This round explores some of the more intricate parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park and in particular the lesser known Black Mountains which has been a favourite ‘back garden’ for training for more years than we care to remember and even now the appeal of this area hasn’t worn thin unlike our hair!
We very much encourage new folk into the tremendous sport of adventure racing. As you probably already know for this event there are 2 distinct categories:
The aim of this option is for participants to work their way around the course from start to finish following the route which will be marked at key points and intersections. There will be some compulsory checkpoints to pass through along this route which you must visit. Part of the reason for this is to make sure that you haven’t taken a shortcut and to give you piece of mind. The aim is to complete the course in the time available to you. The maximum time allowed to complete the course will be 12 hours.
You will also be issued with a map which is designed to give you a guide and also has some useful information on it such as emergency phone numbers.
* Don’t be phased or necessarily be tempted to follow other groups / individuals who may be part of the navigational category as they will have different objectives!
* For those competitive types, the quickest time wins!
This tends to be aimed at the more experienced competitor or at least those reasonably competent with a map and compass. The aim for these people is to gain as many points as possible in the allocated time.
For this event the time span is a maximum of 12 hours. Any time over this limit will incur penalties of 5 points per minute. It is also necessary for those taking part in this class to visit the compulsory checkpoints in numerical order.
Each of these compulsory CP’s will have a score of 10 points. Other CP’s will range from 20 – 100 depending on their perceived difficulty! Failure to visit the compulsory CP’s in order will incur a 200 point penalty. It is up to you how many of the optional CP’s you visit and in which order within each stage.
Maps will be issued at registration from 7:00 am
The highest score wins!
REGISTRATION & EVENT START & FINISH:
The event registration, Start & Finish is at the lovely New Court Camp Site only a mile or so from the base of the Black Mountains. Please report to reception upon arrival.
There are hot showers (for 50p) and obviously there is a camping option which we know that many of you have opted for. There is also a lovely country pub less than a mile away (Three Horse Shoes Inn) which is well worth a visit and bearing in mind it has some great ales on tap is probably more suited to the Saturday night for those that are easily swayed.
Registration is open between 7:00am and 8:00am on Saturday morning for a prompt 8:30 start from the campsite itself.
The first stage is on foot and your bikes will be transported from the start to the next transition point.
Please can you ensure that bikes and relevant kit are ready to transport as we also need a timely getaway to get it to Transtion1 on time. Any bike items to be transported need to be firmly attached to the bike, we cannot be responsible for loose items which may get lost.
- Very Important - Please Read: We will transport your bike and bike related kit to the next bike transition. We will not transport any other kit i.e. running shoes etc. whilst you are on the bike stage. In other words whilst you are biking you will be carrying all your kit for the event.
Maps will be issued at registration from 7:00 am.
The route is demanding both in terms of hills and conditions under foot. Weather will also play an important factor in how challenging the day is. There will be some sharp rates of ascent and descent with some slippery and technical sections present in places.
You will require a decent tread on whatever footwear you decide to use and similarly bike tyres. The majority of the route is off road.
A breakdown of the set route (point to point and fixed route) is as follows.
- Stage 1 - Run / Hike - 8 Mile (approx 90% offroad)
- Stage 2 - MTB -22 miles (approx 60% offroad)
- Stage 3 - Run - 3 miles (approx 50% offroad)
- Stage 4 - Canoe - 5 miles (100% wet!)
- Stage 5 - Urban - Run 1 Mile (10% off road)
- Stage 6 - Bike - 5 miles (100% “Road” mainly rough tarmac and uphill!)
- Stage 7 - Run / Hike - 4 miles (approx 70% offroad)
For those of you taking part in the Navigational class then the off road percentages and distances will increase depending on your route choice.
*Please note that there will be a ‘window of opportunity’ to start the canoe leg for the navigational class. This will be between 1pm and 4pm from T3 (Stage 4). We very much encourage you to errr on the side of caution. Your strategy for the navigational folk should consider this. By our calculations if you leave Glasbury much after 3:15pm then it may well turn into a major mission to complete the course without risking severe penalties.
