Let’s do this girls!

Rapid Ascent welcomes you to the Odyssey Angels! Now in its’ fifth year, the Odyssey Angels is a range of initiatives to support and encourage greater female participation at the Otway Odyssey. Powered by women for women… we can do this!

Odyssey Angels is as much about the journey to the start line, as the event itself. We aim to create a rewarding experience for female riders at the Otway Odyssey, whether you’re new to mountain biking, a recreational rider, or have already covered a few kilometers on your bike in the past.

We encourage you to be part of this exciting program where female riders can meet other like-minded women who share the same enthusiasm (and nerves!) about racing, and help support and encourage each other throughout the journey and on race day itself.

“Thank you to those who had the magnificent idea to create the Odyssey Angels! Words cannot express enough how grateful I am for all your incredible support and kindness. You made me feel so welcomed and less nervous to participate in my very first mountain bike race. To everyone single one of you women – you are all CHAMPIONS! And I take my hat off to you all. THANK YOU ALL for making this day an unforgettable day. I will never forget it. Go Angels!” – Derlly McKenzie, 2021 first-timer Odyssey Angel participant.

“What a great concept and initiative! This is the reason why I was there, thank you!” Christine from Broome, 2020 first-timer Angels participant.

“I loved seeing so many women on bikes and that sweet single track we got to do, the downhill bits anyway!” – Kathryn Visser, 2019 Angels Participant

ODYSSEY ANGELS KEY FEATURES 2022

The following initiatives for the 2022 Otway Odyssey are designed to remove some of the barriers to racing and make it more fun for more women to be part of the event. Let’s get excited together!

  • 30km MTB race is now on Sunday, meaning there will be no other MTB riders and you will have the trails to yourself with no congestion on course.
  • Women’s only start in the Rookie 30km MTB course
    • Starting 15mins after the 30km mixed gender start
    • NOTE, capable female riders who are comfortable riding amongst others can start in the mixed gender start. The women’s only start is for those who may be less sure, and happier starting with just females.
  • Ladies Lounge within the Event Expo:
    • A place to meet and chat with fellow female riders and get excited together
    • Toilet and changing room facilities (female only)
  • Pre-race information session to be held on the Friday evening
    • 5:30pm-6:30pm in the Ladies Lounge at the Forrest Footy Ground (note, registration is from 3:30pm to 7:30pm Friday, or Sunday (race) morning)
    • Meet and chat with fellow female riders so we can learn from each other
    • Odyssey Angel ambassadors will be on hand to ask any of those last minute about the race, bike, course and what to wear
    • FREE glass of champagne to female participants who attend the info session
  • FREE training guide that’s specific to women that explains how to prepare for the ride, as prepared by our female Odyssey Angels
  • A closed Facebook group for female riders in the Otway Odyssey MTB and Gravel Grinds
    • A place to meet, chat and share your MTB experiences with fellow Otway Odyssey MTB participants (or potential participants!)
  • Odyssey Ride Angels
    • Ride Angels will be at the start line for the 50km MTB and 30km MTB to assist with any last minute bike issues, answer any questions and be there for support and encouragement
    • Ride Angels will also be out on the course to offer bike support, encouragement and assistance
    • And of course… Ride Angels will be adorned with angel wings so we can recognize them out on the trail!
  • Angel Ambassadors – a variety of riders, from first time races, to mums and female influences, will share their personal story as they prepare for their Odyssey race.
  • Detailed course descriptions (written by women, for women) of the 50km MTB Otway Odyssey and the 30km MTB events.
    • PLUS Interactive course maps to highlight specific points on course 

We had a lot of fun brainstorming these ideas and are really excited to welcome more women to the event… but let us know if there are other ideas we can do to help you and your friends overcome any fears of racing and be involved as well. Email [email protected] 

FIRST TIMERS

“I just entered the 30km yesterday. My first MTB event! I’m not very good, but after seeing the support and encouragement from Odyssey Angels I thought… I CAN DO THIS!!!” – Jane Kahler, 2021 first-timer Angels participant

“My sister and my very good friend both completed their first ever MTB event today, and loved it!!! Was so fun to ride as an Odyssey Angel, and was super inspirational to see so may awesome women out there smashing it and supporting each other all the way.” Megan Wilson, 2019 Angels Participant

“I had THE BEST time! The adrenalin was flowing all day; the people were really friendly; I loved the course and found the event very supportive.” 
Chiara Hill2017 Otway Odyssey first time racer (only been riding for 2 years)

Read Chiara’s full testimonial story here.

“I really felt I had achieved something and had so much fun doing it. This race got me totally hooked on MTB racing; on the way home, I entered into another race 2 weeks later.”
Hayley Cobble, 2017 Otway Odyssey first time racer

Read Hayley’s full testimonial story here. 

TESTIMONIALS

“A huge “Well Done” and “Congratulations” to all the fabulous Angels who got out and rode the Odyssey today, you’re all bloody legends! Was great to see and meet some of you over the last two days and hear some great stories and try to calm a few nerves.
I loved seeing so many women on bikes and that sweet single track we got to do, the downhill bits anyway! I also loved that some of the men came up to me after the race and complimented me on my riding or wanted to have a chat. I did well to push myself and get a better time this year than last year, now it’s your turn!” Kathryn Visser, 2019 Angel Participant

“I entered initially as a way of setting a challenge to myself to learn something new. I also wanted to show my kids that anyone (even their mum) can do anything with a bit of practice and determination. I believe in the power of positive role models. Entering the Odyssey was a way of setting an achievable goal for myself; I’m already planning to do the 50km next year!”
Lissie Doyle, 2018 Otway Odyssey first time racer (only been riding regularly for a few months)

Read Lissie’s full interview here.

“I find that races are the only time I really push myself to my limits, not to win, but to see how far I can get. The social aspect and the sense of achievement is simply awesome. So anything we can do to encourage women to have a crack is great.”
Richelle Olsen, 2018 Odyssey Angels skills session participant

Read Richelle’s full interview here

WHY RACE?

Do you love riding your mountain bike but don’t have the motivation to race? Well here are some reasons why you might like to line up on the start line at the 2022 Otway Odyssey:

  • To challenge yourself to achieve something new – the bigger the challenge the bigger the reward when you finish!
  • Meet other riders with similar ability and like minds
  • Empowerment, to prove to yourself (and others?) that you can set yourself a challenge and feel great when you achieve it
  • To develop your mountain bike skills and become a better rider
  • To ride through a magnificent natural landscape on fun, swooping trails
  • Be part of an event with an electric atmosphere where we all help one another and have fun
  • Put aside the barriers to entry and do something for YOU
  • Opportunity to win prizes – in particular spot prizes!
  • And lastly, to achieve a new years’ goal!

Support Services – the Otway Odyssey offers a safe, facilitated event environment that makes it easier to challenge yourself with these support services as part of your entry fee:

  • onsite medical team to assist you
  • mechanical support with the Odyssey Angels
  • course markings and marshals to direct you where to go so you ride the best trails and don’t get lost!
  • CLIF Fuel Stations on course to keep you going
  • race timing and results
  • large event expo area with sponsors stands, live music, kids activities and food / drinks for sale (and coffee for partners, friends and husbands!)

WHAT TO DO NEXT?

If you think it’s going to be harder than it is, we are here to help you overcome any fears so you know you have the skills and confidence to do it! Check out the following pages for tips and information on how you too, can be part of the renowned Otway Odyssey and Great Otway Gravel Grind in 2022 and have a great day out on your bike with some great friends, regardless of your riding ability.