Having won the Mongolia Bike Challenge in 2012, plus the 24hrs of Old Pueblo, and now placed 4th in the Scott 24hr Solo – Cory Wallace (Canada) is surely a Croc Contender, deserving to be featured alongside Mike Mulkens, Matt Page, Ondrej Slezak and Justin Maddog Morris.
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?
The first time I headed to the Croc I knew I was in for a crazy adventure in the Aussie outback with a bunch of extremely fit euros. The race is a bit of a legend over here in North America as few of us have ever raced it but we all hear the epic stories from each years races and all the Euro pros who throw down at it. There always seems to be an “x” factor which creeps into the race whether it’s sickness, flooding or animals. Racing in the Crocodile is like going into the abyss where you really don’t know what is coming around the next corner.
What made you decide to come to the race in 2012?
After having some mechanical troubles in the 2010 Croc Trophy I have wanted to return and properly finish off what I started. When the Mongolia Bike Challenge told me they had set up a racer swap with the Crocodile I knew I had to take the opportunity and run with it.
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?
The biggest challenge of a race like the Crocodile trophy is to keep everything together for the full 9 stages. Between racing and dealing with all the outdoor elements included in camping and living in the outback for 10 days it is a challenge to stay on top of everything and to keep your body and bike running smoothly for the duration of the race. The other big challenge is to stay out of the way of the Crocs as they can eliminate you from the race in a big way.
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?
The field at the Croc will be more than big enough with 150+ riders this year. With the amount of high level Euros here it is guaranteed each day is going to be hard from the gun. Sure, some races might have bigger numbers but I think the Crocodile attracts a very high level of tough riders who are more than ready to leave their mark in the Aussie outback.
Who do you see as the main challengers for 2012?
I’m unfamiliar with most of the field so I really don’t worry too much about the other competitors. I think this years race has a lot of solid riders at it but none that stand out like Urs Huber or Bart Brentjens have in years past. My goal is to show up in top shape, keep my bike together, and finish the race with not an ounce of energy left in the tank. In the big picture the main challenge of a race like the Croc is to keep your mind on track and channel all your energy towards getting your bike to the finish line day in day out.
What is your bike setup for the Croc Trophy – are there any specific changes to your equipment?
I’ll be racing a real weapon at the Croc this year with my KONA King Kahuna 29′r carbon hard tail. It is decked out for the Croc with Easton EC90 Carbon wheels, SID World Cup fork, WTB saddle and grips, SRAM parts and Maxxis Ikon tires. It was a rocket ship in winning the Mongolia Bike Challenge (MBC) earlier this year which has very similar terrain to the Croc trophy. I have 100% confidence in this bikes ability to deal with 9 days of throwing down in the outback.