Kona Odyssey 2013 – 2 Shorty’s and Pioneer

Kona Odyssey 2013 - no it doesn't say 2015 - it is a trick of the light... and the angle...

Kona Odyssey 2013 – no it doesn’t say 2015 – it is a trick of the light… and the angle…

Last weekend, my mate Scott, my Nephew Josh and I all took part in one of the most iconic mountain bike weekends in the calendar.

We headed down to Forrest, in the Victorian Otway Ranges and competed in the Rapid Ascent Kona Odyssey. Having done the 100 last year, I was a little more conservative this year and only entered the 50. My good mate Scott backed up again this year and to add to the mix, my nephew Josh had a crack at his first mountain bike race – the Kona Pioneer 15 km event. To top our party off, my good friend Erica also came down to lend a supporting hand. She’s getting quite used to being support crew, having also helped out at the  Anaconda Lorne race last year.

This was the latest in my year of awesomeness as the Banzai Adventurer. I won a Rapid Ascent Golden Ticket last year that gave me and a mate free entry to a year of adventure events around Australia.

Forrest is just inland from some of the most spectacular beaches in Australia along the Great Ocean Road. We took a drive down to Bells and to where last years course began, Apollo Bay. Then up over the Otways to race HQ Forrest Football Ground.  A long drive but well worth the effort to see the hill top rain forests. (In fact, if you are free next weekend, there is a great road ride event called the Ford Rainforest Ride down there you should check out).

My last post was a Q and A with Josh ahead of the race. Last weekend, before the race, I asked Josh how he was feeling ahead of competing in his first MTB race.

Kona Shorty –

The morning of the race Scott and I headed out for the 50. Mind you, we very nearly didn’t head out together. A long line up of cars at parking meant that he very nearly missed the race. Not the only one a little disorganised, I left my brand new camera in the car so missed out on some great footage of the 50 km trails. For a taste of the action check out the official highlights reel below.

It was awesome and very different from the 100 of last year. Our ride was hot and dusty, after the first climb (Around 10 km worth), we were treated to some of the best rolling single track in the country.

While it was certainly easier than the 100 km epic, the weather and our enthusiasm took it’s toll and we were more than a little shagged by the time we rolled through the finish.

Anyway, after we recovered in whatever shade we could find, it was Josh’s turn.

The victors got the spoils... all we got was dusty and a coke

The victors got the spoils… all we got was dusty and a coke

Taking whatever shade we could find

Taking whatever shade we could find

Kona Pioneer –

The start was about a km up the hill from the footy ground. By the time we started we were both pretty excited.

The Kona Pioneer follows some of the same route to the other distances, including some really sweet single track. It is a real format for newcomers to the sport, it allows an opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to have a go at the race in a supportive and friendly environment. It also allows new riders to test their limits – as Josh did, watch for a pretty sweet stack in the clip below.

Before we knew it, the Kona Pioneer race was over and we had finished.

After the race, once we were showered and Josh’s leg was patched up, I asked him again about the race.

It’s a bit of a glowing recommendation for this format, late in the interview where Josh describes the support of fellow riders. After doing so many of their events, I too reckon that the Rapid Ascent team make a point of making their events tough, but offer enough variety and support that it allows participation for everyone.

I reckon it’s pretty clear that the Mountain Bike Community of Victoria has just recruited another to their number. In fact, I happen to know that he has already entered next weekend’s Foster 3 hour Enduro.

For me, my goal is still to complete the Ultimate Multisport Challenge – the Marysville2Melbourne in late April. This year I will take it on solo (For a very good cause too I might add).

I am still struggling to balance work and life but have a plan to fix that soon. In the meantime, I’m off to Mt Buller soon to work on my mountain bike skills, then to Dunsborough, W.A. to get in some great cross training at a new event the X-Adventure. If you see me out on the track, please say G’Day.

This year has been a crazy ride… it makes me wonder what will be next. Once the events are done and I’ve packed up and cleaned my gear, what then? I have been thoroughly enjoying heading into work on a Monday, too shagged to care, suit and tie covering the bruises and scrapes of the weekend.

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