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10 August, 2021

Massive mountain sports event

BarryScoble On Your Bike THE cooler winter months in the Mackay region bring on mountain biking eventsand none better than the Mackay MountainMarathon which was held this past weekend up the beautiful Eungella National Park

The boys from Corry Cycles have been running this event over the last eight years and this year the trophy for the 80klm changed its name from the Platypus Trophy to the Jeff Rafferty Trophy which Jeff made himself. Jeff, sadly passed away in 2019 but he was a stalwart of mountain biking, helping Evan and Ryan find the trails that we have the pleasure of riding in this event.

 The marathon event is growing in popularity with four hundred plus competitors and boasts some of the best scenery as you look down the Pioneer Valley. Some years it is cold, raining or foggy however this year it was a pretty mild morning temperature wise with a bit of fog at the start but cleared up to be a beautiful warmish winter’s day. 

The Mackay Mountain Marathon has running competitors as well as the mountain biking which is a bit funny because both groups think the other is crazy for their chosen sport. The race starts at the Eungella cricket ground then heads along the road towards Broken river, the 15klm riders follow the bitumen to Broken River they then enter the walking trails passing by Sky Window look out and some the most amazing rain forest, even through a tree.

 The walking trails are only allowed to be ridden for approved events such as this one, the trails pose a lot of obstacles and challenges like narrow tight corners with drop off on the sides and slippery moss covered concrete stairs up and down, muddy tight corners, fallen trees and logs. THis was all while trying not to fall off and maybe catch a glimpse of the views whilst riding back towards the finish at the iconic Eungella Chalet with its breathtaking views. The 38klm and 76klm riders turn off the road to Broken River at the Diggings Loop road and ride dirt roads once again crossing Broken River further downstream with no bridge this time; luckily this year the water was only knee deep.

 After the crossing we head up four-wheel drive tracks through dry bush land with steep rocky climbs that seem to go and on and on. The descents are fast but become technical when at speed with large loose rocks, water bars and wash outs causing some riders to fall; this is adventure racing. The riders then enter onto the Eungella Dam road and have a fast ride back to the old quarries and pop out just up from the Broken River Bridge and drop into the walking trails and head back to the Chalet finish line, possibly looking for a refreshment. 

There were many incredible efforts from all of the riders, taking out line honours and the Jeff Rafferty Trophy this year was Ethan Weiss with an amazing time of 3hrs 43min and Anne – Marie Kehres in the women’s for the 80klm ride, the 38klm men’s Glenn Debel and women’s Kristen Rowlands, 38klm E-Bike Wolfgang Rehberg and in the 15klm Cody Weiss and women’s Alisha Rust.

 Riders know how much they put themselves through to get results and everyone is trying their hardest to get PB’s and finish safely. Congratulations to the Mackay Mountain Marathon team and everyone involved that made this event possible, we will see you all again next year.   

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