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Training and Preparation


The following information and advice is provided to help riders, and particularly first timers, prepare for the event. If you are new to mountain biking, or this is your first 100km or 50km race then this information will help you understand what you’ve got ahead of you and provide guidance to help ensure you have a great race on the day (which you will!).

We are also very excited to be partnering with Todays Plan who have developed a powerful, web based training and coaching program for riders. This allows you to effectively have your own ‘coach’ and customised training programs ready and waiting for you. See below for more info.

QUICK LINKS to content below:

Giant Odyssey 

Training tips from Giant Bicycle Australia sponsors XC riders

Ben Allen – XTERRA

“Dial your mountain biking skills! Learn to ride through loose rock, equalize breaks on descents and find lines in tough terrain. Practice every week. You'll save precious time on race day and get more enjoyment from the race.”

Sam Chancellor – XC Marathon

“Training for the odyssey can be very simple and make either the 50 or 100km race quite enjoyable if done right.
This is how a typical week pans out for me:

  • Monday = rest, Tuesday = sharp 1:30hr, Wednesday = base 3hr, Thursday = sharp 1:30hr, Friday = light 1hr, Saturday = base hills, 3hrs +, Sunday = base flat, 3hrs +
  • 2 weeks as above with 1 rest week with plenty of zzz (min 8hrs)
  • A big part of this race is climbing so finding a safe fire road loop with plenty or vertical meters to train on will be your best friend.

Scott Chancellor – XC Marathon

“Nutrition plays a big part over a 100km race, so make sure you've got a bit of a nutrition plan and trained on the food you're planning to race with. Another tip is to stay relaxed and enjoy the day, staying relaxed and riding smoothly through the single track can mean more energy for some of the big hills towards the end of the Otway”.

Lewis Rattray – CX and XC

"Get out on the MTB for some longer rides on the weekends. For those that work, you can do short intense rides during the week, which are certainly beneficial, but taking yourself out of your comfort zone and riding 3-4hrs off road on the weekend will be where you will learn to really suffer and will make all the difference come race day. Even more beneficial would be upping the intensity of the ride in the final hour, to mimic the agony of the Giant Odyssey. Don't forget to eat and drink all the way through the ride!"

"Nutrition and fluid intake are vital components of a marathon MTB race and something which has been my undoing in the past. Don't save weight by taking less water or fewer bars and gels, you will be burning through fuel and dehydrating rapidly, even if it's cold and raining, so be sure to keeping eating and drinking. Some people can even program 30 min reminders in their bike computers to remind them to eat or drink."

Paul Van der Ploeg – XCE, XCO, CX

  •  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 your bike in the weeks or months before and freshen up coming into race day. 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 (Trust me I have done that before!).
  •  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.

Kyle Ward – XCE, XCO

"The 2014 Giant Odyssey is still a while off, however there couldn't be a better time to get the MTB back on the trails and let loose. Set some small goals along the way, stay committed and you'll be up for your best Odyssey yet. Enjoy"

Alex Meyland – XCO, CX

  •  Plan and Train for the environment that you plan to race in. i.e take into consideration, terrain, distance, temperatures, feed stations.
  • Pick a goal! Maybe it can be just to finish, or beat a certain time or maybe even beat a mate so you gain the ultimate 12 month bragging rights! Goals play a huge role in your performance, they keep you focused in the weeks and months prior to the event. And they can also play a role in supporting you during the phase of marathon racing where mentally you are broken, A goal will most of the time over power the pain that would normally cause you collapse!
  • Read the Events Technical Regulations!!!

Dion Shaw (4Shaw Racing) – XCO

  1.  REST leading up to the race. Make sure you get your body into a routine by going to bed at a certain time and getting a solid sleep in. The amount of hours will be up to each individual and will need to know what works for you. I know that I can function well after 7 hours. Any more or less I feel tired.
  2.  Don't do anything that isn't NORMAL leading up to the race.
  3.  Pre race food the night before needs to be something that sits well with your body and you can use for fuel. Not ideal to have Indian the night before if it doesn't sit well for you. TRUST me I have done it! If you are travelling try and take food from home that you would usually eat for Breakfast. And make sure you consume at least 3 hours prior to the race. During the race make sure you are eating and drinking regularly as if you are thirsty or is too late! Good way to do this is set a reminder on your POLAR/GARMIN etc OR a note on your top tube ;)
  4.  Try and relax pre and during the race. This is important as you cannot change anything. You cannot get fitter 1 day before the race so don't try and do a heap of training leading into the last week of the race. A light week pre-race is best.
  5.  MAKE SURE YOU HAVE FUN! As what is the reason why we all do this...because we LOVE it!
  6.  Make sure to have a cold froffie at the end and enjoy your achievements


Today’s Plan online coaching programs

For 2015 we are working with “Today’s Plan” who have developed a very powerful web based training & analytics tool for cyclists. This coaches riders to train in a structured, scientifically proven way and allows you to specifically train for either the 50km or 100km Giant Odyssey races!

