After first visiting Australia in 2010 for the 24hr World Championships, Matt Page (Wiggle) is returning in 2012. Not only is he racing the Crocodile Trophy, but also the Scott 24hr Solo beforehand. A gruelling double? Jason English and Cory Wallace will be doing the same.
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’ve known about it for quite a few years, but only really dug deep when I did an article for MBUK magazine about the “Toughest MTB events on the planet”. The Croc featured in that, so I know it lasts for longer than others and the stages are really long. Then there is the heat, which everyone tells me is crazy.
What made you decide to come to the race in 2012?
Quite by chance really, I got the entry from a good friend, Rickie Cotter who won it at IronBike for being the 1st female. She was unable to make the Croc, so offered it to me. Then when the 24hr WSC was cancelled and I looked for an alternative I found the Scott 24hr was the week before. Foolish no doubt but kills two birds with one stone.
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?
I should be fine with the distances an the amount of days. Remoteness should be OK for me too, so long as I’m fed! The biggest issue for me will be the heat without a doubt and perhaps the wildlife. I’m not a fan of snakes, so hope I don’t come across any. My preparation has been all aimed towards the 24hr solo to be honest, but with several other stage races this year including Iron Bike I should be OK if I can recover.
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
To be honest I’ve not looked at the size of the field, but I’d say I prefer it. Iron Bike is also small and I think it creates a better atmosphere. Events like the TransAlp don’t really appeal to me simply because of the numbers involved. Bigger fields mean the terrain and trails you ride need to be altered, mostly for the worse.
Who do you see as the main challengers for 2012?
I haven’t looked at the entry list, but I know Jason English is racing and like me he will have done the Scott 24hr the week previous.
What is your bike setup for the Croc Trophy – are there any specific changes to your equipment?
Exactly the same as other stage races and marathon events I have done. A Felt Nine 29er with No Tubes Race Gold wheels, Schwalbe tyres and SRAM XX drivetrain. I’m undecided on gearing, I may stick with 39/26 or go big with 42/28.