2014 sees the Crocodile Trophy celebrate its 20th anniversary, and its inauguration as an official Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) race - thus allowing UCI-registered riders to collect valuable points to boost their overall world ranking. To entice riders to compete there's also a healthy AUD40,000 of prize money on offer.
About the Crocodile Trophy 2014
This year even more of the popular Cairns and Atherton mountain bike trails will be at the heart of the racing action. New stage destinations, like Skybury Coffee Plantation and Wetherby Station, provide for picturesque backdrops for race participants and supporters to enjoy Queensland's rough Outback, it's lush rainforests and beautiful beaches up close.
More than 100 professional and amateur cyclists from over 20 countries, including Australia's best marathon mountain bike racers, are expected at the start line of the nine-day stage race - dubbed as "the toughest of its kind in the world".
Most diverse stage plan in Crocodile Trophy history
The 2014 event includes nine stages, taking riders through dense rainforests in and around Cairns before heading up to the Atherton Tablelands for three days. Stage Two (Sunday 19 October) will deliver riders to Lake Tinaroo, then onto Atherton for two more stages - incorporating the new trail network at Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park.
From Atherton, the Croc moves inland to Irvinebank and the remote Outback. Riders will have to endure the intense heat and dry/dusty landscape for several days, as they make their way towards the coastal holiday town of Port Douglas for a beach finish.
One of the most passionate 'Croc ambassadors' is Canadian National Marathon Champion, Cory Wallace, who will be at the start in Cairns for the fourth time. “The Croc has the best diversity of any race I have done as we race on trails, outback roads and rough mining trails through a variety of terrain including jungles and the dry dusty outback”, says the 2013 Crocodile Trophy runner-up Wallace, who is one of this year's strongest title contenders.
Crocodile Trophy facts and figures
Founded by Tour de France finisher Gerhard Schönbacher in 1994
UCI S1 Status for the first time in 2014
Worldwide ranked as the biggest mountain bike stage race for individual participants
Said to be the toughest mountain bike stage race in the world
Has had its home in Tropical North Queensland for the past decade
120 competitors from 20+ different countries
9 stages – 700+km / 12,000m elevation
Start: Cairns, 18 October 2014
Finish: Port Douglas, 26 October 2014
Stages include single trails, outback roads, rough mining trails
Wide variety of terrain – jungle and rainforests, dry and dusty outback, beautiful coasts
FEEDING THE CROC (catering and feeding stations):
250 kg pineapple
1000 kg melons
80 kg bananas per day
50 kg of pasta (dry) per day
20–25 L of milk per day
15 dozen eggs per day
65 kg meat/steaks per day
45 kg fish per day
UCI Stage Race Category S1 for Elite Men and Elite Women!
Elite categories (with Elite License or Master License)
Elite Men from 19 Y. (from 1995) UCI Category S1
Elite Women from 19 Y. (from 1995) UCI Category S1
Elite Master 1 30 - 39 Y. (1975 - 1984)
Elite Master 2 40 - 49 Y. (1965 - 1974)
Elite Master 3 from 50 Y. (from 1964)
Amateur Women from 19 Y. (from1995)
Amateur I 19 - 29 Y. (1985 - 1995)
Amateur II 30 - 39 Y. (1975 - 1984)
Amateur III 40 - 49 Y. (1965 - 1974)
Amateur IV from 50 Y. (from 1964)
Three (3) riders
Two (2) riders:
Prerequisite for consideration in the Masters 1 category is a cumulative age of both team members that exceeds 90 years, whereas the age (in full years) is determined at the first day of the race. Teams will only be considered for ranking if they are recorded jointly at the finish. This implies that the first team member is not any more than two minutes apart from the second team member.
A history of the Crocodile Trophy 1995 - 2014
Gerhard Schonbacher first had the idea of organising a Tour de France type of cycle race for mountain bikes in 1993. The event was originally going to be based in Vietnam - starting in Saigon and ending in Hanoi 18 days and 2500 km later. After spending two weeks in Saigon, Gerhard realized it would not be possible to organise such an event in Vietnam the way he visualised it.
Australia, where Gerhard had been active as a professional cyclist from 1982-1985, and where he owned a home, was the perfect alternative. His team flew to Darwin in the Northern Territory, studied the most accurate maps, and finally decided on the route between Darwin and Cairns. In Darwin they collected as much information as they could on the route from the Tourist Board, the Police and the Ranger Station. After a few days they thought they knew all that had to be known, even though the information was quite limited. They were also advised to obtain further tips from farms along the way.
They left Darwin in an all-terrain vehicle packed with food and water ...
Searching for a name for their event, they went through all the Australian animals, from Koala GP to Kangaroo Challenge, but nothing felt right. It wasn't until several evenings into their adventure, when camped by a river bank by a warning sign stating “Don’t Swim - Crocodiles” that the “Crocodile Trophy” was born.
For more information of the event visit http://www.crocodile-trophy.com/.
Words & Photos courtesy of Crocodile Trophy // Regina Stanger // Rocky Trail Media