Otway 300 – 300km off road.

300 km on a mountain bike, in 2 days, with 6000m of climbing. Oh, and you get to do it in the Otway National Park, right down by the Great Ocean Road. And to join this baggy pants party, you must be riding in a pair.

Far. Ken. Oath. Where do I sign? DTR (down to ride).

Featured image from the Otway Odyssey.

The Otway 300 is run at the start of April, in and around the township of Forest in Victoria. The countryside is both ever-changing, and best-in-class gorgeous. If you haven’t heard of the Great Ocean Road, with it’s stunning vistas, and jaw-dropping terrain, then turn off Kanye West, and get out of your house. Anyone who’s ever ridden this region by bike has a great idea of what is on offer. It is a first class cycling destination.

What may not be known to all though is the quality of off road trails available. The course for the Otway 300 was designed by Jess Douglas, who whilst out riding through the idyllic farmland, and beautiful ranges in the area thought; “Oh man, how tops would it be if people got together and smashed themselves stupid over 2 days here?”. Very tops Jess, the most tops.

Part of the Old Beechy Rail Trail – image from the SMH.

The race consists of two days of riding, with approximately 170 km on day 1, and a leisurely 130km on day 2. If you’ve ever ridden a mountain bike, you’ll realise that OMFG THAT IS A RIDICULOUSLY LONG WAY. Like ow. I am sore in my back, hands and gooch thinking about it.

I first heard about the race last year, when another mate was looking for a racing partner, and I was dead keen. Unfortunately being a husband and father of two young children does come with a level of responsibility, so I had to pass. But I was determined to race next year. I had driven through the area a few times, and was keen as mustard to get back. Then I went and rode through there on an incredible 2 and a half day ride from Melbourne to Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road. The Otways were an absolute stand out of the whole trip. Such incredible scenery, with lush, green forests, and rolling hills. It was a great place to be. As soon as I saw entries were popping up for this year’s event, I jumped straight in. Well I called one of the very finest roosters I know, Lance Cupido, who totally agreed, and then we were in.

Just a glimpse of the Otways, from last I rode there

There are some outstanding riders turning up again this year, not the least of which being my old mate Jason English. I rode with Jason for a charity event nearly 2 years ago, and it’ll be great to say g’day. Having won a lazy 7 world 24 hour MTB championships IN A ROW, he is a formidable rider in any event he competes in. Pretty sure he could roll up, partner with a pile of dead leaves, and still blitz everyone. After his 4th place finish last year with Shane Roberts, I should be able to offer him the advice he needs to make it up a few places on the podium this year… Last year actually saw some great racing with elite mountain bikers facing off against elite road riders. With the course not especially technically difficult, it is a great opportunity for riders of all types to pit their differing strengths against one another. The straighter sections of wide open double track offer a small advantage to the road riders, where the narrow sections of single track push the advantage back towards the baggy pants squad.

The Otways – gorgeous. Image by Grant Dixon Photography.

But whatevs man, I am signed up with the gentleman rider, Lance, and we are there to get it done. Ready to dominate the tail end of the field. Also ready to get stuck into a solid few cans from the Forest Brewery too. So stay tuned for more around the race, it promises to be a great event!


Author: Dave Edwards

Exploring the mental side of endurance cycling challenges.

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