The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Brecon Beacons Q2 Adventure Race

 

Course Conditions

Information about the course area and conditions for the 2018 Brecon Beacons Adventure Race.

 

Special Notes

Watch out, slow down and give way to other people and animals. Parts of the course area are popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders so expect some of the trails to be busy with other members of the public out and about, especially if the weather is nice. A bike bell is strongly recommended so you can warn others of your approach.

Some fields have livestock in them. Please make sure gates are both shut and properly fastened behind you, so animals remain where they are supposed to be.

There are some fords / stream crossings so expect to get wet feet when running and mountain biking.

Virtually all the routes encountered on the course recces were clear of vegetation. However, a couple of trail sections were a bit narrow in places where the vegetation encroaches from either side so keep an eye out for the odd stray bramble / stinging nettle.

Also look out for fingerposts and waymarker posts to keep you on the right track. Virtually all the routes are well signed but in some places the small discs are easy to miss. Also look out for these small signs on gate posts showing routes which you must not use.

 

Trail Run

The Trail Runs use a mixture of public rights of way (e.g. public footpaths and bridleways), and formed paths on open access land. Very little is on road. Whilst running along roads you must use pavements if present.

The towpath along by the canal is flat and there are gently inclined trails that traverse along the steep sided valleys. Above these wooded valleys the terrain is more open, wild and undulating. Trail surfaces vary from grass and bare earth, to rocky and graded gravel.  

The high ground is on the whole quite dry and firm (from all the dry weather we had earlier this year). However, it doesn't take much rain to make any bare earth wet and slippery so the weather on the day will play a big part in what the surface conditions of the trails are like. There are one or two boggy patches where water seeps from the ground so expect to get wet and muddy feet at some point along the way! Trail or fell shoes with a good tread are strongly recommended.

STAGE 1 & 2

A short technical trail run, with many interesting features and varied terrain. Expect rocky ground, stream crossings, muddy / boggy trails, well graded gravel tracks, steep slopes and uneven ground.

A light (e.g. headtorch) is required to visit one of the Trail Run checkpoints.

Starts and finishes from a remote transition point so you will need to carry your running shoes with you on the bike (if different from those that you wear for cycling).

STAGE 3

Starts low and gives you the option of venturing up high onto remote wild terrain which is exposed to the elements.

If you do choose to visit the checkpoints up high you need to make sure you are properly prepared for the weather conditions. It might not be windy in the sheltered valleys but it could well be up high so a windproof top is mandatory (NB. this will be upgraded to a waterproof top if it's raining or forecast to be wet). A compass is essential if venturing up onto open access land given that it will be dark and it could well be in the cloud too.

STAGE 4

A mountain trail run stage. Expect to be up on high ground and exposed to the elements for a substantial amount of time (2-3 hours). Again a windproof top is minimum requirement for this stage.

All the checkpoints are on formed paths but there are a couple of places where they are not that well defined so you'll also want a compass if the tops are in the cloud.

You'll need to carry all the water you need for the trail run (3.5 hours maximum) with you.

 

Mountain Biking

Bikes are only allowed on roads, bridleways, restricted byways and other designated off road cycle routes. Taking your bike on footpaths or any other unmarked trail is against the law and therefore strictly forbidden - there are no excuses - pay attention to the information on the map and the signs on the ground! Make sure you know the difference between footpaths and bridleways

The off-road cycling tends to be at either end of the spectrum; it's either easy going on flat to gently inclined well maintained trails or quite technically challenging on steep, rocky ground. This is nowhere more apparent than in the forests where the Mt bike trails are either wide, well-graded gravel tracks that you could drive a car along or eroded rocky vehicle tracks that you'd struggle to get a 4x4 up or down. There isn't much soft ground. All the trails are quite firm.

The designated off-road cycle routes are at the easy fast-going end of the spectrum with some sections characterised by a smooth wheel-chair friendly gravel surface. Other parts are narrow, uneven and bumpy (the routes that are flat hold the water so expect lots of puddles along them if it's wet).

At the other end of the spectrum are restricted byways (and sections of some bridleways). These tend to be steep, rough, uneven and slow going. Their gradient alone would not normally pose a problem for those used to hills, but it is this coupled with the fact that their surface is frequently covered with loose stones and rocks which makes these routes challenging even for the most technical riders. That said, all the routes have been riden and are rideable (in one direction at least) but if you are not technically competent or if you end up going up one of these routes, you may find you will have to get off and push / carry your bike a short distance over the roughest / steepest sections.

Cyclists are required by law to give way to walkers and horse riders on bridleways. Please make sure you do this and that you slow down / stop when passing horse riders.

When descending steep slopes, it is your responsibility to avoid any cyclists coming uphill in the opposite direction. They have right of way and can choose whichever line / side of the track they want - if they have to stop they might not be able to get going again but if you stop you have gravity on your side! 

When on roads, always cycle single file (apart from being considerate to others, it's more efficient) and keep in to the left hand side so that vehicles can pass when it's safe for them to do so. Some of the roads are very narrow - they are not wide enough for you to pass an oncoming car. Moderate your speed when descending these narrow lanes and take extra care at sharp bends / road junctions - you must be able to stop if a vehicle is coming the other way!

 

Kayaking

All the kayaking takes place on the Brecon & Monmouth canal. The stretches of canal that you will be kayaking along are free of locks and low bridges so no portages should be required.

The kayaking for Stage 3 and Stage 4 is linear i.e. from A to B. Some teams will kayak from A to B and run back (from B to A) whilst others will run from A to B and kayak back (from B to A). It is therefore advisable to wear your trail running shoes whilst kayaking.

The canal is partially dug into the hillside and a large part of it is lined with hedges and trees giving some protection from any wind. The chocolate coloured waters get their distinct tone from the local red sandstone. 

Access to the water is from the towpath / side of the canal. It's best to put your kayak on the water, sit on the edge of the canal with your feet on the kayak and then gently swing your bottom round and down onto the kayak.

Although permission has been given for us to use the canal, it is subject to a number of conditions, one of which is that you give priority to other boats / vessels / canal users. Please make sure you do this and stick to the right-hand side of the canal when passing oncoming boats / kayaks.

 

Photos

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

 

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