So unlike a standard triathlon, where fitness outweighs strategy, with Adventure Racing having a good strategy could mean the difference between a win and a second-place.
It goes without saying that you’ll need a good level of fitness and the ability of all in the team to cycle well. One strong kayaker per boat would also be beneficial and one member in the team being a strong navigator will definitely be to your advantage. Having clear team roles needs to be determined in advance.
With a time gap between the top two teams of usually one to three minutes only, means that race placings will be determined by the team’s ability to move at the pace of the fastest person in that team.
How does one achieve that? There are techniques used in adventure racing that aren’t used in other sports. On both the foot and bike things such as distributing the carried weight around the team and using towing devices can make a significant improvement to the team’s overall speed. A towing device on foot means that both team members need a belt or backpack and a simple bungee cord between the two racers. It’s amazing how much this can speed up a slower person.
On the bike, a bungee cord attached to the seat and threaded through a semi-rigid tube (to stop any rebound whiplash!) and then a loop for the towee to hold onto with the first two fingers will really help on the uphill and flat sections of the course. It’s worth practising this so the towee can get used to catching and letting go of the tow as and when they need too. It will transform your families cycling outings also!
Transitions will also need to be finely managed with the team’s overall aim of getting in and out as quickly as possible. Sometimes is good to divide up roles such as one person ensures everyone had water bottles and another ensures everyone has their helmets on for example. This could be a great opportunity for a younger teammate to take some responsibility. For some teams that are of equal ability, they might find it more efficient to focus on getting themselves organised. Plan for the unexpected. You may find that you get wet in the kayak and before setting off on the bike you want to change your trousers, which you hadn’t planned for. Ensure these are accessible and turned the right way around and you know where they are so you can slip them on quickly. Just remember every minute spent in transition means you’ll need to increase your overall speed during the race in order to win!
So, enough talk about winning, the vast majority of our competitors are here to have a great day and whether you are aiming for a win or just an enjoyable day out with your family it’s important that all in the team have the same goal. Your strategy may be to spend as much time on the course as possible, stopping for a brief picnic and this is absolutely fine with us too!