After riding a mountain bike for 10 months I thought it was time to start taking things a little more serious and start competing in races throughout the region. After making a new years resolution at the start of the year i decided to race the paluma push intermediate course (53km).
Leading up the the event i did a couple 20km+ rides with my longest ride before the race being only 25km. The week before the race my chain broke while attempting sprints up Castle Hill. After sorting out a new chain 3 days before the push I was starting to get a little nervous.
The day before the push i packed up my bike and headed to registration with my girlfriend who I was trying to convince it’s perfectly safe to ride a bike. We met up with our friends, signed up and drove up to Paluma. Its was a chilly night but after a good feed and movie we settle into bed excited for the next morning.
The race day started with a big breakfast, a quick snack and a walk down to the start line.
At 9:15 the race began and off we went. The ride to the dam was fairly easy with a few short hills and a climb over the last section. I had been told the dam loop would be the hardest section of the course and had saved my energy for this. While the single trail loop was an amazing ride which I plan to visit again, the mud throughout the trail took the energy out of me. After passing 25km I noted this was now the longest ride I had been on. After passing 26km I had my first cramp. At this point in the race i realised my body was not ready, stopped and had a muesli bar to get some energy.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from my cramp but I figured once i stretched it out I would be alright and continue going. At around 30km i made it out of the dam trail and had another cramp. I ended up having one every 5km from here. I would later be told one word. Salt.
I made it to the last checkpoint with 12km left in the race. After losing time to cramps I was pushing myself to make up every minute. After starting to pedal down one of the last hills my bike slipped and off I went. I can’t remember the exact details but I did land on my feet, took two steps and landed on my ass shortly after. After checking for any serious injuries it seemed I could move everything with minimal pain. I stumbled back to the checkpoint and got patched up. I’d lost another half an hour.
After confirming I would be right to finish the race I hoped back on my bike and sped off (a little slower than before).After the first few kms my body was back into it and ready to finish. A few creek crossings later and i made it to the finish line where everyone was waiting.
Although I didn’t get the time I was after, finishing my first event felt good. My goal for next year is to prepare myself and take an hour and a half off this years time. Hopefully the ride next year is just as memorable!