Over a thousand riders are expected to race on some of Australia’s best single track at the 13th annual Otway Odyssey MTB Marathon presented by Focus, with entries for this iconic event opening today.
Regarded as one of Australia’s most respected off-road cycling events, the Otway Odyssey delivers an incredible mountain biking experience for riders of all levels with races of four distances conducted over the weekend including 100km, 50km, 30km and 10km events. All races take part over 23 and 24 February in 2019.
The event attracts riders from across Australia with visiting elite riders chasing national glory and a piece of the $10,900 prize pool through to kids who might be racing for the first time.
The Otway Odyssey is held in conjunction with the Great Otway Gravel Grind (GOGG) which returns to this massive race weekend for a third year in a row, offering riders even more race options with two gravel grind races on the region’s superb dirt roads.
After its debut in 2017 as one of Australia’s first gravel grinding courses, The GOGG has grown a steady reputation amongst riders as a challenging but incredible journey with 47km and 97km options available.
Five time 100km Odyssey champion and reigning Queen of the Otways Peta Mullens of Bendigo is looking forward to return to race this February.
“This will be my ninth year. I’ve watched myself evolve as a rider in line with this event and I’m proud to say I’ve never finished off the podium, which I think says just as much about my love for the race as it does for my ability,” Mullens said.
“Every year it seems like a different challenge to me. In 2019 it’ll fall at the end of a massive race block including the Australian Road Championships, three UCI road races and the Melbourne to Warrnambool so it’ll be the biggest challenge I’ve faced in my Odyssey career. But I’d love to come back this year and 3-peat as the Queen of the Otways!
“It’s still my favourite course, 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.”
Defending King of the Otways Jay Vine of Canberra is also looking forward to returning to race this February.
“I love getting away down South in the cool temperatures of Forest and racing over two days – the tough XCM course and incredible single track contrasted with the relaxed atmosphere of the gravel race and amazing views make for an amazing weekend.
“The final 30km of the XCM course are so rewarding when ridden hard and fast, the perfect amount of flow and slip and grip to make it fun. It doesn’t get much better!”
All events start and finish amongst a huge bike expo and food festival at the Forrest Football Ground, and race courses pass through beautiful tall timber forests lined with fern trees as provide a magnificent journey through the Otway Ranges.
2019 will also see the continuation of the Odyssey Angel’s program; a broad range of initiatives to support and encourage female riders to participate in events like these.
The Odyssey Angels saw record female rider numbers in 2018, and will again feature a women’s only start for the 30km MTB course as well as things like on course support, free training programs and skills sessions, pre-race information session and the Ladies Lounge – a designated place for female riders at the event expo and plenty more.
“The Otway Odyssey is such a special weekend, it’s where riders from all over Australia of all backgrounds congregate to experience the thrill of racing as well as the satisfaction of conquering a personal challenge,” said race director Sam Maffett, General Manager, Rapid Ascent.
“It’s hard to not get excited about the Otway Odyssey when the trails of the Otways come alive with hundreds of racers, and the electric atmosphere at the Football Ground where spectators encourage riders as they race through the checkpoints and across the finish line. It is one of the best weekends you can have on two wheels and we can’t wait to welcome riders to Forrest for it!”
Over 1,000 competitors and several thousand spectators are expected to descend on the Forrest region for the two-day event; the action getting underway on Saturday 23rd February with the mountain bike races – the 100km Odyssey, the 50km Shorty and the 30km Rookie. The GOGG races and the kids 10km Pioneer MTB will be held on Sunday 24th February.
All courses of the Otway Odyssey take advantage of the extensive network of single track and 2WD roads of Forrest and the Otways. Combined with the beautiful wilderness on offer in the Great Otway National Park, the electrifying race atmosphere and the sense of satisfaction you get when you finish in the middle of the massive event festival, it’s an event not to be missed.
Entries to the 2019 Otway Odyssey are now open online at www.OtwayOdyssey.com.au
Date: Saturday 23rd February and Sunday 24th February, 2019
Location: Forrest, Otway National Park, Victoria
· Odyssey 100km
· Shorty 50km
· Rookie 30km
· Pioneer 10km
· Grommets Ride
· GOGG Big Ring 97km
· GOGG Little Ring 49km