Small Victorian Town Ready for a Flood of Spirited Mountain Bikers
Words and Photos: Rapid Ascent
Rapid Ascent is excited to present the 14th edition of the Otway Odyssey and Great Otway Gravel Grind presented by Focus this weekend. Hosted at Forrest in the Otway Ranges— an off-road cycling mecca—the event is without doubt one of the most iconic MTB festivals in Australia.
The 14th edition features four marquee events attracting more than 1,400 riders from across Australia. These include the 100 kilometre Otway Odyssey and 50 kilometre Shorty on Saturday plus the 97 kilometre Big Ring and 47 kilometre Small Ring on Sunday for the Great Otway Gravel Grind. All races start and finish at the Forrest Football Ground amidst a heaving bike expo, live music, food and more.
Competitors range from recreational to elite with some riders making the journey from as far as Darwin and Perth.
The 100 kilometre elite men’s race is a who’s who of Australian mountain bike and pro cycling. Riders to watch include Brendan Johnston, Cam Ivory, Sam Fox, Tasman & Russel Nankervis, Reece Tucknott, Robbie Hucker and pro-triathlete Ben Allen. Peta Mullens, Jess Douglas and Renata Bucher will be leading the charge in the women’s race.
The weather forecast is looking exceptional with respective tops of 22 and 27 on Saturday and Sunday. “The rain earlier this week has created a fast track and ideal racing conditions,” said Rapid Ascent Race Director, John Jacoby.
All courses of the Odyssey and Gravel Grind events take advantage of an intricate network of single track and unsealed roads surrounding Forrest. They’re known as some of the most diverse and free flowing trails in the country—especially the Red Carpet section.
The electrifying race atmosphere for both competitors and spectators, a Grommets Ride on Sunday, mixed with the beauty of the Great Otway National Park make it an event weekend fit for families and elite riders. Adding to this is an exclusive ‘ladies-only’ champagne event on Friday night. Ladies can come and learn all about mountain bike in a friendly and informal setting as part of the Odyssey Angels program.
Entries to the 2020 Otway Odyssey are still available online at www.OtwayOdyssey.com.au until 3PM Thursday. Entries are then available Friday evening and Saturday morning at the Event Expo at Forrest Football Oval.
Several thousand spectators are expected to descend on Forrest for the event in addition to 1,400 competitors.
“It’s still my favourite event, in my favourite setting, at the best time of year and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who loves adventure and awesome trails, and the shorter varieties to anybody staring out,” said Peta Mullens, five time winner of Otway Odyssey Women’s race.