Teams will be in open canoes, solo's in Sit on Top Kayaks.
With the above route in mind including some sections of high and open hill there is a compulsory kit list: The forecast for Saturday so far looks favourable but we have noticed a marked drop in temperatures over the last week so pack that extra layer. We have also noticed that the evenings are drawing in and as such it is pretty dark by 8pm. With this in mind it is essential that you have a headtorch as part of your kit list.
Compulsory Kit List for everybody!
- Backpack or suitable means of carrying required kit (as listed below)
- Food and means of carrying water.
- T – Shirt, shirt or equivalent.
- Additional Layer
- Waterproof Jacket
- Shorts, leggings, or equivalent.
- Compass (which can take bearing)
- Space Blanket or Emergency Foil Bivy
- First Aid Kit
- Footwear with adequate grip for potentially slippery off road conditions.
- Well maintained Bike suitable for off road riding.
- Bike helmet.
- Bike tools, pump, puncture patches, tubes, chain link extractor etc.
- Map (supplied)
*Please note that whilst the above is compulsory, it and the advisory are by no means exhaustive. Please make sure that you are confident of coping with the conditions and or in the unlikely event of a canoe capsize.
Advisory Kit: (Depending on conditions)
- Waterproof Trousers (depending on conditions on day)
- Buff and or Hat
- Sunscreen (depending on conditions on day)
- Sunglasses (depending on conditions on day)
- Gloves (depending on conditions on day)
- Thermal and or fleece top (in addition to compulsory long sleeve top)
- Hydration tablets or similar
- Mobile Phone
- Spare socks
- GPS (NOT a substitute for a compass also NOT for NAV folk! )
- Whatever you feel will make your experience all the more enjoyable!
These will be marked with a small orange and white orienteering flag. Whilst the compulsory ones will be fairly easy to find, some of the nav ones may well be a little more challenging! The scores will reflect this accordingly.
Food & Water:
It is up to individuals if they want to add their own hydration supplements to the plain bottled water provided at each transition. Just to clarify; competitors must take care of their own food from the start. This is not a supported event in this respect. Make sure you have enough food to last you the event. There are no facilities which we know of for at least for the first three stages. There may be some options at the end of the canoe leg in Hay on Wye for those not watching the clock.
If you do retire before completion of the event, please do so either at a checkpoint or inform them of your actions so that you can be accounted for. Please, Please, Please, do not just disappear without notifying a member of the organisation of your actions. We will assume you are missing and send out a search party.
Results & Prizes:
As it’s the first year we’re not quite sure when the racing snakes might be in, but we would hope to announce the leading results & prizes at the local Three Horse Shoes pub as soon as everybody is in. We suspect this to be around the 9:30 pm mark.
Food Before & After the race:
Food is available at the local pub Three Horse shoes. Its about 15 mins walk from the campsite. Technically they stop serving food at 9pm but have been most encouraging in try to help us out and thus there may be some options after this time but if you want to arrange something amongst yourselves then give Paul or Jenny a ring on 01497 847304 – they’re great people!
Other options are about 4 mile away in Hay on Wye where there are food several options from pub food to curry houses.
Other things and FAQ’s:
- Be prepared for hills and mud & Welsh mountain weather!
- Plenty of food! – 12 hours in the hills and on the river is a big day out!
- Bring pens / highlighters etc particularly for the nav participants – very useful to mark the map
- Consider MTB Map holders (Might Contain Nuts have some great ones in stock ) and or also perhaps something to put them in for the run / canoe stage. The maps provided however will be printed on A3 waterproof paper.
- How will my bike ‘move around’? – We will transport them in a large van. As bike geeks ourselves we will do our utmost to keep them in as pristine condition as when they arrive. We have cardboard to pack between them.
- Be nice to marshals (they have given up their valuable time to support you) If you do have any grievances then please take that up with the race organisers who will do their best to resolve any problems (Matt or Barry)
- Remember to smile!