The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Questars 360

Thames Ridgeway Challenge

 

The Route

IMPORTANT NOTE

As most teams indicated on their entry that they would prefer to kayak first this is what all teams of two will do (now that entries have closed and we know the number of people taking part, we have enough kayaks for you to be able to do this). There are a whole number of reasons for this which we won't go into here, but do chat to us if you want to know more about the reasoning behind this.

So, to confirm, teams of 2 will kayak from Lechlade to Oxford and trek / run from Oxford to Cholsey (just beyond Wallingford).

STAGE 2 SUMMARY

+ Kayak down the Thames and Run / Trek along the Thames Path for 88 km

+ Starts from Buscot lock and weir

+ Midway Point at Donnington Bridge, Oxford

+ Ends at Cholsey, Wallingford, Oxfordshire

+ Drinking water available on route at many of the locks

STAGE 2 MIDWAY POINT

+ Located in the public car park off Meadow Lane, Oxford, OX4 4BJ - view on map

+ Opens at 15:00 Saturday (closes when all teams through)

+ Outside - no shelter available

+ Access to kit bags (both teams of 2 and 4)

+ End of kayaking for teams of 2

+ Beginning of run / trek for teams of 2

STAGE 2 TIMINGS

Kayak from Buscot Lock to Donnington Bridge (teams of 2)

+ Fastest teams expected to take 6-7 hours on a sit-on-top

+ Slowest teams expected to take 9-10 hours on a sit-on-top

Trek / run from Donnington Bridge to Cholsey (teams of 2)

+ Fastest teams expected to take 3.5-4.0 hours

+ Slowest teams expected to take 7-8 hours

STAGE 2 DESCRIPTION

The route follows the River Thames - the longest river in England - for the whole of stage 2. From Lechlade the route heads east along the Thames towards the city of Oxford, renowned for its prestigious University. You'll follow the river through the medieval heart of Oxford itself and on past the market town of Abingdon before reaching the second transition point just after Wallingford.

Expect to spend half of this stage on foot trekking along the banks of the River Thames and the other half kayaking down the river itself (though this is variable for teams of 4 - see section below).

All the kayaking takes place on the River Thames. You will be paddling down river so the flow of water will be with you but it is likely to be negligible in June, so expect flat water conditions. Two person sit-on-top kayaks are provided and included in the entry fee, as are buoyancy aids and paddles if you don't have your own. There are a number of locks that you will need to portage around (and weirs that you will need to avoid) so within your team you will need two people who together can carry a 29 kg kayak for approx. 50 m around each set of locks. This might sound like bit of an inconvenience but from experience it actually provides a welcome respite from sitting down in the kayak; a chance to stretch those legs and refuel! Expect to kayak the distance of a marathon (42 km).

Whilst on foot you'll be trekking / running along the Thames Path which is a well signed long distance national footpath that follows the River Thames closely, hence the trail meanders quite a bit. It is virtually flat, almost all off road and uneven in places. Expect to cover a marathon distance (42 km) on foot.

You will have the opportunity to access your kit and restock with supplies at least once during this stage (as this is a particularly long stage in terms of the time that it will take). Drinking water taps can also be found at several of the locks (we'll let you know which ones).

Teams of 4

Teams of 4 will kayak and trek at the same time - 2 team members will kayak whilst the other 2 trek.

Each team of 4 will have one kayak which as a team they must paddle down river from Lechlade to Wallingford. Only two people can fit (and are permitted) on the kayak at a time so whilst two team members are kayaking the other two team members will be trekking / running along the Thames Path. It is up to your team to decide when, where and how often you swap around but all four team members must meet up at each set of locks, so this provides an ideal opportunity to swap over. The average distance between locks is around 5 km which teams should be able to paddle in an hour or less.

This is a new concept unique to Questars 360 which we think will add a novel and interesting dynamic to the stage, favouring those teams that work well together and communicate effectively. It will also break up the monotony sometimes associated with paddling / trekking for a long uninterrupted period of time. However, if you would rather all 4 members of your team kayaked at the same time (and trekked at the same time), that's not a problem; just enter as two teams of 2 (with the same team name) so we can ensure there are enough kayaks for you to do this (entry fee for this is the same as for other teams of 2 because of the extra kayak and logistics involved). See below for how this will work...

Teams of 2

Two person teams will split stage 2 in half; kayaking one half and trekking / running the other.

Some teams of 2 will kayak first from Lechlade for 40-45 km along the River Thames and then trek / run for the remaining 40-45 km along the Thames Path to Wallingford, whilst others will trek / run 40-45 km first and kayak 40-45 km second (you can state your preference when you enter). The half way point where two person teams switch over between the trek / run and the kayaking is just after the most northerly point of the whole route, before the River Thames reaches Oxford.

The details above are given only as an indication of the planned route for stage 2 - the actual route may change / alter slightly from that described and shown. Distances are approximate and rounded to the nearest 10 km. The guide time is an estimation of the time most teams are expected to take to complete this stage.

 

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