The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Questars 360

Thames Ridgeway Challenge

 

Information for Teams

Final details for those people taking part in the 2018 Thames Ridgeway Challenge.

Entry Amendments

The Start List has been updated with all the recent amendments we have received to date. NB. After clicking on the link, you may need to refresh the webpage (press F5) to see the latest version if your web browser has saved a temporary copy of a previous version on your device.

Please make sure your team details are correct and contact us as soon as possible if anything is not shown correctly and needs updating.

Stage Summary

We've put together a summary of the key information about each stage and each transition point. We recommend you download and print off a copy of the Stage Summary and Transition Summary, and bring this with you for your own reference.

Arrival

Please don't arrive at the event base (St Francis School) before 18:30 on Friday (we can't get in ourselves before this as there are after school clubs using the hall). From 18:30 onwards you will be able to park, put up your tent (if camping onsite overnight) and sort out your kit inside the sports hall. If eating out, we recommend you stop off and do this on route before you arrive at St Francis School / in Pewsey.

Registration

Registration will be open from 20:00 until 22:00 on Friday evening in the large sports hall. If you wish to use your own paddle / buoyancy aid / backrest please bring these to registration for inspection and to hand them in if you want us to transport them for you.

At registration you will given a set of maps with the route marked on them, printed on waterproof paper (one set for every 2 people in a team).

Kit Bags

Hand in kit bags (and small tents if stopping overnight at Cholsey Scout Hut), at the Registration desk before 22:30 on Friday evening.

NB. If you are using your tent to sleep in on Friday night, you can hand this in to us at the start on Saturday morning.

You are welcome to sort out your kit and pack in the sports hall but please take special care not to do anything to damage the floor - bring a tarpaulin or rug to sort your kit out on. Bikes are not allowed in the sports hall and care must be taken not to spill any food, drink or any other liquids.

Additional Kit

A few additional things not on the kit list that you might find useful to bring:

  • Bike Map Board - map board for your bike (available to buy on the day)
  • Tarpaulin / Rug - to sort out kit on in the sports hall
  • Highlighter Pen - the route is marked on your maps but you may wish to highlight it
  • Mug / Bowl & Spoon - to have a hot drink / eat your own instant food
  • Folding Chair - to sit on at the event base
  • Towel & Wash Bag - for a shower when you finish
  • Earplugs - so your sleep isn't disturbed by other teams coming and going

British Canoeing Members

If you are a member of British Canoeing (BCU members) please remember to bring your membership card and carry it with you when you are kayaking on the River Thames.

Starts

When you are ready to start, bring your bikes and everything you need for the first stage to the start. We'll then attach your tracker and set you off from under the big yellow arch outside next to the hall.

The start is open from 06:00 until 08:00. You can start anytime during this period, but we recommend...

  • You start between 06:00 and 06:30 if you plan to stop and sleep mid-race on Saturday night
  • You start between 07:00 and 07:30 if you don't plan to sleep until after you've finished on Sunday morning unless i) you plan to do it at a relaxed pace and will take 24+ hours to get round in which case you can start from 06:00 if you would prefer or ii) you are planning to do it as fast as possible and are using your own kayak in which case you should start at or just before 08:00.

Why these times? To ensure you don't get to the transition points before they open or after they close. There aren't cut-off times as such as, but all the transitions have opening and closing times.

Why do the transition points have opening and closing times? So our marshals know when to be at a certain location and you know when our marshals will be there. The opening and closing times are generous. They have been set to be met comfortably by both the fastest and slowest paced teams that completed the course in 2016 assuming you start at the appropriate start time aforementioned.

NB. The slowest team in 2016 was on the move for 33 hours (i.e. this is the time they took to complete the 3 stages), leaving them only 3 hours for in transition / sleeping. Goinig slowly is not a problem as long as you keep moving. But remember, the slower you go the less time you'll have to rest and recover in transition / overnight if you want to complete the course before it closes at 18:00 on Sunday!

Rules

No one likes lots of rules and regulations, so we have just a few in the interest of safety and fairness (alot of these should be common sense really)...

