Two exciting new gravel road races have been added to the schedule of Australia’s most respected mountain bike marathon, The Otway Odyssey presented by Focus, with the inaugural Great Otway Gravel Grind being added to the schedule over the weekend of February 25th and 26th in Forrest, Victoria.
The Otway Ranges around Forrest are infused with unsealed 2WD and 4WD dirt roads making for some superb riding on traffic-free roads through the wilderness, ideal for all styles of rider on road, cyclocross, mountain or hybrid bikes. For ten years riders have travelled to the Otway Odyssey to take on the region’s iconic single track and now even more riders can be part of the action in 2017 with the addition of The GOGG 49km and 97km races now welcoming road riders to this iconic event.
The all new GOGG races will make their debut on Sunday 26th February, following on from the action of the 100km Odyssey, the 50km Shorty and the 30km Rookie mountain bike races on Saturday 25th February, all starting and finishing amidst a huge bike expo and food festival at the Forrest Football Ground.
A unique feature of The GOGG races will be time-out sections where riders can stop for a coffee or visit a café during their race. Many will also stop and wait for their friends, adding to the social aspects of the event especially for the long course riders where the time-out zone will be in the coastal townships of Kennett River and Wye River on the spectacular Great Ocean Road.
The Otway Odyssey always attracts the best riders from across Australia who come not only to chase the titles but also to get their hands on the prizemoney which includes over $7,000 in cash across the MTB races and $3,700 up for grabs in The GOGG.
Race organisers at Rapid Ascent are gearing up for a huge weekend with over 1,500 competitors and several thousand spectators expected to descend on the Forrest region for the variety of cycling events.
“We’re so excited to be adding the Great Otway Gravel Grind to the range of events on offer. Gravel Grinds have become really popular overseas and the terrain around Forrest is perfect for riding dirt. It will make this iconic weekend even more inclusive of the range of riders out there,” said Sam Maffett, General Manager, Rapid Ascent.
“Now riders who like their tyres on the skinny side can see how magnificent the Otway rainforest is without having to learn how to ride a mountain bike. We expect some competitive road riders to come and race but The GOGG is equal suited to novice riders who have quite simple bikes but want a cycling challenge in a beautiful part of the world away from traffic and busy sealed roads.”
The 97km GOGG Big Ring will take riders on an incredible journey on 2WD dirt roads through the mighty Otway Ranges to the coast and back again. As is the case with all Odyssey events, the course will include plenty of climbing with some sizable ascents but the smooth dirt roads will make for some magical riding through a timeless landscape with tall trees, massive tree ferns and a great sense of journey as you power through the hills.
The GOGG Small Ring (49km) is a shorter version of the Big Ring, including a similar mix of smooth rolling dirt roads through the Otway rainforest, and plenty of wow-factor riding you don’t get when sticking to the main roads. The GOGG races have been designed for riders on all styles of bikes ranging from gravel grinder, cyclo-cross to road bikes (the thicker your tyres the better) as well as mountain bikes and hybrids.
Mike Boudrie of La Velocita said the addition of the GOGG to the schedule of events was exciting news for cyclists.
“It’s amazing country down there, I’ve raced the Odyssey a couple of times, and to be able to do both – mountain bike one day, then gravel grind the next, it’s the perfect weekend really,” Boudrie said.
“Riding gravel takes you places you wouldn’t otherwise go, it’s a whole different experience to road, the level of concentration you need to have is different versus the tarmac. There are road races in Europe and America which include gravel and off-road riding, and some that feature road, gravel and cobbled sections and people love them. It shows what you can actually ride on a road bike, it doesn’t always have to be on sealed roads.
“You’re unlikely to see many cars on these gravel roads, and when you get out there it’s such an adventure. Gravel riding is becoming a lot more accessible now, and people are finding all these roads and putting them on Strava. The GOGG is a really great idea, it’s making gravel grinding more available to people, it’s a race, but you can take your time.”
Date: Saturday 25th February and Sunday 26th February, 2017
Location: Forrest, Otway National Park, Victoria
• NEW: GOGG Big Ring 97km
• NEW: GOGG Little Ring 49km
• Odyssey 100km
• Shorty 50km
• Rookie 30km
• Pioneer 10km
• Grommets Ride
Event Expo: A massive bike, food and entertainment expo at Forrest Football Ground
Entries: Now open at www.otwayodyssey.com.au