So many good times. So many great people. So much to be grateful for.
We moved to Forrest back in late February 2008.
Self employed in Geelong, working hard with a young daughter having a few ‘issues’ at that middle years stage. I won’t go into how the opportunity to move to Forrest came about but needless to say, it was a huge catalyst for our next chapter in life and business.
We became involved in trail advocacy, local commerce, creating awareness for visitation to the region, the trails and the businesses.
Our primary focus back in the early days was running a fundraising event for the club in the form of the Forrest 6hr. Members were few, though a passionate bunch.
Norm and Roland were heavily involved in making the Forrest 6hr happen, with club members helping on the day to run a booming event.
With Roland moving to Tasmania for work, with Norm getting tired of putting in the man hours it came to be that the club were happy to hand the event over with no one really equipped nor energised to do so. I guess this happens to clubs all over the country and world for that matter.
And so we were gifted back the Forrest 6hr and this then opened up the door to take events a little more seriously.
Around this time business was picking up in Forrest. Visitation was up and investment really taking place. Norm’s passion was still to share the village of Forrest with the wider community and involve local business so the creation of Forrest Festival came about.
Between Norm and myself we invented a 5 stage race that allowed people to stay in the region and chill out between races with friends and family and spend money in the town as well as have a great time on all of the trail network.
We were now 4 years into our time in Forrest, working hard in our other areas of self employment and running fun events. Yet we were both suffering in silence. Norm and I both introverts bought into a life where we could be left alone for days, and choose not to involve ourselves with the community. Only to come out to play on Thursday night rides and events.
Needless to say, we weren’t in a good mental state - neither of us.
Now we had a message we wanted to share, for we knew we were not alone and then came the birth of Chase the Dog in 2014. An event at the end of winter, to ride with mates in a supported environment to openly share our stories of struggle and survival with mental health issues.
The people who have done this event absolutely get our message and keep bringing back their friends. Puts huge smiles on our faces.
Now our final event, the Otway 300 has been a massive undertaking, call it a challenge if you will. 300km over two days in the Otways with a mate, long days, big climbs and again a supported environment with feed stations and marshals all along the way to make it that bit easier for all. We have ran this for 2 years now and it's a pretty special event, pretty amazing people who achieve this from elite athletes through to hard core adventure types. Small numbers, but it is a niche event and not for everyone. The logistics are huge but so are the rewards for us seeing the riders finish and totally froth over their achievements.
So thats our events in a nutshell.
We have many people to thank, many supporters, sponsors, volunteers, riders, fans and businesses that have added so much to our events. You have embraced them like your brother or sister, like one of your own and treated us as such.
Thank you to Kylie Hayles who has been the hard worker behind all the events, getting all the i’s dotted, doing all the crazy paperwork, having good volunteers on board, and being the person behind the scenes of every one of our events in the past 4 years.
The time has come however to call it a day.
Read this clearly...The Forrest 6hr (3hr & 10hr as well) WILL be our LAST event - ever.
Norm and I are retiring on top of our game.
That is it for us.
We have had a fair innings, met loads of incredibly beautiful people who ride bikes and been able to pay the bills each time.
Our grand vision of seeing Forrest grow and prosper is a reality, please continue to visit and love this town.
We could cite many reasons for calling it a day.
The jumping through hoops with permits with a growing pile of documents each year with a ‘new’ department needing this “x” document completed with $$$ paid before permit will be issued makes running events a little tiresome.
The slow down in numbers, the slow uptake of early entries etc..also adds to the stress of ensuring you can fund the event in the first place.
And finally, the biggest reason, we feel we have done everything we hoped for the community of Forrest and need to move on to our next chapter well before we become tired and cranky!
Running events is fun and rewarding, we have made a lot of great friends and delivered a lot of good times.
For this we are proud, we are sad yes, but really happy too.
Please join us for our farewell event - the Forrest 3, 6 & 10hr on Saturday May 6th.
A way for us to say thanks and a great fun time racing your mountain bike on some of Forrest’s finest trails.
