Over the next fortnight, we will be featuring a quick ‘Q and A’ with some of the contenders for the overall race win at the 2012 Crocodile Trophy. Mike Mulkens is well known at the Crocodile Trophy – and has decided to return to Far North Queensland for another run at the event, which starts on October 20th. MarathonMTB.com will be there, represented by a three rider Subaru-MarathonMTB.com Team.
1. The Croc Trophy has a bit of a reputation for being very hard, what did you know about it before deciding to compete for the first time?
I met a few guys who raced the Croc before and they said it was the hardest race they had ever done. I did some research, talked to a few riders about all the technical aspects such as choice of tyres and how to organise my luggage but really the only thing I was sure of, was that it was going to be a big adventure for me!
2. What made you decide to come to the race in 2012?
I still believe the Croc Trophy is the most beautiful race I’ve ever done! It’s the combination of a challenging course and some of the most spectacular views in the world that convince me to come back year after year. I can honestly say that the Croc Trophy has become an addiction to me!
3. The Croc Trophy delivers heat, long distances, and remote stage locations. What do you see as the biggest challenge for you – and how have you prepared for it?
My biggest challenge will be trying to beat all the other riders that want to win a stage too! As far as my preparation goes, I did many road races over summer and these last weeks I’ve been doing more technical training rides on the mountain bike. I also trained in the Belgian Ardennes to get used to the climbing again. I believe I will be in a good shape by the start of the 2012 edition.
4. MTB Stage racing has captured the imagination of many mtbers around the world, with over a thousand competitors at some events. Does the relatively small field of the Crocodile Trophy concern you?
Going to FNQ is a big investment for many riders here in Europe. I believe more riders see the Croc Trophy as their biggest challenge ever and thus as more of a once-in-a-lifetime event. This all contrubutes to the “myth” of the Croc, everybody is in the shape of their lives and that creates a unique athmosphere in the unique setting of the Australian Outback. The Croc Trophy cannot be compared to any other race in the world!
5. Who do you see as the main challengers for 2012?
That’s a difficult question since there will be many new riders that I haven’t raced with before, but I do know that many of them do push the pedals hard!
My favourites will be the riders on the Bart Brentjens – Milka team. Bart Brentjens himself is a world class athlete and has achieved things that most of us can only dream of! He also has the excperience that he will share with his team mates.
6. What is your bike setup for the Croc Trophy – are there any specific changes to your equipment?
This year I will be riding the Ridley 29″ Ignite, specced with 4ZA components ans a SRAM groupset. The unique feature on this bike is the Anti Vibration System. That will sure help me a lot on the rough dirtroads up in Queensland. I like to refer to this bike as my “Mean Machine”. Just wait until the Croc and you’ll know what I’m talking about!