Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Croc Trophy final from Steve

Care of: Regina Stanger

It is done, finished. Woohoo!

Today was a real adventure. I started with a fair bit of anxiety as it was 146km of basically flat and made for roadies. I was still hurting from 3 days of burying myself so I couldn't wait. We were released in groups of 8, 15mins apart. I was in the 3rd last group full of very strong guys. The guy in front of me was in M2 category had 15min lead overall and the guy behind me 38min lead. As I feared the pace was nasty. I pulled a few turns and then I was struggling to hold on. I held them for 30km and then bang, my rear change cable broke. I then only had top gear with 2 chain rings on the front. One was too slow and the other I couldn't pull over corrugations into the wind. In my head I thought it was all over. Come on Steve, anything can happen, I willed myself to keep going. I wound in the high adjustment so it was in a manageable  single speed ratio. I road like that for 30km before catching a guy who had a spare cable. I had also lost the bolt that clamps the cable, so I physically tied the cable to the rear derailleur. It worked apart from the very bottom gears so i was off. The final group, with all the elite guys caught me so that meant I had lost 30mins. The elite guys were riding neutral until the end and then they put the pedal down. I had 2 team mates in this group, the race leader and a guy in 5th who helped me out. The elite guys are something else, dragging all 10 in the group into a fierce headwind on corrugations at high speed. With 15km to go we picked up another team-mate who was powerful and keeping me on the back. When the group surged to 45+ I was dropped and my team-mate and I hung together. A photo car that was watching the group kindly pulled in front of us to motor pace us back onto the group. With 5km to go the elite guys gunned it for real and we were both off of the back again, my team-mate was cooked so I was on my own to try and hang onto 3rd in M2. I punched a gel and caught another team mate with 3km to go and we did turns until 1km to go where he sat up. It was a killer
climb for the final 1km so I consumed another gel and off I sprinted. I ran out of gears on one bit, jumping off the bike and ran for a section. Jumping back on the bike I sprinted up the final bit, made it to the finish and collapsed.

Spent and broken. What a day. For me the best in terms of team work as I had ridden with 5 of the 7 other guys in my team. Turns out Rider 104 who was an ex pro roadie had smashed it, won the stage and beat me into 3rd by 4mins. Oh well I guess thats racing.

 The final ceremony they present to
5th place in each category. 2nd and 5th place were a no showed in M2 so Steve is in
the final photo in 2nd place.
What an adventure. I finished 4th in M2 and 30th overall, very happy, considering the difficulties I faced. I was 2nd
place and 25th overall 2 days ago. Top 5 tips for a race like this, in no order. 

  1. Have a good support crew. 
  2. Have a bike fit and a good seat. 
  3. Have a nutrition plan that you have tried and tested.  
  4. Ride consistently, you need to last for 9 days and everyone has things that go wrong; and,
  5. Train your pants off. 
Care of: Regina Stanger
Mike Tomalaris of SBS, Cycling Central, did the presentations at the end which was cool. Felt a bit like you were on tour. In terms of the race, each day was very tough. It was only about 20% single track so not a lot of real mountain biking and lots of euro roadies come to do it, they will bury you on the flats. Only 30 aussies in the field of 130 so you definitely feel in the minority. One country was dominate in numbers and they ganged up on the aussies to get their riders up the rankings even if they were on different teams. Lots of dirty tactics, blocking etc left a nasty taste in my mouth especially towards the end.
Anyway I met some great people from all countries and we suffered together. My 8 team mates and support were awesome fun and great guys. Thanks for the support.

Regards, Steve


  1. Great read! Well done Steve, massive effort and a great result, i'm gonna have to watch out for you next year :)

    1. I look forward to the Mike vs Steve battle in 2013