The weather forecast is looking hot – and so does the field of nearly 2,000 riders ready to descend on the cycling mecca of Forrest, Victoria, at the Otway Odyssey MTB Marathon and Great Otway Gravel Grind presented by Focus.
The 17th edition of the event takes place this weekend on 25 to 26 February 2023.
The Otway Odyssey’s mountain bike races include the premier 100km course, along with 50km, 30km and 10km MTB races, and the ‘Grommets ride’ for kids
The event’s high standard is a natural allure to big names across the country with some in-form talent lining up once again for the 100km race, including multiple National MTB Champions and Olympic representatives – Bec Henderson and Dan McConnell.
Henderson returns for a third consecutive year and is ready to make it a winning hattrick after claiming the 2021 and 2022 Odyssey titles.
“It really is the most prestigious marathon in the country and I’m very excited and happy to be back as it was a highlight of my summer last year.” said Henderson.
Team Roxsolt Liv SRAM – Australia’s only UCI Continental Women’s Team with the likes of 6-time Odyssey Winner Peta Mullens and team-mate Courtney Sherwell will be hot on Henderson’s tail in the elite female division.
For the mens’ elite field we’ll see our Odyssey stalwart contenders hit it out against McConnell with reigning Odyssey Champion and Australian National Gravel Champion Brendan Johnson; and past Odyssey and Gravel Grind winner Tasman Nankervis.
A feature at this years’ event is the new single track incorporated into sections of each course, designed by event organisers Rapid Ascent.
“We’ve purposely made the Odyssey courses tough, especially the 100km!” said Event Director John Jacoby. “It is a true test of skill and endurance where riders will experience plenty of flowing single track, including all the new bits not yet ridden; along with the usual blitzing descents and the challenge of our renowned lung-busting climbs!”
Complimenting the MTB races is the Great Otway Gravel Grind—known as “The GOGG” which will see our biggest field to date in the 97km and 49km courses with over 500 riders.
The gravel grind races follow a course of smooth rolling dirt roads through the Otway Ranges surrounding Forrest, with competitors treated to sweeping views over the Great Ocean Road region.
The popular ‘time-out zones’ are also included where riders can stop for a coffee and wait for friends without impacting their ‘race’ time.
The weekend also includes the Odyssey Angel’s program which offers encouragement and support to female riders at the event, including a female-only 30km race start on Sunday.
“We’re looking forward to another fantastic weekend in the Otways as the trails coming alive with riders; and the shredding gets hotter and the cheering gets louder!” said Rapid Ascent General Manager, Sam Maffett.
Entries are still open online right up until race morning, with all races starting and finishing amidst a huge bike expo and food festival at the Forrest Football Ground.