SUMMER CHALLENGE 101
You’ve entered the event, excellent, now what?
The event is in March 2020 so you have plenty of time to prepare, you can break down the preparation into three main categories, training, equipment and logistics. These three steps will get you to the event itself.
Let’s look at these things briefly, as the monthly newsletters are received you will get more timely information on your journey to the Summer Challenge but feel free to sing out if you have questions, we’ll happily answer them.
There are training programs available on the website. Most people find that a planned training program longer than 16-weeks is to long. Generally people prefer a training program that is 6 to 12-weeks in duration. This doesn’t mean that you do nothing until the program starts! Many of the benefits you will earn from the Summer Challenge is creating regular exercise and activity in your daily life, and learning new skills. It’s an empowering journey of self-improvement. From now to when your training program starts, aim to do 15-60 minutes of exercise 5-6 days a week. Walking, biking, running, gym etc. Having 1-day off each week to recover is advised. A wise coach once said, “if you can train 7-days a week, you’re not going hard enough on the other 6”.
Participating in other events is a really fun way to motivate yourself and build your team culture. We highly recommend that you enter your local orienteering and rogaine events, expanding your navigation skills is really important. Check out the Just For Girls clinics, they are specifically designed for your needs. The Summer Challenge involves kayaking so doing some upper body training will be helpful, ideally some paddling, if you can’t access a kayak, options could be surfski, rafting, outrigger canoeing or stand up paddle boarding. Paddle training could wait until summer. The kayaks will not have rudders for steering, one person in the team will need to know how to steer a kayak using their paddle. For kayaking advice contact KayakHQ.
The fitter and stronger you are when you begin a structured training program, the greater the gains you stand to make. Every effort counts, go well out there, we believe in you!
There is a compulsory gear list on the website. These are items that you must have and must carry throughout the event on the hiking and biking stages (not the kayaking). There are a number of other items that will be helpful and we’ll update that list through the event newsletters in the build up. Some items of equipment that will make your event smoother are;
bike map holder, reading a map can be very difficult while riding but you can get a map holder that clips to your handle bars that makes it much easier, saving time and making your navigation more precise.
having a backpack that has handy pockets for snack and things you will need while racing is worthwhile, one that carries water. Camelbak have a range of options idea for this.
having a reliable bike is very important, for safety reasons and to eliminate stoppages during your race. It is extremely frustrating for the whole teams if one persons bike is poorly prepared for the race and breaks down. Having excellent tyres and brakes is the main thing. A full-suspension bike with disc-brakes is the ultimate. The simple solution to making sure your bike will meet the demands is to ride a Juliana.
be sure to try and test your race nutrition well ahead of time, find out what works for you and what tastes great.
Don’t leave booking and arranging accommodation to the last minute, secure somewhere to be based and have a travel plan. Each team is required to have a Support Crew, a minimum of 1-person and 1-vehicle that will help the team throughout the event. (There is a small chance we may make the event un-supported). In summary, make sure you have a clear plan to arrive at the event registration, having all the required equipment, a place to stay, a support crew and knowledge of how the weekend will be run. Be sure to read all the event newsletters.
Once the event date arrives, you should feel very knowledgeable about what to expect. Pop into registration and collect your race pack, sign the paperwork and receive any updates. There will be sponsor displays and competitions running at registration. The kayaks will be available to inspect and paddle for those that wish.
Between 5:00 & 6:00pm you’ll be able to collect the course notes and race maps. One team member must wear their race bib to collect the maps. It pays to have a good read through the notes and check out your route on the maps. You may have some questions, these will be answered at race briefing. Once you have the course information, it’s forbidden to go onto the course until your event has started.
Having highlighter pens, scissors and cover-seal can be wise to draw your intended route onto the map and seal it up, in case the event day is raining.
After the briefing you can do the final adjustments of gear and be sure your Support Crew are clear with the plan.
Once the race starts, you task is to go from one Transition Area (TA) to the next. You travel between the TA’s kayaking, biking or hiking, navigating your way using just the maps provided and a compass. You meet your Support Crew at each TA (unless it is specified as an Unsupported TA in which case you only meet event staff).
It pays to have TA plans and be organised. Make lists of what gear you will need to collect, what food / drink you may want at each TA. What help you want from your Support Crew.
Between TA’s, there will be a series of checkpoints (cps) you need to visit. You must stay as a team the entire way and all team members must visit each checkpoint, the definition of this is 10-metres, all team members must go to within 10-metres of the cp. Staff will be randomly monitoring this and time penalties will be issued if teams are not playing fair. You cannot split up.
Once into the event pace yourselves sensibly for what is ahead. It’s not uncommon in adventure racing to have ups and downs, over terrain and with your energy and motivation levels, be sure to work well as a team and communicate regularly. There are some magical parts of the course with expansive views so make sure you enjoy the countryside you’re passing through.
Be safety conscious the whole way and look out for each other. Crossing the finish line is a massive achievement so keep that in mind and maximise the fun and enjoyment as you travel from the start to the finish.