FORREST school teacher Craig Donahoo has overcome his fair share of adversity to compete in his first 100-kilometre bike ride this weekend.
The 48-year-old is among more than 1100 riders who will flock to the Otways hamlet for tomorrow’s 10th annual Giant Odyssey.
But Donahoo is one of few competitors tackling to gruelling 100-kiloemtre feature event with type one diabetes.
Donahoo moved to Forrest for work seven years ago and had only just taken up riding the iconic mountain bike trails when doctors diagnosed him.
“When I first moved to Forrest I was told if you’re going to take up mountain bike riding it’s going to become an addiction, and that’s what’s happened,” he said.
“But four years ago I was diagnosed with type one diabetes, my autoimmune system decided to attack my pancreas so now I need insulin every day.
“But I didn’t want to let that stop me from riding.
“I slowly built myself up and two years ago I rode 50 ks in the Forrest Three-Hour, which is a big achievement with diabetes.
“I’ve got to constantly monitor my blood glucose levels while racing, I had to do a lot of training to learn how my body copes with it.”
Donahoo said he had not looked back since completing his first mountain bike event.
He completed the Forrest Six-Hour last year and tomorrow will compete against some of the best riders from across the world in the 100-kilometre Giant Odyssey.
But with the amount of training he does, Donahoo is more than confident.
“When I first started riding I was doing 50 kilometres a week, then I pushed it out to 100 kilometres a week last year and now I do up to 150 and 200 each week,” he said.
“I usually ride between one and two hours each morning and I love it, I love the natural environment of the trails, and seeing the sunrise every day, it’s incredibly invigorating.
“I signed up for the 100-kilometre ride as a challenge, I know I can make it because I’ve done a few 150k training rides, but I’d like to do it in under six-and-a-half hours, and that’s a huge challenge.”