Each year, the Mackay Mountain Marathon attracts mountain bike riders from all over the country to enjoy some competitive mountain biking through the stunning Eungella National Park.
Three courses cater to riders of all ages and skills, and cover various terrains including bitumen, dirt track, fire trail and single track. The more challenging the track, the more dirt and fire trail the ride covers, with a few tougher hills thrown in for good measure.
The non-competitive 15km Recreation Course is for riders aged 14 and older who are new to mountain bike riding, or those competing in a mountain bike ride for the first time.
The 38km Sport Course is for more competent mountain bikers aged over 16, who have a moderate skill and fitness level.
For serious riders, the 80km Platypus Trophy Marathon Course is the only way to go. Riders will need to be aged 18 or older, be skilled mountain bikers and a have high level of fitness – they will be pushing their bikes up 2,321m of trail over the course of the ride!
The winner of the 80km course will take home the Platypus Trophy, as well as a $2000 cash prize. Prizes will also be awarded in the other categories.
All riders need to bring their own bikes, which will be inspected prior to racing. It is up to each rider to ensure their bike is in good working order and is up to the demands of their chosen course. Competitors also need a helmet and closed-in shoes, as well as carry some kind of eye protection (sunglasses or riding goggles).
Registration costs are between $80 and $120, depending on the rider’s age and the course they will be competing in. All entry fees include a $10 contribution to the Rural Fire Service.
Riders must be at least 14 years old to ride, but there are plenty of activities on the day before to keep the little kids happy. The Eungella Cricket Ground will be home to some great entertainment, including mountain bike limbo, dual slalom and slow riding competitions for the kids, as well as a BBQ. A limited number of unpowered campsites are available for $25, so be sure to book early to nab a spot.
Eungella is 80km west of Mackay, and there are limited accommodation options in town. For those who prefer, Mackay hotels may be a better choice.
Only an hour and 20 minutes from the competition is one of the best Mackay hotels, the Comfort Resort Blue Pacific. The resort is set on three acres of stunning tropical gardens, and also features a half-sized tennis court, four BBQ areas, a games room, two pools (one heated in winter) and a spa to ease those muscles weary from riding. There are 34 self-contained apartments (choose from one, two or three bedrooms) all of which have kitchen facilities (including a fridge and microwave), free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. A range of restaurants are a short walk or ride away. With its great facilities and convenient, waterside location, this Mackay hotel is an excellent place to prepare for the competition and relax after the big ride.