The Rider Files: Patrick Cross
By Scotty Mac
The thing about Pat Cross is… he rides his bike like a fighter. I don’t mean ‘fighter’ as in ‘jet fighter’ but ‘fighter’ as in “I’m gonna knock you out, sucka!” ‘fighter.’ Makes sense, really, seeing as how he was one. Long before any of us AscentCycling camp followers knew him, Patrick was making his way as a boxer and mixed martial artist. You can see it when you look at him and hear it when you talk with him. The man knows how to handle himself. It’s a confidence and calmness brought about from his time in the ring.
|Patrick Cross Back in the Day as a Pro Fighter.|
Don't Worry, He doesn't fight anymore!
This unique life trajectory makes P.C. a strong mountain biker. He’s suffered through countless, grueling training sessions as a boxer, which is why he makes that steep climb on that ride you went on that you didn’t quite make but he sailed right over seem quite manageable. He’s not afraid to take the pain and master it.
|Patrick Cross on his Stumpjumper FSR Expert EVO Carbon 29er|
I’ve watched Patrick’s riding style evolve over the last six years or so, and compared with the rest of us he’s taken the largest strides. I saw him first on a Kona King short travel suspension rig, focused on solo 24 hour racing. His next ride was a Rocky Mountain Slayer SXC, and with the increased capability he discovered the big boy lines in Palmer Park. Pat developed his riding to maximize enjoyment on the downs while relying on his built-up bank of heavy training to propel him up the climbs. Gravity-fed or not, he is still all about earning his turns. His speed merchantization (new word, Webster’s-pending I swear) saw him jump to a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR EVO and a Kona Operator downhill bike. After a stint with the long travel Kona Abra Cadabra, Pat joined the wagon wheel realm with the Specialized FSR EVO 29er, a bike capable enough for him to rage on the descents and light enough to pound up the climbs.
Mountain bike racing has never been a primary driver for Pat during his time in the cycling industry, but that hasn’t stopped him from entering all types of mountain biking events. The aforementioned 24 hour racing aside, P.C. has done trad cross-country lap races, big-loop marathons, and point-to-point races. He’s signed up for the heavy-hitting Original Growler half-marathon race in Gunnison, CO over Memorial Day weekend, and I’ve heard some rumblings about him putting on his gravity pants to race The Captain Enduro in Colorado Springs this year as well.
This is a mountain bike racer who knows himself. He’s not out looking for the win, though he’s done what few of us will do and that’s stand on the podium. He races for the experience and the challenge. A couple weeks ago, I was starting to stress out about the Growler. I was over-analyzing everything as those who know me know I am wont to do. Pat told me this: he said “Scotty, we’re gonna go to Gunny, we’re gonna ride somewhere new. Yeah, it’s a tough course. So we’re gonna go out and have fun.” It was simple, but effective. I calmed down and returned to normal, non-neurotic Scotty. This is a mountain bike racer who knows himself.
Believe it or not, this will be the first time I’ve raced with Patrick Cross, when we strap on our number plates and line up for the Growler. I will see him momentarily at the start before he rockets away, as he is a much stronger rider than I. He will absolutely pin himself through the course, stubbornly topping the climbs before having an obscene amount of fun on the descents. Should a rider go down hard near him, or suffer from some sort of malady he will offer assistance.
Patrick Cross, Lane Sherman and Clay Allison
I have no doubt that when I cross the finish line and make it back to camp, he’ll be there with that infectious smile and enthusiasm, hilariously holding court with tales from the race, but also being the consummate friend and welcoming me back.
These are the things Pat Cross, mountain bike fighter, cares about.