Why don't you ride trailquests ?

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  • Why don't you ride trailquests ?
  • hilldodger
    Member

    To be honest I hadn’t heard of TQ until I saw your posts 😕
    I’m def TQ curious – I like maps & navigation, ride to see & enjoy the countryside so TQs, yeah why not, tell me more…….

    shindiggy
    Member

    Same here, Interested in doing some trail quest, got a link to a schedule of event or further information?

    *Edit* Just clicked on the link in your post, reading now*

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Subscriber

    I’m attracted by the idea in some ways.

    I did one bike treasure hunt/orienteering event, which I enjoyed and i think wone, organisedby some friens. They were big in that scene (sophie Wood use to be Bowtell. I think she was national mixed national champion in one of the variations)

    Any way cut along story short its the map. I rode a new area locally last weekend. It was all stop and look at the map stuff. Its just not as fun as following the arrows

    I hate myself for saying that I’m still a fell walker and general outdoors person. But navigating on bike is a necassary evil not something I’d opt into

    i admire your search for more support I hope you find it.

    I’m cotemplating a mini trailquest using pubs as the control points (orientbeering?) also a trig point challenge. I don’t know if there are any local clubs into that sort of thing…

    Premier Icon Rubber_Buccaneer
    Subscriber

    You may enjoy the navigation aspect but for many it is a chore. A nice waymarked route leaves you free to enjoy the riding and if that route is at a trailcentre you can be pretty sure it will be fun too.

    uplink
    Member

    I do the Open5 races in the Winter, won’t be doing any more though as my knee is well **** so can’t run any more

    may look at some trailquests

    Picto
    Member

    Did one years ago on Cannock Chase. It was fun as a one off but the navigating got in the way of a good ride for me.

    downgrade
    Member

    Have done a few races (No Fuss 10s etc) because I thought they would be exciting, fun (and they are!)

    Don’t think trailquests would be exciting or fun. Might be wrong but that’s my honest answer.

    OK, for those who don’t know how it works, there are slight variations in format, but the most common one is;

    Turn up at a village hall.
    You will be given an A4 sized 12x8km section of 1:50k OS map with up to 36 Control Points marked on it.
    You have as long as you want to plan a route between the CPs.
    Go to the start marshal’s desk and clock out.
    You will now be given the CP values, so you might want to amend your route, or just set off anyway and improvise on the way round.
    Keep watching the time. You’ve got 3 hours and there are penalties for getting back late.
    Hand your scorecard to the finish marshal.
    Hang around. Discuss your route with other people and see how your score compares.
    Go home.

    Did 10 or 11 Polaris’s (Polari’i?) & umpteen TQ’s, best finish was 90th O/A in the 1999 Summer Polaris, guess I just got sick of being crap. 😥

    5thElefant
    Member

    MTB is motorsports without a motor for me. Trailquest strikes me as a rambler thing. So I guess I simply don’t get it in the same way I don’t get rambling.

    richpips
    Member

    To do a Trailquest you need to be able to read a map well.

    Trailquests are not sociable events. You usually spend most of the event on your own.

    So, you’re on your own and you aren’t very good with a map, how much fun is that?

    Instead you can enter a variety of events which are waymarked, and you can ride round with your mates.

    Back in the day when the Polaris was young, it attracted lots of riders, and sold out. There were very few other events that vied for riders, plus I guess that most riders back then had an outdoors (map reading) background.

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Subscriber

    Trailquests just aren’t cool – its not the same as turning up with your latest bit of bling at a 24hr race, riding a few laps and then having a beer and BBQ! And most people struggle to find the way to the end of their road, never mind open country! 😆

    They require effort, thought and no hand-holding!

    I used to do loads of them, and to me they gave a greater sense of achievement than any race when you knew you’d picked a good route and timed it to perfection.

    I’m useless at reading maps

    Life is not a competition so I don’t really care if other people can read maps and ride faster than me

    heihei
    Member

    I’ve only done one and loved it. Was then gutted that my local one (Shackleford) was cancelled due to lack of interest!

    richpips
    Member

    Oh, and one other thing.

    (Not one of your events), but I went for a ride yesterday with a friend who is competing well in our local series to get a feel for an event’s location.

    The map geek might have revelled in route choice, and I’m sure there will be plenty, but in 4 hours riding, I didn’t find a trail I would have chosen to have ridden.

    Rubbish riding.

    Premier Icon oldagedpredator
    Subscriber

    Don’t we do this one quite regularly? Its probably the image of buffalo, beards and marins thats never quite gone away. There’s also more / other organised mountain biking events now.

