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DEVIZES TO WESTMINSTER Preparation

DEVIZES TO WESTMINSTER (DW) 125 MILE BOAT RACE
(The Le Mans on Water)

See below things to consider to have a safe and successful race.

The majority of the competitors will take 24 hours so everyone will race during the night. Many will take 30 hours.

TRAINING FOR DEVIZES TO WESTMINSTER

You MUST try and do the entire route in small manageable sections in a canoe or running or on a bike first by day then by night if you are likely to do this section in the dark.
Reece all the route during the daylight and look for possible obstructions and problems.

Practise during the night in your familiar surroundings and when you are confident at night then practise on any part you will be on during the night having.

Crofton Flight has 7 locks over a mile so you will NEED to run this whole section with the Canoe.
Need to practise with boots that have a good grip as the surface can be slippery with many teams running along this section.
Once you know each part then train on that section at a similar time of day that you estimate you will be there.
Weather conditions may result in a section being in the dark just because you were a little behind schedule and it went darker quicker than normal.
Compete in as many races together and have support crew help watch & observe you.
Canals look 20% different at night Rivers dependant on speed of current will seem totally different.
Your speed at night will seem faster than it actually is, so will cause negative thoughts when your average speed drops. This is the same for everyone.
Use check points close to the water when you Reece the course because when it is dark you will not be able to see large buildings that do not have lights on. Even 200m from the bank because it will be pitch black out in the country in the middle of know where.
The tougher the conditions you train in the winter months the easier the Devizes to Westminster canoe race will seem on race day.

MAKE SURE YOU COMPLETE AS MANY OF THE STAGES IN TRAINING OR PRE D2W RACES.
You may be the only one on that part of the canal or river during the race so do not rely on being able to follow another crew come race day.

You may need to run a long way with your boat practise makes perfect.

CANOE
Change everything you can on the boat 4 weeks before.
Have 2 spare everything minimum
3 sets of paddles each.

CANAL
Anyone can train in comfort on the canal during the night.
All portages are much more difficult to navigate during the night when tired.

RIVER
The river can be deadly in the day so Take Care especially at night!

RULES.
Check the rules they may change. Know what are you allowed and NOT able to do.
You are only allowed one boat so cannot use a fast canal boat then change to a river boat for the river Thames.

CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT
You will need at least 6 pairs of everything including gloves each.
All tried and tested.
Go for comfort.
Shoes with good grip for portages even hockey football boots or off road shoes. You will need plenty of spare shoes anyway.
6 hats varying from waterproof to thin and warm for a cold dry night.
2 warm coats that you can wrap around you should the boat need to be repaired etc.
Consider neoprene socks to keep your feet dry especially when you may be getting wet.
Always always spend 2 minutes putting on a waterproof jacket to keep you warm or dry. This will result in you not needing to eat an extra 300-500 calories an hour just to keep warm. Eating extra food slows you down.
Vaseline will repel water and can be used on calf muscles and forearms etc.
You MUST have as many mobile numbers lamented on a card, have 2 each and carried by both crew members and support crew. Have an in case of emergency (I.C.E) contact numbers as a back up should mobile phones not work (poor signal flat battery lost wet & not working etc).
Prior to the start -Dial all numbers into phone and hang up so they are the last 10 numbers on your phone, cold hands etc make it impossible to scroll thru looking for contact names numbers. You then have them ready should you need them.
If the Canoe is ahead of schedule you can give a spare card and ask others, helpers etc to contact your crew and let them know where you are etc.

6 sets of kit EACH. - Great if you do not need it.
3 head torches each and plenty of spare batteries. Your support crew will have their own torches.
All torches MUST HAVE BRAND NEW BATTERIES for the race.

PROBLEMS TO OVERCOME.
The canal may be frozen so prepare to run many miles because of a frozen canal.
This will be the same for everyone but the better prepared you are the more you improve your overall position and chances of finishing.
Any small issue are magnified 10 fold during endurance events when you are tired.

