Twenty-four teams took on a challenging course for Bann Wheelers Cycling Club’s inaugural ‘Trailquest’ event on December 8th.
A Trailquest is a mountain bike orienteering event where the competitors have to navigate from control location to control location, punching a scoring device at each location. Control locations vary in the amount of points they are worth, with the team (pair) which scores the highest number of points within the time limit the winner.
For the majority of competitors this was their first experience on a mountain bike never mind trying to navigate without a satnav, or operating to a time limit.
The event was kindly supported by Wetherspoons, with the Old Court House acting as event HQ. Competitors were able to register between 9am-10am, and given a map with 20 controls scattered across 150 km2! Each team then ‘dibbed in’ to start their allotted three hours, with five points deducted for every minute late back.
This proved to be an interesting and an eye-opening experience for some! The controls could be tackled in any order, with 10 points for the easiest to locate, up to 50 points for the most difficult. Whilst over 500 points were on offer the course was designed so that no team good completely clear every control point.
This then adds to the strategic thinking required and with possible mechanical failures and punctures thrown in it’s not always the renowned fastest riders that win on the day. As a few Wheelers found out!
With this being the first event of this type organised by the club the event was largely promoted within the club however we are grateful for the support from other local clubs, Roe Valley CC, Causeway CC, Ballymoney CC, and Helena Dornan from Ballycastle CC.
As the teams started to roll in the leaderboard started to take shape. Trailquest professionals Peter Cromie and Peter Cole (Roe Valley CC) with an impressive first place were on hand to give the rest a few tips at the finish. Second place went to a surprised (Rod, Jane and Freddie) aka Richard Baker, Jane Millar and Tony Callaghan, with third place (Blazin Saddles) Russell Callaghan and expert teammate Anne Watt.
A few of the competitors entered into the festive fancy dress request for the day with joint winners Rhona Laverty and Joan Trengove (Thelma and Louise find their way) and Shane and Corinne McDonald (Loves Young Dream). Other Special Awards winners on the day were (Bann Wheelers Legends) Bobby Kane and Nat Magee with an impressive finish time of 3hrs 47mins resulting in the most lost points at 240.
A fantastic day was had by all, despite the punctures, mechanicals, and lost points. A warm bowl of soup and refreshments, courtesy of Chris at Wetherspoons, was appreciated by the competitors, before the post-event banter got into full-swing! A few so-called big guns were certainly left wondering where it all went wrong.
Many thanks to everyone that supported the event. Special thanks to Ivan Park (Causeway Coast Adventure Racing), Chris and the staff at Wetherspoons, Kerry Ali (Costa), and the support from local cycling clubs. Biggest thanks of all to Andy Bate who was the main brains and organiser behind this event.
The only question left on everyone’s lips – when’s the next one?