The eleventh edition of the Otway Odyssey confirmed its’ status again as the most challenging yet rewarding mountain bike marathon in Australia, courtesy of the thirst-building single track terrain.
The premier 100km race continues to attract an impressive lineup of riders with over 1,200 mountain bikers taking to the Forrest trails, with the event also catering for novice and junior riders.
Mullens, a former Australian Road Cyclist Champion and current professional rider, claimed her fourth 100km Otway Odyssey victory in a time of 5hours, 21 minutes and 25 seconds, finishing well ahead of the hotly contested female field.
“The Odyssey was my first marathon event so it has very fond memories for me. I’ll keep coming back as I love the trails here.” Said Mullens.
Mullens’ took the early lead going out hard, before saving some gas in the legs for the following day’s first ever Great Otway Gravel Grind.
“I’m pleased with the race. I didn’t come close to my course record, but I got reports there was a bit of a gap in the second half so I thought I’d keep some in the legs for tomorrow.” Continued Mullens.
Friends and rivals Renata Bucher and Jess Douglas battled it out behind Mullens, finishing second and third respectively.
“It was a tough day, I’m actually really thankful to be second; Jess (Douglas) was on my wheel and leading me a fair bit too. Some days you feel better, but today was a hard one.” Said Bucher, an Xterra World Triathlete.
Douglas is an 11-time Odyssey competitor, not to mention 3-time World 24hour MTB title holder, and today she set a personal best over the course.
“I just went for my little PB’s today that I wanted to hit, so I’m happy with that.” Said Douglas.
In the men’s field, it was brothers Tasman and Russell Nankervis setting the pace from the get go, with Adrian Jackson working them back to take second behind Tasman.
“I’m absolutely stoked! I came in confident as we’ve been working on form recently. The race paned-out perfectly with Rus and I over two-thirds of the race.” Said Tasman Nankervis.
“Rus and I didn’t plan it this morning, but I set the first temp, and Rus came across so I said ‘let’s do it’!”
Jackson had his work cut out for him, but was spotted flying at the 64km mark feed zone having brought the time gap down to just 15 seconds heading into the final loop of the course.
“I think second was the best I could hope for today; Tasman was always going to win this, he’s a freak on the bike; I was just really happy to get one over his brother Rus!” said Jackson.
“The two brothers had me on the ropes early on; then through Yaugher I was able to peg them back on the single track and had them in sight.
“The single track was in premium condition; a really fast track.” added Jackson.
The 50km Otway Shorty event saw some exciting racing with Jack Lamshed finishing first ahead of Riley Flaherty and James Goodall; plus a flying e-bike rider hot on Lamshed’s wheel the entire way.
“The first climb was pretty painful; I got away on my own through the trail network being chase by my e-fairy!” said Lamshed.
Mother of three young children, including a 3-month old, Kim Willocks was the clear winner in the women’s 50km race finishing ahead of former triathlete Belinda Hadden, and third place Gemma DeCampo.
“That was much longer and harder than expected, I should have looked at the course profile!” laughs Willocks. “But I had no offs, so that was the main aim.”
Over 200 riders took on the 30km Odyssey Rookie designed specifically for novice mountain bikers and developing juniors. First across the line was youngster Lachlan Huf in the men’s, and first female was veteran Tania Dufty.
The day rounded out in the afternoon with a kids’ focussed Grommets Ride. Fifty kids aged between 3 and 8 took part in an obstacle race, bike limbo and other fun bike activities.
For 11 years riders have travelled from across Australia to the Otway Odyssey to take on the region’s iconic single track, with race organisers Rapid Ascent rapt with the events’ long-standing success.
“With over 1,000 riders participating every year, the event has had a huge following right from the get go. It certainly cements its’ reputation as being one of the toughest and most respected mountain bike events in Australia.” Said Sam Maffett, General Manager, Rapid Ascent.
The events’ reputation will be further expanded tomorrow, Sunday 26 February, with the inaugural Great Otway Gravel Grind (The GOGG). Competitors will be taken on an incredible journey through the mighty Otway Ranges to the coast and back along the famed smooth rolling dirt roads, over either a Big Ring 97km course, or Small Ring 49km course.
Otway Odyssey 100km
Top 5 Male
Tasman Nankervis 4:20:28
Adrian Jackson 4:22:58
Russell Nankervis 4:25:50
Rohin Adams 4:40:15
Daniel Taylor 4:42:09
Top 5 Female
Peta Mullens 5:21:25
Renata Bucher 5:34:24
Jess Douglas 5:34:47
Melissa Anset 5:36:56
Edwina Hughes 5:38:36
Otway Shorty 50km
Top 3 Male
Jack Lamshed 2:15:26
Riley Flaherty 2:18:11
James Goodall 2:21:29
Top 3 Female
Kim Willocks 2:56:13
Belinda Hadden 3:03:24
Gemma DeCampo 3:05:38
Otway Rookie 30km
Top 3 Male
Lachlan Huf 1:27:28
Joel Boucher 1:28:01
Chris Pearce 1:35:30
Top 3 Female
Tania Dufty 1:54:09
Fiona Mathews 1:54:52
Laura White 1:56:34
For more information head to www.OtwayOdyssey.com.au
Full results are available HERE