The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

 

2013 Questars Adventure Race Series - Race 1

Race Results

A full set of results for this adventure race are attached to the top of this page.

Kayak checkpoints had to be visited in consecutive order (either ascending or descending). Those teams that did not follow these instructions (given at the race briefing and clearly highlighted at the top of the checkpoint descriptions and values card) will see that some of the kayak checkpoints they visited have been disallowed to reflect the fact that they kayaked a much shorter distance. Disallowed kayak checkpoints have been removed from the results showing checkpoints visited and are shown on the split times with a letter 'D' after them.

Race Photos

Photos of this adventure race taken by the Quest Team whilst out and about around the course have been added to the Questars gallery.

If you took part in this adventure race on Saturday 23 March, do take a look at the photos in the 2013 New Forest adventure race album to see if you were caught in action.

Race Report

The first event in 2013 Questars Adventure Race Series was one of the, if not the, coldest Questars ever held! Temperatures hovered just above zero but the biting easterly wind meant it felt much colder than this. Participants were therefore reminded at the race briefing to take plenty of food and warm clothing with them whilst they were out on the course.

Once participants had started and collected a checkpoint descriptions card, they left the event base on bikes and cycled through the small country town of Fordingbridge. After crossing the medieval bridge over the River Avon, participants could then decide whether to continue cycling and visit more mountain bike checkpoints or to head east to the Run transition point in Frogham and do some trail running. Meanwhile those in the first kayak timeslot made their way southwards directly to the kayak transition at the New Forest Water Park.

The mountain biking was all on minor roads and off road cycle routes which provided a good all-weather gravel surface on which to cycle despite the ground everywhere else being very wet. This, together with the fact that the terrain wasn’t very hilly, meant large distances could be covered relatively quickly on two wheels. The mountain bike course was therefore a big one with checkpoints in each corner of the map. To clear the course participants had to cycle a minimum of 55km if they visited all the mountain bike checkpoints in the most efficient order, and more if they didn’t!

There was nothing unusual about the description for one of the mountain bike checkpoints which simply read ‘Underneath bridge at cycle route / stream crossing’. Though the high value of this checkpoint in relation to those around it should have perhaps rung alarm bells. But it was not until participants arrived at the bridge that it became clear; reaching this checkpoint was going to be a little different. Recent rain on already saturated ground meant the little brook had swollen, making it difficult to see the checkpoint hanging in between the rafters on the underside of the bridge - let alone reach it - without getting wet feet. Most people approached tentatively, crouching down on the bank to try and visually locate the checkpoint before entering the water. Some stood on rocks just below the surface of the water in an attempt to minimise how wet they got whilst others surrendered to the inevitable and strode straight in – though one person did stop to remove their shoes and socks first.

Unusually high groundwater levels meant the lake on which participants kayaked had come up over the edge of the old gravel pit, flooding the surrounding area. This made getting on and off the water a little tricky but the Quest Team was on hand to help those who didn’t want to get their feet too wet. The lake was small compared to other bodies of water usually used for kayaking. So in order to maximise the distance paddled, kayak checkpoints were strategically placed around the edge of the lake and these had to be visited consecutively, in either ascending or descending numerical order. Participants should therefore have zigzagged backwards and forwards across lake between checkpoints. But the instructions got lost on a few who just did one loop around the edge of the lake visiting the checkpoints out of sequence as they went. Their kayak scores were adjusted accordingly to reflect the fact that they had paddled a much shorter distance.

For many, the trail run was the toughest of the three disciplines. Checkpoints were spread so far and wide that they would have been a challenge to the top teams in perfect conditions, let alone those as wet and muddy as they were. So not only was it a long trail run course, to compensate for the short kayak and the fast mountain biking, but the energy sapping trail conditions meant progress was slow and difficult at times. And the navigation wasn’t that easy either with a myriad of trails on the ground, only some of which were marked on the map. Needless to say no one managed to visit all the trail run checkpoints, but several people gave it a good try.

With the time running out, everyone made their way back to event base on bikes. After crossing the finish line, participants made their way to the large sports hall where they could seek shelter from the bitterly cold wind and begin to regain the feeling in numb fingers and toes. Hot food, drink and showers were also on hand to help with the warming-up process. Meanwhile local students raised some money for community projects in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands by washing participant’s bikes.

Prizes, kindly supplied by Likeys and MuleBar, were awarded to the occupants of the winning team in each of the eleven classes. The mixed team of Tom Davies and Sabrina Verjee (Tri-Adventure / Endurancelife) got the highest score of the day – 845 points which was sufficient to hold onto the top spot despite picking up 40 penalty points for overrunning and being late back to the finish. Ben Turner won the men’s solo class with 810 points whilst the winning veteran’s score of 755 points was scored by Kevin Stephens. Julie Jefferies and Sarah Preston were one of the teams who visited all the mountain bike checkpoints which helped them to their total of 595 points and the prize for the top ladies team.

Novice teams have an hour less in which to visit as many checkpoints as they wish. The Duo class, which is for those who prefer not to kayak, was won by Jon Oxley with 630 points. Of those who kayaked, top honours went to the novice men’s team of Luke McCarthy and Scott Millar who scored 610 points. Winning the novice ladies with an impressive score of 550 points was Sarah Bradford and Josie Gliddon, whilst Floss Morgan scored 530 points to win the novice men’s solo class. Both the novice veteran’s team of Mark Stevenson & Mark Whybrow and the novice mixed team of Adrian Forge, Lesley Moore, Tim Fudge & Wayne Dolman won their respective classes with 490 points.

The next race in the 2013 Questars Adventure Race Series takes place on the 27 & 28 April near Oxford and is suitable for both novice and experienced teams of 1, 2, 3 or 4 people. There are only a limited number of kayak places available for this two-day adventure race so if you want to take part and haven't got your entry in yet, best to enter online soon.

 

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