Brendon Skerke from Cairns is a ‘serial Croc racer’ and has competed both solo and in teams. He told us that even as a local he gets to see something new or go somewhere he just hasn’t been before. Here he chats to us about what it is like to race in a team and how race preparations for the 2018 race have changed as a first-time dad of a little daughter.
The Croc is always my A race for the year and the only true time of the year I aim to be in peak condition. I love the obvious incredible challenge and raw nature of the event.
CROC: How often have you raced the Croc individually vs. in a team?
Brendon: All up six times and twice in a team:
- 2010 – Solo
- 2012 – CA 2 man Team
- 2013 – Solo
- 2015 – Solo
- 2016 – Solo
- 2017 CA 2 man Team
- 2018 – Solo
CROC: Brendon, you raced the Croc Solo and in the Adventure Team category with one of your best MTB riding and racing mates. How does that compare to racing ‘solo’ at the Croc?
Brendon: Racing CA [in a team] v Solo is a completely different experience. Racing in a Team you need to be constantly mindful of your partner, consider both yours and their strengths and weaknesses and adjust accordingly. It is very enjoyable racing together and certainly draws the best out in you but can also place extra pressure to perform at the same time so as not to let your partner down.
CROC: What motivated you to race in a team/in teams?
Brendon: Both Bart and I while have different strengths are simular when it comes to marathon XC Racing. We both have the same ‘never give up’ mindset and both have a lot of experience in the Crocodile Trophy. Having both podium placed in Categories when racing solo in past Crocs we thought this would be a new challenge and opportunity to take the category overall title.
3. Did you train together in a team?
Brendon: Bart and I have been part of a larger team and have trained and raced together for nearly 10 years. Knowing each other like we do It didn’t take to much to have us in sync for the 2017 Croc.
CROC: You are also the team manager for the Astute Financial Racing Team and are one of the “serial” Croc racers. What do you love most about this race?
Brendon: The Croc is always my A race for the year and the only true time of the year I aim to be in peak condition. I love the obvious incredible challenge and raw nature of the event. I love the moderate size field that allows you to get to share the experience with a select few and I love rubbing shoulders with past and present champions of the sport. I don’t think any race in Australia you can enter as an amateur and be rubbing shoulders with Tour de France Stage winners, World Cup XCO riders and National XCM Champions from all over the world.
CROC: This event takes place practically in your backyard, on trails that you can ride throughout the year. Why take them on in the Crocodile Trophy?
Brendon: Far North Queensland is a beautiful part of the world. Each year I do the Croc I see something new or go somewhere I just haven’t been before. Sometimes it’s also the case that some parts are only accessible during the Croc. The other great advantage is that most of our fantastic team sponsors are local Cairns Businesses. Being a local team in an international event in our hometown provides great media exposure for those sponsors that so generously support us throughout the year.
CROC: Has your race preparation and participation changed now that you have a young family?
Brendon: Both Lee [Brendon’s wife] and I have been super lucky in having a baby that loves her sleep. I have also been with the police now for 18 years and accumulated a lot of Long Service Leave so in preparation for 2018 I’m fortunate enough to be taking 6 months off in the lead up. Of course I will still have Daddy Day Care duties and have to pull a bit bigger share in the domestic home duties, but I’m hoping to be in the best condition I’ve been in for a few years. The main difference is I have to be a little bit more time conscious, I just can’t go training whatever time I want.
CROC: What are your top three tips for Adventure teams racing in this year’s event?
- Chose a partner who you share simular strengths and mental drive with.
- Constantly communicate and encourage each other. Have Patience and understanding. Its a tough long race and you are going to have good and bad days often at different times. You need to work together.
- Have fun, enjoy the experience together. Finishing the Croc is a fantastic achievement. Sharing that accomplishment with a team mate is extra special.
CROC: Are there any last-minute race preparations that you could share with us?
Brendon: The week before the race I make sure everything on my bike is running like clockwork. I make sure I’m well rested and eat and drink everything I can get my hands on. Other than that I trust in my training and preparation and just get super excited knowing I’m about to enjoy another fantastic Crocodile Trophy…
Cheers, Brendon, and enjoy this year’s race!