Otway Odyssey & Great Otway Gravel Grind return for 12th Year

Entries have opened for one of Australia’s most renowned mountain bike marathons, the Otway Odyssey presented by Focus that will see hundreds of riders race through the spectacular Otway Ranges near Forrest in south-western Victoria from 24th-25th February 2018.

The 12th edition of the event features the popular 100km Odyssey, 50km Shorty and 30km Rookie mountain bike races, as well as the kids’ 10km Pioneer event, all starting and finishing amongst a huge bike expo and food festival at the Forrest Football Ground.

“it really is a mountain biker’s marathon with all the sick single track! I love the Odyssey” – Peta Mullens

After its hugely successful inception in 2017, The Great Otway Gravel Grind (The GOGG) will also return so road riders, gravel enthusiasts and recreational riders of all styles can enjoy a scenic but challenging 49km or 97km ride on the Range’s smooth rolling dirt roads as part of this popular new riding format. The GOGG was an instant hit last year as it requires no specific skills, bikes or knowledge to enjoy a traffic ride through the areas magnificent tall timber forests.

A particular focus of this year’s Otway Odyssey is to increase female participation in the events with a broad range of initiatives, support and information for female riders under the banner of Otway Angels. Rapid Ascent is tackling the barriers for women wanting to take the first step into racing via a range of new skills programs, partnerships, networking opportunities, course recces and special events to help improve accessibility of the sport to female riders.

Defending Otway Shorty 50km champion and event ambassador Kim Willocks said she would love to see more women riding and participating in mountain bike events, and getting as much out of it as she does. “Pedalling through the bush on a mountain bike during a race, a social ride or even solo is so fulfilling,” Willocks said. “My advice to any females considering entering an event like the Otway Odyssey, who are a little apprehensive about taking the leap, is to choose an event like the 30km Pioneer designed for beginner riders, train as much as you have time for, and just have fun and enjoy the moment. This will be my fourth time racing the Odyssey. I love testing myself by racing my bike, especially through the bush alongside equally competitive riders!”

Along with increasing numbers of female riders, the Otway Odyssey always attracts many of the best riders from across Australia who not only chase the titles but also attempt win the $10,700 in cash prizes split between the MTB and The GOGG races.

“We want to extend a very big welcome to all female riders who may have been a bit nervous about racing in the past. We hope things like the women’s only 30km race start and other ideas make women feel welcome.”

Four-time 100km Odyssey champion and reigning Queen of the Otways, Peta Mullens, said the Otway Odyssey was her first ‘challenge’ marathon and is one that keeps her coming back year after year. “Over the years the course has changed and it’s gone from my most feared XCM to my most loved. I remember the walking and the mud in the early days! Instead of beastly climbs the track is made up of flowy single track for days; it really is a mountain biker’s marathon with all the sick single track! I love the Odyssey,” Mullens said.

Peta Mullens, four time Otway Odyssey champion

The Otway Odyssey MTB Marathons have become the most well regarded races in Australia, providing an incredible MTB experience for any rider – from Australia’s elite to young juniors just starting out.

Race organisers at Rapid Ascent are gearing up for huge another weekend in 2018 with over 1,500 competitors and several thousand spectators expected to descend on the Forrest region for the event. “The Otway Odyssey is such a special weekend, it’s where riders from all over Australia and with all backgrounds congregate to experience both the thrill of racing on some of Australia’s best trails, as well as the satisfaction and reward of conquering a personal challenge,” said Sam Maffett, General Manager, Rapid Ascent. “We are particularly excited about the Otway Angels initiatives and we want to extend a very big welcome to all female riders who may have been a bit nervous about racing in the past. We hope things like the women’s only 30km race start and other ideas make women feel welcome.”

The action gets underway on Saturday 24th February with the mountain bike races; the 100km Odyssey, the 50km Shorty and the 30km Rookie, all starting and finishing amidst a huge bike expo and food festival at the Forrest Football Ground. The GOGG races and the kids 10km Pioneer MTB will be held on Sunday 25th February.

All courses of the Otway Odyssey take advantage of the extensive network of singletrack and 2WD roads of Forrest and the Otways. Combined with the beauty on offer in the Great Otway National Park, the electrifying race atmosphere and sense of satisfaction you get when you finish in the middle of the massive event festival, it’s an event not to be missed.

Entries to the 2018 Otway Odyssey are now open online at www.OtwayOdyssey.com.au

Peta Mullens Claims Fourth Title at the 11th Annual Otway Odyssey MTB Marathon

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. 

Tasman Nankervis.
Tasman Nankervis.


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. untitled-0013

“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. Nankervis and Mullens as King and Queen of the Otways

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. 

Adrian Jackson.
Adrian Jackson.

