How far north can mountain biking take you in QLD? Well, the Crocodile Trophy has finished in Cooktown the last couple years and we were really quite privileged to not only take the journey up from Port Douglas to Cooktown, but as guests to The Croc Trophy we actually had a rare chance to ride the final stage of the race.
We were a long way north now, and loving the climate, food scenery and chilled QLD vibes. But our road trip was winding to an end, and that was not to be loved.
In between Port Douglas and Cooktown wasn’t any chance for real mountain biking as such, but we took a few opportunities along the way to stop and soak in some colourful tropical sights, long beaches, incredible ice creams and freaky animal spotting.
Now, for this Flow fellow, participating in The Croc Trophy stage race is a far fetched reality with the sheer difficulty of the event enough to frighten away any inkling of consideration. Nine stages, 850km from Cairns to Cooktown, through absolute gruelling conditions and terrain. It’s a logistical challenge from a riders point of view, hence the $2500+ entry fee, and would take the best part of one year to prepare for.
But, 48km isn’t too far really, and we were just along for the ride so we put our hands up and we said yes to riding from the remote town of Hopevale to Cooktown, and join the final stage festivities and presentation.
The final stage was really just a bit of a celebration, a cruisy ride to the finish like the Tour de France ride into Paris, but it’s too hot and bumpy to be drinking champagne like those high rolling roadies do. The majority of the categories were pretty much wrapped up, and only a serious setback or mechanical would change the results. So, when we set off about ten minutes before the fast bunch we settled into a comfortable pace, but always kept an eye behind us for the elite riders that would most certainly catch and pass us before the finish.
Dry, dry and hot. But we certainly kept those thoughts to ourselves, the guys and girls that we were riding with had ridding in far drier, much hotter and for nine days by that stage!
We’ve all heard about the Croc for as long as we can remember, we’ve read the reports, seen the photos and watched videos, but to be there in person and get the feel for how damn tough and strong the competitors are. We learnt another level of respect and admiration not only for the Euros that travel so far to battle it out in the intense tropical conditions, but the fact that The Croc has grown into an event that can also support and welcomes participants, not just the pros.
Farewell Tropical North Queensland! We’ll be back under your delicious tropical canopy soon for the Cairns World Cup, in April 2014.