The Abernethy DARE

I only just made it to this race, but was very glad I did!

This was an event in the SMBO series. I haven’t been able to get to many of them this year due to other commitments. But this one wasn’t too far away, I was at home and I found a lift via Facebook. Perfect! I was looking forward to 3 hours of mountan biking and collecting checkpoints somewhere new.

Beautiful forest

Beautiful forest

The day before was a Friday. I had got up very early that morning to go for a swim. I was feeling tired and knew I had to be up promptly to ride across town to my pick up point. So at 9:30pm I started getting my bike ready and was looking forward to going to bed. Then I found I had an almost-flat tyre. My thought process went something like this:

  • Oh no, it’s a real pain to fix punctures on this bike
  • It’s only a slow one, I can just pump it up and race
  • If I do that, I will worry all the way round
  • Better fix it now, and have peace of mind
  • Oh no, it’s a real pain to fix punctures on this bike

I set about fixing the puncture. The only straightforward part of this operation was taking the front wheel off the bike. After that it all went wrong. Suffice to say that the job involved multiple types of tyre levers, YouTube videos, heat, talc, swearing, tears, a very stubborn and spiky thorn, tick removers, two defective brand new inner tubes, blisters and an extra pair of hands and moral support from along the road. Jim was my saviour! 3 hours later it was 12:30am, I waved goodbye to Jim and fell into bed exhausted.

After all that, getting to the race and starting seemed a breeze.

It was a fabulous event with a great atmosphere. The £1 entry fee deal had drawn people in and there were lots of ‘generation’ teams (1 kid + 1 adult) out enjoying themselves. Throw in some sunshine, fun trails, a well planned map and amazing home baking and this was one not to be missed!

Abernethy is a small town in the north of Fife, just south of Perth and the Firth of Tay. It is famous for an old round tower, which is where the first checkpoint was. It is not famous for biscuits, which were named after a person, not the place! The event area had a network of trails, forest tracks, farm roads and minor roads. There were lots of ways in and out and round, and everyone was doing different things.

I opted to go clockwise, gain height on a road then wiggle around ‘on the top’ (these terms are all relative!) before a big down and back up again. Along the way, some of the views across the Tay were beautiful, and the forests were still golden in colour. You can see where I and others went and what you might do differently if you go to the routegadget. I even uploaded my gps route for you :-). You’ll just have to guess at the points values though!

Hurrah! Both tyres still inflated.

Hurrah! Both tyres still inflated.

After a couple of hours, some crazed dogs alerted me to a minor navigational error. I took the opportunity to stop, refold the rather large map (A3) and decide what I had time left for. Unfortunately, when I estimated how far it was to go, logic told me that just the shortest option was tight, even though I really wanted to throw in a few more at the end! I set off again in a bit more of a hurry, visiting an old castle and searching for a checkpoint on a skeleton in the middle of a long, dark, spoooooky tunnel! We warned to bring a light for this one. Soon I was dashing back along the road to the finish, only a few minutes late.

My score was high enough to win the small female solos class. Results. On a day when I wasn’t so tired from a hard training week and puncture fixing fiascos I think I would have been able to fit in at least a couple more. I was told the two I had in mind were fun to get as well! 🙂 But I was happy to have enjoyed myself and explored such a great new area.

Part of my prize (a Buff) went straight to Andy, who was delighted! I’ll think of something to put the Alpine Bikes voucher towards later.

Thanks to the organiser, Keith Leinster, for putting on such a well planned event and taking me somewhere new. Thanks also to Raymond for the photos, to Marc and Ewan for getting me from here to there and back again and to Jim for getting me as far as the front door :D.

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Posted on 25/11/2013, in Adventure Racing, Race Reports and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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