CONDITIONS
One year the frozen canal caused ALL teams to run over 5 miles because the canal was solid with ice. Remember it will be the same for everyone.

Be prepared for 4 seasons during the race. You may start in the sun and end up during the night in freezing snow conditions.

SUPPORT CREW
Make sure you have 2 experienced support teams.
They know the portages and during the night they run ahead of you with a light to help you exit and enter at the best place possible.
They must know which side of the canal river you will exit next time.
The crew MUST TELL YOU 2-3 TIMES “NEXT PORTAGE LEFT” if they are concerned with your concentration levels they SHOULD ask you repeat it.
Use as your Mantra “One two three Next Left” etc say it to yourself with each stroke.
Support crew MUST Show you a clear diagram of the next portage, you can often remember an image but forget what was said.

Make sure that they have good communication between the whole team etc is vital.
Extra mobile phones that can be charged up in the cars.
Tell your support crew that both of you will be stroppy from fatigue and will be trying to do your best.
Make sure they are ready with some positive answers not off the cuff sarcastic replies!
You MUST have a central emergency number land line/mobile number that anyone can contact to liaise listed on your lamented plastic cards

The crew should chat to you at each portage to establish any signs of fatigue, not to slow you down or make you stop. Keep moving at all times.
You may be confused where you are in the dark approaching a lock, get them to tell you and show you and say loudly “Next Portage LEFT” They could use a red or white L.E.D flashing light to direct you to the correct side.
A powerful torch beam pointed to where you need to exit is also helpful.
Make sure that when it is cold they pour out the hot drink a few minutes before you arrive so you can drink it straight away. You do not want to burn your mouth or not take a drink because it is too hot.
Milk can curdle in a flask after 4 hours make sure milk is added later rather than being left in the flask.
Back up crew do not panic, they must know you ability and assume you are going faster than you can.
If both teams move they WILL MISS YOU.

NEED A GOOD SUPPORT CREW RELATIONSHIP?
They will need to be firm and tell you to eat and drink. If you do not want to eat or drink then it is because you are getting tired.
Make sure that the crew can fix any mechanical problems, DO NOT WANT to have to fix them as you have enough to do covering 125 miles!
Plenty of time to chat afterwards avoid too much talking & standing around as time soon ticks by.
Your support crew will be warm but the race crew will get cold and start shaking.
If this happens best to wrap them up and give them some warm food. NOT too hot as the body needs extra energy to dissipate heat before being able to absorb & digest it.
Support crew will literally have to shove food in front of you sometimes as everything will be an effort and you need to conserve as much energy as possible.
You will not Thank your support crew if they let you give up.
“Winners Never Pack - Packers Never Win”
If you cover 90 miles and give in you will have to do it all again to next time to finish.

TEAM WORK
You cannot afford for both members to be tired at the same time.
Talk to one another say positive things “We can do it!” “We are half way”

TIME
You must plan the time you need to start to get the tide on the river right. Aim to be there early rather than late. You can always change clothes have a hot meal (soup) then go as the tide changes make best use of the currents.

Mood is a great indicator of low energy.
“Why am I doing this?” “I can’t go on” is a sure sign that you are low on energy. Now is the time to eat straight away, have some extra food.

BAD PATCHES
Expect bad patches DO NOT LOSE HEART because EVERY TEAM has problems along the way. The least problems you have the better your chances.
Keep your morals “HIGH” tell yourself “I CAN DO IT” “WE CAN DO IT” “I WANT TO DO IT”
Expect to have low points between 2-4 AM in the morning due to fatigue and sleep deprvation. Bad patches do not get worse each time they occur, remain positive and keep eating.
Caffeine drinks (Coffee –Red Bull etc) and sugary foods are instant and keep you alert. Be careful as you can quickly feel low again caused by a sugar and hormone drop, this will affect your ability to think quickly.
Expect times when you or your crew member will NOT want to get back in the boat. This is perfectly normal. Encourage them to go on to the next portage or next section and get some “Energy Foods”
Use helpful firm words like “We Can do it” spreads the fatigue factor “We have already gone this far” “The conditions will get better” The support crew should NEVER lecture but stay positive and not show any concerns that they have.

