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 5hr 21min 25sec, 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,” Mullens said.
Mullens took the early lead going out hard, before saving some gas in the legs for the first ever Great Otway Gravel Grind set for the following day.
“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,” she said.
Rivals Renata Bucher and Jess Douglas battled it out behind Mullens, finishing second and third respectively.
In the men’s field, it was Tasman and Russell Nankervis setting the pace from the start, 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," Tasman Nankervis said.
The next day Mullens and Tasman Nankervis then switched bikes and joined over 300 riders for the inagural Great Otway Gravel Grind, a 97km "road" ride over dirt trails.
The 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 the finish
Mullens also rode a very strong race to win ahead of Helen Shelley and Harriet Smith while Nankervis finished in front of Ryan Standish and Russel Nankervis.
“Legs felt surprising 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,” Mullens said.
“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.”