  • Buoyancy aids must be worn and done up properly at all times when kayaking
  • Cycle helmets must be worn at all times when cycling
  • Trackers must be carried at all times and must remain sealed. No tracker equals no time. You must not do anything to tamper with them / interfere with their signal.
  • You must hand in your tracker to a Quest marshal before heading home (i.e. after you finish or if you withdraw). If you don't, you will be responsible for any additional costs that are incurred as a result of the late return of your tracker (they are hired on a per day basis).
  • You should follow the prescribed route where ever possible. If this is not possible for whatever reason (e.g. road closed due to an accident / footpath closed for maintenance) then you should follow the signed diversion if present. If there is no signed diversion then you should follow the original route as closely as possible, remaining on permitted public rights of way at all times, and rejoin the prescribed route as soon as you are able to.
  • If you inadvertently take a different route to that marked on the maps, we will adjust your time accordingly so you don't gain any unfair advantage e.g. by taking a short cut. We will not penalise you as such (unless you've done something that's not allowed e.g. taking a bike on a footpath, or deliberately sought to gain an unfair advantage), but we will err on the side of caution.
  • If you take one of the short course options shown on the maps then you will still be ranked, but you will be ranked below the teams that completed the full course and may have your time adjusted accordingly so you can be fairly ranked alongside other teams that took a different short course option.
  • When kayaking keep well away from weirs and follow all boaters signs to locks. Get out at locks and carry your kayak around them (unless instructed otherwise by the lock keeper). The weirs are very dangerous - there is a very real danger of death.
  • No dragging of kayaks over the ground (unless on good grass which you can see is clear of stones and any other sharp objects)
  • Teams must stay together at all times (except of course in the case of an emergency). Teams of 4 must stay in pairs during Stage 2 and both pairs should meet up and be together at each lock.

A few other things to note...

  • When kayaking keep to the right hand side of the river (so oncoming vessels pass you on your left)
  • The river in Oxford will be very busy with rowers. Keep to the right hand side of the river well out of their way. Rowers can't see where they are going, they move very fast and don't steer well so watch out for them (even coming up behind you) and get out of their way.

Route Maps

The route will be marked on 1:50000 scale Ordnance Survey Landranger maps. Teams of 2 will be given one copy of each map, whilst teams of 4 will receive two copies of each map (one for the 2 people kayaking and one for the 2 people trekking / running), so you can keep track of where you are.

No event signage will be put out on the route to show you where to go as the trails are all easy to find and follow. Both the Thames Path and The Ridgeway are well signposted along their entire length.

The 2018 route maps are in the process of being put together. They will be very similar to the 2016 route maps which can be viewed below if you wish to familiarise yourselves with the layout and format of the maps in advance...

There is no key marked on the maps. If you are not familiar with 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey maps please see the key for these maps, which you may like to also print off and bring with you.

GPS devices and apps may be used to assist you. Download the GPX route files below...

GPX Files

A GPX file of the route for each stage can be downloaded by right clicking on each of the following links and selecting 'save link as'...

Note: these GPX route files have been created for use on 1:50000 scale Ordnance Survey maps - this is why if you zoom in too much (i.e. in to the 1:25000 scale maps) the route may not appear as accurate.

Course Notes

The Thames Path is a popular footpath and generally well trodden. The path takes you through a couple of wild meadows (long grass) and in one or two other places the vegetation was starting to encroach on the path when we ran along it last month. We therefore recommend you wear or carry with you full leg cover just in case you come across a patch of stinging nettles.

To find out more about the course conditions together with the sort of terrain to expect please see the recce photo's showing various bits of the route and the race photos from 2016.

The flow on the River Thames is at normal rates but the river remains sensitive to heavy rain - see the current river conditions on the Environment Agency website. There are no known closures or restrictions on the River Thames that will affect teams.

Drinking water taps and toilets are available at quite a few of the locks, and this information will be marked on the route maps so you know where to expect these facilities. This information has been taken from the Environment Agency website and should be used as a guide rather than definitive. We found it to be up to date but there is no 100% guarantee - just because there is a toilet/tap at a lock doesn't mean it will be open/working. You should therefore fill up with water when you can. You should not wait until the next lock to fill up as it could be out of action!

The taps and toilets at locks aren't always easy to find. Best to ask the lock keeper if you can't see them. Please be polite and remember that they will have been asked the same question by every other team. Lock keepers are on duty from 9 am until 6 pm and have a lunch break from 1 pm until 2 pm.

Most taps have a sign on them saying 'Run tap for at least 30 seconds before filling'. We recommend you do this.

Final Word

Remember to:

• Respect the area and the local community
• Be great ambassadors for adventure racing
• Stay on existing paths and tracks at all times
• Give way to members of the public
• Give all animals a wide berth
• Keep voices down at night especially when passing buildings

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