By Alex Bogna
Mackay Cycling Development Team
I have been encouraged multiple times over the years to go and do the Paluma Push as it seems to be a bucket list race for many people. I'm glad that I've taken the time to do it this year because it was not only amazing race but a great result.
The first section started in Paluma and was about 15km of rolling sealed and dirt road. My road experience helped me stick with the front bunch, as Dan Rubach smash some of the descents, splitting the field. The other juniors in my cat were a bit unlucky and missed the front bunch. A handful of us rode together for the first two hours though the dam section which had twisty, rooty descents.
First for overall, attacked before the dam and put 2 minutes into our group. Second, Bernard (Cairns), rode away on a singletrack climb and Rubachs beer gut started to take a toll on him and the group was starting to fragment. First got a 2 flats so we passed him but a minute later he came flying past us and passed Bernard to take the lead again. I tried keeping with him, which helped me get close to Bernard on a climb, but I could not make contact. Third (Cowboy) and me ended up riding together for about 45mins through the back section which was dry, rocky and hilly. I consumed a bit of cow manure which were placed everywhere like landmines.
I didn't pick my bottles up at the feed station so was worried about having enough electrolytes and gels because past experiences have resulted in cramping. This hit me on the paddock section where I started to bonk and couldn't hold Cowboys wheel. So took in the last bit of my nutrition and started to come together 10 mins later. I chased him but had lost too much time. So 4th overall for the 70km and around 1 minute behind third. First would have smashed it if he didn't get 2 flats. My 1st National cup race win for U19, which I'm pretty stoked about.
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