Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Croc Trophy!

Well where to start…

The trip north for the race went well, and arriving a week before the event was awesome allowing me to be away from distractions close to home and relax before the start.

Staying with Miriam’s parents was great and Graham did a great job in assisting me during the race from Saturday to Wednesday.

The closer to the start the nerves started to kick in a bit, and Miriam and I talked pretty regularly. On the Friday night before the start she was proving a difficult to contact.

Miriam, called me later that evening, and as we were talking she arrived after flying up to surprise me before the start of the race. Miriam was able to be at the start of the race Saturday and Sunday morning before flying back to Brisbane.

Day 1 - Smithfield

The track at Smithfield I had pre-ridden earlier in the year so knew what to expect but also had a chance to ride the course during the week leading up to the start.

The start was a fast sprint with about 180 riders trying to get to the single track first. The resulting traffic jam for the rest of the riders was to be expected and a bit of push and shove followed for the first lap. It is amazing how some words cross the language barrier so easily!

I enjoyed the trails and went out to ride consistently for the first day of the race and finished 96th over the line, incident free.

The lesson learned though was, I needed to have a backpack with water.
Day 2 – Cairns to Lake Tinaroo

Having the opportunity to spend time in FNQ during June set me up for a majority of day 2. The first 14k were neutral where we rode together through the streets of Cairns and part the way up Lake Morris road.

The start began at 10am today and with a solid 12k of climbing to the top of Lake Morris road, the pace from the start was QUICK! By the time I reached the top of this first climb though I had already started passing people, which was to be a consistent pattern over the 9 days of racing.
The remainder of the days racing including some serious CLIMBING around 30 to 40% in some places and some great flowing trails.

The finish of the stage at Lake Tinaroo was one of the best camp sites for the event.

Time in the saddle: 5.25
Kilometres: 102
Climbing: 3000m 
Position over the line: 77th

Relaxing before stage 3!

Day 3 Lake Tinaroo to Irvinebank  

We left Lake Tinaroo today at 8am meaning we were not riding in the heat of the day as much as we were in the first 2 days. The first 18k was ridden as a neutral until we arrived in Atherton where the start was officiated by the local mayor.

After the first two days of racing I had a much better start today and found the riding really enjoyable all day. The course included some really technical climbing and descending across different surfaces throughout the day similar to that found locally.

The finish today found us Irvinebank, an old mining town where we stayed for the next 2 days.

Time in the saddle: 5.34
Kilometers: 114k
Climbing: 2700m
Position over the line: 73rd
Image Regina Stanger

Day 4 Irvinebank to Irvinebank

Knowing we did not need to move camp today was great! 

Image Regina Stanger
The Course today was a tough 24k loop including about 12 k of dirt road and 12k of single / double track. The dirt road was mostly in a good condition, but was been frequented by large trucks hauling gravel so there was more than a few times many of the riders were dusted well and proper by the passing vehicles.

The single track / double track was made up of an old rail line from the mining days in the local area.  2 sections which I was unable to ride included some very sandy riverbeds. One of the best parts of the course though was the awesome climb leading back to the township for completion of each lap.

The single track had some great sections and I started to enjoy these more as the day continued, though there were a few sections which still fexed me and saw me walking all day.

Time in the saddle: 6.23
Kilometers: 96
Climbing: 2500m
Position over the line: 74

Day 5 Irvinebank to Mt Mulligan

Today saw me say goodbye Graham and hello to Gary .

A Luxemburg rider who had hyperxtended his ankle the day before, was unable to continue in the race and Graham volunteered to take him back to Cairns. As a result Graham and Verdi extended some great Australian hospitality and put up the said rider for a few days at their house.

One of the quotes of the race was made today by Graham. I asked if the new travelling companion knew any English?? The response, from Graham, was nah he does not know too much but will be AOK by the time we get back to Cairns…

The first ¾ of the day was wet with light rain falling. Meaning sticky trails = J!  Though the trails early in the day were awesome and included some very, very technical descending with major washouts both sides of the trail  The later part of the day was fast fire roads and a mix of climbing and descending. The Camp site today was directly adjacent to an escarpment, close to Mt Mulligan which was pretty awesome to see.

Image Regina Stanger
Today was the first stage Kate Major lost, the eventual winner of the women’s category. The second placed Alice Pirard received assistance from a number of other riders, including Mike Mulkens who pushed her the entire day in full view to all other riders.

