The Wyedean Quest Lite took place over the weekend of the 19th & 20th October at the Beechenhurst Picnic Site in the centre of the Forest of Dean. The venue itself is well known to us at K9 Trail Time, as it has been used for previous Wyedean Mushing events and is quite local for us.
We arrived early on the Saturday morning to set up the stand and get ready for the days’ racing but it felt warm and humidity levels were a little bit higher than normal for this time of year. This was confirmed at the race briefing and it was decided that only the bikejorers, one dog scooterers and canicrossers would be allowed out to race in the morning as the forecast was to get cooler as the day went on.
The trail itself was nearly 3 miles long and was entirely on wide, hard packed forest tracks. The start chute took you up a relatively steep hill to start and past the ‘Giant’s Chair’, a local landmark which you can’t fail to spot on the way past. The trail then straightened out and continued for about half a mile before a left turn, followed by a right turn took you further into the forest. A fairly sharp left hand turn guided you back downhill towards the picnic site and with another couple of turns you were nearly back at the finish, with a sweeping right bringing you into the finish chute.
Marc went out with Donnie during the morning on the bike and had a good run, except for a little bit of paddling which slowed them up in the middle of the course! I took Tegan and Judo on the scooter later in the day when the teams were allowed out. We completed day 1 heading out in twilight and by the time we finished, it was dark and the scooter lamp and headtorch I had fixed to us, were needed to see the trails.
I’d like to say I was pleased with our performance as we had borrowed a Traczer Bikes Arrow Scooter to give it a whirl, but even with the lightweight scooter we were still slower than I would have liked. Tegan didn’t seem to like the speed or the surface of the trails and dug her heels in a bit when we should have been flying down the long straights.
After spending the night camped out in the forest with the other competitors and being woken by the glorious sound of the sled dog teams ‘woo woo’ing the dawn in, we were ready for an earlier start and a shortened course to allow for the mild temperatures. Marc and Donnie had a much better run and came in not long after the leaders in the bikejor class, making up a place and taking the third place for the male bikejor class. Tegan, Judo and I also had a better run over the shorter course and although we didn’t quite do enough to move up a place, we weren’t far off and retained 6th place for the 2 dog open scooter/rig class.
Overall the event was very well organised and the timing system was faultless, there was also a trial of microchip checking, which is set to be the norm in International events in the future. We really enjoyed the flexibility of the timing to allow us to go out in the evening when it was cooler for the dogs and the relaxed atmosphere which meant no-one was really concerned about anything except the dogs’ welfare. I’d recommend this event for anyone starting out in racing, particularly those who run larger teams of dogs, as it is predominantly a sled dog team event with the benefit to us of having open bikejor, scooter and canicross classes too.