    There are some popular leagues – Dark and White Summer seems to have pulled in around a 100 each one. Talking to the guys who organise them the last round of the winter series had around the 200 mark in entrants. They have though gone back to 6 events in stead of 8. Felt quite sorry for the guys who did NEMBO league at Blanchland and in Teesdale. Both only looked at having around 40-50 people. The guys had put a lot of effort into the Blanchland one, negotiating access to quite a lot of moorland tracks for the event. Hopefully they’ll go again next year with the series.

    The success of Dark and White in terms of number vs some of the other leagues could in part be down to location. Winter league has a fairly large catchment of potential riders from the towns and cities around the Peak. Its also a known quantitiy as an area. I suspect events in the South Pennines / West Pennines would also have a good level of attendance.

    Lack of awareness is probably another reason for low numbers. Dark and White gets a few plugs from myself and others each year. The same doesnt seem to happen for NEMBOs (North East Mountain Biker Orienteering) and NYMBO (North Yorkshire Mountain Bike Orienteering. Never mind XCC (Cross Cumbria Cyclists) or Walton Chasers. Both of which have week day and weekend events in the next few months.

    British Mountain Bike Orienteering’s callender gives details of most of what’s coming up.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    I like them – probably my favourite MTB event. Been doing the Scottish ones in the borders this year – reading the map at the micro level to get the best route is a great challenge IMO.

    However, I can see where they might struggle in appealing to folk, at least if the SMBO ones are representative – the one’s I’ve done are over big areas for 3 hr events and that can be at the expense of fun, technical mountain biking on the singletrack. I’ve done a couple on my cross bike (out of necessity, MTB has been bolexed) and it’s been a wash, maybe an advantage even. There’s a lot of miles to cover.
    There’s actually a MBO rule saying ‘no cutting through’ which seems a bit odd to me and supports the sort of fire-road fest that tailquest detractors criticise it for.

    Their used to be an event at Glentress run by PCC that was superb – the smaller map area meant you could take in loads of singletrack. Possibly it became too hard to stage at a trail centre though – potential for mishap with the one way trails.

    Basically I think they’re great, but understand why they might not be for everyone, and think the duration / size of map area makes a big difference to the type of riding you will do.

    Premier Icon boxelder
    Subscriber

    There’s one in Duddon Valley this sunday – great riding:
    From Seathwaite

    mtbtomo
    Member

    Have done a trailquest and a mtb orienteering event recently. I know their different formats, but they still rely on navigation as a key element of the event.

    The mtb orienteering event – felt the check points were too close together, it was difficult to go fast between points because the distances were so short and it was easy to miss a turning. Plus reading a map on the move is difficult.

    The trail quest was better – did it as a pair which was a lot more sociable. The distances between points was further so you could plan your route and then get going without fear of zipping right past the check point for quite a distance. It seemed like a good way to explore an area I’d never ridden in and some of the trails we came across were good fun, and the terrain was varied. (that was near Gloucester/Stroud). Top marks to Midlands Trailquest for the after event sandwches, cake and coffee! I’d do one again. Plus the entry fee was way more reasonable than any marathon/enduro ride!

    Whilst the navigation is the main differentiator, reducing the reliance on navigation might improve popularity? So essentially it becomes a big ride, checking off the points, but with multiple pre-marked routes to each point? Same points scoring but there is still the elemenr that requires riders to look at contours etc and plan the choose the quickest route?

    Or have some trails marked to check points and others not. The unmarked route check points score a lot more points.

    Oggles
    Member

    I used to do them fairly frequently when I was younger, before I got into racing. The navigation I can handle fine – even if it does mean fitting a gopping map board to my bars! What I got tired with was that you;re effectively riding blind – sometimes ending up down really bad bridleways which are just a chore, and end up ruining a nice day out

    E.g. thinking it would be a really good idea to go for that 30 pointer on top of Catbells and end up carrying the bike up what is effectively a scree 😉

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    The quality of the riding thing is definitely valid for me. They did one around the Surrey Hills, everyone was on the fireroads because that’s the fastest. I’d far rather ride the singletrack, but then you’re less competitive, so where’s the fun?!

    Marked route, ridden flat out, far more fun. You’ve said yourself Graham that you do quite a lot of road bits, that’s not fun IMO!

    My thoughts are that if I want to involve map navigation in a route then I want to be doing it somewhere that I want to ride, seeing something that I want to see and enjoying the peace and quiet of the countryside alone or with a couple of good mates.

    brakes
    Member

    I actually prefer to get lost whilst out riding
    finding out where you are is more fun than working out where you are

    Premier Icon boxelder
    Subscriber

    E.g. thinking it would be a really good idea to go for that 30 pointer on top of Catbells and end up carrying the bike up what is effectively a scree

    I think I might have organised that one? 😳
    You went the wrong way – should have been carving down the scree!

    djglover
    Member

    I’ve mocked them in the past I admit that. The concept of a navigational event is very appealing to me, I’ve orienteered in the past and Fell Run now.