This was really disappointing to see and difficult to know what to say as Guy Sorensen, myself and Kate Major struck up a great friendship over the course of the race and spent a lot of time together. The end of the stage gave Guy and I chance to talk about what we had seen and worry whether to make mention to Kate of what had been seen during the day.

L-R Guy, Me, Andrew and Kate
Making the decision to speak with Kate later in the day, she explained she had seen the assistance too and made the organizers aware. However, no action was taken but warnings issued against any assistance of this type occurring further during the race.  

Time in the saddle: 5:09
Kilometers: 120
Climbing: 1600m
Position over the line: 71st 

Day 6  Mt Mulligan for Maitland Downs

The first 65 k toady was on fast flat fire road with very few ups and downs. At the 65 k mark we started heading, upwards and peaked out at around the 100k mark.

The climbing over the 35 k’s was a mixture of surfaces and gradients, which suited me. Thought the last 27k of dirt road today was one, which I found difficult. The course took us through an environment made of sharp creek crossings and steep climbs on the other side of the said, creek crossings reducing the ability to gain a good run up leading into each climb. 

The thing I did see today and over the proceeding days and throughout the event were many people experiencing flat tires as a result of riding heavily through creek crossings. I was lucky to not have the misfortune of flat tires for the entire race!

The final 10k of the course was on main roads and a simple farm trail leading finish line and camp site for tonight. The Camp site was amazing as it was forested with River Red Gums, which are such a striking tree.

Today was a tough stage!

Time in the saddle: Just over 7hours…
Kilometers: 127
Climbing: 2600+m
Position over the line: 76th

Day 7 Maitland Downs to Maytown

We are over the hump and on the downward slide to the finish

Today we rode from Maitland Downs to Maytown. Due to a harder then expected stage yesterday and knowledge it was going to be a very hot day we were informed the stage was shortened to only about 90k.   The course although shorter included more climbing than expected topping out at 2200m. The surface was made of mainly lose gravel over hard pack and a few sandy creek crossing resulting in fast times for everyone.

The fast stage was good considering the max temp reached today was 54 degree in the sun and I think high 40’s in the shade which was in short supply. Gary and Judy (Guy’s wife) did an awesome job getting us a shady spot to set up camp. The support t team also did a great job of moving on a small family of cows to secure a shady tree for our camp tonight.

Time in the saddle: 4:20
Kilometers: 90
Climbing: 2200m
Position over the line: 73rd

 Day 8 - Maytown to Laura

After the hottest day of the race yesterday and the shortest day ahead of us, I was thinking it was going to be an easy one!

No chance!

The technical ascending and descending, was tough though enjoyable. I picked a few bad lines at times and needed to correct myself but overall the first part of the course was awesome!

Once we reached the summit of the climb and started descending towards Laura, the heavy sand sucked the life out of me and quite a few others. I estimate I would of walked maybe around 5 to 6 k of sand, which I was unable ride.

The worst was yet to come for me on this stage.

Unknown to us until later in the day water had been pumped from a lagoon overnight treated with iodine and was used to refill water bottles at the water stations during the stage. I did not need to use this water until the second last depot.  After this I found the water very difficult to drink and the result was I drank way less than I needed for the last 30 odd k’s and crossed the line a bit cooked.

Overall I was happy with my effort for the stage and crossed the line in a good position and consistent with my results over the previous stages.
Time in the saddle: 5:15
Kilometers: 87
Climbing: 1600m
Position over the line: 73th

Day 9 – Last Day - Laura to Cooktown

The last stage started as a handicap with the first riders (the slowest) starting at 7.30am and the last rider rolling off at 10am. I rolled out at 8:15am with a group of 10 riders.

There is not much to say about the stage apart from the fact it was super quick! 140k mostly flat with a few little climbs to keep everyone honest. I enjoyed the riding and looked forward to finish with a few moments of regret knowing it was all going to be over sometime later today. 

For the first 65k of the stage the 10 riders I started with in my group mostly stayed together. After the second depot though we broke apart a bit and I focused on maintaining a good tempo. As in the previous stages I started picking off the people who had headed off into the distance later in the day.

The head wind which we were warned about and we had for a majority of the stage was difficult at time but not as bad as I though it was going be.

Reaching Cooktown the last hurdle was the 1k climb up to the finishing line, and the 20odd stairs. It was certainly a very sweet end to an awesome experience and one which I will not forget for a lone time.

