Mountain Bike Odyssey Enters The World Of Giants

Postby Odyssey on Tue 24/Feb/09 1:16pm

Riders in the Whakatane to Taupo mountain bike Odyssey at Easter will have good reason to feel small.

The third edition of the popular event will take in the ancient forests of Whirinaki. Giant Rimu, Totara and other podocarp trees soar over 50 metres into the sky – it feels like you’ve been transformed into a mouse.

“The second day of the Odyssey will take the riders from Murupara to Minginui,” said organizer Mike Van der Boom. “There’s heaps of brilliant riding, finishing up on DoC’s special mountain bike track.”

The new course has been designed to keep the Odyssey concept fresh, he said. “We want to keep offering new experiences each year. The riding around Whirinaki is sensational.”

Around 75% of the whole 270km, three-day Odyssey will be on private or restricted-access land. The tracks, trails and 4WD roads have been selected to offer highly scenic, but not overly technical riding.

“Anyone who gets out on a bike reasonably often will have a great time. You don’t need to be mega fit or highly skilled,” said Mr Van der Boom, who admits to testing most of the trails himself, some with his own family.

“The Odyssey emphasises social, friendly adventure. Sure, the guys at the front are going for it, there’s a buzz for them in racing. But most people get together and ride in groups. It’s a challenge but it’s not competitive.”

The organizers, which include Whakatane’s Toi EDA, Destination Lake Taupo and Bike NZ, hope for as many as 250 individual and relay riders. There has already been interest from around the country - and even as far offshore as Hawaii.

All meals will again be provided for riders and their support crew, with lavish lunch stops and a great evening dosh-up, designed with athletic appetites in mind. “After two years, we’ve really perfected what people like to eat,” said Mr Van der Boom.

The family friendly nature of the Odyssey will be complemented by the fact children under 12 can camp, eat and ride selected sections, for no extra charge. This means that a family can ride, for example dad in the mornings and mum in the afternoons – with the non-riding parent looking after the children.

There are excellent fishing, kayaking and hiking options in several places along the way, to keep non-riders occupied.

The Odyssey kicks off at the Whakatane Heads on 10 April and concludes at Taupo’s Spa Park on 12 April. The riders will camp the first night in the grounds of Murupara Ngati Manawa’s Ti Papa marae, with a powhiri to welcome everyone in. The second night’s camping will be at Minginui rugby club.

All gear will be transported by the organizers. The entry fee to ride the Odyssey is the same as 2008, $330 per rider plus optional extras.

The Odyssey will be held at Easter, 10-12 April 2009
Entries now open at
Official web site:
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Re: Mountain Bike Odyssey Enters The World Of Giants

Postby Tama on Mon 2/Mar/09 11:29am

Did anyone do this event last year? I'd be interested to hear how you found it :)
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Re: Mountain Bike Odyssey Enters The World Of Giants

Postby TheMantis on Mon 2/Mar/09 4:52pm

Yeah I did this last year. I think they are going to have different course each year though, it certainly is different this year. I really enjoyed doing this event. If you want to go hard you can, if you want to cruise then so be it. A big plus is gaining access to some sweet single track that is normally off limits. Well organised (efficient but casual) with excellent food and scenic overnight camping grounds. Awesome idea for an event, had a really good chat to the organiser over dinner one night and I really hope that more people catch on to just how good this event is. Hope to do it again this year if work commitments permit.
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