Thank you to each and every one of you, it has been some of the best years of our lives.
It’s time for Norm and I to get back to riding our bikes and maybe even riding at someone else’s event!
We were approached earlier this year to take a group booking for a bunch of mountain bikers attending the Forrest Festival.
Always happy to make registration easier I quickly found out this is the return of the Tasweigans - about 30 of them in fact.
Adam Clayton the ring leader, so of course I asked a few questions!
The Tassie crew have been coming for a few years, back with Scott Bowden and a few others, it was awesome so have the young boys riding up and down the streets at 10pm at night doing nudie runs and all ;)
Adam, have you done Forrest Festival before, what brings you back in 2016?
This will be my 3rd tour as I couldn’t buy a late bed in 2013, and now I book early, so I missed the legendary sixth race (nudie)
Forrest is a sleepy little village that is all about riding awesome trial and having fun with your mates, and of course there’s Norm
For me the 4 different races Saturday with time to recover and reset, allow some of us older 40 plus folk to wear down the more enthusiastic younger versions of ourselves, that go at 100% like there is no tomorrow, but there is.
Saturday is a series of speed humps, Sunday is Everest. Dehydrated from one to many frothy’ s and feeling generally second hand, there are no passengers, the 50km is many different trails in one with ever changing scenery which helps keep my mind from the ever posing threat of my legs falling off. Great satisfaction to complete Forrest Two day, and good food and beer is one of many reward.
We are aware you are bringing down a whole crew - in fact nearly 30? Why the pilgrimage?
There are a few others back for their 3rd and 4th , a hand full of 2nds and the rest are noobs, the base crew is a riding group called the Crank Addicts and we generally hunt in packs, I believe we are around the 120ish strong, and we all like pushing the pedals and having some laughs. We have Derby and you have Forrest it’s that simply. People hear others talking about Forrest being a must do, and when I said early this year I was booking some accommodation who’s in, bang 30
Can you tell us about any of the juniors coming down? Any champs in the making here? Tassie has a habit of creating excellent cyclists.
Ben Mather is somewhat of a Tassie MTB ikon, the general will have the young blocks nipping at his heals
Tommy Jones is returning after winning open at Forrest last year, he is a couple of years into pedalling, one of Tassi moto champs, getting fit pushing the pedals
Ben Iles was returning for a third crack but a mate decided to get married same weekend, he came in not too far behind Scotty Bowden at wild side earlier this year maybe third overall. Mind you Scotty would always keep riding at the end of each race leg to get more KM in, who knew we would have another Tassie end up in the Olympics
Will you tag on any other travel or visit to the Great ocean rd etc...whilst you are all down here?
Would love to but no, maybe next year. Its 4 days for us with a short plane trip either end. Playing with the idea of coming by boat allowing more flexibility next year, maybe
Also considering the Otway 300 in 2017...maybe???
Jess, I would like to add that I got to ride the first 25km of the 50km with you last year until half way through Black Casper, where you showed myself and another Tassie mate a clean set of heels, and how great you are when there is some distance to be had, maybe you could let me know how to navigate this hot, heavy, soul breaking piece of track, always happy to see the end of that place as magic as it is. I heard you mention at the finish how you had followed someone with Sprung on their back, that’s our riding kit, and last year there was 16 of us.
Forrest Festival - hosting large groups of mates getting away for a weekend of riding, socialising, eating, drinking...thanks Tasmania!
The event organisers have known Evan James for a few years now and love how he represents himself.
Not too serious but totally engaged, the supportive coach, muso, mechanic, coach, father, weight lifter in another life as well as downhiller, XCO and more recently sticking the the vibrant Cyclo Cross scene in Adelaide. He does it all and he is coming to Forrest again! We are excited, but also because he knows a few good people that have happily agreed to join him on the annual trip.
The date for the 2017 event is:
2 - 3 December 2017
Our event is always at the end of week 48
Stage Maps & GPX Files
Get all the info you need on all 5 stages