Smedts embarks on scenic Forrest odyssey

RICKY Smedts says he will need to have plenty of luck on his side for the Kona Odyssey mountain bike endurance event at Forrest today.

The 30-year-old Warrnambool builder will take on the 100-kilometre section today.

He said work commitments had made it hard to find time for training. 

“We have been absolutely smashed at work, so finding some time to get out on the bike has been hard,” he said. 

“I’ve been doing one long ride a week and a few smaller recovery rides, so I’ve probably been doing seven or eight hours a week. 

“I’m not sure how I will go, but hopefully I can finish it in under six hours. I’m aiming for 5½ hours, but anything under six is doing OK.” 

Smedts finished 16th overall in the 50km section last year, and is no stranger to the track, regularly making the trip for training rides with friend Haydn Kavanagh, who will also complete the 100km section today. 

“It’s a great spot and they are dedicated mountain bike trails. It’s very different to bashing around the scrub at Thunder Point,” Smedts said. 

“The trails are fun, free-flowing and very scenic. There isn’t anything overly difficult about the course, it’s just a lot of fun.”

Smedts said Forrest’s expected top temperature of 34 degrees would make the climbs on the course challenging. 

“That will be the biggest test for me,” he said. 

“Hopefully we can get started early and finish up at about 1pm, that way we can beat most of the heat.”

Today’s event will feature 30 Warrnambool riders, including 11-year-old Jeremy Sagnol, who will ride in the 50km race with his father Dave. 

Smedts said the Kona Odyssey was the landmark mountain bike event in the country and one that all riders tried to get to. 

“It’s a great event and everyone tries to keep the weekend free so they can compete,” he said. 

“There is always plenty of Warrnambool guys heading down. It’s easy for us to get to and we are all so familiar with the track.” 

jwoolley@fairfaxmedia.com.au 

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