Ever heard your riding mates talk of ‘The Push’ before?
If you have, then there’s a very good chance you already have your entry sorted, your flights are booked and currently you’re spending most of your free time gloating to everybody about it. But if not, we’d like to take the opportunity to introduce to you one of the best mountain biking events on the calendar. And if you’re a resident of the more southern states of Australia, we’d like to also introduce your new number one excuse for escaping the cold this Winter.

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The Paluma Push is a mountain bike endurance event based up in Paluma, just 90 minutes drive up the coast from Townsville in North Queensland. While much mountain bike racing quietens down over the Winter period, the Rockwheelers Mountain Bike Club is gearing up for its biggest gig on the racing calendar, with ‘The Push’ falling smack bang in the middle of Winter on Sunday the 21st of July.

And why Winter? Well, for us southerners that didn’t know, Winter is actually one of the best riding times in North Queensland, due to the mid-20 degree temperatures and low rainfall in the area. Because of a quirk in the geography of the Townsville area, those lucky buggers experience most of their wet weather over Summer, with the Winter season being one of the driest times of the year. As such, the timing of the Paluma Push makes for an excellent excuse to escape the cold and wet of the South East States for the sunny blue skies of Queensland!

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“The Paluma Push is a point to point adventure mountain bike ride. The ride starts in Paluma Village and winds its way through World Heritage rain forest to Paluma Dam, down into big timber and open cattle country and finishes at the historic tin mining settlement of Hidden Valley. The course consists of dirt road, old 4WD tracks and sections of cow pad single track with some steep climbs and lots of fun down hills. The Paluma Push recreation course is approximately 42km long and is recommended for the novice to intermediate riders. The Paluma Push Competition Course is approximately 75km long and has extra technical sections, difficult climbs and descents to make it more of a challenge and is recommended for the more experienced and fitter rider.” – Rockwheelers, Townsville.

What is particularly cool about the Paluma Push, is that both courses start and finish in the same spot. The longer 75km option follows much of the same course as the 42km, with 3 additional loops that add both distance and technicality to make it the real challenge of the two.

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Over the events 11 year history, the Paluma Push has developed into an iconic mountain bike ride and is arguably Queensland’s biggest Mountain Bike event outside of South East Queensland, with around 550 riders competing. From a mountain bike riders point of view, the Paluma Push is a fun and challenging event that is becoming one of those “must do events” each year for a lot of riders. The event is a great opportunity for locals to show off their singletrack skills, though the event attracts a healthy does of interstate competitors from all around the country as well as international riders from Torres Straight and New Zealand. 2013 will see the return of last years overall winner of the mens category; Jason English, who will be back to defend his title. Jenni King is looking to improve on last years performance and also has her flights booked for a mid-Winter smashfest.

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Having had our ears chewed off in previous years by those riding mates who have been lucky enough to participate in a Push, we decided it was time to plan for our very own Winter-escape holiday. While Enduro will be flying up to Townsville in July to check out all that the Paluma Push has to offer, we’ve penciled in a few extra days after the big race to check out some of that stunning singletrack that we’ve heard all about. If ever there was a reason to get out of a grey and dreary Melbourne, this is definitely it.

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The Deets

Where: Paluma, North Queensland
When: Sunday the 21st July, 2013
What: 42km and 75km Courses
How Much: $55-90
Entry: Head to the Paluma Push Website for online entry

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If you want more information, head to the above website or the clubs website here: www.Rockwheelers.com.au
In addition, here’s a handful of great write-ups from the pointy end of the field from last years event. We’ve also posted up a couple of videos for you to check out that will likely have you wasting some serious work time while watching and googling cheap flights up to Townsville at the same time.

Jenni King’s Push
Winner of 2012; Jason English
Winner of 2012; Jodie Willet