Otway Odyssey going back to basics after year of upheaval

In a year that has pushed many events to the limit, the organisers of the Otway Odyssey are returning to their roots in 2021 with the famous race pencilled in for 20-21 February.

The original 100km Odyssey course will head back to its traditional format, last seen in 2011, in which riders will start in Apollo Bay, cross the Otway Ranges and finish at Forrest. This original route was infamous for the size of the climbs and unforgiving terrain riders had to traverse to get to the finish line. 

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The cash prize pool for the 100km event has also changed, rising to $9600, in order to attract riders from all over the country, border restrictions permitting. 

“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,” said Peta Mullens, 6-time Otway Odyssey female Champion and former Australia Road Cycling Champion. 

Riders not quite up to 100km can choose from 50km, 30km and 10km options while the Grommets ride, held on the Forrest football oval, accommodates those kids keen to give it a go. All races are held on Saturday, 20 February. 

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And of course, the Great Otway Gravel Grind is back for its fifth edition. Held on Sunday, 21 February, the Gravel Grind races take place on smooth dirt roads in the Otway Ranges and will see riders go through the heart of the Great Otway National Park, a route that will afford some exceptional views of the Great Ocean Road region. 

As with the original rides, participants will have a choice of a 97km or 49km course with several time-out zones where riders can stop for a coffee or wait for mates without it affecting their race time. 2021 will also see the continuation of the Odyssey Angels program, designed to encourage female participation. 

General Manger of organiser Rapid Ascent, Sam Maffett, said riders will relish the huge range of activities over the weekend, including the famous bike expo and food festival. 

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“The Otway Odyssey is such a special weekend, it’s where riders congregate to experience the thrill of racing as well as the satisfaction of conquering a personal challenge,” Maffett said. 

“It’s hard to not get excited about the Otway Odyssey when the trails of the Otways come alive with over 1,500 riders, 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 celebrate 15 years and experience first-hand the history of such a reputable mountain bike event.” 

Event Details

Date: Saturday 20 February and Sunday 21 February, 2021 

Location: Forrest, Otway National Park, Victoria (and Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road for the 100km start) 
 
Distances:                                                           

·        Odyssey 100km 

·        Shorty 50km 

·        Rookie 30km – including the Odyssey Angels. 

·        Pioneer 10km 

·        Grommets Ride 

·        GOGG Big Ring 97km 

·        GOGG Little Ring 49km 

Event Expo: A massive bike, food and entertainment expo at Forrest Football Ground 
Entries: Now open at www.OtwayOdyssey.com.au

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