Alan Wins Stoudt's Cross 11/03/2013 - By Alan Fody

Two Riders On The Podium

Keith Hatton and I raced the Men's 3/4 race at Stoudts cross. The course had a number of uphill sections, some mildly off camber downhill sections, and a technical stone step-up. I knew from my warm up laps that the course was going be very tiring, which suites me well. Keith had a first row start spot and I managed to sneak up to the 2nd row for the start. This was the first time I've ever had a decent call-up for a cross race. For those that don't know, the start order matters a lot in cross, especially when there are long sections of single file technical corners.

When the whistle sounded to start the race I attempted to move up and ended up in 9th with Keith right in front of me. I was a bit cautious on the off camber corners on the first half lap so I lost some ground to the leaders but I maintained my 9th place position as Keith moved up. A group of 3 leaders had separated themselves from the field and were flying away.

On the 3rd lap I had gained confidence through the corners and was locked on the back of a group of 6 riders led by Keith. About half way through the lap there was a very steep and very bump grass climb named Goat Hill. I allowed a small gap to open in front of me before the last corner that lead into the foot of the climb so I could carry speed and attack the group. I surged past the 5 other riders and moved into 4th. Keith got on my wheel and encouraged me to push the pace. I used a quick mount from the barriers and the following straight section to put some distance on that group. I think I jammed Keith up in some of the corners and he was not able to follow. As I crossed the finish line there were 4 laps to go and I was motoring along after the 3 leaders.

Up the hard hills on the 4th lap I passed the original leader as he was blowing up quite spectacularly and I managed to pass the 2nd place rider on Goat Hill. From there I was determined to win the race so I chased the leader. Towards the end of the lap I caught the leader and waited for my move. There was a 180 turn that lead to a long uphill and I love charging into uphill sections. I let a small gap open in the 180 turn and then punched it as hard as I could on the uphill. I opened a gap and from there I needed to time trial for 3 more laps.

On the final lap I had a ~15 second gap and I was focused on riding cleanly to preserve my lead. Unfortunately I ended up dropping my chain on an extremely bumpy section of the course. I remained calm, shifted to the big ring, and got the chain back on without stopping. However I was in my 46:12 going uphill and I couldn't really pedal. I started to panic a bit when I saw the 2nd placer rider approaching but I managed to shift and keep a small gap. I crushed the next 2 uphill sections and regained a comfortable lead, which I maintained until the final set of 4 180 turns. These turns had become slick as the race progressed and I was coming up on 2 lapped riders. The first lapped rider moved out of my way but the 2nd one decided to block me through 2 of the turns. I could see the leader gained as I was turning and I was panicking. I managed to pass the lapped rider, took my time through the final corner, and then sprinted as hard as I could for the finish line. I won the race with a few seconds to spare, and it was my first win of the year for road or cross. Keith managed to move up throughout the race joined me on the podium with a 3rd place finish.