Training and Preparation


The following information and advice is provided to help riders, and particularly novice riders – prepare for the event and feel comfortable in the race environment.


Tackling the Otway Odyssey is no easy undertaking for any cyclist, so we are excited to provide a free 100km and 50km training program prepared by Adam Kelsall from Hero Dirt Cycle Coaching – a UCI Level 2 Coach and Coach of Commonwealth Games Silver Medalist Zoe Cuthbert!

This incredibly comprehensive training plan is stacked with info and advise to ensure you’re the best rider you can be on race day and is a great resource for any rider.

If you want a customised plan that better matches your situation we strongly encourage you to contact Adam Kelsall directly to prepare a specific plan for you on a paid basis. Contact via Facebook: HeroDirt Cycle Coaching).

CLICK HERE to download the Hero Dirt free training program.

Read full article on Page 6

Nutrition Coach

This year we have partnered with a nutrition coach Karen Hill who will also be lining up for her 3rd 100km Otway in 2024.

Dr Karen Hill is all about maximising your health and athletic performance. Karen’s the go-to gal for offroad endurance sports nutrition, with a mission to help you reach peak performance and feel amazing both on and off the trails. Her secret sauce? A customised approach to coaching that puts your unique needs and aspirations front and centre to create your own personalised winning food formula. Say goodbye to cookie-cutter advice and hello to a tailored food formula that gets you to the top of your game while keeping you healthy for the long haul. Get ready to level up with Karen!

The serious stuff:

  • PhD Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Nutritional Therapy
  • Certificate IV in Personal and Business Coaching

Additional training programs

We have 3 additional training programs that are targetted more towards female riders and novices on the Odyssey Angels training page HERE. These include:

  • 12 week program aimed at the 30km event
  • Plan of attack for the 50km event
  • Conquer the 100km event

We also have a NEW training program for the GOGG (gravel grind) events. Read it HERE.

“I have never followed any sort of plan for riding ever. I’ve always been a ride when I feel like it, as hard as I happen to be in the mood for type of rider. Thanks for compiling such a neat plan, if I can stick with it, the 100 should be a good day out.”

“The training plan is very impressive with how it’s all explained with the theory behind the process. And some very wise advice. I probably now know 3 times more about training physiology etc. than I did yesterday!”

Tips from the pros (that we can all relate to)

Our friends at Marathon MTB prepared a fantastic article with a range of terrific tips from some elite riders (that we can all relate to) – covering hydration and nutrition, equipment, race strategy and training. Check it out HERE.

Basic guidelines for event training and preparation

These basic pointers will help keep your expectations for the Odyssey realistic to ensure you enjoy your day.

  • Keep things in perspective – remember that the emphasis should be on enjoyment, satisfaction and fun. Training and racing shouldn’t be a chore.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re feeling unwell, don’t train on regardless. As a general rule of thumb for head colds, if you have symptoms below the neck (such as chest congestion) then REST. If you are injured, see a physio who can help you avoid further damage.
  • Vary the speed (or intensity) during your training rides. Although you have entered a bike marathon race, your training rides should not be all long distance trundles. Long slow distance makes long slow riders – if you train slowly, you’ll ride slowly in the event. On the other hand, if all your workouts are at break neck pace, you’ll probably be injured and miss the Odyssey.
  • Remember to warm up and warm down and include time for stretching before and after each ride.
  • Recovery – If you don’t allow your body sufficient recovery between training sessions, your performance will be affected considerably. Remember that the body gets stronger through the recovery process.
  • Recovery means plenty of sleep and regular rest days in your training program, especially after longer training rides. Experienced cyclists might train on a daily basis but even they build in “easy” days.
  • Technique – Once you can physically ride a bike, you tend not to think about your technique, other than not falling off. However, a good pedaling technique will make you more efficient and thus, a faster rider. A poor technique will cause muscles to fatigue and can lead to injury and decreased performance. See the text below about how to pedal smoothly and efficiently.

Training tips from elite riders


  • Skill up! Seriously, if you are new to MTB’ing or maybe even a strong roadie, the single track will nip at you and you will be longing for a fire road section. The more comfy you can get with negotiating logs, corners, jumps, steep descents and learning to stay off the brakes more and feel the flow the less energy you will use in these sections leaving you with more to burn on the tough climbs and the final 10km of the race (you will need it then as the single track section is mega fun but a tonne of climbing!).
  • Hills are your friend! For every up, there must come a down. There are a lot of nasty climbs early on in the race, and they don’t stop for the entire 100km. Even the timed descent has a climb in it. Develop a loving relationship with every single style of climb. Short sharp nasty, long steady grinds, hurty granny climbs and loads of uneven rooty bumpy single track climbs. 
  • Practice nutrition. It can be hot, it can be cold, so be comfy in both situations with your hydration and food. If it’s hotter, you obviously drink more but in the morning when its cold, you MUST drink here, even if you make your concentration of your electrolytes a tad stronger, you will need this later in the day. Get used to eating gels and high energy concentrate bars. When you are racing, it’s not about gourmet, it’s about fueling your body to get to the end as painlessly as possible in the least amount of time.


  • Don’t copy my Strava! I don’t have kids or a full-time job and I’m training to ‘win-it-or-bin-it’. If you can fit in three x 3hr rides a week or two x 4hr rides you’ll be in great stead.
  • Fire-trail and climbing might be your two least desired words but make them your best friend in the lead up and you’ll be grateful for it. Being ‘fresher’ on single track makes it even more enjoyable!
  • Practice hydration. With long sections of single track it’s hard to stay well hydrated so practice drinking on sections of single track at home or carry a pack if its comfortable for you. Remember to trial different powder mixes and throw a coke down at the final feed station for a pick-me-up. Hydrate leading into the race to prevent cramps.
  • Practice nutrition. Get your body used to food consumption while riding. I vow by one gel on the start line and one every 45mins, which means 7-8, plus a double no-doze at 50km, but if you plan on riding for 6hrs+ you’ll need something more substantial like bars or fruit cake etc. I find oranges and lollies a great treat along the way!
  • Have FUN! Remember why you do it (maybe it’s to finish or maybe it’s to beat Kyle Ward) and sing that mantra before training to keep you motivated.


  • Don’t try and do bulk training in the last week before the race. You will ride faster if you do less coming into the event.
  • Ride with a group to keep the training fun.
  • Go to the race with a good crew of friends/family so you are in a good mental state… positive, relaxed, ready and prepared to suffer.
  • Nutrition is key during the event, make sure you have plenty of Energy Gels, Bars and drink.
  • Don’t super-hydrate on water the day before because that will increase the onset of cramping.
  • The day before don’t hold back on food, you can use it to get you through the next day.
  • Eat breakfast a few hours before the race. There is nothing worse than tasting your breakfast a second time on the first climb!
  • Make sure you have your equipment sorted. Nothing worse than being uncomfortable or fixing mechanicals in the race.

Get some advice

There are a range of friendly and accessible cycling coaches and clinics out there that will help you prepare for these events. They do not have to cost much money and could be well worth the investment if you want to make the most of your training effort.

As a starting point, and to recommend an organisation we have been involved with for a few years, look at Today’s Plan who provide online coaching programs. You don’t need to speak to anyone, just fill out an extensive questionnaire and provide your availability and limitations and it spits out a great program to get you started.  Visit their website here: