Beth and I had signed up for a charity bike ride called "Tour de Lauder" which took place yesterday. We entered for the 50 mile route which was to take us through the very undulating landscape of the Borders.
I was quite nervous about the event as I have been having problems with my knee on our longer cycle rides and it had been over a fortnight since I had been out on Dolly, so was slightly concerned to say the least. The weather looked quite horrific for the day, with heavy rain forecast over much of the country. So in the interest of just getting round the route as comfortably as possible I decided to go on my old faithful mountain bike.
It was an early start as we had to be down at Thirlestain Castle for 8.15am. The weather looked bleak as we headed south, but there were patches of brightness, so we crossed our fingers.We met up with a couple of Beth's friends, signed in and got ourselves ready for the big off.
I had not cycled on old faithful in a while and as good as she is for commuting around the town she is not the best for actual road cycling in the manner I have become accustomed to on Dolly, but my confidence was high as we have cycled many a hundred mile together with no pain.
All was going well as we reached the watering station at the almost half way point. The weather was good and no pain. However as soon as we started cycling again, my knee started to hurt, and not just in a gradual build up kind of way but in a "oohya" and a few sweary words kind of way. Not happy!
It was at this point that things just got a little bit mad. A couple of minor route finding problems led to us doing a couple of extra miles which just added to the conflict going on in my head. Should I stop or should I go on? Thankfully Beth is also a walking pharmacy so topped up on some pain killers and managed to cycle, quite slowly and mostly upwards but onwards none the less.
We made it to the 2nd watering station. Ten miles to go nearly there. Happiness almost returning. A quick refreshment and we were on our way once again. I had been paying more attention to the yellow route markers, but somehow, and I am still not sure how, we both did not see one of the last signs that should have taken us back in to Lauder. We got to 58 miles when we realised that the markers we were following were for the beginning of the route. We stopped checked the map and realised that we were now about 15 miles from where we were due to finish. I have to say that my heart just fell into my shoes at that point, there was no way I could physically or mentally make the journey back. I hate admitting defeat and it is not something that sits well with me. When I set myself a challenge I aim to complete that challenge no matter what, but this time it was not meant to be. I felt really bad for Beth as she was cycling well and looking strong all day and she quite possibly would have made it back without too much trouble.
We were rescued by a volunteer in a mini bus. His two young children nicknamed us "The lovely lost ladies of Lauder".
If we had made the correct turn we would have made it back in a fairly decent time and we would have not gotten wet. The only rain of the day came as we stood under a tree waiting to be rescued which did not really help my mood. So I would just like to say a huge thank you to Beth and a big sorry for being a total winge bag for much of the day.
Fingers crossed that I can sort out my knee problem soon.
The man in the white is Mark Beaumont. We presumed he had no problem with the route finding.
All photographs by Caroline Harvey.