Om du ikke har hørt om rittet før, er det verdt å merke seg at "the Croc" er ett av de absolutt hardeste etapperittene man kan gjennomføre på en terrengsykkel. Det er ikke bare lengden og de mange høydemeterene som gjør det knalltøft. Men varmen, fuktigheten og ikke minst plante og dyrelivet er faktorer som fort kan sette en stopper for videre deltakelse i rittet.
Sted: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Når: 15-21. oktober 2015
Rangert: UCI S1
Lengde 900 Km
1 Smithfield (5 laps) 33 km/900 m
2 Cairns – Lake Tinaroo 85 km/2000 m
3 Atherton – Atherton 60 km/1500 m
4 Atherton – Atherton 72 km/2200 m
5 Atherton – Irvinebank 96 km/2700 m
6 Irvinebank – Irvinebank 115 km/1700 m
7 Irvinebank - Skybury Coffee 127 km/1300 m
8 Skybury - Wetherby Station 101 km/1400 m
9 Wetherby - Port Douglas (TT) 30 km/350 m
Greg har skrevet ned et par av hans egne betraktninger om hvordan rittet utviklet seg. I år var det et utrolig sterkt felt som stilte til start, med flere nasjonale mestere fra blant annet Danmark, Sveits, Italia og Australia. Dessverre var Greg og Thomas ikke helt 100 prosent rent helsemæssig under rittet. Da blir det fort mer krevende å kjempe helt i toppen.
Thomas and I battled with some health problems. On Stage 1 Thomas in 3rd place crashed, split his chin open and suffered a small concussion! His bike was covered in blood, his helmet cracked in three pieces, and five stitches to his chin but still Thomas not just rode but raced hard until the Race Doctor on Stage 3 told him to slow down.. The race management took him out and gave him a 1 hour penalty on last place BUT he could start the next day!
We both managed to finish the 9 Stages, 800km and 17000 meters climbing. The last day Stage 9 was an Individual Time Trial and Thomas just missed out on 3rd place and finished 4th! We could see some pacing going on two riders together one drafting and 3rd place we guess had an advantage...
I was not sick or hurt and my bike was perfect but I was not feeling 100% right! Low batteries and some stomach cramps I still was able to race at 90% and it was only Stage 3 that I blew up (stopped a while!) and lost a lot of time on my competitors. The top 4 riders at this year Crocodile Trophy were all National Champions (Swiss, Danish, Italian and Australian) . They were racing extremely hard every day and even though I was only 90% I felt that I could not battle for this year's podium even if I was at 100. Overall I finished 7th, and only seconds from 6th. I think I earned by attacking into 6th place but due to circumstances I landed 7th!
My mood during the week was fine, I enjoyed the hard days even the pain in the legs and the hot moments but my racing head was not turned on full I did not like-want to sit in the front group of the top 5! The Crocodile Trophy is very tough but if you love racing Mountain bikes you will love the 9 day challenge.. After the shock wears off and the skin heals!
We did have an advantage staying at my childhood home most of the week, and we did enjoy the last couple of nights camping. It is possible to organize hotels or motels if the camping isn't your style but it is a part of the rough outdoor experience!
Hvis du ønsker å lese mer om rittet eller kanskje vurdere å stille på startstreken neste år kan du gjøre det her/Kenneth Hansen