Australian Crocodile Trophy hopeful Abby McLennan sounded an ominous warning to her international rivals on what to expect for the upcoming 10 days of extreme mountain bike torture in the wilderness of Tropical North Queensland.
Tapering her training program ahead of the race start on October 20, the Cairns beauty therapist confirmed there will be no pampering for anyone on the steep, rainforest climbs and long, dusty outback roads that lie ahead over the 1,200 kilometre journey.
McLennan's advice is well worth listening to. Together with her "Rattle & Hum" teammates, Husband Scott McLennan and workhorse James Banner-Smith, the talented cross country mountain biker has spent recent months scouting the course for the 2009 race, which will venture into the heart of Australia's Outback.
"I've been doing a lot of big k's, four days in a row of big days up to seven, eight hours and the other days just speed sessions and gym weights workouts," said McLennan.
"Just lately over the last couple of months, we have been really trying to get out in the hot, dusty terrain to get ourselves used to it."
A multiple winner of Australia's Triple RRR Classic and Paluma Push, McLennan will front up against some high calibre European opponents, including Dutch cyclist Monique Zeldenrust, who recently represented The Netherlands at the UCI Mountainbike World Championships in Canberra.
However, the opposition isn't McLennan's main concern, after learning in training that the Crocodile Trophy is foremost about survival. "It's hard, you have your highs and lows and the lows are really hard when you're out in sand and heat and your water's warm and you're dusty and thirsty and tired and you've still got another three hours to go," she said.
"But you just have to find your little happy place and drift off there and get through it."
Husband Scott, a Crocodile Trophy alumni whose passion for the race has proven contagious, can't wait to get the 2009 edition underway.
"The Crocodile Trophy I think is a special race," Scott said. "I love the North Queensland outback and the chance to be involved in something big that the Europeans come over for, I think the concept is terrific."
The Crocodile Trophy peloton for 2009 will include riders from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Italy, New Zealand, The Czech Republic, Germany, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Switzerland, Spain, and South Africa.
The race begins in Cairns on October 20 and will venture deep into the Australian Outback before it finishes on a tropical beach at Cape Tribulation on October 29.
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