Sports Scientist and coaching guru Mark Fenner is one of the founders of Today’s Plan and the system uses his proven training methodology to help make you a better rider.

One of the fantastic things about Today’s Plan is the flexibility it offers, allowing riders to tailor their training to the time they have available - whether it be 5 or 25 hours each week to ride - and also to tailor their availability on different days of the week. This ensures the rider is getting the best possible “Training Benefit for Time Available”.

You don’t need to pay anything to sign up and try Today’s Plan and develop your Giant Odyssey training plan, and trial it for two weeks. If you do decide to buy one of their training plans, we have negotiated 20% off the price of their training plans for everyone who has registered for the Giant Odyssey. When you enter your payment details on Today's Plan (after the free two week trial) simply enter: RapidAscent2015 as the discount code under the “pay” tab. This discount means training plans start at less than $25 for the Giant Odyssey!”

Visit the Todays Plan website for more details.


MTBSkills Giant Odyssey familiarisation day

Forrest is the home of MTBSkills. Join their experienced instructors on the Giant Odyssey trails, learn their tricks, tips and tactics for race day and you'll get the edge you're looking for. Norm and Jess live locally in Forrest and know the trails inside out as well as how to pass on crucial skills for turning any rider into a confident / fast rider over any terrain.

The main priority is getting you to flow, using less energy when it counts so that you can ride longer and have more fun (and less crashes when you are tired).

The 2015 Giant Odyssey MTBSkills courses are now confirmed:

100km - $200 per person

Sunday 15th Feb

9am - 1pm

Click here for further details.

50km - $200 per person

Sunday 15th Feb

2pm - 5pm

Click here for further details.

Upcoming courses


Forrest Mountain Bike Club familiarisation ride 

The Forrest Mountain Bike Club host an annual Odyssey familiarisation ride where they take all riders for a non-competitive ride over the trails used in the Giant Odyssey.

2015 date confirmed: 28th February at 10:00am

The famil day is a friendly ride to give riders the opportunity to tour sections of the 50 or 100km course so you know what you are in for when it comes to race day. Local club Members will guide you around the course offering plenty of tips and tricks to get you through the big race. Stick around for a BBQ after the ride. All levels welcome.

There will be a $15 attendance fee per rider and that will go towards the Forrest MTB Club and will also cover the costs of a lunch time BBQ available to all famil riders once you have finished. There is an additional $5 charge for non MTBA members to provide insurance for you on the day.

Riders meet in Forrest at 8:45am at the Southern Trailhead car park and then set off at 9:00am.

Registration essential. To register email:


Nutrition advice

About Next Level Nutrition:

Next Level Nutrition is a sports nutrition consultancy, founded by sports dietitian Alan McCubbin with the vision of "Redefining Performance Through Food". Alan is at the forefront of sports nutrition in Australia, as a board member and Vice President of Sports Dietitians Australia. He is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Accredited Sports Dietitian and mountain biker. He works with everyone from Olympians to recreational athletes and through the use of web technologies he provides (Rapid Ascent and) his clients with a premium level of support and guidance with their training.

Alan has prepared a range of other presentations for Rapid Ascent as listed below and we highly recommend taking the time (approximately 30 minutes per presentation) to watch and learn from these very valuable presentations.

Adventure Sport Nutrition Presentations (menu page)

1. Sports Nutrition Basics & Training Nutrition
2. Weight Loss for Endurance Athletes
3. Sports Nutrition Supplements for Endurance Athletes
4. Nutrition preparation for Competition
5. Eating & Drinking Endurance Races

If you like what you see here but want some more personalised information then we encourage you to contact Alan at Next Level Nutrition directly via his website:

Refer to the Race Nutrition page for nutrition and hydration advice for the Giant Odyssey.


