The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Full Race Results available via http://www.emituk.com/

The second sell out questars event in the 2008 Rivette questars Adventure Race Series took place on Saturday 31 May in the glorious Brecon Beacons. Over 400 adventure racers from all across the UK arrived at Christ College in calm warm conditions ready for a great day out in the hills.

 

Read on for a report on this race highlighting team exploits around the course.

 

Action shots of participants are available at www.rightplacerighttime.co.uk

Full Race Results available via http://www.emituk.com/

 

The second sell out questars event in the 2008 Rivette questars Adventure Race Series took place on Saturday 31 May in the glorious Brecon Beacons. Over 400 adventure racers from all across the UK arrived at Christ College in calm warm conditions ready for a great day out in the hills.

 

Read on for a report on this race highlighting team exploits around the course.

 

Action shots of participants are available at www.rightplacerighttime.co.uk

 

There was a palpable air of anticipation as teams congregated in the sports hall for the Race Briefing to learn more about the course. Teams then had time to review the many route choices provided by the widespread location of the optional checkpoints before starting their race and receiving the all important Checkpoint Descriptions and Values card on the start line. This revealed which three of the 18 trail run and 18 mountain bike checkpoints marked on the course map were dummy ones. Many were relieved to see that they included the farthest away trail run checkpoints on Waun Rydd.

 

Runners still had some significant hills to climb to gain all the available points on the trail run stage. After some delightful riverside and tow path  running on flat ground runners were presented with more of challenge. Many got to the 1000 foot high checkpoint 12 which commanded great views back down onto Brecon and the mountains of mid Wales. Here teams needed to decide whether to go on to the summit of Bryn. Those that did were rewarded not only with a well deserved 50 points but with even more panoramic views of the high Brecon Beacons. 15 teams continued through Talybont Forest to collect all the available 400 points on the run.

 

Most teams decided to visit the kayaking transition point during their running stage. This was located a mile from the Start where the Taff Trail and Usk Valley Walk all follow the southern tow path of the Monmouthshire & Brecon canal. Help was on hand to aid teams down the steep canal bank onto their very buoyant double kayaks. Teams then set out in both an easterly and westerly direction to visit the kayaking checkpoints all suspended to water level from the north bank of the canal. The colourful Quest fleet of kayaks provided quite a spectacle to many users of the tow path who encouraged teams on to visit as many of the six kayak checkpoints as they could during their allocated maximum of an hour on the water. Nine teams did indeed collect all the available kayaking stage points.

 

Key strategic decisions had to be made on the mountain bike part of the event. Which way first? There were many different routes out onto the course. Whether to take one of the many narrow lanes or immediately tackle one of the off road tracks? After navigating through the myriad network of lanes there were even bigger choices to make. The old Roman Road over the Bwlch ar y Fan is a famous, or is it infamous route, with mountain bikers. A checkpoint just over the pass worth 55 points also opened up staggering views of the very highest Beacons. Teams who negotiated this rocky route then had to decide whether to descend over the other side to the most valuable checkpoint of the day over 400 feet below beyond the Upper Neuadd Reservoir. 

 

Other off road routes around a rarely visited remote valley proved hard going. The welcome cascades and waterfalls by checkpoint 34 at the head of this valley were a welcome sight, and many took the opportunity of a quick refreshing and cooling dip here before tackling further challenging routes.

 

Warm morning sunshine gave way to cloud which threatened rain, but this held off until well after the race had finished. It thus enabled finishers to lie out and recover on the pristine playing fields of Christ College near the big yellow Finish arch. Welcome refreshments were available and enjoyed by many. Sports massages were also popular to relieve aching limbs. Teams swapped their route choices and many experiences gained during a memorable day of adventure racing.

 

 

Available places at the next questars are limited and are being taken up fast. So if you're planning to compete on 19 July in the ever popular Cannock Chase do enter on line quickly via www.questars.co.uk

 

 

 

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