The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Cotswolds Adventure Race

 

Course Conditions

Information about the course area and trail conditions for the 2018 Cotswolds Adventure Race.

 

Special Notes

The River Avon overflowed it's banks and flooded the surrounding area just over a month ago at the beginning of April. The good news is that the water level has returned to normal and much of the flood plain has dried out. The bad news is that at the beginning of May there were still one or two waterlogged patches on the flood plain - these may well have dried out come race day but just be aware some low lying routes that don't get the sun (because they're permanently in the shade) may be a bit wet / boggy. With flooding comes an increased risk of diseases so best to follow this sensible advice.

Once you start, you will not return to the event base again until the finish so you will need to carry everything you need with you.

It is very important that you ensure gates are shut and properly fastened behind you as there are livestock including lots of young lambs in many of the fields and on the hills.

Most of the bridleways and footpaths are well signed so look out for the waymarkers and fingerposts to keep you on the the right track.

Keep an eye out for holes in the ground / trails (often caused by animals) - they could easily do you injury if you weren't looking where you were going!

 

Trail Run

The majority of the trail run takes place off road on public footpaths and bridleways although you will also need to use minor roads / pavements in places.

Most of the paths are either on grass or dirt / bare earth. The ground is generally quite firm but there are some soft patches in places which provide a welcome break from the otherwise hard and in places uneven ground.

Given the current weather forecast, the ground is expected to be largely dry apart from one or two places where water seeps from natural springs in the hill side (and the remains of any floodwater sitting in pools on the flood plain).

Obviously you may stick to the side of paths / tracks to avoid the worst of the water / mud but you must not cross or walk along any fences / boundaries that run along the side of some paths / tracks. You will get wet feet so best not to waste time circumnavigating the first boggy stretch you come to as you will only be delaying the inevitable!

There is one particularly short, steep section which can be slippery if it's damp. Trail shoes with a decent tread are strongly recommended.

Most of the trails are well used and hence obvious to follow and clear of vegetation. We went round in shorts at the beginnning of May and had no issues - this was the most overgrown path we found - but it's worth remembering that the vegetation grows fast at this time of year so you mat wish to wear / carry some sort of leg cover just in case you encounter a patch of nettles.

Take care when walking over lock gates and use the footplates / steps provided.

Keep an eye out for nests / eggs on the river bank and avoid getting too close - the geese will confront you / chase you away if you do!

 

Mountain Biking

The mountain biking is nearly all on minor roads and bridleways. Taking a bike on a footpath is illegal and is strictly forbidden.

Many roads are narrow (single lane) and some are steeply inclined. Moderate your speed when descending such lanes and make sure you can stop safely - there may be a tractor coming towards you just around the bend!

When on roads, cycle single file and keep in to the left hand side so vehicles can pass when it's safe for them to do so. Be aware some of the minor roads are busy with fast moving traffic. Take care when turning on / off such roads.

When off road, most of the time you will be cycling either on grass or dirt / bare earth.

The bridleways are quite firm and generally provide a good surface on which to ride. Some are steep and rocky with loose stones in places and others have exposed tree roots which are very slippery when wet.

A couple of the bridleways are steep so you will need to be a bit savvy in your route choice and avoid going up these if you don't want to have to get off and push.

A few tips to help you enjoy the mountain biking...

1) Do as much of the ascent on roads where possible

2) Look at the contours on the map and use bridleways where the contours are more widely spaced (i.e. the ground isn't so steep)

3) Descending a steep bridleway might be the shortest route / appealling to some but bear in mind that they may be so loose and rocky / badly eroded that you end up having to walk down them. So unless you are prepared to do this, best to err on the side of caution and use one of the more moderately inclined bridleways which provide a lovely flowing descent.

Many bridleways are popular with horse riders - please remember to slow down and give them a wide berth. There are a couple of places where the bridleways are quite cut up and bumpy to ride over (lots of horseshoe prints in mud which have begun to dry out), but these are relatively short lived and hence are soon passed.

 

Kayaking

The kayaking takes place on the River Avon. Access is to the river is via a low wooden platform (seen here on the right). There may be a bit of a drop down to the water (of a foot or more), depending on the level of the river on the day. The best way to get on the water is to sit on the side of the wooden platform with your feet on the kayak which is on the water. Then swing your yourself round and lower your bottom carefully down onto the kayak. It's worth taking the time to get it right though as the water is deep - in the unlikely event that you do fall in you will be swimming!

There is a bit of movement of water down river and this is most noticeable and strongest where the flow is restricted under bridges. But it hasn't rained much since we recced the water at the start of May and water levels have dropped since then (and hence slowed), so you should find it slightly easier.

Be aware that the flow may not look like that much but it takes longer and requires significantly more effort to paddle against it (that is unless the wind is blowing strongly in the opposite direction), so do factor this in and allow more time for the return paddle.

There is a public car park at the kayak transition which spectators may wish to use but please note it could well be full as it's not that big and is quite popular with other users. Specators are kindly asked to move on and not to loiter if the car park is full as this causes congestion which could cause an accident.

Keep away from moored vessels and well out of the way of any moving craft - we want to be able to return to use this lovely location again in the future! Paddle on the right hand side of the river so oncoming craft pass you on the left hand side (the same as if you were driving on the continent).

Parts of the river are quite wide and exposed to wind, so do take this into account and carry sufficient clothing with you. Other sections are narrow and more protected from the elements.

There are no portages. If you see a lock, weir or sluice whilst kayaking you have gone too far so turn around and head back. Do not approach them - they are very dangerous!

There are swans on the river. They can be fierce and quite territorial so best to give them a wide berth and avoid getting too close.

 

Photos

View all the photos taken on recent recce's showing different parts of the course here

 

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