Intro to mountain biking

Giant OdysseySo you ride up and down beach road most weekends and get around on a bike a fair bit - so why should you do this event? What does mountain biking have that road riding does not? Let me explain…!

There are a whole lot of things missing when you’re riding your mountain bike; like traffic and traffic lights, fumes and road rage, there’s no car doors to watch out for and there is no funny hand signals to indicate there’s a pot hole ahead of you because the only thing you can see is the guys arse in front of you – nope we don’t have any of that.
Mountain biking is all about a bunch of other things; it’s about the trail and the adventure it takes you on, the roll of the track and the flow of the turns.

Mountain biking is about getting away from town and into the beauties of the bush with a bit of mud and the odd snake thrown in! We’re still into café’s and riding with your mates – we all know there’s few things better than that, but we’re also about the toothy gins and woops of joy you get when you’re tearing down a roller coaster line of single track with the wind in your hair and the trees just centimeters from your handle bars… yeah baby – that’s when you feel alive!

It doesn’t take much to get into mountain biking, Melbourne has heaps of tracks both inside it and all around it. Your road riding fitness will take the worst of it away and you’ll be left with the joys of rolling through the bush with a grin from ear to ear.
How do you get into it? Borrow a mate’s bike or pick up a demo bike from a shop and go for a spin along some of the trails along the Yarra. There’s enough trails behind Fairfield to keep you riding for ages. Another good place to go is Lysterfield and the new Commonwealth Games Track. This is not too technical, good rolling fun with some great views of the city with hundreds of kangaroos to hop along beside you. The You Yangs also have a good number of easy and harder trails with signage and a description where to go and all of these are within 35 minutes of the city max.

There are plenty of mountain biking clubs out there to help and give advise so feel welcome to just call into a bike shop and ask them where to ride – they’ll be only to happy to welcome you to the fold!


Basic guidelines for event training and preparation

These basic pointers will help keep your expectations for the Giant 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) at which you ride. Although you have entered a MTB marathon, 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.


Pedalling technique

Giant OdysseyWe all know how to hop on a bike and pedal but by studying pedaling technique closely, it’s possible to maximise our cycling efficiency – a handy benefit on a long day in the hills.

When we learned to ride – perhaps racing the bus to school - it was all about pushing down hard on the pedals, rocking the shoulders and going lactic. Looking around at many cyclists today, it appears little has changed. Emphasising the downward push - or “mashing” the pedals - is very energy consuming and over works the quadriceps muscles. Pedaling in irregular jerky “squares” means that there are dead spots at the 6o’clock and 12o’clock positions where muscular effort is not being transmitted to the forward movement of the bike.

Contrast this with the smooth pedaling action of professional cyclists on long hill climbs. The pros pedal in a circular motion, exerting an even force all the way through the pedal stroke. It utilises both the hamstrings and the quadriceps, offering you a whole lot more muscle to get those wheels turning. This continuous flow of energy from the leg muscles to the pedals allows you to pedal for longer and puts much less strain on the knees. It also helps you to climb as you are driving the wheels into the floor and maintaining traction on a loose surface.

So how do you pedal perfect circles?

  • Pedal through the 6o’clock position as though pulling your foot back to scrape mud off the bottom of your shoe. Begin the pulling-scraping motion at 3o’clock.
  • To get through the 12o’clock dead spot, pedal as though kicking a heavy door shut with your foot. Start the pressure at 10o’clock and keep pushing to 3o’clock.
  • Using SPD type pedals rather than toe clips will help you with this technique a lot, although you should still be able to try it whatever pedal design you use.

Pedaling in circles does take practice and a conscious effort to change. When first trying it out, find a smooth flat track and concentrate on the action of one leg at a time (keep the other foot on the pedal though!) As you get the feel for things, try to maintain the action on slightly steeper hills and rougher terrain.

Each time you hit the trails, spend a few minutes thinking about your technique so that eventually it becomes automatic. Once you have the hang of it, pedaling technique can be improved by pedaling with a single leg clipped in at a time – we recommend an indoor training for this, as it’s far too embarrassing to try in public.

Cadence (or the speed of your pedaling) is the other important component to pedaling technique. A high cadence reflects a high number of revolutions per minute. Road cyclists often “spin” at a cadence around 90rpm for long distances, but for mountain biking this cadence is often much lower due to the terrain. Your cadence will vary according to the trail conditions and there may be some hills where you don’t exceed 30rpm.