“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. IMG_0063 IMG_0049 DAN18585

“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.P1170857 P1170871 IMG_0022 IMG_0025

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 

Peta Mullens and Tasman Nankervis Top Podium at Inaugural Great Otway Gravel Grind

Over 300 riders participated in the Great Otway Gravel Grind (The GOGG) which led cyclists along a scenic and at times challenging ride on the dirt roads that wind through the Otway Ranges, with 97km and 49km courses available.

Tasman Nankervis from Bendigo won the 97km GOGG Big Ring in a time of 3hr2min54sec beating Ryan Standish into 2nd in a time of 3hr3min24sec and his older brother Russel Nankervis who placed 3rd in a time of 3hr3min24sec. GravelGrind2017- By Matt Hull-2 GravelGrind2017- By Matt Hull-3 GravelGrind2017- By Matt Hull-4

“Today was a completely different race to yesterday. I’ve never done a race with time-out sections like that so it took a bit of tactical work to figure out what I was going to do to win, but I got to ride with Russel and Ryan for most of the day, we got to see the beach… it has been a great weekend” summarised Nankervis after his victory. 

Peta Mullens also rode a very strong race to win in a time of 3hr22min47sec ahead of Helen Shelley in 3hr53min43sec with Harriet Smith finishing 3rd in a time of 3hr56min48sec.  

“Legs felt surprisingly good today, I worked hard from the start to the first water station and then I settled in with a good group and could enjoy the rest of it,” commented Mullens. “It was a really good course that gave us a real journey through the forest. The first 30km was really tough. It’s been a nice double-header weekend. I’ll be back.” 

The response from all riders in the inaugural GOGG has been very positive with everyone commenting on how nice it was to ride on smooth dirt roads through the magnificent Otway forests.

The 97km course took riders from Forrest over the Otway Ranges, down to Kennett River and then along the Great Ocean Road to Wye River, before riding back over the Range and into Forrest for a flying finish. As an interesting twist, riders enjoyed a ‘time-out’ between Kennett River and Wye River that allowed them to stop for a coffee or to wait for their friends without impacting their race time. 

The time out was a strategically important factor in the race if you were racing to win as it may have meant that the rider beside you was not necessarily on the same time as you if you stopped at the different time out zones for different time. Nankervis took this into account with his race and went hard to the first time-out so he had a time gap over his rivals and then rode with them rest of the way knowing he was already ahead. 

By winning both the 100km mountain bike marathon on Saturday and the gravel grind on Sunday Nankervis and Mullens have been crowned the King and Queen of the Otways as they had the lowest cumulative time across both events, which is a remarkable achievement.

In the shorter 49km GOGG race it was Jody Zerbst who took the outright male victory in a time of 1hr51min and Caitlin Wade who was the fastest female around the shorter event in a time of 2hr5min23sec. 

“We are very pleased with how the GOGG has gone today. All the riders have really been amazed by the scenery and the quality of the riding on these magnificent dirt roads,” commented Event Manager Sam Maffett from Rapid Ascent who organised the weekend’s events. 

“The terrain around Forrest is perfect for riding dirt, and we wanted to offer a race for riders to get away from the busy bitumen onto the extensive network of 2WD and 4WD roads in the Otway Ranges.” GravelGrind2017- By Matt Hull-37 GravelGrind2017- By Matt Hull-25 GravelGrind2017- By Matt Hull-24 GravelGrind2017- By Matt Hull-41

The Great Otway Gravel Grind will further expand the Otway Odyssey’s reputation as one of the Australia’s greatest off-road races with over 1,250 riders participating across the whole weekend with events that have included 100k, 50k, 30k and 10k mountain bike races, the two gravel grind events and a fun event for little kids on bikes. 

“The GOGG has made this iconic weekend even more inclusive by welcoming road and gravel riders to this formerly mountain bike only event. And now we can official say Forrest is home to a world-class gravel grind race as well.” 

For more information head to www.OtwayOdyssey.com.au

Ride the Otway Odyssey in 2017

Entries are now open for Australia’s premier mountain bike marathon, The Otway Odyssey presented by Focus, which is back for an 11th year and sees two new gravel grind races join the line-up in 2017.

The inaugural Great Otway Gravel Grind (The GOGG) will take place on the Sunday with 49km and 97km races following spectacular courses along the 2WD and 4WD dirt roads that criss-cross the Otway rainforest.

The Otway Odyssey MTB courses are well known for their tough climbs and technical trails but with the GOGG joining the line-up the Odyssey now welcomes road riders, cruisers and those looking for a new off-road journey to join the challenge in the Otway Ranges. 

Whether you’re a fan of epic single track, lung busting hills and blitzing descents on your mountain bike or prefer your skinny wheels rolling over traffic-free roads in the rainforest then we welcome you set your sights on the 2017 Otway Odyssey.

