Croco Classic

The idea of riding 1200 km over 10 days in the northern outback of Australia with a bunch of euoro roadies and sketchy aussie animals sounded like a grand adventure. It was. I am now 12 days past the race and the body is finally starting to come around again.

Stage 1 I felt like a sack of burnt mashed potatoes. Staying at a backpackers hostal the night before and getting 1 hr of sleep due to drunk backpacker drama wasn’t a nobel prize winning decision. At the start line I slept for 1 hr. We then raced for 1.5 hrs, had a 2 hr intermission due to course problems and then raced for another 3 to the finish. It was alot like La Ruta day one, jungle, mud, hills, but only 75% as tough. I probably would’ve finished back with the mchappy meal sized belgium roadies but my 1.5 hr nap at intermission got the legs firing just in time for the last climb of the day and a 3rd place finish.

After a 11 hr sleep, stage 2 I woke feeling like a bag of potatoes. We had a hard 45 min climb through the jungle to start the day. Last yrs winner, Urs Hubar (Switzerland) and Bart Brentgens attacked the hill like a couple of rabid dingos. I turned my pain threshold off and tried to think of happy thoughts as I hung on like a piece of dog dung on the back of there wheels. Once over the top we decsended into flatter Aussie outback country and the 3 of us road to the finish. Having 24hr diesel engine legs I had a .1 % chance of winning the stage. I tried attacking 1 km from the finish and made a perfect lead out for the other two. 3rd place.

During the night a hoard of Wallabies came into camp and made like a bunch of kindergarten kids causing havoc all over camp knocking over stoves, chewing on tents and one nibbled on my tire. I thought nothing of it as there was no damage but 80 km into the 157 km stage 3 I flatted on a open road while riding with the 3 other leaders. Gongshow commence. The stage was flat for the next 50 km into a head wind making it important to be with a pack so I took the wheel off, shook it hoping the tubeless tire sealant would seel the hole and then started chasing back to the leaders. psstttt. super slow leak. on top of the next hill I took the wheel off again to put a tube in only to look up to see a savage farm dog charging at me from 400 m away. *#&$. I popped the 10 psi wheel back on the bike and sprinted down the hill to a safer zone to repair the flat. by the time there was air in the tire again I was in 8th and road the last 60 km to the finish alone into a headwind. Lost about 30 minutes. At night in the 70 person outback village the local HillyBilly Goats band came out to entertain. Prefect way to end a gonger of day.

Stage 4. The road racing begins as the stages get flat. First 90 km our lead pack of 11 guys ride easy. With only 1 km until a 50 km finish on a highway begins we ride over a rocky patch and both my tires implode. psstt. psttt. two flats. Tabernack. Another 50 km ride alone into a wind until the mchappy meal roadies catch up and we ride in for 15th or so position.

Stage 5-8. Roadie stages on flat, corrugated outback roads in 32-40 degree heat. Scenery is pretty cool for a Canadian and watching the roadies crash in the small creek gullys kept me entertained. Stage 8 ended with a big climb in Cooktown to a viewpoint over the ocean and cool breezes. Highlight of the race. After spending the last 3 stages leading out the other riders to the finish line for the sprint I got some payback on the climb and finished 2nd.

Stage 9. Flat roadie stage. The race organizers had been giving away Boomerangs to the stage winners each night and this was my last chance to get one. I used up some energy from next season to try and get the W but came up 4 ft short in the sprint to a rider who had been sitting in the pack for the last 7 days. Danm roadie tactics.

Stage 10. 37 km TT in the jungle along the coast. Alot like Costa Rica only no monkeys. Finished 4th on day and 5th overall.
The next 4 days were spent cruising around being a tourist. 30 of us from the race went out to the Great Barrier Reef 2 days after the race. We looked like a bunch of hungover college students with at least 15 of us sleeping at any given moment. The other asian tourists on the boat gave us disgusted looks all day as they updated there twitter acounts and made chronological diaries of the Reef tour.

Riding the Croc Trophy was like riding over mexican speed bumps in a sauna with someone blowing dust into your face for 10 days. It was pretty neat. I would come back to try it again as its nothing like we have over here in Canada. Overall the biking was ok, but the 10 day camping trip that went with the race and the days after in Cairns make it trip worth returning for. After all if I was back in Canada in October I probably wouldn’t be riding my bike around this much!

After a week trying to get over my croc trophy hangover in Australia I made my way over to NZL to visit my Kiwi buddies Jeff and Karen who I met in Canada last yr. Jeff, also my pit manager from 24 hr Worlds, and I tried hitting up a 80 km race in the NZL mtns last weekend. That story is currently in the press and is not too be missed!

2 Comments on “Croco Classic”

  • chrischaos November 14th, 2010 2:45 pm

    that top aminal is cuuute .. i want to pet one. the race sounds nuts.

  • BikingBakke November 21st, 2010 2:15 am

    cory that's some badass riding. your rest pre and in between races is incomparable ; )

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