Today was the fourth stage of the 25th Crocodile Trophy and the Il Pastaio/Rocky Trail Racing Team is exhausted, but happy. Says team manager Martin Wisata,
“Today was probably the most versatile Croc stage that I’ve raced in the 10 years so far, very worthy of a Queen Stage. It had everything! Nice long climbs, brutal long climbs, brutal short climbs, some amazing singletrack in Atherton… 7.5 hours on a bike for me. That takes its toll, everybody is tired tonight, a brutal, yet awesome stage.”
Today had been a reminder of the long days in the saddle of the early years of the Crocodile Trophy some of the multiple race finishers said today. A lot of tired yet content faces at the finish.
The race organisers had added two more feed zones to help the competitors deal with the hot conditions and have offered some riders to complete a shorter course of about 56km, explained the Australian Chief Race Commissaire Tony Scott today, “We decided to add two more feed stops at the 23km and 68km marks in response to today’s hot weather conditions. It is an ideal spot on the stage route as the riders will pass it twice on the full course. We gave riders a choice to head for the finish from there.” Scott confirmed that ten riders had made this choice and that they would receive an adjusted finish time to allow for the shorter stage completed today, 56km and 1600vm
The full course added up to over 3,200 vertical meters of climbing on the Atherton Tablelands and had a classic marathon distance of almost 100km. Today started in the Atherton MTB Park and the racers did over 20 km of typically Australian-style single track including the infamous “Stairway to Heaven’” and many other popular sections on the purpose built cross-country course. Then the riders headed back out into the Baldy Mountain Forest Reserve and via the Walsh River Tracks into the Herberton Range National Park. Again tough pinch climbs provided for a challenging yet rewarding day in the saddle, including a 5 km climb to Drovers Lookout with expansive eastern views over the tablelands.
Again two podium spots for the team: