Organisers of the Otway Odyssey presented by Focus, Rapid Ascent would like to address their reasoning in not recognising results or awarding medals to female riders in the Odyssey Angels 30km race on Saturday.
Rapid Ascent is very driven and passionate about the Odyssey Angels concept; and proud of what they and the participants achieved in its foundation year.
Amongst an array of positive feedback, and double the number of female riders participating this year, there has been some disappointment expressed over the lack of recognition for female category placegetters in the 30km event.
As a passionate rider and someone who is learning about the barriers female riders face in the sport and racing, event manager Sam Maffett, in conjunction with his staff (which includes mostly women) and other elite and amateur female riders made a specific effort to encourage female riders in the Odyssey, especially the 30km event via the Odyssey Angels program.
“One barrier that many women commented on when gathering ideas for the program was the competitive nature of events and that for many women this was seen an extra stress that they did not need on race day. Many commented that they would feel more comfortable coming to an event if they could just ride and not worry about their place, how they compared to other riders or if they were slower than other riders. Some also commented that many women are concerned about their age so to be broken into age groups and categorised by their age was another stress that they did not need,” said Sam Maffett.
As a result, it was decided, following numerous brainstorming sessions, that we would not do age group presentations or make a great deal about the female results in the 30km event but base it more about participation and completion. On the event website it was stated that this would be the case from the moment entries opened and this was carried this through to the event day. It was not a matter of not wanting to encourage female riders – far from it - but to remove the stress of competition from those who were nervous.
“I am really proud of the Odyssey Angels program and especially the efforts of all the participants who tackled new goals, and stepped up to race their bike on the weekend. Riding and racing bikes offers such extreme freedom, and an escape from our busy working lives. And one of the foundations we built Rapid Ascent upon, and still live out today is that our events are about participation, getting more people to enjoy more sport, more often.”
As a result of the feedback we have received about the lack of 30km female presentations, Rapid Ascent will have medals specially prepared for the category winners to recognise achievements as we now realise that omitting this was an error. These will be posted out in the coming week.
We hope all riders had a positive experience at the 2018 Otway Odyssey, and we appreciate all the feedback we receive, positive or constructive, which we put towards making our future events better.
If you’d like to contribute feedback on the Odyssey Angels, drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 5261 5511, or for more general feedback you could also take a few moments to fill out the Competitor Survey - you could WIN your 2019 event entry!
We’d like to take this moment to also share some of the inspirational messages being circulated following the weekend.
“A big pat on the back to all first time racers who joined the #odysseyangels movement and ripped around the trails supporting one another. What a great initiative by Rapid Ascent, which hopefully keeps females in this great sport growing.” Kim Willocks, 4 x Odyssey racer & Angels ambassador.
“THANK YOU RAPID ASCENT: what an amazing day, what an experience!!! You have done women's MTB proud and I genuinely appreciate all of your efforts to make this weekend female friendly, non intimidating and inclusive, as far as I'm concerned you succeeded!!! Till next year!” Candice Presilski, Rookie Ambassador, 30km Rookie racer.
“Thank you for introducing me to a totally awesome new world.... was way under prepared for this.., but had a crack anyway.. it was awesome to feel so much support.. l shall be back next year.” Lorna, 2018 participant
“Thanks to all for the support before, during & especially after the race... that champagne was delicious!!! Essential recovery procedure that should be instituted for all rides lol ?? See you guys next year!” Peta, 2018 participant
“So inspired to see all these amazing women smashing the #otwayodyssey ride today. Loved being an angel (mistaken for a fairy) and supporting the #odysseyangels.” Liz Mulconry, Cycle Tecnic, Odyssey ‘on-course’ Angel
“It’s so great to see all the fantastic photos from the Otway Odyssey on the weekend. A terrific, really well run event by Rapid Ascent. This was my first time riding anything like this and despite numerous falls, and hills walked, I had a blast! The support from the Odyssey Angels, event crew and other participants was so encouraging. Thank you to Liz Mulconry for capturing this moment with my Mum. It’s not often that you’re able to share unique experiences like this with your parents, so it’s lovely to be able to have a reminder of it. I think I just may give it another go next year!” Myra, 2018 participant
To see more photos from the event – head over to the Facebook albums here and here.
You can also see even more Odyssey Angels photos over on the Facebook Group (exclusive Odyssey Angels access) – why not join and become part of the Angels movement.