Equipment and Safety

Index to the information below:

We use and recommend THULE – Bike Racks & Carriers

Bring your life. On two wheels. Whether it’s an everyday commute or a long distance adventure, Thule’s bike products are designed for you to make the most of your active life in the saddle – safely, easily and in style.

From stylish bike bags with practical racks, to bike transport cases and convenient bike racks for up to four bikes. All easy to mount, use and store. And with our bike trailers and child bike seats, sharing your active life with the little ones has never been easier.



There is NO compulsory equipment for the Great Otway Gravel Grind (unlike the Otway Odyssey MTB that requires you to carry a first aid kit). Please note recommended items below:


  • Minimum 32mm width tyres designed for use on gravel/rocky/pebbly surfaces
  • Water / hydration!
    • At least two litres of water and/or sports drink at the start of your race – even more if it is a hot day and you drink a lot!
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Food and nutrition
    • Sustenance to last you until you reach the Forrest Festival site 
  • Bike kit, comprising:
    • pump, tyre levers, puncture repair kit, and at least one spare inner tube
    • chain breaker
    • allen key set
    • bike lube (eg, Squirt)
    • spare derailleur hanger (in case you break it or bend it)
    • and knowing how to use your tools!
  • Cash $!
    • to buy food or purchase bike repairs at the Festival.
    • there is no ATM at Forrest!
  • Rain jacket and/or thermal top and bottom (weather dependent).
  • Mobile phone
  • Emergency space blanket (available for purchase through online entry, or on our merchandise page)
  • First Aid Kit (pack your own, or available for purchase through online entry, or on our merchandise page)

Pre-race equipment checks

Don’t forget to double check your bike for any mechanical issues before the race. We suggest you take your bike to your nearest bike shop for a tune up before the race to make sure it’s running sweetly.



If you have a serious crash or injury whilst out on the course we suggest the following procedures:

  • if you are able and without incurring further injury, move off the actual line of travel so you are out of the way of other riders and cannot cause further injury to yourself or others
  • stay on the course / track at all times – do not try and find your own way to a road by cutting ‘cross country’
  • seek assistance from other riders as they come past – tell them to relay a message forward to the next marshal and checkpoint confirming your location and suspected injuries
  • stay calm, use your First Aid Kit. Help will be on its way as soon as possible
  • We will have a ‘Grim Sweeper’ following the last riders along the course.


If you wish to withdraw from the event because of fatigue, mechanical failure, an injury or any other reason AFTER YOU HAVE REGISTERED please tell a race official. We need to keep track of what riders are out on the course, so if you wake up on Saturday morning (having registered on Friday) with the flu and will not be riding please tell us so we know you will not be on the course.

If you started the race and are out on the course and want to withdraw please tell the next marshal (who has radio communication). MAKE YOUR WAY TO THE NEAREST CHECKPOINT as indicatedon the maps above. For non emergency withdrawals we can only arrange for a ‘grim sweeper’ to come and pick you up from a checkpoint rather than anywhere on the course.


If you think you are lost or have gone the wrong way we suggest you follow these procedures.

  • STOP! Sit down, have a drink of water and assess the situation with a clear mind. Consider where you are
  • Think about where you last saw a course marker – how far back do you think it was (200m, 700m or 2km?) Are there other bike tracks along the track where you are?
  • When you are certain you have gone wrong backtrack along the exact route you came. Be aware of how far back you have gone and try to limit yourself to what you decided. Use your bike computer or look at your watch for time.
  • STAY ON TRACKS AT ALL TIMES – do not try and cut cross country back to a track or take a short cut.


If you have ‘a mechanical’ out on the course, you are entitled to accept the assistance of other riders and still continue. If you have a mechanical failure, cannot fix it out on the course and are taken to the Forrest Festival by outside assistance (eg in the sag wagon or in someone else’s car) to get your bike fixed but wish to continue with your ride:

  • advise an official when you get to the Forrest Football Ground
  • we are happy for you to return to the race course but will remove your number and timing tag and you will be considered as an ‘unranked’ rider. Unranked riders may complete the rest of the course but will not be listed in the official results as having finished the event and are not eligible for any prizes
  • please recommence your ride from the Forrest Football Ground and continue on the next loop.

It is the rider’s responsibility to carry sufficient tools with you and fix your own bike if you experience any mechanical failures.


Please note that Rapid Ascent reserves the right to change or alter the course from the description outlined (due to fire, rain, private landowners or other reasons) and that any changes will be clearly communicated to riders through any of the following means:

  • SMS sent to competitors’ phones
  • during registration via announcements on the PA and notice posted on the race notice board on Saturday evening at Forrest
  • when riders are assembled at the start line or
  • when riders pass a checkpoint.
  • Please see the Emergency Plans and Procedures section below for more emergency plan information.


Rapid Ascent are in constant communication with DEPI, Parks Victoria (PV) and the CFA about the prospect of a fire in the region of the event. We have made a commitment not to compromise the safety of any competitors, any CFA, PV or DEPI personnel dispatched to attend a fire, any private land owners or the wilderness and surrounding areas as a result of the Otway Odyssey Festival.

As a result, there is a chance that the course could change on the day or the event could be postponed to the Sunday or the event could be cancelled. The event will only be cancelled if there are extreme fire weather conditions in the area over the entire weekend and it is determined that the fire danger is too great to permit cyclists to go through the course. Declaration of a Total Fire Ban on race day DOES NOT mean the event will be automatically cancelled or postponed.

Declaration of a ‘Code Red’ or ‘Extreme’ fire danger rating for the South West fire district on race day will mean the event will be cancelled or postponed and Rapid Ascent’s refund policy for the Otway Odyssey will be enacted as detailed on the event website.

Declaration of a ‘Severe’ fire danger rating for the South West fire district on event day will result in discussions with land managers. Riders will be advised of the outcome as detailed below. The event MAY still continue on the Saturday or the following day OR it may be cancelled.

Any change of course, evacuation or event cancellation will be communicated to competitors as soon and as safely as possible, through any of the following means:

  • SMS sent to competitors mobile phones
  • at the event registration area on Saturday afternoon at Forrest
  • when riders are assembled at the start line
  • when riders pass a checkpoint
  • directional arrows stating “Fire – proceed direct to Finish”
  • all messages will be copied and placed on the official event notice board in front of the registration area at the Forrest Festival and on this event website.

Once again, these changes would be a last resort, but we respect rider safety, the landowners, residents, flora and fauna of this beautiful part of the world in extreme circumstances.