Mike Blewitt is editor of the Australian Mountain Bike Magazine and founder of the MarathonMTB.com online portal and racing team. He regularly participates in stage races all over the world and has raced the Crocodile Trophy multiple times. In this blog we are sharing some of his recommondations in the article “How to prepare for the Crocodile Trophy” on MarathonMTB.com – click here for the full article
“The most important thing in a stage race is making sure you and your bike can do it again tomorrow.”
To survive the modern Croc you need a good level of fitness and capable bike handling ability. What’s that mean? You should be able to competitively (in your category) ride a 4hr lap based enduro, or 4-5hr marathon, and be comfortable riding your bike most days of the week. Be comfortable sitting in a bunch of riders on the road, and understand the nuances of a small bunch of riders. Know how to work well in the wind, understand when to work together, and when not to. Being welcome in a small bunch of riders due to your nous and reliability, might get you to the end of a long stage a little more easily one day.
Practice riding remote trails, be they singletrack, doubletrack or animal track. Being able to scan the trail ahead and ride it efficiently is a much needed skill for the Crocodile Trophy, especially getting you and your bike through in one piece.
Although you do need to clock some kilometres up to get through the 800km or so of the race, don’t forget the rest of the work off the bike too. Keep your core strong, and your back. 9 days of mountain biking takes some pretty serious upper body fitness too. You don’t need to work on a body builder’s physique, but being able to hold your bars on a long, rutted descent at the end of a long day keeps you together for the next day.
Depending where you are coming from, be ready for more climbing than you expect. Days 2-5 have a lot of climbing compared to the rest of the stages, and while the climbs aren’t ‘alpine’ length, they’re longer than most Australian racers will be used to. This counts for the descents too!
The real theme here is variety. You cover about 800km, and go through many different areas of Tropical North Queensland. You need to be ready to adapt, and your training needs to be specific. Best of all though, it’s a great way to explore Tropical North Queensland!