Q. What level of fitness is required?
You do not have to be an athlete to undertake ChallengeMD! the trip through China is designed to be tough but also inclusive so that people of all ages and abilities can take part. The event will be quite physically demanding and you need to be realistic about whether you feel you will be able to complete the Challenge successfully. It is important that you are confident that ChallengeMD! China is suited to your level of ability as only you can judge how fit you are and what you are capable of achieving. There will be people of widely ranging fitness levels taking part and the aim is for the whole group to meet the challenge, it is certainly not a race! Most people who take part in these events are new to this type of trip. The cycling is carefully managed at a suitable average pace with regular rest and refreshment stops. It is worth considering that a change in climate, particularly hot weather or altitude, may affect your performance.
It may be hard to complete ChallengeMD! without a few months of training & conditioning beforehand. See the Intrepid Challenges website for good advice on how to go about a fitness programme and training tips for preparing for cycling. If you are over 60 or suffer from a medical condition that is affected by exercise you must obtain a letter from your doctor. It is essential that Intrepid Challenges are made aware of any medical conditions on the medical questionnaire which may affect your well being whilst on the trip. But above all a sense of adventure and the determination to achieve a reasonable level of fitness are the most important pre-requisites!
Q. What sort of people take part in the Challenges?
People on Intrepid Challenges come from a tremendous variety of backgrounds with a range of ages from 18 to 68. They are drawn together by a shared sense of adventure and openness to new experiences. It’s the people involved that really make these trips special, you’ll be surprised at how many friendships you make and the great atmosphere during the event. It’s the shared sense of excitement and team spirit that helps motivate you through the challenge. By the end of the challenge you will have made some great lifetime friendships.
Q. What will I need to take with me? Do I need any special kit?
Intrepid provide a recommended kit list under ‘what to take’ in the trip notes on their website for each challenge. Comfortable and waterproof clothing is essential for these trips but nothing that should require any great expenditure. Just type in the trip code for your challenge in the Intrepid website trip finder to bring up detailed trip notes.
Q. What is the food like? Are special dietary requirements catered for?
We always try to serve local dishes to give you a real culinary adventure, after all trying new and delicious food is one of the best parts of your travel experience. In many places there will be a mixture of western and local dishes so you will always find something familiar to eat. For example, breakfasts and lunches tend to be a mixture of western and local food whilst dinner is generally all local dishes. We will make an effort to cater to any special dietary needs, allergies and vegetarian diets but please make sure to notify us of your requirements on your registration form.
Q. How many people take part?
Group sizes vary according to the destination and demand. Intrepid aims to take between 15 and 28 participants on the average challenge event. They have found that this is the best group size for these types of trips so that there is a supportive and lively atmosphere yet the group is still small enough to get to know everyone.
Q. How are places allocated?
Places for ChallengeMD! 2008 China will be available on a first come first-served basis.
Q. Who will lead ChallengeMD! 2008 China?
ChallengeMD! will be accompanied by an experienced Intrepid leader together with a team of local guides including a bike mechanic. The leader is responsible for the group’s safety and will ensure to the best of their ability that the planned itinerary runs smoothly. From time to time inclement weather, transport problems or forces of nature may cause last minute changes. In such circumstances, the leader may vary the itinerary, and their decision will be final.
Q. How safe are the activities? What about first aid?
The safety of the group is our first priority and all of the challenge events have been assessed for risk prior to their being operated. You will be given a full safety briefing during the event and cautioned about any activity which could pose a hazard to your own or the groups’ welfare. It is recommended that you take the time to review the government travel advice regarding the country you’re visiting at www.dfat.gov.au . This will give you the latest information on any issues arising that may affect your safety during your trip. All of the Intrepid Challenge groups are accompanied by leaders with first aid qualifications who can attend to any injuries that take place on the event and if necessary evacuate you to the nearest clinic/ hospital for treatment.
Q. What about health & hygiene?
We recommend that you visit your local Travel clinic before departure who can advise you of what vaccinations are recommended for the country you’ll be visiting. High standards of hygiene will be encouraged and maintained throughout the trip. Search on www.travelvax.com.au for health profiles on the country you are visiting or consult your family doctor.
Q. Will I have to carry my luggage?
No, all luggage will be transported in support vehicles or by porters unless otherwise stated. A day pack / handle bar bag is necessary to carry camera, sunscreen, snacks & small items with you. For cycling trips there is a water bottle cage fitted on the bikes.
Q. What is the accommodation like?
We use different types of accommodation (hotels, guesthouses or camping) depending on what is available in the area. Obviously the more off the beaten track we get the more limited the accommodation options, but it is always clean and adequate for our needs. The traditional guesthouses we visit are the best way to experience these countries. As these are charity events and not holidays the standard is generally quite basic during the challenge itself with a better quality (normally a 3 star hotel or equivalent) at the end. Rooming is twin share and allocated on a single sex basis.
Q. Do I need travel insurance?
You must have adequate travel insurance cover in order to participate in ChallengeMD! and we recommend that you take this out as soon as you have a confirmed place on the trip. There is an insurance link on the Intrepid Challenges website. If you already have an existing insurance policy, please ensure that it will cover you for the activities undertaken.
Q. What about passports and visas?
You must hold a full passport, which is valid for at least six months from the departure date. If you need to obtain or renew your passport please allow at least six weeks to do so. Details of any visas required will be given under the relevant trip notes on the Intrepid website.
Q. Can I extend my stay?
There are limited options offered by Intrepid Challenges to extend your flights and stay on at the end of the event. Please read the terms and conditions on the Intrepid Challenges website and download the relevant extension form.
Q. How many hours a day will we be cycling for?
That all depends on the particular day and your individual cycling speed but generally between 4- 7 hours, over a mixture of flat and hilly terrain.
Q. What is included?
Once you have registered and raised the minimum sponsorship required, you are entitled to a place on the challenge and included in your itinerary are:
- Return international airfares (departing Melbourne or Sydney)
- The services of an experienced Intrepid leader(s)
- All accommodation during the Challenge, on a twin share basis
- All ground transport
- Multi speed Mountain bikes
- Services of a support vehicle
- Three meals a day during your activity (unless specifically stated otherwise)
- Plenty of safe drinking water and snacks (fruit and biscuits)
- All ground staff including English speaking guides, local drivers, and bike mechanic
Q. What is not included?
- Transfers to and from departure points (Melb. & Syd.)
- Departure taxes and fuel surcharges
- Travel insurance
- Any Vaccinations required
- Gratuities for local guides
- Personal spending money
- Any additional activities or meals not included in your itinerary