Monday, July 1, 2013

So you are thinking about Mountain Designs GEOQUEST next year???

Did you have a go at the half and want to step it up to the full??? 
Have you been to and done a few longer AR events and think Geoquest is for you??
Well here are a few tips to help get you to the start and finish of Australia’s Premier Adventure Race - Geoquest!

Kim Beckinsale is one of the coaches at Tri Adventure and a member of Team Mountain Designs.  Kim has competed at 8 Geoquest events and has been on the podium in the Premier Mixed category 4 times - 1st 2007, 2nd 2008, 3rd 2012 and 3rd 2013.  Kim, in her first Geoquest, raced in the Cowgirls who were an all-female team which won the Geo Half outright....defeating all the mixed and male teams!


  • Ocean paddling requires practice……so get out into the ocean and get paddling….being proficient in a surf ski or ocean ski as a solo is best. These are better than kayaks as if you tip in you just get back in again….no bailing or pumping required! 

  • Learn to know your limits….but be safe out there…..don’t paddle alone……and always wear PFD (and practice getting in and out of your ski wearing this). Practice in a double ocean ski with your race partner….don’t rely on having a good paddler to get you through…as if you are unstable and not confident in the back….you both will end up swimming. 
  • Practice getting in and out of the surf…….Ocean ski’s are not big wave chasers….so treat your craft kindly…learn how to time your entries and exits so you are not having waves crashing over you…..coming in on the back of a wave may not be quite as quick….but you might stay in the craft! 
  • Navigation – like bike & foot navigation, you need to practice this skill in the water….. have somewhere for your maps so you don’t lose them (map case bungee on deck) and compass….practise paddling at night……and learn how to read the map features….as it’s a totally different concept in the dark


  • Ride on the trails at least once a week, and learn how to ride single tracks……ride with a group of experienced riders to improve your skills and fitness.
  • Be prepared to be on the bike for 6-8 hours, learn how to keep going for this long by doing some big days……as MTB riding uses a lot of energy and if you just do all you long miles on the road bike….you will suffer after a couple of hours. 
  • Night Riding – get yourself some AY-UP’s….they are the best on the market….get a handlebar & head mount and you’ll feel like it’s daylight! Then go out and ride at night… Geo you could be out for 8 hrs or more in the dark…so be prepared. 
  • Map Boards – you must have one if navigating. The Area 51 (Velcro mounting one) is fantastic, as if you need to swap navigators for any reason it is a 30 second job! 
  • Navigation – do some MTBO events….these help you to get the feel for reading the map on the go…and as you can’t use a bike computer you have to use the natural features on the map to get you to the CP’s

  • Practice running and walking, as after a while you will be too tired to run, and learning how to switch it up is a great strategy for moving forward in long events……walk the entire way….and you’ll be out a long time! 
  • Strap your ankles when you race….practice wearing this in training…..then you will reduce the risk rolling your ankles in the big events. 
  • Navigation – be prepared for maps that are not ‘perfect’. Yes - by all means go out a do orienteering and & rogaine events to speed up you navigation and decision making….but be aware that in a big AR like Geoquest…the maps will not be perfect…..there will be unmarked trails…..marked trails that are not always perfect……there will map variation between N on your compass and N on the map……so it helps to redraw the ‘N’ lines on the map….at the correct degrees! Sometimes sticking to the main trails is faster than bush bashing through thick steep vegetation! 
  • Night Navigation – Night rogaines are the best for this…..and then move on to AR events such as ARA Darkside. Practice Navigation in a safe forest or place you are familiar with, but do it at night….and you’ll be surprised how different everything looks in the dark!


  • Get some coaching - in all disciplines, so you are not wasting energy using a poor technique - and to help to ensure you are getting the right balance… you are not racing tired. 
  • Gear – get the good stuff….Lightweight Gore-tex rain jacket with hood, Merino/poly-pro thermals, Buff, strapping tape, Compass (spend over $100  or it will not settle fast), off-road shoes with good grip on wet rocks, gaiters/shin protectors or long tights to protect legs from nasty prickly vines! 
  • Nutrition - practice eating normal food… you can’t survive on Gels & Electrolyte drinks for 48 hrs.
  • Watch this Video from Mountain Designs Geoquest – Harrington 2013 and get some real race insights from some of the racers on course 
  • Finally remember - Adventure Racing is a way of life……make you training a part of your daily routine…and what you love to do…..experience nature at its best……with some like-minded team mates

Good luck in your preparation for Geoquest 2014. If you would like further tips/coaching advice contact us at     
See you out there!