As a rule, you should try to pedal at the highest cadence that allows you to maintain a smooth pedaling action. Don’t pump a big gear on hills and revert to “mashing” the pedals, and don’t select such a small gear that your legs are running away with themselves and you’re wobbling all over the place.

Experienced riders pedal with a cadence between 80 and 100 RPM depending on the terrain. 95 RPM is the target cadence, as it is the most efficient.

Cadence is very important for making it up those big uphills. Using a proper cadence will mean you will make it to the top of that hill instead of burning out half way – and there are a few hills in the Kona Odyssey so this is good point to practice!

Hills, hills and more hills...

Giant OdysseyThe Giant Odyssey has more than its fair share of hills so it’s worth thinking about how you can improve your climbing technique.

Obviously, the first thing you should check your bike position to make sure you’re getting the most out of your machine. Start with the saddle height – if your saddle is too high or too low, it will alter the ability of your muscles to pull and push. (Sitting square on the saddle, your knee should be almost but not quite straight when you put your heel on the pedal at its lowest point.) Never alter your saddle height more than 3-4mm at a time. It’s a trial and error process. Minor alterations in your saddle position can make a lot of difference to your pedaling efficiency.

Ensure that the tilt of the saddle slopes forward a few degrees. Change one thing at a time and then check out how you feel riding uphill. Play around with the set up and get a feel for the new position. Don’t forget to mark your original positions, just in case you decide the old set up was best.

There are two climbing positions to choose from – seated or standing. The position you choose depends on the length of the hill, the terrain and the incline. Try to select your gear before you get to the hill and if you have to change again during the ascent, keep it smooth.

When seated, you will have better traction and can maintain a smoother pedaling style:

  • Sit slightly forwards and keep your head low.
  • Pull back on the handlebars to drive the rear wheel into the ground and try to stay relaxed.
  • Use a low gear and spin rather than pumping the pedals.
  • If you can’t stay seated any more, the options are to stand up on the pedals and keep going or get off and push. During the Kona Odyssey, new MTB riders may wish to conserve their cycling energy and get off and push – there is no shame in this.

Should you opt to keep going and pedal standing up:

  • Keep your weight balanced over the front and back wheels.
  • Hold this posture as you smoothly change the pressure from one pedal to the other.
  • Don’t run too low a gear.

On long climbs, try to stay seated where possible or alternate between the two positions. Fast sprints up shorter hills in a standing position consume a lot of energy and should therefore be used cautiously during an endurance ride, particularly if you are a less experienced rider.

Remember that it can take several months, if not years, to develop into a hill-climbing animal - so keep training and make sure you make the most of the old adage – whatever goes up must come down!

Training tips and advice for final four weeks

We hope you’ve done plenty training already - nothing beats early preparation and a good base level of fitness, but what to do over the next four weeks?

Even if you haven’t been following a strict training plan, it is well worth actually writing down a program for January. You’ll be more likely to stick to your plan if it’s stuck to the fridge door for your friends and family to see.

The beginning of most long-term training plans emphasise low intensity aerobic workouts to help build a good level of base fitness. Later weeks retain some of this aerobic work, but also introduce more intensity as well as increasing training session length.

So with four weeks to go, it’s time to become specific with your training. The conditions on many of your training rides should now reflect those at the Giant Odyssey.

Giant OdysseyFor the next three weeks:

  • Now is the time to complete your longest rides. Even for newcomers to the sport, your longest ride must be over five hours in length. Many riders will take over eight hours to complete the 100km Kona Odyssey.
  • For shorter rides during the week, one option is to find a circuit that includes several steeper pinches to simulate the undulating nature of the Kona Odyssey course and to teach your body to adapt to different riding intensities. There’s a big difference between spinning up a long steady climb at a comfortable rhythm and covering the same amount of vertical climbing over a series of pinches.
  • Do a ride or two at a higher intensity. While your longer rides should be at a comfortable pace, intervals and hill repeats (or surges) fine tune your body by increasing its lactic threshold.
  • If you’ve been training indoors or on your road bike, its now time to re-acquaint yourself with your mountain bike. You’re going to be pedaling it for several hours so you may as well comfortable. If all’s not well, there’s still time to make some changes, but there’s only one way to find out - by riding it!

