Abernethy DARE 2014
I feel like I have been in the wars a bit. After just getting round the Innerleithen event with my scabby knees, I was confident I’d be raring to go 2 weeks later at the Abernethy DARE 3h event. I had limped one way for a week due to my injuries, but then felt ready to do a short run. Straight away I hurt my other leg with some sort of nerve pain. So I switched limping sides for another week before trying to run again. 27 minutes in I got a sudden sharp pain in my hip and was forced to stop. This was on Wednesday; I was able to see a physiotherapist on Friday. Although it was painful enough to feel scarily serious, it had improved a fair bit by then.
The verdict was a strained tensor fascia lata. Of course, we all know this muscle attaches to a sensitive bone, which makes it feel worse than it is. With instructions for stretches and progressive exercises I was told no running or excessive walking for minimum 2 weeks. Cycling would be OK, providing I didn’t go crazy and do any big hills. This wasn’t my usual physio, so I kept quiet, agreed, and convinced myself that the Abernethy DARE wasn’t really too hilly, I could always use my gears and most of it was rideable so minimal walking needed.
So instead of setting off in speed mode, I set off cautiously and in some discomfort, especially on mounts and dismounts! After about 30 minutes something whipped at my shins causing an intense pain. I feared it was some dangerous plant or creature and that the poison would slowly be making its way to my heart. When I pedalled it hurt, but I couldn’t see any swelling. Obviously a silent and deadly killer. After another half hour nothing worse had happened, so I decided I wasn’t going to collapse just yet.
I was still having trouble with the concept of fast riding. I saw another girl a few times, who looked out of breath and like she was making an effort. This reminded me that in contrast I was just trundling along… I think this is an unfortunate Itera side effect. Getting some short distance speed back is something I’d have to work on!
The course was pleasant. I took a route round in the opposite direction to last year. Sadly, the dark tunnel controls didn’t fit nicely into a loop, needing long distance out and backs. I ignored them. It was funny when I met my friend Glen near a point where a few controls could be collected in a circle. He went one way and I went the other, waving as we passed and coming together again at the same place we started! This is where he whizzed off and I proceeded more cautiously, keeping my eyes peeled for a turning I thought might not be obvious. I found it, he missed it 😀
In the final part of the race I spotted an unexpected track contouring round the hill to an extra control and set off enthusiastically. Time was running short and this was the spur I needed to put some effort in and go a bit faster. After that it was a blast down the hill to collect some more points on the flat tracks in the river valley.
I got back a few minutes late but nothing too bad. A reasonable score and first female, but nothing spectacular. I had made at least two navigation errors, one costing me quite a few minutes, plus there were the speed and leg/hip problems. A bottle of wine won for the person who gave me a lift and 3 bottles of beer for the boyfriend fund.
And when I cleaned the mud off to inspect the leg wound, we found a centimetre long gorse thorn embedded straight in. Ouch!