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Wrap-up from the Paluma Push

Posted: 19/7/2010

Monday 19 July 2010

I had never been to Townsville before and there is a 70km mountain bike event there sponsored by Toyota. Two excuses is enough for me to head off with my bike.Not sure what to expect, I thought it would be a challenging ride with some beautiful scenery and, with temps in Canberra hovering around 7 degrees during the day, the promise of some warmer weather really would be nice and warm. Still, there were still some surprises in store for me.

An early start gave my hosts a chance to car shuttle and allowed me to hang around at the start and chat to a few people. 420 riders invaded the small settlement at Paluma, swamping the 20 odd people who live there, but the atmosphere was great with lots of excited faces.

A very civilised 10am start and we were all off for 4km of bitumen and then another 8km of dirt road and some very fun sweeping descents. My average speed after the first 12km was about 27kph and I was starting to think that I would get home in just over 3 hours.

We then hit Paluma Dam where we changed to a single track through the rainforest and I slowed down a lot. There were some tough climbs and I had to get used to the slippery wet roots and mossy rocks. The temperature was very comfortable and I even had my jersey zipped down to keep some air flowing. I was on and off the bike at regular intervals and doing my fair share of hopping which saps the energy and slows the pace down a lot. There were quite a few riders coming past me but I was still moving and still feeling good.

With the 26km lap of the dam finally finished I was quite amazed to see the change in scenery to a dryer forest which would stay with us until the finish. I tried to work out how much longer I would be on the bike and thought maybe 4 - 4.5 hours so eased up the pace and decided to enjoy teh irde rather than race it. I passed a few people with flat tyres and even a guy changing a derailleur hanger which was impressive as I don't know anyone who carries a spare.

Rolling hills, warm temps and a few others to ride with and chat to meant the time passed quickly. Around the 40km mark I could feel my strength starting to fade but the enjoyment level stayed high so finding the motivation to keep going was easy.

I love to ride on the dirt but for some reason have a bit of an aversion to getting wet and muddy. I picked my way through a couple of muddy crossings but, after riding through a knee deep crossing, I didn't worry too much more about the muddy ones.

All up I was just short of 5 hours ride time. It is always a good feeling finishing an event like this. The sense of satisfaction that comes with a tired body and an energised mind keeps me coming back for more.

I enjoyed the ride immensely. It was a real adventure and I saw some very different countryside and visited places I had never been.

Thanks to sponsors Mike Carney Toyota and also to Nick, Haydn and Rob from the Townsville Rockwheelers Mountain Bike Club. I had a great time!

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