Many of you will be familiar with Cory Wallace – the Canadian woodsman who fells trees in the Yukon in winter, and races his bikes in the summer. The Kona factory rider has been on the up for a long time, increasing the calibre of his wins from year to year. In 2014 alone, Wallace has won two rounds and the overall of the Australian XCM Series, placed 20th at the XCM World Championships, won the Canadian XCM Championships, won his 3rd Mongolia Bike Challenge, won his 1st Tour de Timor, and his first MTB Himalaya. On 18th October, he will be in Cairns to line up for the 20th Crocodile Trophy – and after 2nd place last year, and other top finishes… is this Cory’s year? We tracked him down after his hat-trick of recent stage race victories.
Cory, you travel the world to race your mountain bike – what makes the Crocodile Trophy special?
The Croc has the best diversity of any race I have done as we race on trails, outback roads and rough mining trails through a variety of terrain including jungles and the dry dusty outback. The racing is great fun, but just part of the whole package as the camping side of the race is 2nd to none with riders and volunteers from around the World get to hang out for 9 days in some great campsites. Chilling in the party town of Cairns before and after the race is the icing on the cake!
You have finished very high on the podium before – if you’re shooting for the top, who are your biggest competitors this year?
I expect the competition to be very high this year with the UCI S1 Status. 2012 winner Ivan Rybarik and World Cup racer Dave Rosa standout out on the entrants list as guys to watch. Having raced the Croc 3 times and seeing what it takes to win, I’m confident I have the form to do just that this year. That being said there are a lot of outside obstacles at this race so it will take a lot more then just good riding to win this thing.
Do you think the UCI status will change the race, or the riders racing the Croc?
Having the UCI status should deepen the top end of the field for sure. There is a large amount of UCI points up for grabs and with the Olympic selection starting next year it is very valuable to snag these early on so a guy can get a good World Cup start position next year. I’m thinking this will be the most competitive Crocodile ever due to this.
How has the Croc changed since you first competed in 2010?
The first Croc I race in 2010 was pretty much a road race on dirt. The days were long and dusty on the outback roads and the race was dominated by European roadies. Every year the route has changed more towards the mountain bikers with trails and tough mining roads tossed into the mix, Last year the roadies only had 2 or 3 stages to show there fitness, while the rest of the stages were dominated by mountain bikers who had the skills to keep the bike moving in the right direction. This year looks even better with lots of trails in the opening days which should separate the mountain bikers from the roadies right away.
For a Croc first timer, what would be your advice for getting through in one piece?
For the first time croc’rs I would suggest making sure they are not only ready for an epic bike race but also the camping conditions. It is important to pack whatever is needed to be comfortable in camp as we spend alot of time there and it is key to get in some proper rest whenever possible. As for bike set up it is good to have some tough tires to deal with the rocks and to run low pressure to make the journey a bit smoother. Also pack some good swimming shorts for the billabongs as they are the bliss out in the outback.
Since early 2013 you seem to have stepped it up in every race, in terms of strength and results. How do you stay fit and healthy when you’re travelling so much, do you try to keep a routine?
Spending 5-7 months a year racing around the world is a challenge but i find if I look after my nutrition and get enough rest it is possible to stay fit and healthy for these journeys. Having bags of nutritious veggie and protein powders from Canada helps keep things on track as they can be added to foods when the nutritional quality isn’t there. Being relaxed and not stressing the small things like flights etc helps keep the body in balance and saves the energy stores when it it matters in races. Trying to go with the flow and adapting to the changing conditions makes it a lot easier then trying to fight every little thing out of the ordinary as they are a never ending part of travelling.
You’re the man’s man of marathon and stage race mountain bike racing. Which of the following don’t you own: A truck, a 4 wheeler, an axe, a chainsaw, a beard, a flannel shirt, a shotgun, a hip-flask.
Haha, i don’t own a shotgun or hip flask. I do own a fishing pole though as the trout fishing up in the mountains of Canada is awesome. I’d rather leave the bigger animals like elk and bears to there own peace as they are what make the Canadian wilderness what it is. ps. Guns are for wussies, a true man would take on a bear with his own bare hands.