Time in the saddle: 6.20
Kilometers: 140
Climbing: 1600m
Position over the line: 69th

Would I do it again? Hell yes!

But there are a few other races which I want to tick off first.

Thanks very much to, Gary, (aka: Pommy) Graham, Shannon, Rach, TR, Miriam and Verdi and everyone else who helped me along the way in getting to and home from this event in one piece.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Croc Trophy - Day Eight

A brutal day!  Maytown to Laura seemed like a short stage, but the while only 80km in length - a relatively short day for the croc - the terrain more than made up for it.
Technical climbs.  Technical descents.  And sand - so much sand!  Nick estimates walking approximately 6km in deep sand during the course of today's arduous stage.

The slow going also introduces extra problems for racers - as the longer they are out there, the more chance it is that they have burned through their water and run low.  Nick reported feeling stressed with a bit of dehydration - but has got it all riding on tomorrow - the last stage!

We are still waiting on timing - but looks like Nick was again in around 15th.
One more day!

Croc Trophy - Day Seven

Image: Regina Stanger

Nick reported a fast, uneventful day, with 90km covered from Maitland Downs to Maytown.  The heat should not be underestimated - with reports of up to 54'C in the sun!  Keep drinking!

Again taking his slot of 15th in M2, Nick rolled in at 4.25.

Croc Trophy - Day Six

Mt Mulligan to  Maitland Downs - a 127km hurtfest!

Nick wrote in to report tough conditions adding to the riders challenges! A massive head wind for the first 65k made it tough going.  Open roads on a mostly flat trail with its fair share of corrugations gave the riders no where to hide.

At the 65k mark the climbing started, topping out at around the 90 k mark.

The last 37 k was marked by lots of rolling hills with tough climbs at around 10 to 20% usually starting at the bottom of rough creek crossings so no chance to get a good run up before the climbs.

 Finishing in 6.02, Nick once again slotted in a 15th in M2.

Croc Trophy - Day Five

Todays stage from Irvinebank to Mt.Mulligan covers 120km of rough track and 'only' around 1200m of climbing.

A quick day for Nick saw him moving a spot up in the results as he took 14th in M2 today in 5.08. 
Hopefully a sign of things to come as his endurance background helps him climb the ladder?

Tomorrow is a tough day as they head for Maitland Downs.  Legs up and recover Westwood!

Croc Trophy - Day Four

Stage four was a multilap course starting and finishing in Irvinebank.  A technical 26km course around the old mining town punished riders in the FNQ heat as they rode to cover a total of 106km.  Creek crossings and boulders were the feature of the day catching many riders out.

Information is getting hard to get a hold of with limited communications in the remote areas.
Proving to be Mr. Consistent, Nick finished well in 16th again in M2 in 5:23.

Croc Trophy - Day Three

Today's stage was Atheron to Irvinebank - 111km.

Nick pulled an awesome 15th in M2 today in 5.33!  Gary has arrived to help with the support and having done 24hr crewing for Nick he will offer a boost.

A reasonably quick day, highlights with some great technical descents and climbing early on to separate the pack.  Fast fire roads followed with plenty of corrugations to rip the legs!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Croc Trophy - Day Two

Day Two was the first of the typical Croc stages - 96km with the first of the big climbing days.  The first hour was under neutral getting riders from Cairns out to the real race start.  After a long wait in the sun, the riders were then set off.

With 2500m of climbing including brutal ascents Nick estimates at between 30 and 40% the day delivered a fair share of hike a bike.

Lake Tinaroo finish - Day Two in the bag.
Rolling in at 5.5hours and 16th in M2 Category Nick was tired but happy with his ride!  Focus then swapped to recovery and preparation for the next day - another 100+km day with plenty of climbing!

Tired legs must recover to do it all again!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Croc Trophy - Day One

The first stage of the Croc Trophy is a 30km pure single track attack, around the fantastic new trails shaped by one of our best - Glen Jacobs. Having visited midyear to scope out the area and scoring a ride with Glen on the freshly laid trail, Nick rounded out his prep with a couple of days of pre-riding the course.  Dialled with lines and the knowledge he had the course down Nick had a solid day.

Ringing in  his report, he says was happy with his ride and glad to be underway - though bottles were a bad choice - camelbak is a must.  Keeping it upright was key, happy to have done this.  Riding a 2.03, and 22mins of the leaders for M2 Nick pulled in at 19th.  He was satisfied and also felt he was keeping something in reserve - a big race plan must for the 9 day punishfest.

