We couldn't have been more lucky with the weather for this event; beautiful blue sky, light winds and pleasant temperatures made for an amazing day for all the families to get out either running or cycling alongside each other. Seventeen family teams turned up on the day, and registered at our base camp just next to the Wendover Woods Cafe. We had a great mixture of families, a good range kids ages, and a wide range of backgrounds of cycling including both some avid mountain bikers and some novice riders. We had well over fifty people attend this event.
After introductions, registration and each team had received their special goody bags and event checkpoint info and maps, the Neil from XNRG did an event briefing explaining all the aims and rules of the event.
The whole idea of the Family Adventure Challenges is a mixed family team orienteering event; this can be completed all on bike, all on foot, or as most families choose to do a mixture of the two. With all orienteering events its quite simple, the teams head off into the Woods to find checkpoints and collect points. The checkpoints were dotted all over Wendover Woods and checkpoint values ranged from twenty up to one hundred points depending on the distant covered to reach that checkpoint. For teams competing only on foot the walking checkpoints were closer to the start, with the cycling checkpoints being further a field. all teams had two and half hours to head out and gain points and received penalty points for getting back late. For the teams competing both on foot and on bike there was a transition area where they had to check in half way round and change from foot to bike or vice versa. The checkpoints and checkpoint cards are designed so only someone on foot can visit a foot checkpoint and vice versa on bike, so there's no cheating available!
This year for all teams competing on bike at some point they had to pass by checkpoint number nine which was organised and manned by the BucksMTB team. Checkpoint nine included a standard checkpoint docking station along with some specially organised family tasks. These tasks were mandatory for each team cycling, however they could refuse to carry out the tasks but missed on a possible maximum earning of one hundred points! Each team arriving at this checkpoint started with one hundred points, and as long as they completed the tasks left with one hundred points. However as I am sure you can imagine it was possible to loose the points as they went along...
There were a total of four tasks for each cycling team to compete. Task one was to ride through a fifteen metre course of cones with teams loosing 5 points for each cone missed, run over or anytime someone put a foot down. Task two was to ride one handed for a distance of five metres, again loosing five points each time a hand (or foot) got put down. Task three was our bean bag challenge, two team members each had three attempts each to ride a distance of ten metres with a bean bag on their helmet...some artistic license and improvisation later meant the bean bags were bags of jelly babies instead! this was a tricky little challenge for a couple of the teams, and it was such a shame when two bags of jelly babies got run over to we had to eat them, naturally. The final task was the most entertaining and hardest for each team to complete...
Task four was the blindfold challenge. Each team had to nominate one member to be blindfolded on their bike, whilst another team member had to be nominated to talk the other blindfolded person round a simple course, with points lost for cheating, feet down, or for taking off the blindfold. The first four teams of so did incredibly well at this task, after that we did have some amusing communication breakdowns with a few gentle tumbles, one rider ending up in a bush and one rider almost stuck up a tree. This was an amazing task to see the family team building, and we really got an insight into which families and family members trust each other!!!
At the end of the day we had a prize giving, with all the winners and runners up getting a trophy and a Buff each courtesy of our event sponsor Buff Wear.
We all had some amazing feedback from the competitors on the day, and it was fantastic to see so many families out enjoying the nice weather, our goody bags, enjoying each others company and also enjoying some running, walking, cycling, navigation and some special tasks too!
A big thank you to all the competitors for attending and making the event a great success, thanks to BikeClub and the CTC for helping promote the event and for donating some goody bag items, thanks to Buff Wear for the prizes, thanks to all the local shops and websites that helped us promote the event, thanks to the Cafe in the Woods for keeping us fed and watered all day and a big thank you to everyone from the XNRG and BucksMTB Teams for putting so much hard work into the event and for making the event run like clockwork on the day.
We hope to see you all back again next year for another Adventure Challenge or two...
Scott, BucksMTB Club Chairman