Forrest is a little place nestled in the Otways that many Victorians don't know about. It's located about halfway between Colac and Apollo Bay on, appropriately enough, the Colac-Forrest Road.
Formerly a logging area, Forrest has reinvented itself as one of Australia's premier mountain biking destinations. The town is now positioned as a hub for day-rides in the surrounding areas, and is now attracting hundreds of riders for the Forrest Festival.
The Forrest Festival combines the thrills of mountain biking on the fire trails and purpose-built mountain bike trails with all the comforts of home, plus a festival atmosphere with special events in town.
The weekend is structured around five stages of competitive racing - the first four on Saturday 1 Dec, and the final one on the Sunday. Stage One is a short 15 kilometre, cross-country 'smashfest', Stage Two is a hill climb time trial, Stage Three is a breathtaking Super D course, and Stage Four is a short timed sprint. During these four stages, riders will get a magnificent introduction to the area, with some of the rides skirting the West Barwon Reservoir.
Saturday night is an opportunity to rest for the next day - or check out a local DJ at the Forrest Brewery. Beer contains lots of important vitamins, right?
Stage Five on Sunday is the main event - a 50 kilometre marathon starting through town then traversing fire trails, single track and dirt road.
For non-riders, there will be local produce stalls, music, kids games and kids races.
There are prizes on offer - cash for the main positions, but also bike gear and fabulous local produce.
There are only 300 places available so book soon - they are filling fast! The entry fee is $220. It's an MBTA affiliated event so you'll need either a valid MTBA licence or an MTBA Day licence which costs $20 for the whole weekend. You'll also have to organise your own accommodation - most of the accommodation in town is already full, but there is overflow camping available at the Forrest Caravan Park for just $11 per day for an unpowered site.