Tomorrow - 92km and the first of the big climbing days with 2500m.  Rest, hydrate, recover!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Training and Exciting things!

With the Croc trophy fast approaching 18 days, 9 hours and 48 seconds. Shannon from Koiled Imports my sponsor and close friend has prepared my bike so now it is just up to me to finishing preparing myself for 9 days of racing ahead.

Finalizing this has been made a little easier Coach Cupcake (aka Tim) returning just at the right time from an extended overseas holiday to make some fine adjustments to my training.

Meaning more of this type of riding

and a bit of this

And a little bit of climbing too

The last few months have included lots of riding and climbing in preparation for the challenges, which this race will provide, once I reach the start line on the 20th of October in Cairns and onto the start lines in the unknown...

These last few months of training and fitting in work has been a busy time.

Though during this time I have been fortunate with the assistance of a close friend Gary to facilitate an introduction with Mark and Miriam Pearce from Cleanskin Coffee.

The outcome from this introduction?

Securing an ongoing sponsorship with Cleanskin Coffee to support me in traveling to North Queensland for the Croc and other MTB and Road events into the future.

Securing a sponsorship / partnership with a business such as Cleanskin Coffee is very complementary to Koiled Imports and what we enjoy doing… Cycling and enjoying good coffee!

Shortly Cleanskin Coffee will be releasing a custom blend, branded to support me and Koiled Imports into the future, so keep an eye on their site for more information…

To find out more about Cleanskin Coffee including where you can get your hands on this AWESOME coffee check out these links...

Online shop


Monday, July 16, 2012


Well what an awesome start to the year!

I have had a great series in The Tailwind Promotions enduro summer series supported by Maxxis! The first two races were relative incident free for me but, when I returned home from the second race I found a serious failure in the rear mount on my Niner sir

so with race 3 and 4 still ahead of me, turned to my friend in bikes Shannon AKA Koiled Imports to rescue me with a bike suitable for the remainder of the series - insert a sweet Ti SS....

picking the bike up only few days before the race and riding it once was not maybe the best idea...

The outcome of Race 3 ?

A good race a great bike, but a few drive line issues meant I finished 4th. Ok so this was still a good result but with the desire to win the series overall I knew I to sort my shit out and have a cracking last race...

Enter Race 4!

With the knowledge I needed to finish the race, but also with a strong desire to finish well I thought, (THOUGHT been the operative word in this circumstance) I had corrected the drive line issues...

This was not to be the case. 1st lap I think I dropped my chain 4 times. Rolling into the pits explaining the problem to Shannon his first reaction was to say TAKE THE EON and make sure u sort out the seat post height as you’ll be riding it for the rest of the day ...... My reaction.....(OK and then bloody hell) in a VERY small voice...

I have to say what an awesome bike to ride for the next 6 hours!

The rest do the race was incident free apart from one episode where I needed to put my body between bike and the ground for the briefest moment.

The Finish?

A respectable 3rd place and with the confidence on knowing I had won the overall series...

Last Friday Night Tailwind Promotions held there awards night the Kookaburra Cafe a local venue in Paddington, as I have already said... it’s has been an awesome start to the year...............

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Enduro Super Series Race 2

With nearly a week of dry weather leading into this race, I think we all hoped for dry-ish race. This was not to be the case. I found the going harder than the previous 4 hour when more rain had occurred leading into the previous event. About an hour into the race we had some heavy rain right across the course. The result of this was, making a damp track even wetter and very difficult to ride some sections. With a bit more competition in the SS class than last race with likes of the Matt DOG racing I knew it was going to be a tough race...
Combined with a crash on the second lap and losing some time and remembering some advice from Matt DOG (insert link to blog) following the first race, saw me running most of the difficult sections for the reminder of the race. Knowing that Matt DOG, Anthony and Peter were all ahead of me at this stage it was a case of putting my head down and been consistent.
The removal of the switch backs towards the end of the race was a gladly welcomed by just about everyone. I think?
A bit of bad luck to Pete with flat tyres towards the end of the race resulted in a bit of good luck to me seeing me finish in 3rd place. As a few people have already mentioned it was a great day with good people and one I enjoyed.
Great racing by EVERYONE and well done to Shannon, Sophia, Rach, Dog, Prof and especially TR who made his return to MTB racing following a break in a few meanings of the word. Lastly thanks for all the fantastic support from Kirsty and everyone else in the pits who helped out.