THE rescheduling of a premier Otway mountain bike event has pushed down entry numbers but organisers say the talent pool is still as strong.
About 1100 riders will tackle this weekend’s Giant Odyssey at Forrest, 700 fewer than last year’s event, which had 1800 riders in February 2013.
Top Australian mountain bike riders, including Forrest’s Jess Douglas, four-time Odyssey winner Chris Jongewaard, Naomi Hansen and Shaun Lewis, will compete on Sunday.
Event organisers Rapid Ascent moved this year’s Giant Odyssey to April, because of the high fire danger period in February.
Rapid Ascent’s Erica Naughtin said organisers were pleased with the response to the rescheduled event.
“It’s hard to gauge because we changed the date of the event, but we’re certainly happy with entry numbers,” she said.
“We’ve got number of elite level, right through to weekend riders.
“The area’s known for its mountain biking, it’s one of the best in Australia for it.”
Organisers are preparing for aabout 4000 people to visit Forrest for the Giant Odyssey.
The race in the Great Otway National Park is still one of the biggest mountain bike events in Australia.
It consists of three races; the 100km Giant Odyssey, the shorter 50km Giant Shorty, and the 15km Giant Pioneer.
The race starts and finishes at the Forrest Recreation Reserve, with competitors looping back through the footy oval at least once during the event.
A Forrest Festival and Bike Industry Expo will provide competitors and spectators with entertainment during the day.
The event commences with the elite women’s section starting at 6.40am Sunday.