AT the age of just 14 Alex Cross has made a big decision about her sporting future.
The versatile athlete is a Manning Valley Netball representative at State championship level while she's also played State Junior Cup with Taree Touch Football sides. However, netball and touch will now go on the back burner as Alex steps up her commitment to cycling.
A third placing in the under 15 criterium at the Australian Road Cycling Championships held on the Gold Coast and a ninth placing in the individual time trial has influenced her decision.
Alex is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.
She was the only club rider (non State representative) to win a medal at the championship. Alex also went into the event on the back of a comparatively modest training regimen due in part to her commitments to representative netball. Alex will continue to play touch in the Taree mixed competition although she hasn't made up her mind about club netball next year.
"I want to get serious about bike racing,'' she said.
Alex was the third NSW rider across the line in the time trial, where she managed to beat two State representatives in what was a brutal race marred by a number of crashes on a highly technical course.
The criterium's duration was 20 minutes plus two laps. Alex gave herself an outside chance of finishing around the medals. She admits to making a few tactical errors during the race but was still in a blanket finish, just missing a silver medal.
"I probably left it a bit late,'' she said of her surge at the conclusion of the event.
However, Alex is confident the experience she gained from the event will be beneficial in the long run. She only started racing seriously last year.
Alex is also pretty chuffed that she was the only club rider to gain the podium finish.
Once the netball representative season finished Alex stepped up her preparation for the nationals. She was averaging around 200km a week on the bike in either indoor or outdoor sessions under her coach, her dad, Michael.
This culminated in a rider to Mt George and back in strong winds just before heading to the Gold Coast.
Alex will take on a new challenge during the summer when she heads to Newcastle each Wednesday night to race on the track for the first time. This will also include the occasional visit to the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Bass Hill, the headquarters of velodrome racing in the country. Alex will also ride occasionally in criteriums conducted by the Manning Valley club on Wednesday evenings.