Wiltshire Down Adventure

Adventure race number two! Like the Chilterns Adventure it is a sprint-based scorienterring event composed of trail running, mountain biking and kayaking. You have five hours to get around as many checkpoints as possible.

I started on foot and decided to tackle the checkpoints in the woods as they were clustered closer together, even though it would make for more challenging navigation. Things started well and I made it around the first few. The forest was beautiful.

After that, I missed a turning and had to retrace my steps before finding what I thought was R12. I was nowhere to be found. I spend like ten minutes looking for it but nothing. Worse still, the mud swallowed my feet.

By this point, I was fed up and cursing having driven all the way down to Wiltshire for a stupid race. It then occurred to me that I was probably hungry. I ate something and found the next checkpoint so I am not sure what made me feel better. In the end, it turned out I probably was in the correct place as multiple other athletes could not find it and someone said it was pretty well hidden.

After transition, I headed out on the mountain bike. Most of the race at Questars is getting to the kayak transition and back so I set off following the roads picking up four checkpoints on the way. It was made easier by a long descent. I made it to KT early despite having a little jog between the area where we leave our bikes and the kayaks themselves.

There were three checkpoints up the canal and two down. I made the strategic decision to turn around after getting the first two upstream ones to ensure I had enough time to get the downstream ones, too. In the end, I got back with 12 minutes to spare so maybe I could have collected them all. More importantly, I actually spotted them this time: last time I got all the way upstream without seeing any and had to pick them all up the way back.

Kayaking was still hard. My quads hurt a little less this time but my lower back really lock a hammering. My flexibility makes it difficult to reach forward with my upper body, which you need to do to take the work into your core muscles rather than your arms. I also kept catching my right thumb on the side of the boat which hurt like hell.

The KT transition team were lovely (all of the marshalls were) and one of them even recognised me from the Chilterns Adventure and remembered that that had been my first race!

On the way back, I had a choice to make. I could take the road route all the way back, miss any further checkpoints but not having to deal with any off-road cycling. Or I could go the off-road route and pick up some more. This was a battle: part of me said to challenge myself as I was doing this to push my boundaries. But another part said that I was here to have fun and it was okay to enjoy myself.

In the end, I compromised. I took the road route back up the big hill and then switched onto a byway. This started by going uphill through farmer’s fields with big gates I had to open and close. Most of it was grass and dirt track with big groves I wasn’t sure whether I should ride in or not. It ended with a fairly steep downhill covered in rubble. I hit a big rock on the way down and nearly came off. After that, I decided I had pushed my boundaries enough and it was now time to push the bike. But I managed o find some grass by the side that made it easier to descend and finished off the hill that way.

I picked up a final checkpoint before climbing back up to transition to finish the race with a couple of minutes to spare.

Timeline

Newsletter

Don't have time to check my blog? Get a weekly email with all the new posts. This is my personal blog, so obviously it is 100% spam free.

Metadata

Tags:

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 at 11:00 am and is filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.