The Otway Odyssey is one of the longest running marathon mountain bike events in Australia, with a winner’s circle that has many elite names. With the 15th edition in 2021, Rapid Ascent took the Odyssey back to its roots and the original start at Apollo Bay, on the beautiful Great Ocean Road.
For 2022, all the race starts come home to Forrest, where the event start moved in 2012. This makes for a better event experience for the majority, with a touch more singletrack and less time in the car shuttling around. Forrest is an ideal hub for the event, with the sports field becoming an event hub, with easy access to the trail network and a safe connection to accommodation in town via a bike path.
Rapid Ascent have given the route a bit of a rejig as well for 2022. But you can still expect climbs, lots of singletrack, and a clover leaf format that sees you pass through Forrest twice before crossing the finish line. This is a real boon, as it lets you set up your food and drinks stop for an easy self-supported race. That said, it’s a great atmosphere to have family and friends track side.
If 100km of mountain biking seems daunting, the popular 50km and 30km events remain. The 50km event also has a new course, and the 30km has shifted to Sunday for a little more room for everyone on the trails. There’s also a 10km event for young riders and a Grommets event in the event area for the tiniest riders.
Get more event details right here.
So why should I race the Otway Odyssey?
This depends on your motivation to race. If you like a personal challenge, well this is up there. It’s a tough race to master, but one that really rewards you when you get your pacing and nutrition just right.
If you’re competitive, the Odyssey tends to get one of the strongest fields for marathon racing in Australia, often besting the National Championships, especially if you look beyond the Elite categories.
If you like going nice places and doing nice things, then it’s the perfect reason to visit the beautiful Otway Ranges or drive the Great Ocean Road. Whether you like the forests, or prefer the beaches, there’s a lot to explore. A drive down Wild Dog Road is recommended if you have the time.
What if I want a weekend away?
Don’t worry, Rapid Ascent have thought of that. In 2017 they launched the Great Otway Gravel Grind, known as the GOGG. With gravel riding taking off a few years back (and not slowing down), the event crew have capitalised on the network of forest roads between, err, Forrest, and the coast, with a 49km and 97km routes.
Australia has a bunch of rough and tumble, painfully steep and rocky fire trails that ARE NOT gravel routes. But that’s not what Rapid Ascent use for the GOGG, with great gravel roads mixed with back roads and even an (untimed) stretch on the Great Ocean Road on the full course. That’s right, there are some untimed sections, and they include snack and coffee stops.
Gravel riding is something different to everyone one. For some it’s a race discipline, for others it’s a day out on mixed surfaces with friends. You make that choice. Race it, cruised it, or do a bit of both.
Combine the two events and you have a great weekend of riding off-road on 26-27 February. It’s up to you why you visit Forrest for the Otway weekend. Whether it’s for the competition, the social gathering of like-minded people, the people watching, the overall experience, or maybe you’re training for an even bigger event and want two days of racing back to back – that’s your decision. But if you’ve never been to Forrest for the Otway Odyssey, make 2022 the year.
See you there!