Riders of all skill levels flocked to the Otway Nordic Centre, competing in advanced and expert mountain biking races this weekend.
The Second Annual ‘Hot Day At Otway’ event challenged the best veterans and now the younger up-and-comers. On Sunday, it was all about the kids race where kids between the ages of three and 11 took to the trails.
10 year old, Liam Sinclair, says it’s not about winning or losing. “It’s more of a friendly race between us so it’s competitive, but it’s more about friendship than it is about beating each other.” Meanwhile, nine year old, Autumn Knudsen enjoys these types of events because they give her a chance to be with her friends. “It’s fun to see what other people did, say good job, how do you do, get together, and it’s absolutely just really fun to stay with your friends”
The younger kids tackled a two kilometre trail, while the older kids raced their way through a five kilometre path. Kids Race Organizer, Doug Dewar, says it’s a good way to get the younger ones involved in the sport. “It’s sort of a green cross-country type, I wouldn’t call it non-challenging, but it’s a safe course which is not the new downhill stuff,” he said. “Maybe kids will move into downhill, maybe they’ll move into cross country later on, but it’s just basically to encourage participation.”
Easier said than done, the course did bring plenty of challenges. 10 year old Liam Fraser says he had a blast. “It was really fun, the competition was good and there was lots of really fast kids out there,” he said. “There was just one mistake I made, I slipped out in a corner and crashed on the first lap, but other than that it was really good.”
However, maybe the bangs and bruises were worth it in the end as kids received a sweet treat at the finish line. “Otway has a great tradition with the ski club of having what’s called chocolate races,” Dewar said. “There’s no prize or anything there’s just a chocolate bar for competing and so what I decided was to carry that idea through so this is a Summer kids chocolate race.”
No matter what the skill level, fun was the name of the game.