With one week to go:

It’s time to wind down. While some riders see the final week as a chance to make up for lost (training) time, you’re better off resting. You don’t want to feel tired and flat on race day. Over the final week, we suggest:

  • Go for a couple of short rides to keep the legs turning over.
  • Include just a couple of higher intensity bursts to keep sharp - but don’t keep your heart rate up for too long.
  • Resist temptation to stop training and do nothing at all, you want to keep ticking over but focus on recovery, relaxing, eating and sleeping (ahh!)




Clothing and equipment

The Otways are amongst the wettest areas in Victoria and receive more than their fair share of wet weather even in drought. Conversely, it can get very hot out in the Ranges and particularly this summer when everything is already very dry. As such, competitors should be prepared for all weather conditions. Check out sports apparel stores and local bike shops for cycling specific gear.

As part of the race rules we require that all competitors in both the 50km and 100km events carry a First Aid Kit comprising: 2 x crepe bandages, 2 x non-adhesive wound dressings, 6 x steri-strip wound closures, 1 x triangular bandage and 1 pr of surgical gloves (we will be completing spot checks). It may be worth your while to check out our article on snake bites.

For slower riders, if you are leaving the Forrest Festival site after 4:00pm you must have front and rear lights installed on your bike prior to departing and these lights must be switched on after 8pm.

Our suggested equipment includes (much of this could be carried in a hydration pack or backpack):

  • At least two litres of water at the start of the event (it is possible to fill up at three different streams before reaching Forrest and again when you pass through the Forrest Festival on the 100km ride).
  • Rain jacket and/or thermal top and bottom (weather dependent).
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Food and nutrition to last you until you reach at least the Forrest Festival site.
  • Bike pump, tyre levers, two spare inner tubes and puncture repair kit.
  • Chain breaker, allen key set, spoke key, small bottle of bike lube, and even a spare derailleur hanger in case you wack it and bend it.
  • Mobile phone
  • Money to buy food at the Forrest Festival.
  • This may sound like a lot of gear to be lugging around on a ride and in many cases you won't need it. However, if something does happen to you or your bike in a remote location, you'll be well equipped to deal with most situations or stay safe until help arrives.

Your bike

Have you hugged your mountain bike recently? Have you had a close look to check that all is well and it's going to get you through the Odyssey? Nothing is more frustrating than having a poor result or a DNF because you didn't get your bike in decent condition BEFORE the event. So take the time now to check your bike and get it in tiptop shape.

Before we get started on a checklist, let us assure you that you don't have to have the latest and the best to enjoy the Giant Odyssey, as long as you find your existing bike comfortable and it all works well, you'll be fine.

Make sure your bike is in good working order:

  • Clean the bike thoroughly, and lubricate all parts as required.
  • Check wheels are they running true or are they buckled? And your skewers, make sure they are tight.
  • Look at your tyres, how worn are they? Cuts / abrasions on the sidewalls? Minimal tread? Make sure you have tyres appropriate to the conditions. A good, general condition tyre is generally OK unless the course conditions are very wet or very dry, where a specific tyre may be better.
  • Look at your inner tubes (if you use tubed tyres). If they slowly lose air pressure or have heaps of patches on them already, it's better to replace them now. 40psi (depending on tyre) is about right.
  • Brakes: you'll need them on some of these epic descents, so are they rubbing? With V brakes, make sure there is even pressure on either side of the rim and that the brakes are rubbing in the middle of the braking surface, rather than against the tyre. If you have disk brakes, is your caliper aligned or is it rubbing against the rotor? Is your rotor straight and tight? Is there plenty of life left in the pads and are they operating at full power rather then feeling a bit mushy and ineffective?
  • Check all cables and replace if necessary. Check brake blocks and disc pads (better to replace them if they're on their way out - 50km or 100km riding can be hard work for half-worn equipment).
  • Run your hands over your chain, are there any stiff or broken links? What about broken or bent teeth on your chain rings and cassette? Keep it all nicely lubricated and running freely - even take some lube with you on the day.
  • Are your gear / brake cables tight and casings nice and clean? If it's hard to change gears, try changing your cables and casing with a clean set.
  • Your derailleur should be straight and the hanger tight. Do your gears shift sweetly or are they rubbing in some gears? It's far easier to fix this now than put up with it for 100km. How are your jockey wheels and free hub - any funny noises in there?
  • Have a look over your bottom bracket and cranks.Is everything tight and running freely?
  • Finally, have a general look over everything else and make sure it's all nice and tight - handle bars, bottle cages, seat post, pedals
  • Make sure that your seat is high enough, and that you have enough reach to the bars - it may be worth putting on a longer stem if you normally run a very short one. The general rule for the seat height is that when you are sitting down, your leg should be almost - but not quite - straight when you put your heel on the pedal in the six o'clock position. Use this as a starting point to find the most comfortable position for you.
  • Check that all your controls are set up on the bars in a comfortable position, paying special attention to your brake levers. Ensure the lever blades are not set too far away from the bars.
  • Consider using a foot retention pedaling system to maximise the efficiency of your pedaling: SPD-style pedals (Shimano SPDs, Time ATACs, Crank Bros. Egg Beaters etc) but make sure you get some practice in first!
  • Fit a second bottle cage to your bike so you can take a second bottle if you'd rather not carry a hydration pack.
  • Make sure that what you are going to wear is comfortable and that you have worn it before. It's not much fun riding for 5+ hours in shoes that don't fit.