PORTAGES
EXIT TRAVEL AND ENTER THEN HAVE SOUP OR TEA OR HOT CHOCOLATE WHEN BACK IN BOAT.

THE FINISH
Keep focused until the end do not relax and keep eating and drinking where possible.
It will be a great achievement to finish the Devizes to Westminster Boat Race.
Remember you are all against the elements on the day.

NUTRITION.
Having 600+ calories an hour for 24 hours is demanding on its own so have a huge variety.
Train on a very full stomach, this is because as your digestion slows down you will feel bloated during Devizes to Westminster boat race.
A “TREAT FOR A FEAT” have special foods every 15-12 miles something to look forward to. This could be a bar of chocolate ice bun fruit cake.
It is better to have food too early than go down with low energy.
This will cause you to be unable to eat keep warm and (exercise) canoe at the same time.
You will need lots of variety and expect to bring some food home.
Having the same foods will stop you wanting to eat any more have lots of different foods.
Your taste buds will change you may even want “Fish & Chips” on the way as your taste buds play havoc.
Eat every 15/20 minutes not by landmarks and portages.

You will burn up at least 600 calories an hour.
If it rains or is very cold your calorie needs go up to over 1,000 calories an hour or more so you will need to have at least 30,000 calories of food per person.
You will not be able to eat that many calories and canoe; some calories will come from sports drinks.
30 Hours = 30,000 calories.
You will need to have a good breakfast and also eat on the way to start.
Your crew will also need their OWN food.
Easily available foods to train and race include.
BANANAS AVERGAE SIZE = 95-105 CALORIES
DRIED FRUIT 2 LARGE HANDFULS 100G = 135 CALORIES
3 RICE CAKES = 155 CALOREIS.
2 WEETABIX AND 200ML OF SKIMMED MILK = 200 CALORIES
GRAPES 90 GRAMS = 50 CALORIES
PEANUT BUTTER 40G WITH JAM WHOLEMEAL BREAD (80G) = 240 CALORIES
SANDWICHES WITH ANY FILLING
I.e. CHEESE AND HAM – HONEY- TUNA – CHICKEN- EGG
APRICOTS 156G= 75 CALORIES
FLAPJACKS 75GRAM = 330-350 CALORIES
CHOCOLATE CADBURY DAIRY MILK 100G = 530 CALORIES
SCONE 40G = 126 CALORIES
KELLOGS CHOCLATE CHIP SPEACIL K 23G = 92 CAORIES
DIGESTIVE BISCUIT 15G = 74 CALORIES
DANISH PASTRY = 300-500 CALORIES
YOGHURT 8OZ LOW FAT FRUIT = 240 CALORIES
MIXED NUTS & RAISINS
CANNED MEAL REPLACEMNET SHAKE = 300-500 CALORIES.
FLAOURED MILK = 150 calories approx
ALPEN FRUIT & NUT 28G BAR = 110 CALORIES
SOREEN MALT LOAF = 688 CALORIES ADD BUTTER FOR 800 CALORIES.
SPORTS BARS HAVE APPROX 150-200 CALORIES
SPORTS GELS HAVE APPROX 100 CALORIES
APPLES 30-60 CALORIES
RICE PUDDING 394 CALORIES PER CAN OF FULL FAT MILK PUDDING.
WHITE BREAD AND HONEY = 200 CALORIES.
BREAD SNADWICH PEANUT BUTTER AND JAM = 250 CALORIES.

Salt tablets i.e. Nuun tablet added to drink every 2-3 hours for salt replacement. www.nuun.com

The above calorie is a guide it all depends on size of portions and brands etc.

THE FINISH
Keep focused until the end do not relax and keep eating and drinking where possible.
It will be a great achievement to finish the Devizes to Westminster Boat Race.
Remember you are all against the elements on the day.


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