Supporting The Quest
The role of a support crew in adventure racing in some ways is just as challenging as racing. It is a great way to be involved in the race and contribute to your team's experience, just without having to do the paddling, trekking, mountain biking and whatever other mystery challenges teams face. The Mountain Designs Wild Women recently lined up for the legendary Mountain Designs GeoQuest race, and as part of their preparation for the 2023 event, took us through the value of a good support crew.
Adventure Racing & Support Crews
Mountain Designs GeoQuest is probably the only adventure race in Australia that provides participants with the option of a support crew. In fact, back in 2002 in the first edition, this was the only option for teams entering. Back then teams were required to provide everything for themselves including their own paddle craft and equipment for ocean paddling. In addition to this, the June weekend where Mountain Designs GeoQuest lies used to be the Queen's Birthday Holiday in most states, making it a perfect opportunity for Queenslanders to take the annual trip down to the spectacular NSW coast for the event.
Like all adventure races, Mountain Designs GeoQuest is a navigation event. Support crews can assist teams with the map planning and preparation before the event, so having some experience can be beneficial. Support crews have some fun and adventure as they too are required to navigate their way around to the transition areas to meet their teams. This can be challenging as they are required to find their way before the team arrives and get ready before their team arrives. So, a little bit like a car rally style of role, for those who like to look at it that way.
Kayaks are now provided for all teams in this event, which means that support crews no longer are required to transport these. However, there is still significant gear and equipment to be transported around the course and having the right equipment for the team is critical. Support crews usually need to transport four bikes, paddle equipment, as well as any of the clothing required by the team. There are some strategies that teams develop for ensuring seamless transitions, which involves excellent communication between team members and support crew before the event. This has been made much easier in more recent years with the publication of a logistics planner approximately a week prior to the event, allowing teams to write down exactly what they may require for each leg of the event, in advance.
If your crew have any experience in bike maintenance, you are in luck as there is nothing like a bit of TLC for your bikes between legs or even someone on hand do a few repairs if required. This can be as simple as a quick wash, lube and dry of the bikes or something more complicated like changing brake pads or fixing a broken chain.
Food & Shelter
Adventure Racing is a very tough sport and teams lining up for Mountain Designs GeoQuest will be out there for 24 to 48 hours, so whatever the weather is throwing at you, teams must be able to deal with. Having a bit of shelter at a transition area can be such a relief especially if it's wet, cold and windy as it is not much fun trying to change into warm dry clothes when it's pouring rain and you have no shelter.
What you eat throughout a 24 to 48-hour race can have a large impact on how you perform, with regards to your energy levels and mental state. There is nothing like a hot soup or coffee in the middle of the night when you come off a paddle or just before heading off on a long, hard leg. Unsupported teams can pack a Jetboil and prepare something hot and even a dehydrated meal, but having a support crew to prepare this for you means that your food is right there ready to eat just as you arrive. They can also provide a wider range of food items that can be prepared fresh thus adding to the nutritional value of what you consume during the event, and you go out on the next leg on such a high, because you have had the opportunity to refresh and refuel giving individuals a sense of added strength and resilience.
A Taste Of Adventure
Providing an opportunity for teams to have a support crew at Mountain Designs GeoQuest helps to grow the sport and give others a taste of adventure. Support crews do not need skills in adventure racing, so it is a great way to experience what it takes to do a 24 to 48-hour race without doing the physical part. Being a support crew is also a great role for a family thus, helping in particular, to connect young children with the outdoors and take them to places that they would not usually go.
So why not inspire one of your mates to join in your next adventure?
Mountain Designs GeoQuest 48hr Adventure Race Gear List
Here are a few Mountain Designs gear suggestions for your GeoQuest team and crew:
Merino Thermals - Worn as a baselayer will help to regulate your core body temperature when you go through the night.
Light Hike COOLMAX® Socks - extra well-cushioned but lightweight and breathable so you can keep your feet blister free no matter whether your feet are wet or dry.
Silva Ranger Compass - Navigate with confidence with this fast-settling compass, set a bearing if you need and use the magnifier to see those finer details on the map.
Sea to Summit Dry Bag - Make sure your mandatory gear is 100% safe when out on the water kayaking when you put it safely in this watertight dry bag with multiple tie down options.
Lightweight Chair - When your team is out on course why not kick back and relax in the transition area and be ready for action when your team arrives? Chairs take seconds to assemble and folds away to almost nothing.
Jetboil Sumo Cooking System - Boil water for the team in just a few minutes and enjoy a hot beverage any time of night or day…just add water.
Expedition Duffle Bag - Pack up fast and get out of your transition area quickly with these extra-large duffle bags.
All images supplied by Wild Women, Murilo Mattos and Magarete Oti.