders were down to 12. On the first ascent it was further reduced to six. At the 15 mile mark the wheat had separated from the chaff and the winner was going to be decided from the remaining four racers.
These four riders, Eric Marland (Boone Velo), Andrew Applegate (Champion System),Sonni Dyer (Fiets Maan racing), and Isaac Enderline (Atlantic Velo) worked together until the final descent. Marland shifted into his big ring and tried to separate himself from the quartet. While he did open up a gap, the descent was not long enough for him to stretch the gap and he was brought back on the final climb to Beech Mountain.
On the climb to the finish the four riders exchanged attacks until Dyer and Enderline finally caused a separation. Initially Dyer and Enderline continued to attack each other as they approached the finish. However the duo made an agreement to work together as they were in separate categories and weren’t directly in competition with each other. Dyer was racing in the 40 plus age category and Enderline was contesting the overall.
“It was in our best interest to work together,” said Dyer.
However with the finish line in sight Enderline surged forward crossing the line first. Crossing the line four minutes later was Dyer – second overall, but first in the 40 plus category.
After the race Dyer compared the epic nature of Three Peaks to another event held here in the southeast.
“The only thing I cold compare it to was Southern Cross and this was far harder.”
While the course was the expected challenge Dyer also had complimentary words for race promoter Andrew Stackhouse.
“All in all they (Pirate Promotions) did a great job. You could make a case that it was too hard but there was a half option and you could do the mountain bike option.”
“I had fun.”