12 hour wave leader
Richard Cross (aka ‘Crossy’) from Team Bicycle Network is a 5 x Peaks Challenge finisher and one of the 12-hour wave leaders for Peaks Challenge Falls Creek.
Whether Crossy is out leading training rides or giving you a helping hand on event day, he’ll do everything in his power to make sure you get you over that finish line within your goal time.
We chatted to the great man to find out what motivates him to take on such a mammoth ride, and what keeps him coming back for more.
How long have you been riding for?
I’ve commuted to work for most of my career (London and Melbourne), but it was probably Around the Bay back in the mid-90s that inspired me to start aiming for the bigger (200km+ rides).
What gets you most excited about getting out on the bike?
Whether it’s an early start on Sundays, beating the traffic on the morning commute or helping up-and-coming riders achieve their goal time at Peaks Challenge, riding is a great way to stay healthy and active for free. Having a close group of riding mates also helps with the early mornings – it’s a great social activity!
Why did you decide you wanted to take on Peaks Challenge Falls Creek?
Having completed Around the Bay many times, and the 250km option twice, I was looking for a new challenge a couple of years ago. So a few mates and I decided to take on Peaks Falls Creek in 2017, which was certainly a challenge, but oh so rewarding. Later that year I had the honour of riding as a 12 hour wave rider for Peaks Cradle Mountain 2017, and again for Peaks Falls Creek in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Now I’m hooked and ready to go again in 2022.
What would you say to riders who are hesitant to commit to a ride as challenging as Peaks?
Sure, it’s a big ride that requires many hours of training to prepare you for the event, but don’t let that psych you out! If you’re able to regularly ride to work by bike to get some solid kms in the legs, and can commit to some longer rides in the hills every other weekend, you’re well on your way to taking on the challenge.
I’d definitely recommend getting along to one of the many training rides Team Bicycle Network host over the summer. They’re open to everyone (even if you’re not yet signed up) and are a great way to get some inside tips, ride with the wave leaders before the event and get a good gauge on how your preparation is tracking.
If you can find a training buddy with a similar goal, it will make a world of difference and keep you accountable when you want to sleep in.
Any advice on tackling the first descent from Falls Creek?
Both times for me it has been dry and above zero degrees, so I just got into a steady rhythm and stayed focussed (it’s a long day and this is not the opportunity to pick up any time). Wash off speed before you make the turn (brake when you are upright, not leaning over), go steady, get in a rhythm, stay relaxed and focus on the exit of each corner.
Even if you start together, the long downhill from Falls splits everyone up. I suggest those wanting to ride together or with a wave leader focus on meeting at the first rest stop (the top of Tawonga Gap).
What is your favourite thing about riding for Team Bicycle Network as the 12 hour pacer?
As wave rider you get to talk to fellow riders, encourage them up each climb alongside you, provide some distraction from the grinding and boost their confidence when the going gets tough. It’s a wonderful feeling when this all comes together and you get a rider over the last climb, especially if they had ever doubted whether they could finish.
What’s your strongest memory of riding Peaks Challenge?
My strongest memory is getting a fellow rider called GV over the finish line at Peaks Challenge Cradle Mountain 2017. It was a big day in the saddle and we both sat down on the finish and shed a tear together, we were both proud of our achievement that day.
You’ve conquered Peaks before, but what keeps you coming back?
For me, I need a goal (and a target date for that goal). It gets me out of bed on the weekends when I want to sleep in and it stops me eating that second pastry. It doesn’t matter how many times you have conquered Peaks, it’s still a bloody big ride that keeps you on your toes and can never be taken for granted.
Finally Crossy, can you talk us through this outfit?
It was the 1990s and I was a pommy trying to fit in to the Australian way of life. Plus, the bum-bag is simply practical!
If you’re keen on tackling Peaks Challenge Falls Creek, be sure to check out our upcoming training rides so you can meet and ride with Team Bicycle Network before the event.
Otherwise, give Crossy a wave as he leads the 12 hour riders over the finish line in March.