...this is how the Otway Odyssey went down.
(Cut & paste from a Q&A I did for Rapid Ascent after I won a raffle & a free pair of shoes)
Rapid Ascent: Tell us a bit about your experience of the Lowan Otway Odyssey – good things, bad things, surprising things, things you saw that made you laugh, people you met, dramas you had or saw
Anthony: Good things - awesome course, really challenging (well most of it!) The chance for a couple of days on the coast is not one to turn your nose up as (especially for us inlanders), and to see some country that I may have otherwise not visited.
The Tour de France start up the tarmac along (can't remember the name of it) Rd. Being able to see the leading riders snaking their way up the hill was awesome.
Seeing some of the course bunted up as we drove through Forrest en route to Apollo Bay on the Friday. That was when the excitement, and subsequently the nerves and abject fear, started.
Bad things - the mud sucked. Not much could be done about it but slog through. Major frustration was getting to the top of the 10 - 20 km section just before the pine forest, to be told by the lovely freindly course marshalls that 'that was the end of the mud'. Spent 20 minutes cleaning mud out of my chain, wheels, brakes and frame, only to be completely covered in mud again after the first 500 metres of the next stretch.
Also getting to the bottom of Red Carpet, asking the marshal 'it's all downhill from here isn't it?' only to be told NO in no uncertain manner. Thought I was going to cry. Lucky it was just a small climb up to the oval.
Suprising things - wandering into the scrub just at the start of 'Suicide Watch' to take some relief, only to step on a tiger snake skin. Luckily it was a skin only or I would have been in a world of trouble. As it was I leapt vertically about 10 foot and got the hell out of Dodge...
Being involved, and then watching the tail end of, a 3 bike pile up coming down White Knuckle Slider. There was absolutely no traction on the clay, and I grabbed a bit too much back brake, and high sided. The bloke coming down behind me swerved to miss and ended up in a rut. And my friend Lisa was riding down behind him, grabbed way too much brake, went over the bars, the rider and the bike, and flew head-first into the scrub. Emerged shortly after with blood streaming down her face (it was only a flesh wound!)
Things I saw that made me laugh - the fine print on the course signs. I was obviously riding way too slow, 'cos I had time to read them all.
Trying to start a conversation with a bloke just before the timed climb. I casually mentioned that I was looking forward to a beer at the end of the race, only for a diatribe to start about the evils of drinking.
Flying down the double track just after the half way point, only to see a wall of hill coming towards us. I groaned. And then getting half way up the hill, and hearing those behind me wailing and gnashing teeth when THEY saw the hill.
Dramas - none really except the mud. And apart from slowing things down, it didn't cause any mechanical woes. It did take 4 attempts at cleaning the bike to get it right afterward though.
Rapid Ascent: What about after the race, how did you feel?
Anthony: Pretty knackered but suprisingly good. The mud slowed things down so the pace wasn't as intense or frenetic. Nothing that a couple of hamburgers from the Lions van and a couple of local Pale Ales couldn't sort out!
Rapid Ascent: what were your recovery tactics? Straight home for bath and bed or trip to the Apollo Bay pubs for some beer re-hydration?
Anthony: We all headed back to the cottage and did some fairly intensive rehydration. When the beer ran out we were forced to rehydrate with red wine. A sortie was mounted early evening for takeaway pizzas and fish & chips.
Rapid Ascent: what would you do differently leading up to or after the event if you were to do it all over again?
Anthony: More practice riding up hills! I really hate doing it, and it's bit to easy to spend all the training km's riding on the flat. But in a big event like this, there is going to be hills, no 2 ways about it. Take a bigger backpack. Pray to the weather gods!
Will I be back? Absolutely. Unfinished business to be sorted out!
How did this year shape up? Stay tuned...