Mountain Designs GeoQuest - Australia's First, Biggest & Best Adventure Race
Adventure racing is all about pushing the physical, mental and emotional boundaries of the human body. Hear from Kim Beckinsale and Jan Leverton, two members of the Mountain Designs Wild Women team, who this week will be tested to the max when they tackle the Mountain Designs GeoQuest, Australia's first, biggest and best adventure race.
The very first GeoQuest was held in 2002 in Batemans Bay, and since then the event has travelled up and down the scenic NSW coastline showcasing some of the most spectacular seaside locations that Australia has to offer. Bendalong, Eden, Bonny Hills, Stuarts Point, Sawtell, Emerald Beach, Forster, Port Macquarie, Nambucca Heads, Harrington, Crescent Head and Hawks Nest have all hosted the iconic endurance race and this year the event takes us to the most northern location on the NSW coast in the history of the event - Yamba!
Australians love an adventure so when adventure racing first came into the spotlight in the late 1980's/early 1990's, it would not be too long before Australia started to be one of the locations selected for some international events. This quickly raised the awareness of the sport and in 2002, Geocentric Outdoors launched the 48hr Adventure Race called GeoQuest, which has gone on to become Australia's premier adventure race.
Looking at the GeoQuest Wall of Fame highlights the names of many of Australia's finest adventure racers, some of whom have gone on to achieve international success in the sport. Today, GeoQuest continues to unearth many future champions, but also continues to take us to amazing locations and challenge those who choose to put this event on their bucket list!
Mountain Designs Involvement in GeoQuest
Mountain Designs has been involved in sponsoring GeoQuest since its inception back in 2002, so it is only fitting that they continue to support the race's new owners, Wild & Co, into the future as the Mountain Designs brand itself relaunches and refocuses on its origins - Born of the Mountains. Mountain Designs has always been recognised in the sport as a brand to trust and many who have been involved in the annual event have become avid supporters of the Mountain Designs brand and will continue to do so now and into the future.
What GeoQuest Involves
Adventure racing usually involves the disciplines of trekking, mountain biking, paddling and navigation. Historically GeoQuest has included a challenging paddle in the ocean and sometimes even a mystery discipline which may include rafting, abseiling, climbing or sometimes even split legs to test teams' navigational skills. This year we just have to wait and see what the race director comes up with to challenge teams in the Full and Half Course events, which both have a completion time limit of 48 hours.
Training & Preparation
We are often asked about what sort of training we do in the lead up to an event like GeoQuest. Mountain Designs Wild Women is an extremely competitive team and although we compete in the women's category, we are still out there trying to push ourselves to the limit to finish as high up on the leader board and challenge the best all male and premier mixed teams in the field.
We do not all live close together so most of our training we do when we can fit it in around our busy schedules like most people in the sport, however, we do try to get together whenever possible for weekend sessions. Other events such as Mountain Bike Orienteering, Foot Orienteering and Rogaining are also helpful to ensure you work on navigation as well as fitness.
Kim's Tri Adventure Training schedule looks something like this:
- Monday - Day Off
- Tuesday - MTB
- Wednesday - Trek/Run & Paddle
- Thursday - MTB
- Friday - Paddle
- Saturday - Combination of disciplines and when possible we include navigation sessions
- Sunday - Run/Paddle
Afternoon sessions are usually shorter and just try to ensure you get 2 or 3 sessions completed per week in each discipline where possible and of course some of these are combined.
Gear That You'll Really Rely On
Like any adventure race, GeoQuest usually has a mandatory gear list and the purpose of that gear is to help you get through the race and help save your life if things don't quite go the way you planned. Some of these essentials include a backpack & bladder, first aid kit, thermals, waterproof jacket, beanie, emergency blanket/bivy, whistle, head torch, footwear as well as other more specific clothing for trekking, mountain biking and paddling. Mountain Designs has been providing quality, purpose-made adventure gear since 1975 and Mountain Designs Wild Women will be using some of the following items from the current range in the event:
We also recommend the following items, also available from Mountain Designs, to help you get through adventure races like GeoQuest:
Location & Course Opportunities
HQ is at Yamba and Event Director Chris Dixon suggests we can expect a 'classic' GeoQuest course with a few familiar features as well as a new touch or two. We can expect an ocean paddle if the weather gods are kind and given the location a sandy beach trek with some added coasteering. Course Logistics Planners have been released for both the Full and Half Courses - so this means that teams can start trying to pack and sort their gear, organise food for each leg and start packing boxes before they head to Yamba for the race. Maps will not be released until the day before with the race set to start at 08:00 Saturday 8th June. So, what this means is that teams can speculate all they like but will not actually know where the course will take them until the maps are revealed. What we can be assured of is another event that will be physically and mentally challenging however unique and spectacular. See you at the finish line!