It’s set to be one epic weekend.

What is The G.O.G.G?

The Great Otway Gravel Grind (GOGG) 49km and 97km are the newest addition to the suite of off-road events in the Otway Odyssey.

The Otway Ranges surrounding Forrest have a near endless network of quality dirt roads, making for some superb riding on traffic-free roads through the wilderness.screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-10-00-37-am

GOGG Big Ring 97km

The 97km GOGG Big Ring will take riders on an incredible journey along the 2WD dirt roads through the mighty Otway Ranges to the coast and back again. The course will include plenty of climbing with some sizable ascents but will provide 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.

GOGG Small Ring 49km

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 is designed for all riders on all types of bikes – ridden most comfortably on a gravel grinder or cyclocross bike, they can easily be completed on a road bike as well as mountain bikes and hybrids. screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-10-01-21-amscreen-shot-2016-10-06-at-10-00-15-am screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-10-00-00-am

The all new GOGG races will make their debut on Sunday 26th February, following on from the action of Saturday’s 100km Odyssey, 50km Shorty and 30km Rookie mountain bike races, and before the Otway Pioneer 10km.

Find out more…

The MTB races

All the action of the Otway Odyssey gets underway on Saturday 25th February with epic races on some of Australia’s best single track in the MTB mecca of Forrest, VIC.

These races are the most well regarded in Australia and provide an incredible MTB experience for any rider – from Australia’s elite to our new-start kids. With a 10 year heritage these are landmark races. screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-10-01-38-am screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-10-00-49-am

  • Otway Odyssey 100km
  • Otway Shorty 50km
  • Otway Rookie 30km
  • Otway Pioneer 10km
  • Otway Grommets – fun riding for (little) kids

Find out more…

All races start and finish amidst a huge bike expo and food festival at the Forrest Football Ground.

What the riders say

The Otway Odyssey has continued to be a drawcard for many elite riders, returning stalwarts and everyone in between…Here’s what the rider’s think:

“The Forrest singletrack is amongst the best in Australia and everyone should tick it off their bucket list!” Adrian Jackson, 2010 winner

“This race is a must do if you are even remotely into the marathon racing scene. Even if you’re not you should get it on your list of events to hit up. To date, I have not ridden an event that offers so much varying terrain in one hit. Bitumen road, forest roads, firetrail, unknown overgrown dangerzone singletrack, groomed singletrack and so much more are what is on offer here. It truly tests all of your abilities in one unique condensed course over 100km,” James Downing, 2016screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-9-59-51-am screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-9-59-43-am

“The Odyssey is a journey race, you ride through so much different terrain and it’s all magic with some pretty sensational single track to numb the pain!” Jess Douglas 10-time Odyssey rider

“I love returning to the Otway Odyssey each year for the stunning location, quality trails and the friendly vibe out on course but above all it’s the challenge of completing one of the toughest marathon races on the calendar. I do lots of races each year but when you roll up to the start line of the Giant Odyssey you know you’re in for an adventure!” Neville Bird, 10x 100km finisher

“I return because it is such a big time race in my world. It has all things amplified; the steepness of the climbs, the radness of the descents, the depth of the field and the awesome vibe that Forrest has over that weekend. It rocks.” Jason Archer, 10x 100km finisher 

Read more…

Do both events?

And claim The King / Queen of the Otways crown

There’s no shortage of prizes on offer at the Otway Odyssey with $3,700 up for grabs in the GOGG and over $7,000 for the MTB races, including a swag of cash prizes for timed climbs and descents. CLICK HERE to find out more.

The inaugural King / Queen of the Otways will be awarded to the overall male or female who has the fastest combined time for the 100km MTB Otway Odyssey on Saturday and the 97km GOGG Big Ring race on Sunday.

Riders entering both GOGG and MTB events receive 20% off the combined entry fees – so dare your friends and sign up for this epic challenge!

And for the kids…

There’s no way we would let the kids miss out on their slice of the action, so there is two special events for young riders. Why not make it a weekend for the whole family?


A fun event designed for young mountain bikers, to give them a taste of the action.

The Otway Pioneer is designed for kids and junior riders and will provide you with a taste of the thrills and spills of this fantastic sport. The course includes a steady mix of 4WD tracks, swooping single track, rainforest, roads and country scenery. It’s a loop that gives kids the chance to develop their riding skills and non riders the chance to have a bit of fun.screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-9-59-35-am screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-10-01-05-am


A fun ride and activities for little kids on pedal bikes and balance bikes at the Event Expo area at the Forrest Footy Ground (best for kids aged 3-8yrs)

The Grommets Ride features a range of activities for kids including bike limbo, slow races, ride the plank and more, and is based around fun and not competition.

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