Chris Jongewaard is a name well-known in Australian mountain biking. He is the 2014 Australian Cyclocross Champion, six-time Australian MTB Champion, five-time Oceania MTB Champion, Commonwealth Games Representative and… five-time Giant Odyssey winner. The Odyssey is a hard race to win, and other elite riders have wondered how exactly they can beat JBlood at the Odyssey.
On Saturday 21 March Jongewaard will be lining up at the Giant Odyssey mountain bike marathon in Forrest Victoria for the eighth time in the event’s nine-year history. Not only will Jongewaard be defending his 100km winner’s title from last year, he’ll be attempting to claim that title for the sixth time. He has clearly dominated the event over the years, winning in 2014, 2013, 2011, 2009 and 2008.
The Giant Odyssey is considered to be Australia’s most respected mountain bike marathon thanks to the quantity of single track, the lung busting hills and blitzing descents, the race atmosphere and finish in the middle of the massive Forrest Festival.
“The setting in Forrest, beautiful scenery, sweet trails, good people, well run event… I can’t resist coming back,” said Chris Jongewaard, five-time winner. “The course is so much fun and knowing the competition is hot on my tail helps to stay focused to stay ahead and make sure I’m trying to get everything I hit perfect,” he said.
As it usually is, the competition will be hot again this year with elite riders such as Mark Tupalski, Paul van der Ploeg and James Downing also entered. This will be James Downing’s second time competing at Giant Odyssey.
“100km races are pretty much about setting off on an amazing adventure aboard the bike. And when you link up some of the country’s best single track in one event, you are really going to make a lot of people quite happy. I can still remember how much enjoyment I had last year at the 70km mark riding a trail aptly called the Magic Carpet Ride! The single track is absolutely sublime,” said James Downing.
The Giant Odyssey mountain bike marathon is designed to be inclusive for mountain bikers of all levels, from the elite to recreational riders and new comers to the sport. It offers three race options: the renowned 100km Giant Odyssey, the shorter yet still challenging 50km Giant Shorty, and the 15km Giant Pioneer designed for kids and new comers to the sport.
“Whichever distance you are thinking of doing I would recommend doing a similar distance several times before you come to the start line and for those doing the 100km, make sure you save something in the tank for the 75km mark, you’ll need it to get through,” said Chris Jongewaard.
Over 1,000 riders are expected to take part in the event, which includes a massive Festival that’s great for spectators with pit lane, food vendors, beer garden, live music and mountain bike expo.
The Giant Odyssey also features as Race 2 of the Maverick Marathon Series, which brings together four of Australia’s most popular mountain bike marathons to provide riders with a series that captures the essence of mountain biking.
We have more event details on our calendar.