If you change anything on your bike shortly before the event, make sure you have had a few rides on it to ensure all is well and that the changes will be comfortable and reliable during your marathon.

Bike specific tuning

There are lots of bicycle types around these days with different strengths and weaknesses. If you have the choice of a bike you probably already know which one is your favorite for the long rides.

Long Travel Full Suspension:

Slightly heavier than the XC version but more travel to suck up all the bumps and to give you super traction, can be difficult to maintain.

  • If you run a single chain ring and chain retention device, swap this for a triple chain set and add a front mech and shifters.
  • If you run a very short stem, consider swapping it for a longer one to get a better position on the bike.
  • Swap any heavyweight wheel set, tyres or tubes for more XC specific lightweight versions wherever possible.
  • Make sure the shocks are set up correctly. It might pay to put more pressure than normal to stiffen them up so you don't lose all your energy through suspension 'bob'. You don't have to worry about this too much though if you run intelligent shocks like Manitou SPVs or have on the fly adjusters.
  • Use SPD-style clipless pedals if you don't already.
  • Put a long seat post on the bike that will let you reach a suitable and comfortable pedaling position.

XC Full Suspension:

Light but comfortable, most people use these in mountain bike marathons. Often needs a little bit of looking after.

  • Check that both shocks - front and rear - are set up correctly. We believe that comfort is more important than speed in a marathon, so it might be better to run a softer set-up, but the final decision is yours.
  • If they have long travel options it's worth winding the travel down to around 80 - 100mm front and rear to keep the benefit of suspension without it hindering climbing and powering through bobbing.
  • If you can't fit a second bottle, we suggest you carry a hydration system.

Hardcore Hardtail:

Takes a good beating, can be heavy, often setup for a different purpose.

  • If you run a short seat post, swap it for a long version - possibly a suspension seat post - to get you in the best pedaling position. If you run your post low, extend it.
  • If you run a very short stem, swap it for something longer to aid pedaling and cross country handling.
  • If you run a single chain ring up front, swap it for a triple ring chain set, and add a front mech and shifter.
  • If you run a heavy-duty wheel set, try to swap them for a lighter XC wheel set. And/or swap the heavy-duty tyres and inner tubes for lighter, XC tyres and tubes
  • If you run a long travel suspension fork and you have a travel adjust feature, wind the travel down to around 100mm, depending on your frame's geometry and handling characteristics.

XC Hardtail:

Light, easy to maintain, increase of comfort through suspension forks, good in mud.

  • Make sure that your suspension fork is set up correctly for your weight.
  • Maybe install a suspension seat post to take the sting out of the tail for your butt.
  • Fully rigid bikes: light, less vulnerable to technical problems, less comfortable.
  • To increase comfort, it's worth running a pair of wide tyres to give you extra cushion against the trail buzz: 2.1ins are perfect, but anything up from a 1.95ins tyre is good.
  • Running tyre pressures lower than normal will also cushion your ride, but be careful as this will make them more susceptible to pinch punctures as well. Experiment with tyre pressures and find one that works best for you.
  • Install thick, cushioning bar grips to aid comfort and wear a pair of gloves with palm padding.
  • Think about installing a suspension seat post to keep your perch as comfy as possible.

The information should have covered most of your technical needs but the bottom line is to get onto these things now rather than the just before the race!

There will be mechanics on site at the Forrest Festival during the event but these guys will be mega busy fixing breakages so make sure your bike is in good order before you start!

If your bike needs a tune up or some new components we recommend you take it to your local bike shop well in advance of the event weekend.


Event Sponsors

Race Day

20 Feb 2016 12:00AM