Australian cyclist Adam Hansen has twice won the Crocodile Trophy, one of the hardest multi-day races the fat tyre world has to offer. This January he made the road world sit up and take notice when he placed fourth in the Australian national championship road race. John Michael Flynn finds out that there's a lot more to this talented young rider than bashing across the Outback.
Since its inception, the brutal Crocodile Trophy has become probably the hardest bike race on the planet - a bit like cycling's answer to the Dakar Rally. It involves fifteen days of slogging it out in bulldust, corrugated tracks and creek crossings in stifling tropical heat. When each stage is over, the riders pitch tents at night and hand-wash knicks before the next day's torture. They endure conditions that only can be fully appreciated when one is stranded in such an environment.
Of course, it demands the question 'why?', but philosophical dilemmas aside, we can simply say "character-building". But the other question that many have pondered is this: just how good are these intrepid men and women who tackle it each year?
The race has seen very well-credentialed roadies enter the race, like none other than Australia's greatest road cyclist, Phil Anderson. Some have finished, others have not. But Phil was a long-retired rider when he entered the 'Croc', and so the dilemma remained of placing the event in a modern competitive context.
But that question was answered last month in an important road race outside of Adelaide, in South Australia.
Although it is held early in the season, the Australian Open Road Championship (AORC) sees many of the country's top riders have a very serious dig at securing the national champion's jersey.
Read the entire Adam Hansen interview here.