    However, I prefer the thrill of an against the clock / other people event, but where you are racing the other people.

    Pootling around the cotswold lanes to find some checkpoints is something I’d associate with a school / care home trip day out TBH. Maybe thats a bit harsh but it just sounds too sedate…

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Subscriber

    Maybe thats a bit harsh but it just sounds too sedate…

    But thats the thing with Trailquests – they can be what you want them to be. They can just add a competitive element to a ride, or be a flat-out blast.

    Want to do the singletrack routes, then fine!
    Want to take the road and be quicker, then fine!
    Want to stop and have lunch at a pub then fine!

    I should add that if you are doing it competitively then there’s nothing sedate about Trailquests, especially if you are 5 miles from base and have only 15 minutes to get back within the time limit!

    Trailquests can also get you to ride in areas you would never normally think of riding. I’ve ridden some great trails in places I would never normally have gone to.

    TheBrick
    Member

    I don’t ride them because I’m not really into mass events.

    As for other people I expect it’s partly the map reading part, most people really struggle with maps and the idea of not using GPS e.t.c. probably put a lot of people off.

    Premier Icon oldagedpredator
    Subscriber

    I wouldnt say events are sedate you need to be blisteringly quick on two or three hour events. In terms of giving more people a chance I think a ‘pies league’ running in parallel to the events might work – not too sure on which stats you’d use to find it but…

    The person with the average or closest to average score gets 1000 points people either side of the average (or mean or mode is there a stats expert in the house) get a proportional of this figure. Its the same way some league scores are worked out now. The original idea I had was for a Northern Pies League where you’d need to do one event in each of the northern counties over a calender year and atleast one summer or one winter event. Eyes on the Pies spot prize for the most av score at each event.

    richpips
    Member

    But thats the thing with Trailquests – they can be what you want them to be. They can just add a competitive element to a ride, or be a flat-out blast.

    Want to do the singletrack routes, then fine!
    Want to take the road and be quicker, then fine!
    Want to stop and have lunch at a pub then fine!

    I should add that if you are doing it competitively then there’s nothing sedate about Trailquests, especially if you are 5 miles from base and have only 15 minutes to get back within the time limit!

    Well a TQ is advertised as a race.

    Attracting new people (mountain bikers) to a TQ would rely on gnarr riding route choices (bonus points), beer stops (bonus points), pie stops (double bonus points) + fairly easy navigation.

    That might sound flippant, but if you are wanting to attract new blood, maybe a parallel event with the emphasis on the riding/vibe rather than the nav would in time bring more interest to trailquests.

    Oggles
    Member

    I think I might have organised that one?
    You went the wrong way – should have been carving down the scree!

    Haha, excellent. It must be about 5/6 years ago now but it sticks out as my most memorable TQ moment.

    That’s kinda what I’m saying about riding blind though, you have no idea if one direction will be better than the other unless there’s a bit of local knowledge involved. The descent was a hoot for sure, but if I had chance to do it again I would go east to west!

    5thElefant
    Member

    Not using a GPS? Really?

    No wonder they’re not popular.

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    Sorry, It does sound like the red socks brigade on bikes and you don’t really alter that perception MTQGraham.
    1) Turn up at village hall………..etc

    Oggles
    Member

    Well a TQ is advertised as a race.

    But if it takes place on public bridleways I thought it wasn’t allowed to be called a race…

    There’s a bit of a discussion going on in MTQ at the moment about attracting new members and increasing entries at events.

    I know that whenever trailquests get mentioned on STW there are people who like to sneer at them as if trailquesting is on a level with wearing a cardigan with buttons on the front or listening to Val Doonican.
    It does make me wonder how many of those people could ride 50+km of mixed terrain in 3 hours while navigating and route planning though.

    It seems bizarre to me that HONC can sell out all 1200 places within 2 hours or MM can sell out 2500 places within days, yet if there was a trailquest covering 100 square km of the Cotswolds, or with 30 Control Points to find on and around the Eastnor Estate, we’d get about 50 entries.

    So why don’t you ride trailquests ?
    What is it in particular that doesn’t appeal ?
    What would you like to see changed to make you have a go ?

    coogan
    Member

    Trail quests and racing hold no interest to me at all. Simple really.

    druidh
    Member

    Surrounded By Zulus – Member
    My thoughts are that if I want to involve map navigation in a route then I want to be doing it somewhere that I want to ride, seeing something that I want to see and enjoying the peace and quiet of the countryside alone or with a couple of good mates.

    That

    richpips
    Member

    But if it takes place on public bridleways I thought it wasn’t allowed to be called a race…

    Don’t be a pedant.

    There are lots of races/challenges whatever that use bridleways/footpaths.

    You can race most places ecept SSSI maybe with landowner consent.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    I already don’t get enough time to ride, am not competitive (natured or fitness-wise) and don’t fancy the idea of fireroad grinding between points (I think this would be prety inevitable if TQ is as I imagine). TBH, If I was going to take a day out for riding it wouldn’t be to map-read or race.

    Course, the other trouble here on stw is that all the people who **** on about keeping it real and getting out there with a map would have to stay away or have their bluff called if they really had to navigate their way around somewhere 😉

    I’d rather poke my eyes out.

    bajsyckel
    Member

    I used to do a few in the 90’s, along with the odd NAMBS thing, then moved on to longer events and adventure racing, but I haven’t done any competitive stuff (against others) for years bar a couple of cross and short course races.

    RE the ‘trailquests are boring’ argument – I think when the points are set well, in a good area, there is the potential for the competitive scores to favour good riding over estate/landrover track, forest roads and tarmac. This doesn’t always happen though and isn’t always possible to ensure as most areas of the UK have lots of roads and vehicle tracks.

    The problem more generally with trailquests is that I can go out and ride the same stuff (usually, though occasionally access is arranged to non-legal routes as OAP notes) at any other time when I feel like it. Having finished at or near the top of a few events, I’d have to say they aren’t (or at least weren’t) anything like the level of intensity of xc racing, so they probably don’t appeal massively to that many racers (though there are a few who cross over of course and this may have changed). Navigation is neither here nor there for me – I love cartography, but I don’t ride because I want to challenge my map reading ability. So their unique thing – making your own route and going around faster/further than other people do their thing, paying for it, and doing it on a set day – probably has a fairly limited appeal. Mind you, loads of people pay to do road sportives and mtb Meridas which I cannot fathom either.

    One thing that I used to like (pre-internet) was the fact that you could go to an event where you had little idea what the riding would be like and discover something new. You can find out that kind of thing now at the click of a button and plan something you know you will like, and do it free of charge when the conditions are good. I’ve seen local events (adventure races admittedly) where the conditions have been poor and good singletrack have been trashed when usually local riders would stay off them to prevent damage. That has made me sceptical of the planning of some events, and ultimately contributed to me realising that I prefer to do my own thing.

    Anyway, that was a bit of a meandering answer, but really more or less what SBZ said above.

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    i am a veteran of many polaris events and many tq events.
    the price put me off polaris, and half a days riding round usually pretty tame locations used to leave me want something more than tq’s.

    richpips
    Member

    Ton :Waves:

    Don’t look at the price of this years.

    crikey
    Member

    Turn up at a village hall.
    You will be given an A4 sized 12x8km section of 1:50k OS map with up to 36 Control Points marked on it.
    You have as long as you want to plan a route between the CPs.
    Go to the start marshal’s desk and clock out.
    You will now be given the CP values, so you might want to amend your route, or just set off anyway and improvise on the way round.
    Keep watching the time. You’ve got 3 hours and there are penalties for getting back late.
    Hand your scorecard to the finish marshal.
    Hang around. Discuss your route with other people and see how your score compares.
    Go home

    The reason I don’t enter TQs…

    36 Control Points

    WTF? Thirty six of anything other than inches of breast is of no interest.

    plan a route between the CPs.

    All sounds a bit middle-aged-man-in-pub telling you the best way to get from Huddersfield to Doncaster…

    clock out

    What?

    given the CP values

    Values? for Control Points?

    there are penalties for getting back late.

    Eh? You penalise me for not doing it right?

    Hand your scorecard to the finish marshal

    Hang around

    No thanks, I have a life to be getting on with.

    Discuss your route with other people and see how your score compares.

    See above.

    I’m trying to make you see that the whole concept just reeks of dullness and sandals.

    I’ve done orienteering fell running events with exactly the same format and they are only marginally less dull.

    All this ‘Well actually, young man, you have to ride jolly fast to get back to the start and compare your route with all the other spoddy types….

    No, it just comes across as dull and I suspect that it just doesn’t fit with the image or the perceived target market for mountain biking, whether correct or not.

    It’s all a bit Werthers Original.

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    hello rich mate…………..have you been in jail…… 😉

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