The Giant Odyssey is known as one of the toughest marathon mountain bike races in Australia. With a reputation like that, it’s no surprise that many participants decided to enter the easier version of the race and take on the 50 km Shorty. The course of the Shorty is very different from the Odyssey but still offers plenty of amazing Otways single track such as the Red Carpet descent and a killer 10 km dirt road climb to Kaanglang Quarry. After racing last year’s 100 km Odyssey, Subaru-MarathonMTB.com rider Roeland Suys decided to enter the Giant Shorty this year and was happy to find himself crossing the finish line in fifth position. Here is his race report on the Giant Shorty 50 km event.
An hour after the 100 km riders rode out of the Forrest footy oval, 592 riders lined up for the Giant Shorty at the self-seeding start line, grading themselves in big, middle of granny ring groups. A good warm up was essential for this one, as the first 10 km’s took riders straight up a dirt road to the KOM. This climb inspired some of the featherweight junior riders to show off their climbing legs and immediately put pressure on the rest of the field. Their effort thinned out the front of the race and by the time the riders reached the KOM, there was a five rider break away closely followed by a 10 rider chase group. From the KOM, down the Red Carpet timed descent and back to the oval, the race situation stayed pretty much the same. A few riders got dropped from both break away and chase group, leaving around 10 riders within a few minute from each other going into the last 25 km. While some of the leaders started to pay the price for their efforts on the climb, it was Lewis Rattray and Bradley Morton who kept the pace high on the single track within the Yaugher Forrest loop.
On the Yo Yo trails, a 3 km long section of winding single track full of short steep climbs and with about 20 km to go, Bradley Morton and Roeland Suys managed to leave the rest of the chasers behind. By the time they reached the Caspers Road trails, they had a comfortable lead on the riders behind and started to reel in some of the early break away riders. In the front of the race, leader Mitch Greenway had taken a wrong turn, forcing him to chase his way up the field again. He ended finishing in second place behind winer Harrison Ernst who finished the Giant Shorty in 2 hours 29 minutes. Bradley Morton got third place in front of a strong Joey Esterhuyzen. Esterhuyzen had a great second half of the race, coming from 14th position on the halfway point he rode to an impressive 4th place only 5 minutes behind winner Ernst. Roeland Suys completed the top five in a time of 2 hours 35 minutes. Full results for the Giant Shorty and the Giant Odyssey can be found on the Rapid Ascent website.