The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Chilterns Adventure Race


Course Conditions

Information about the course area and trail conditions for the 2019 Chilterns Adventure Race.

General Notes

The ground was dry and firm when we did the final recce last week. This was the wettest / muddiest section of trail that we could find. However, there is significant rain forecast for the middle of this week so what the trails are like on the day will depend on how quickly the ground dries out after this. We don't expect the trails to soften much but they could still be damp / wet in the trees where the ground takes longer to dry out.

Watch out, slow down and give way to other people and animals. Parts of the course area are popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders so expect some of the trails to be busy with other members of the public out and about. A bike bell is strongly recommended so you can warn others of your approach.

There are also a few fields with livestock in them. Please make sure gates are both shut and properly fastened behind you, so animals do not escape from where they are supposed to be.

We didn't encounter any problems with overgrown trails when we did our final recce last week, but it's impossible for us to check every trail in the area so you may wish to wear long socks or carry leg protection with you just in case you do take one of the lesser-used routes and come across a patch of stinging nettles.

Trail Run

The course planners route for the Trail Run is virtually all off-road and is largely on public rights of way (e.g. public footpaths and bridleways). Though obviously if you choose a different / shorter route (to the course planners) you may find you end up doing some running on tarmac (pavements / minor roads). Keep into the right-hand side of the road and face oncoming traffic if you end up running / walking along the road.

The Trail Run is undulating, though how much depends on your route choice. This area of the Chilterns is characterised by long linear hills. So stick to the high ground or run along the troughs (valley bottoms) between the linear hilltops and you won't go up and down that much at all. But cut across at ninety degrees to the hilltops and valley bottoms and you will encounter a series of short sharp slopes.

Most of the time you will be on bare earth trails but those in the woods are sometimes covered with leaf litter. A few of the trails have stony surfaces and others are grassy, and there is at least one known short section where the footpath crosses a recently ploughed field. Also keep an eye out for rabbit / bagder holes in the ground.

The paths are generally well marked and well used so you shouldn't encounter anything that's very overgrown. However, there are a couple of places where the fingerpost is difficult to spot because it's in the hedge which has grown up round it. Look out for other notices to help you and follow them where applicable.

Mountain Biking

Bikes are only allowed on roads, byways, bridleways and other designated off-road cycle routes. Taking your bike on footpaths, including the towpath alongside the Grand Union Canal, or any other unmarked trail is against the law and therefore strictly forbidden - there are no excuses - pay attention to the information on the map and the signs on the ground! Make sure you know the difference between footpaths and bridleways. Look out for fingerposts and waymarker posts to keep you on the right track and make sure you adhere to any other signs / notices.

Virtually all the off-road trails have either bare-earth or gravel surfaces that generally provide good fast off-road riding when dry. The gravel surfaces naturally hold up well in all conditions whilst the surface of the bare-earth trails can become slippery when wet and start to cut up after heavy use. A few trails have fairly thick leaf cover so take care on these sections in case the leaf litter is hiding a branch / hole / rock or something else that might throw you off course.

Generally, the wooded sections tend to be the roughest trails with hard-baked uneven mud and tree roots common. Expect one or two softer / wetter patches in places if the ground hasn't dried out after this week's rain. All the key routes are clear of vegetation and not too overgrown, so we don't expect there to be any encounters with long wild grass or overgrown bridleways.

Cyclists are required by law to give way to walkers and horse riders on bridleways. Please make sure you do this and that you slow down / stop when passing horse riders.

When on roads, always cycle single file (apart from being considerate to others, it's more efficient) and keep into the left-hand side so that vehicles can pass when it's safe for them to do so. Some of the roads are rat-runs and others are narrow - moderate your speed when descending narrow lanes and take extra care at sharp bends / road junctions.


The kayaking takes place on a stretch of the Grand Union Canal.

Part of it is in the open and therefore exposed to the elements. And part of it is in a cutting and is therefore protected a bit from the wind / sun.

Access to the water is via a wooden platform along the edge of the canal. Best to put the kayak on the water, sit on the edge of the platform with your feet on the kayak and then gently swing your bottom round and down onto the kayak.

Access to the kayak transition by vehicle is prohibited. Any spectators wishing to see the kayaking should park at or near Tring Station and walk along the towpath by the side of the canal. Please ensure anyone accompanying you does not drive along the narrow road to the kayak transition as there is nowhere to park and lots of vehicle movements will cause congestion, putting the safety of participants at risk. The kayak transition area is quite small and will get very busy at times so spectators are kindly asked to watch from towpath on the other side of the canal and not to enter the kayak transition area itself.


View all the photos taken on recent recce's showing different parts of the course here

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