A week after the Otway Odyssey Apollo Bay was once again swamped by outdoor adventure freaks for the Great Ocean Sports Festival. While the festival was in its fourth year, the MTB marathon was making its debut. Pete and I ventured down the Great Ocean Road to lap up the atmosphere and get some quality off-road saddle time in.
The course was simply the MTB leg of the adventure race with an added out and back loop comprised of fire road and bush track. After running, swimming and kayaking adventure racers obviously aren't too keen on the single track and so this course was faaast!
Come 8am Pete and I were lined up on the second row planning on following the early moves and seeing if we could match it with an unknown bunch of skinny racer boys...and girls which included ex-Road World Champion Judith Arndt fresh off her Odyssey win. The gun went and as per usual there were those guys that took off like a scalded cat. We were both quickly on the wheel sitting nicely in the top 10. After about 5km we found ourselves near the front on a steep, 500 metre, mossy climb. Pete turned the screws and half way up had a 30 metre gap. Looking around all I saw on faces around me was pain, I accelerated and no one followed. As Pete crested the climb I rolled up next to him, a quick nod and off we went.
At the turn around after 10km we took note of our time and as we headed 'back', the nearest chaser was heading 'out' and the gap was at 1'20". The course was rolling, although it seemed to be rolling a bit more up than down and we were both praying for that to change. My computer was telling me altitude gained was triple the altitude lost, my legs definitely concurred. The good news in that was that it was all downhill to the finish, 15km down to be precise and we pinned it! Not even the dragonfly could match our pace and I caught one...
...ok, so maybe it just flew into me but I'll claim it.
Anyway, the last few km's were sealed and I was spinning out with a slight tailwind behind us. The finish came into sight and it became apparent that Pete had a bigger chainring than me which meant he rolled me by half a wheel. End result, Apollo first and second. Third place about seven minutes back. If you haven't ridden the trails around the Otways call in sick tomorrow and get down there...they're SWEET!