How to go about?
It is necessary to be well prepared for each competition; everyone should agree with this. But, in the case of a new sport’s event, there is the problem that many competitors don’t know what its actually about. So they cannot be as well prepared as those, who have gone through this action before. To retrieve this handicap, I decided to write an article about a similar competition Polaris that takes place in England, where this event has the longest tradition and the highest number of competitors.
I participated in this competition five times during different seasons. My partner for all of the times I participated in, was my friend John Houlihan. He is one of the best British to learn most of the twists.
I missed my own physical preparation and preparation of my bike, since there was no warning to do so. I would like to clarify that it is a persistency race, Polaris is for 7 and 5 hours, Podebradka Bike Adventure is for 6 and 4 hours. The quality of the bike has to match as well as the condition of the competitors. Both can get crumbled.
The first most important thing do is to choose an adequate partner. Because it is partner contingent, both of them should be in similar physical condition. In the case that they aren’t – for ex. in the mix category it is usual, you have to realize that you don’t have to manifest your power, but you have to get the most points together. A small imbalance of power will not be so bad if you can cooperate. There are couples where one makes decisions about the best race and the second only runs. Maybe she/he can be “a water carrier”. But it is necessary to have a leader with common sense, because it is easy to make a stupid mistake in the lassitude.
Before coming to the racing area
I assume you have a bike. Commonly, there are a minimum of two spare tires, schlauch reparatory set, and small tools. Usually, a particular tourist map is used. Organizers make aware the type of map and its number. Each team gets one map and there is a possibility to buy a second one from the organizers. It is an advantage if both have their own map. It is necessary to protect the map against rain, or damaging, and still it has to be ready at hand. There are two possibilities:
Everyone paints his checkpoints, or other details on their own map, so it is necessary to have some colored, thin, and insoluble markers. Required colors are red and blue, I advise green and black as well. Also, scissors and cellotape, which could be borrowed from your friends. If you don’t have enough time before the start. I advise a red wax pencil, which you can write on a laminated map, and it won’t wash off by rain.
Food for the race – from my experiences it is possible to run on some energetic bars, e.g. PowerBars. One bar is good enough for one hour of cycling.
Next it is necessary, especially in the summer, to have a lot of liquids. This means some ionic drink. I hope that everyone has two baskets and two bottles oh his bike. Whoever likes to drink more has to pick up more water somewhere else on the way. I also take powdered drinks which is made out of the water I have with me.
In the racing area before the start
If you can, come to the racing area in the afternoon, because you have to pitch the tent, prepare the map, and do many other things. In addition, you meet many friends, so time runs very fast.
You get the map at the presentation, where you can buy the second one, and then go to paint the checkpoints according to decrypted coordinates. The checkpoints and its numbers should be drawn by a red marker, and with other color description. If there are some changes in the map, write the changes according to exemplary maps. For example in England, where there are some prohibited roads. Than you can cut the unimportant parts of the map, but be careful with this since there can be some important loop road. If you cut the numbers of coordinates, you have to write it at the end of the map. At the end it is good to write the order of the checkpoints for faster searching.
Now comes time for the study of the map and the checkpoint places. Competitors usually draw the ways between each checkpoint by yellow or light green markers. Finally laminate the map. If there will be heavy rain, it is good to do it from both sides.
On the start
It is necessary to come to the start about 5 minutes earlier. The start is in groups, usually 10 couples. From the start you go on the shown way to a place where you will get a paper with values of each checkpoints. It is better to take one paper for each person. If you have only one map, it is better if one dictates. In the opposite, everyone paints his points to their own map. Some checkpoints have zero value, so only tick them, since you’ll be missing them. The second day is different, so you usually use them. For faster searching, use numbers at the end of the map.
At the moment, you have all the values, start to plan where you go. This is a matter of a few minutes, but it decides the result by 70%. It depends on your team quality, and how much you want to go. The best usually start by more far-away checkpoints with higher value. I advise to think about it well, but don’t spent all of your time there. Commonly it is better to go on better roads, even if it takes longer. We usually start about 10 or 13 minutes after the start, but there are some, who did everything in 6 minutes.
It’s up to you..