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February's Adventure Racer of the month - Tom Davies!


Are you ready to participate in your first Questars adventure race? Our featured Adventure Racer on the Month, Tom Davies, shares his insights into what it takes to succeed in adventure racing. With over 25 Questars races under his belt, multiple Questars race and series wins, and podium finishes at World Series events, Tom knows what makes for a successful race.

From navigation to fuelling during the race, these tips will help you to make the most of your Questars adventure racing experience. Read on to learn about what Tom enjoys about adventure racing, his tips for racing as a team and more.

When did you participate in your first Questars Adventure Race?

Ummm, I think I participated in my first Questars Adventure Race in 2009.

Roughly how many Questars adventure races have you participated in?

Lots – more than 25 over the years I’d guess.

What do you like most about Questars adventure races?

The fact that route choice, strategy and how long you spend on each discipline is up to you.

What do you like most about adventure racing?

It’s all consuming, when I’m racing I’m completely “in the zone” and any real-world worries disappear for the duration of the race.

Why did you first get into adventure racing?

I did a corporate “adventure race” (Microsoft Challenge for those that remember it, now called the UK Challenge), I loved it and I wanted to get more competitive/less rubbish!

What is your favourite area in the UK to race in?

Scottish Highlands – proper wilderness, proper mountains, proper weather. Shame about the midges!

What advice would you give to someone just getting started adventure racing?

Don’t run faster than you can map read!

What is the best piece of advice that you were given when you started adventure racing?

Always run before biking if you have the choice. Thank you to Tom Gibbs for that one – running when tired is much slower than biking when tired (and is far more miserable!)

What is your strongest and weakest race discipline? How do you combat your weakest discipline?

Strongest – navigation (if that’s a discipline, otherwise MTB). Weakest – kayaking (like all UK racers). To improve I joined a kayak club and got taught how to paddle properly!

What does your training plan for an adventure race look like?

I’m not organised enough to have a training plan, I just try to do a bit more than usual if I’ve got a big race coming up, focussing on anything that’s likely to be decisive in the race (like actually doing some paddle training for the Adventure Race World Championships 2021 in Spain, which had a 100km paddle leg!)

What is your favourite pre-, during- and post-race food for a Questars adventure race?

Pre-race – bacon sandwich. During a Questars race – Clif espresso gels and snickers bars. Post-race – a big plate of chili con carne

What do you usually wear for a Questars adventure race?

Depends on the weather (but it’s always shorts weather!). One set of clothes that I can do all stages in, you don’t want to waste time getting changed.

What type of bike do you normally use for a Questars adventure race?

Specialised Epic full suspension 29er

What’s the one piece of non-mandatory kit in your bag that you could not do without?

Anti-chafe cream – you’ll only realise the full importance of this when you don’t have any

What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made during an adventure race?

I forgot the anti-chafe cream…

What’s the weirdest/funniest/strangest thing that has happened to you during an adventure race?

I snapped my bike in half in the Raid in France (a multi-day adventure race) on a rocky mountainous stage. We pushed the wreckage 10k to a local village (with mild concussion), then we bribed a bartender in the village bar to lend me his crappy-spec mountain bike so we could finish the race. We had to do a 3 hour each way drive after the race was finished to take it back to him and pick up my broken bike. I bought him a few drinks too!

What have been some of your greatest adventure racing achievements?

Winning a Questars race has to be the highlight 😊

What is the most difficult part of adventure racing?

Getting a team to the start line of an adventure race.

What’s the most helpful advice for racing in a team?

Make sure your teammates share the same goals and ambitions for the race as you do, whether this be “gentle adventure tourism” or “win or die trying”. If you are not aligned, you’ll all have a very frustrating race!

What is your favourite overseas race that you have participated in and why?

They’ve all been amazing experiences but Expedition Africa in Namaqualand was pretty special, we had a good team, the region was amazingly varied, we did fairly well, and the after-party was held in a vineyard!

What are your top five tips for adventure racing success?

Learn to navigate – even if you are not the navigator on the team
Bring more food than you think you’ll need
Learn to paddle
Be nice to your team
Remember your passport…

Thank you, Tom! Some fantastic advice from a really experienced racer.

Do you fancy giving Adventure Racing a go? Follow the link below to sign up for one of our races

The 2023 Questars Series


The Wiltshire race is the first of our four one-day races which make up our 2023 Series Championship. Anyone entering into any of our adventure races will be automatically entered into our Series Championship with each individual’s top three one-day results counting towards the final Championship position. Full details can be found on our Series Championship page.

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