Home' Air Force News : December 10th 2009 Contents Fleet Network Pty Ltd D/L No. 20462
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AIR FORCE December 10, 2009
By John Martin
WHEN FLTLT Shane
Taylor set his sights on
riding for charity in the
Crocodile Trophy in
north Queensland, he might reason-
ably have expected to see actual
But as it turns out, he saw none.
He did not even imagine peering
eyes hiding in the mangroves whenev-
er he had to traverse waterways along
the 1110km Cairns to Cape Tribulation
race route from October 20-29.
Heck, he does not even confess to
"Actually, it was quite the oppo-
site," he said. "The rivers provided
welcome relief from the blistering sun
and it was always nice to have cool
water on the legs.
"To be fair, a lot of the race was
conducted inland up in the mountains
but there wasn't a single confirmed
crocodile sighting. We did tangle with
a death adder, though, which kept all
the European backpackers on their
FLTLT Taylor, of RAAF Base
Richmond, was 15th outright of 65 start-
ers.The Crocodile Trophy race is run
by a European promotion company
and is very popular with foreigners.
Forty-eight of the starters were
internationals, come to test their endur-
ance in some of the world's toughest
mountain bike terrain and conditions.
There were only 13 Australian
starters, of whom FLTLT Taylor beat
10 home. He placed eighth in the
men's elite category.
More importantly, he raised $1405
through personal donations for the
Children's Hospital at Westmead.
"Time was against me as I only
found out I was going a month out
from the event," he said.
"Hopefully next time there will be
more time to approach potential spon-
sors and drum up some more corpo-
rate support. Thanks to those that did
donate and it certainly helped along
the way to know that people had put
their hard earned cash on the line.
"It was a good incentive to pedal
just that little bit harder and when it's
40-plus degrees you need all the incen-
tive you can muster."
He felt a tad nervous at the start
of the race.
Rock around the Croc
"Crowding around at the start line
I was feeling very isolated given that
most of the competitors were conversing
in foreign languages and that I had no
idea about what to
expect for the race."
He soon found
30km to go in
the sixth stage,
his front wheel
flicked a mas-
sive stick right up
at the derailleur
hanger (the thing
that changes the
gears at the back). "The hanger did its
job but the now-detached derailleur
was flung straight into my back wheel,
which broke one of the spokes."
A passing rider helped him out and
he was able to continue with an impro-
"This incident was a blow. I was
just starting to dream of a top-10 fin-
ish when I was suddenly faced with a
potentially race-ending incident. This
is a prime example of how the Croc
bashes you around mentally as much
He will also long remember the
brutal stretch of corrugations on the
stage from Laura to Cooktown.
"The final 30kms, while on tarmac,
were into a headwind that could peel the
lips off your face, and as a final kicker,
the last 2kms were up a 30 per cent gra-
dient that finished with a stair climb.
"To top it off, the temperature
reached well above 40 degrees and by
that stage most of us were just happy
to make it to the end alive."
Rolling on to the beach at Cape
Tribulation was a special moment.
"Realising that you had accom-
plished something quite incredible and
having made so many friends along the
way was almost enough to take your
mind off the fact that your legs felt like
blocks of wood."
Cape Tribulation was at that time
just outside the box jellyfish season
-- but any suspicion there might have
been some early stinger arrivals cer-
tainly did not cross FLTLT Taylor's
"The beach we finished at had
some natural rock features which
provided some protection but I doubt
anyone would have cared.
"The water was far too inviting at
that point. It was the best beach swim
The wheels are already in motion to
determine the feasibility of an Australian
Defence Cycling Club team at the Croc
next year. For more information on
Defence mountain biking, visit www.
Air Force volleyballers dazzle at ADF championships
AIR FORCE was a big win-
ner at the Australian Defence
Volleyball Association (ADVA)
national competition at RAAF
Base Townsville in October.
Not only did our mixed team
of men and women wrest the
inter-service title away from
defending champion Army, fin-
ishing undefeated in a round-
robin, it also had some individ-
LACW Katie Sharpe and
LACW Vanessa Loudon excelled
in a beach volleyball tournament
held before the indoor competi-
tion and were rewarded for their
efforts by being selected to rep-
resent the Australian Defence
Volleyball Association (ADVA).
LACW Sharpe took her good
form indoors and was selected
as the women's rookie of the
Besides the inter-service and
beach volleyball competitions,
an interstate indoor competition
was also held.
The men's final was won by
South Queensland, which beat
ACT and NSW.
The women's final was also
won by South Queensland,
which beat Northern Territory.
Air Force players to represent
the ADVA in 2010: Women:
LACW Sharpe, LACW Loudon,
SQNLDR Julie Hackett, and
SQNLDR Vicky Denner.
Men: CPL Simon Trebilco, CPL
Trevor Connell and CPL Peter
All Defence personnel inter-
ested in being involved in vol-
leyball should visit the website:
www.adfva.org to find contact
details for single service or
' The rivers
and it was
always nice to
have cool water
on the legs.
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