Beginner Adventure Racing Advice - Getting Started Adventure Racing
Where does the beginner adventure racing start out, what work out plan
for adventure racing should I use. What adventure racing gear is needed,
what will race day be like, these are some of the questions answered by
Beginner adventure racing advice.
Some racers have come from a triathlon background and for them the
conversion is easy, itís just a matter of replacing swimming with kayak or
What about the true beginner adventure racing, they may have seen races on
Television such as the Eco-Challenge and thought they would like to do
that. The Eco-Challenge is what is called an expedition race and is not a
recommended way to start for the beginner adventure racing.
A work out plan for adventure racing will need to be scheduled for six to
eight weeks prior to the event putting in training on the three basic
disciplines, running, mountain biking and kayaking. A lot of beginner
adventure racing omit training in Kayaking and canoeing, and these people
can often be seen going in circles during the race, so it is worth while
spending some time at a local canoe or kayak club to learn the basics of
how to travel in a straight line. Often in short races inflatable boats
are used and these can be very challenging if a wind springs up.
Running and Mountain biking should be practised on trails gravel roads and
single tracks, starting off with 30 minute sessions and building to 90
minutes remembering to put in some varied countryside and hills if
Navigation is another area which is overlooked; if you have an
orienteering club near you it is well worth joining then you can practice
your running and navigation at the same time.
A beginner adventure racing does not need special adventure racing gear or
clothes to start with a race vest and shorts or leggings will do fine for
the first few races. A running shoe or cross trainer which are the most
suitable footwear for both for the running and mountain biking sections.
You will also need a hydro-pack or bottle carriers for water and snacks
such as energy bars or gels. Compass and map holder.
The biggest expense will be a mountain bike, although any bike can be used
the most popular one is a hardtail that has front suspension, the key is
to have one which is as light as possible. Remember also to have a toolkit
with patches and gas inflator together with spare tubes. Some adventure
racers put slime into tyres to help prevent punctures.
Most times kayaks or canoes are supplied by race organiser, but if the
adventure racing bug bites, then it will be worth buying your own one to
train with. If you have your own PFD take it along, even if lifejackets
are provided your own will be more comfortable, get one that has pockets
to gear and if possible place to store a drinking bladder.
You will also need to put together a small first aid kit, with plasters,
steri-strips, antiseptics, scissors, tweezers and donít forget you will
need Vaseline or Bodyglide to help prevent saddle sores and the like.
Beginner adventure racing involves passing through a number of check
points or control points, at these points the beginner adventure racer
will need to either clip a race card or have their time recorded in a
passport. Care must be taken not to lose the card or passport as it is the
only way of proving you have followed the correct course. Except in Score
races where competitors a given a set time to reach as many check points
as possible it is important to move through the checkpoints in the correct
order, Failure to do so will result in either having to return to the
missed checkpoint, suffer a penalty or disqualification.
What type of race should a beginner adventure racing enter, the sprint
race lasting a few hours or a longer race up to 24 hours. Many people
assume the sprint race is the easiest, however the truth lies in the name
a sprint is usually fast paced, so if you walk or jog you will be in
trouble, if you have a background of running this is a fine starting
The longer the race the slower the pace for the beginner adventure racing
and the slower pace allows one to take in and enjoy the great outdoors
which is a big part of what beginner adventure racing is about, meeting
people and discovering new places whilst learning about oneself.
The beginner adventure racing often makes the mistake of not get organised
prior to the day of the race, it is vitally important to check that you
have everything on the gear list packed and ready to go, together with any
documents required by the organisers. Do this at least a day before the
race when you will be resting from training.
On the day of the race remember to drink plenty of water to fully hydrate
your body and get to the race area as early as possible. The area will be
busy with fellow competitors rushing around unloading gear and making
preparations. As soon as you can track down the registration area and get
the formalities out of the way. Recheck the start time and then go to the
starting area and check out the lay of the land. If the first leg is
kayaking there may even be the opportunity to try out the kayak, if not
just check out the one that you will be using.
Tip If you are using an inflatable kayak find a pump and make sure it is
inflated hard as it will go faster
Beginner adventure racing may be lucky to find races specifically for
novices where an element of training is provided or where other racers
will act as helpers and assist with navigation or provide advice during
Provided you have arrived early, you may have the opportunity to chat with
fellow racers, who might be able to provide insight in the way that
particular race is run or points to watch out for. You will also see what
kind of equipment they are using. Adventure racers are generally a happy
bunch of people willing to help one another. If you are racing as a solo
you will often end up making a number of new friends.
It is a good idea for Beginner adventure racing to work out some kind of
race plan. What are you aims, do you just wish to complete the course, or
perhaps finish in the middle of the field or are you aiming for a top ten
position. What are your strengths, how are you going to improve your
weaker events. When you have a few races under your belt, you will perhaps
recognise other racers and can start thinking about improving you
performance by trying to shadow a faster racer.
Competitors will start to gather in the starting area to pick prime
positions. Once you have done your final checks, Sort out where you will
start. I always suggest picking an area at the side, so you do not get
overrun in the melee that usually develops. Try to get a clean start but
keep to your own pace, if you have plan stick with it
The field spreads out quite quickly after the gun and within fifteen
minutes virtually everyone is settled into their racing pace, now is the
time to take your first sip of water (you should be drinking every 15
minutes) and take a look around you. Althuogh you should be racing your
own race itís nice to have company, so if you see someone ahead of you
that is moving at the same pace, close up with them slowly.
Some races have courses laid out with marshals, markers and tapes to keep
you on course, others require you to navigate with compass and
instructions from point to point. In the latter races you may benefit from
being with someone else, however be wary of blindly following the person
or team in front they might be lost.
If for some reason the beginner adventure racing gets lost, it is
important not to panic. Stop and get out your map, compass and
instructions. Orientate the map so the grid lines are inline with North on
you compass. Look around you, if you are on a track note its direction.
and compare it with the map. How much time has elapsed since you passed
the last check point? You should have a rough idea of the average speed
you have been travelling. This will give you a radius of where you might
be. If there are any prominent landmarks
Take a bearing. Also look for natural features such as rivers and streams
or roads and railways, have you passed any of these recently. If you still
cannot work out where you are start backtracking towards the last
checkpoint. Still Lost take stock of food and water, find a main track
heading in a direction that will lead to a road river or other linear
feature. If you come across another linear feature unexpectedly check out
the direction and try to reassess your position. If you cannot find your
way out by dusk, seek shelter beside the track and if possible light a
fire and await help. Race organisers will know a racer is overdue and will
start a search.
Transitions are where the beginner adventure racing changes from one
discipline to another. This is where time can be lost or gained; more
often than not this is where the beginner adventure racing loses out.
Approaching the transition is where the beginner adventure racing should
be mentally rehearsing what they will do, perhaps change socks, replenish
water bottles and restock gel or food bars. The least you do the quicker
the changeover will be, however is you are developing a hotspot or blister
you should deal with it before continuing.
Once away from transition itís about getting back into the racing rhythm
and finding the next checkpoint. and the next transition area until you
arrive at the finish line tired and dishevelled and perhaps collapse in a
heap saying you will never do it again. One important thing that most
people forget is to spend some time stretching your tired muscles, 15
minutes of stretching will help prevent muscle soreness over the following
When you reflect on Beginner adventure racing, you can look back in pride
having taken on nature, the course designer and challenged yourself and
won, yes thatís right everyone is a winner. Rather than sitting in an
armchair watch others, you have gone out and done it yourself, and gained
some healthy exercise at the same time.
Want to learn more about the sport go to A-Z of Adventure