Occasional BIKEmagic contributor and epic specialist Pat Norwill, has swapped his usual frostbitten Alaskan waste tastes acquired in Idita races, for the searing mid bush heat of Australia’s Crocodile Trophy.
With over 2120km of riding over 15 stages it’s yet another contender for “the most epic of all mtb races” and attracts the usual bunch of have a go heroes, serious epic athletes, the terminally sado masochistic and even a few old Euro Pro’s such as the Ex Tour De France star, sprinter Eric Vandaerarden.
Quite what he’s making of the constant through and off pacelines across an average daily total of 200km of hard packed washboard sand and gravel with disinterested wallabies the only audience isn’t clear.
“I talked to some of the locals in the bar tonight and they were saying more winds to come and rougher trails. You know, it’s pretty amazing, it’s like this: it’s a gravel road but the gravel does not move! It’s really jagged. I sliced a tire yesterday and it’s amazing that I even finished. I was inspecting the tires this morning and realized that I got a one-inch gash in my tire and half an inch of tube sticking out. It’s pretty brutal, I think there were four of five flats today, the same as yesterday. The race organizers got shipped two guys from Shimano that are following the race via trucks.
“It’s a tough race. What makes it really tough is that you’ve got to go fast every day. You can’t slack off if you want to finish in the top cut, you are right on it, right off the bat. There’s no screwing around. If you have a problem, you’re done, and yesterday, I had a problem, and I was done, and it’s just as simple as that.”
Will he make it or won’t he, how good does a cold tinny really taste after another 200k of gravel hammering, and what will happen to the bunch sprint king of yesteryear when the race hits proper technical terrain? Stay tuned for our next thrilling instalment.