How to take part in a TrailTrax
It may seem daunting at first but if you've got some basic map reading skills and can handle riding a bike off-road a TrailTrax is open to any ability of rider. We have families taking part through to riders in their 70's. Just follow these basic tips to start off. As you gain experience you become more proficient at route planning so hopefully your scores will increase, you'll ride further and as a result may even get fitter, all whilst learning new areas of the country to ride in.
Where can you legally ride?
The most important thing is to understand the features on the map and to know which trails you can legally use. We provide Ordnance Survey map extracts at a scale of 1:50,000 which use the following markings to indicate off-road rights of way:
So, apart from normal roads and dedicated cycle paths you are also allowed to ride bicycles on RUPPs, bridleways and BOATs. There maybe local orders on the right of way that prohibit certain methods of transport, though very rare, please abide by them. You MUST NOT use footpaths or private land.
Registration and map marking
On arrival at the event centre complete an entry form if you haven't already pre-entered. At registration collect your pre-marked map and checkpoint card. You may wish to record the checkpoint values from the checkpoint card onto your map. The checkpoints are numbered 1 to 20 and their values range between 20 and 250 points. The aim is to visit as many checkpoints as possible within the allotted time to gain the highest score. You may now take a little time to consider a route option. Normally it's best to ride uphill on roads and downhill off-road. Route choice is even more important in muddy conditions. If you have any further questions please ask any of our team at registration or the Time Keeper.
Preparation and starting
Prepare your bike, mount the map so it's easily visible preferably on a handlebar mounted map board, wear suitable clothing for the prevailing weather conditions, stock up on fluid and food. When you're ready to start, go to the Time Keeper who will record your departure time. Now head off to navigate to your first checkpoint.
Start times for the 180 minute schedule are from 8.45am until 10.30am, for the 120 minute schedule from 10.00am until 11.00am. Riders will not be allowed to start after these times.
Clipping your checkcard
Checkpoints are quite often placed near an identifiable feature. When nearing a checkpoint area as marked on the map SLOW DOWN. You need to look for either coloured marker tape hanging off foliage, fence posts etc. or the orange painted post itself just off the trail. It's normally within a few meters and often hidden behind trees to stop people removing them. Quickly clip the CORRECT numbered box on your checkcard and ride away so as not to point out the location to other riders. (Clipping the wrong box can invalidate your whole scorecard). To be good at this you should already know which direction to leave the checkpoint so you don't have to linger around consulting the map.
Navigate to as many checkpoints as possible but allow time to return to the event centre. You'll be tired now and cycling two miles up a hill to finish will seem to take far longer than expected when counting down against the clock.
On arrival at the event centre hand your card to the Time Keeper who will record your arrival time. This will be passed to the scorers who will add up and give you your total score, applying any penalties for a late return at minus 10 points per minute overdue. Lost cards incur a DNF. Provisional results will be posted during the course of the event so you can check your position.
Even if you retire YOU MUST return to the event centre and have your finish time recorded. We do not want to send out search parties looking for people that have already gone home without telling us.
Prizegiving and relaxation
Put your bike away, get changed, order some good food & beer and talk with other riders about your route. The prize presentation will be at approximately 1.45pm. Full results will be published on the website within 48 hours so you can compare scores. Now you've got the bug go and pre-enter for the next event.