If you’re in search of a weekend away from the norm, there are few higher choices than signing up for an journey race. While there isn’t a set definition for what an journey race includes, you may be fairly positive it should push you to your limits bodily, whereas taking you to thrilling and delightful locations properly eliminated out of your day-to-day life.
I signed up with a good friend to run, cycle and kayak our approach throughout Scotland in Rat Race’s Coast To Coast journey race. The occasion includes two path runs – one a frightening 22km slog across the mountains between Fort William and Glencoe – a 70km street cycle and a 50km cycle on a mixture of terrains together with some testing forest trails. And the cherry on prime is a 1.6km kayak throughout a sea loch – fairly the finisher. You might deal with all the above in at some point as an Expert participant or over two days tenting in a single day on the mid-way level as a Challenger entrant. We opted for the latter.
As a eager runner, poor bike owner and non-kayaker who isn’t an enormous fan of tenting, I was anticipating to be pushed out of my consolation zone, however the occasion nonetheless stunned me in some ways. If you’re an journey race first-timer, right here’s what I want knew prematurely.
Expect the climate to make its presence felt
If you’re going to race throughout Scotland it goes with out saying that you should be prepared for changeable climate circumstances, however it’s straightforward to underestimate how a lot it’ll have an effect on your race. At Coast To Coast most Challenger runners have been redirected through the remaining run as a result of after heavy rain, a river was flowing too strongly to cross, which meant they didn’t get to aim the kayak finale. Although we have been simply fast sufficient to keep away from being affected by the change, our kayak part was affected by robust winds. If the climate is in any respect inclement, anticipate cancelled sections and route modifications, however keep in mind it’s all a part of the journey.
Train for each a part of the race
You know what’s actually fairly exhausting? Kayaking after two days of operating and biking. I assumed the final leg of the race can be effective and ignored it throughout my training, specializing in biking as an alternative which I knew was my weak level. Once we acquired to the loch to seek out windy circumstances with waves soaking our kayak, I received about ten minutes in earlier than my again, already sore from biking farther than I ever have, seized up and we needed to be helped to the end. Make positive to take a look at all the route of the race intimately and think about how a lot fatigue from early sections will have an effect on you afterward. Also, in case you can slot in some training periods the place you turn from biking to operating (or vice versa) and not using a relaxation, that may make it easier to get used to the transition.
Logistics, logistics, logistics
With any race, it’s essential to plan forward, particularly if you want to get again to the beginning from the end so you’ll be able to drive house. However, two-day occasions involving totally different sports activities and tenting require extra prep than you possibly can probably think about till you do one.
Along with understanding the best way to get a motorcycle and all of the biking, operating and tenting gear required to the race, you even have to think about your post-race journey plans. Rat Race placed on buses again to the beginning space, however solely late within the day on Sunday so if it’s a must to get again to work on Monday, then the logistics turn out to be significantly unwieldy. We spent the day earlier than the race criss-crossing Scotland to go away a automotive on the end, then utilizing a rent automotive to take our bikes to the primary transition space earlier than returning the rent automotive and getting a practice to the city the place the beginning was.
Unless you’ve got a supporter prepared to drive alongside the occasion and take care of you on the finish, you’ll in all probability want a few automobiles and a spare day earlier than the race to get the whole lot arrange.
It’s about completion, not competitors
Adventure races are about pushing your self in numerous alternative ways, however scrambling for a better-placed end just isn’t one in every of them. The Expert racers on day one is perhaps extra aggressive, however as a Challenger taking over Coast To Coast over two days it was all about camaraderie and having fun with the occasion with our fellow members.
Sign up with somebody you are able to do the entire race with
Two days of robust exercise plus tenting is an entire lot extra enjoyable with a good friend, so discover somebody whose firm you take pleasure in and make a weekend of it. It’s additionally essential to seek out somebody you’ll be able to stick with all through the totally different race sections as nicely. This doesn’t need to be somebody who’s the identical degree as you for all the things – the truth is it may be higher if that’s not the case. I raced with a superb bike owner who was a much less skilled runner that I am, and we helped one another by way of the sections we have been stronger at. That meant there was all the time a cheery soul to boost spirits on every leg, slightly than two individuals each being pushed to their limits on the similar time.
Get your package proper
You want numerous package to finish an journey race involving a number of sports activities and tenting, and it must be the proper of package. Don’t flip up with a street bike if half your biking is off-road, and ensure your trainers have the grip required for the surfaces you’ll be tackling. Below you’ll discover the 5 bits of package that I discovered have been completely essential.
Adventure Race Essential Kit List
Every journey race may have some obligatory package, like a water-proof jacket and trousers, survival bag and a whistle in case you get misplaced within the nice outside. Most of it’s self-explanatory, however the package under includes making decisions that it’s straightforward to get mistaken, as I and lots of others did at occasions with Coast To Coast.
An journey bike
If you’re driving on-road and off-road over the course of the occasion you want a motorcycle that’s quick on the previous however can deal with the latter. Mountain bikers at Coast To Coast needed to slog via the 70km street journey on the primary day, whereas riders on slim-wheeled street bikes have been in fixed peril on the forest tracks within the off-road part of day two. I used the Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon, a light-weight journey bike with disc brakes and chunky tyres so it could possibly deal with virtually any floor you throw at it. It was good for the race and simply nice enjoyable to journey basically.
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Pedals and cleats
I’m not an enormous bike owner and don’t use clip-in pedals usually, nevertheless it was completely value doing so for the race as a result of they make biking lengthy distances a lot simpler. Mountain bike clip-ins are easy to make use of even when they get muddy they usually made me really feel far safer on off-road sections, in addition to speedier on the street. I used the Shimano XC7 carbon footwear and Deore XT PD-M8000 pedals.
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Not simply any trail-running footwear, however trail-running footwear designed to deal with a number of totally different surfaces, since you’ll deal with all types of terrain in an journey race. That means lugs that aren’t so lengthy that you simply’ll slip on roads or exhausting trails, however which might be lengthy sufficient to grip in mud or when operating downhill on moist grass. The Hoka One One Torrent footwear I used excelled throughout Coast to Coast, particularly on the steep and really muddy descent on the finish of the ultimate run. I noticed one runner making an attempt that descent in road-running footwear and, nicely, it wasn’t fairly.
Although there’s a bag drop at journey races to take your tenting gear forward for you, you’ll have to carry all the garments and gear it’s essential to get via the totally different sections of every day. When you add all of the obligatory gear like waterproofs and a primary assist package, that’s a variety of stuff to hold, so a big saddlebag that you would be able to stash it in for the journey proved invaluable. We used a 13-litre Lomo bag that would take each pairs of our trainers together with bike instruments and different very important gear.
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You’re in all probability going to put on this all day for each operating and biking, so it must be snug and have water bottles within the straps that you could entry shortly. It additionally must be roomy to take a good quantity of drugs however not so giant that it’s a hindrance, particularly when operating. We noticed individuals plodding via the 22km path run with 15- to 20-litre luggage on their again which didn’t look enjoyable in any respect. I used the Osprey Duro 6 bag and my race companion used the Montane Via Fang 5 – each are terrific.
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