The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Questars 360

Thames Ridgeway Challenge

 

Information for Teams

A few final details for those people taking part in the 2016 Thames Ridgeway Challenge.

British Canoeing Members

If you are a member of British Canoeing (BCU members) don't forget to bring your membership card with you, especially if you are planning to use your own kayak (rather than one of the sit-on-top kayaks provided). You will need to bring it to registration and carry it with you when you are kayaking.

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 do not arrive at the event base (St Francis School) before 18:00 on Friday (we can't get in ourselves before this as there are after school clubs using the facilities up until 18:00). From 18:00 onwards you will be able to park and put up your tent (if camping onsite overnight). If eating out, we recommend you stop off and do this on route before you arrive in Pewsey.

Registration

Registration will be open from 20:00 until 22:00 on Friday evening in the large sports hall. If using your own paddle / buoyancy aid / backrest please bring these to registration and hand them in then 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). If you want to look at the maps in advance or print off a second spare copy of the maps you can do so below (see Route Maps section).

Kit Bags

Hand in kit bags plus bike bags / boxes and small tents if using them (optional) at the Registration desk before 23:00 on Friday evening.

NB. If using the tent on Friday night, you can hand this in before you start on Saturday morning.

You are welcome to sort 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 or drink.

Additional Kit

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

+ Bike Lock
For locking your bike up at the event base before you start / after you finish
+ Tarpaulin / Rug
To sort kit out on in the sports hall
+ Highlighter Pen
For highlighting the route on the maps
+ Mug / Bowl & Spoon
To have a hot drink / eat your own instant food
+ Folding Chair
Not sure if there are any chairs in the Sports Hall so you may want to bring your own just in case
+ Towel & Wash Bag
For a shower when you finish

Starts

The start is open from 06:00 until 08:30 and you can start anytime during this period. We recommend most teams start between 06:00 and 07:00 to give yourselves plenty of time. The only reason to start after 07:00 is if you are using your own kayak and are so fast that you will get to Oxford before the Stage 2 midpoint transition opens at 15:00.

When you're ready to start, please leave your bikes outside and come to the front desk in the sports hall to collect your tracker. We'll then set you off from under the big yellow arch outside next to the hall.

Rules

No one likes lots of rules and regulations, so we have just a few in the interest of safety and being fair to all teams...

+ 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 inadvertently take a different route to that marked on the maps (or take one of the short course options marked on your map), we will adjust your time accordingly so don't gain any unfair advantage from taking a short route. We will not penalise you as such (unless you've done something that's not allowed e.g. taking a bike on a footpath), but we will err on the side of caution.

+ 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 when passing oncoming vessels.

The river in Oxford is often 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

We have attached copies of the map that you will get at registration below so if you want to familiarise yourselves with them before Friday or print off an additional copy you can do so...

+ Overview route map (4 MB)

+ Stage One route map (7 MB)

+ Stage Two route map (7 MB)

+ Stage Three route map (7 MB)

You'll see 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.

Drinking water and toilets are available at quite a few of the locks, and you'll see we have marked these on your map 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 have found it to be up to date but we have not checked the facilities at every lock). Just because the map says there is a tap at a lock doesn't mean it will be working. You should therefore fill up with water when you can. You should not wait until the next lock to fill up as you may not be able to!

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.

You'll also see that camping is available at a few locks for those travelling the river by foot or boat.

Course Conditions

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 these recent recce photo's showing various bits of the route.

The flow on the River Thames is at normal rates but the river remains sensitive to further 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.

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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