Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Mt Vic - NZ Cup

After spending the summer having an awesome time down in dirty Dunners it was time to head up north and come back home for a bit of racing. Welly turned it on for the Seven's this weekend and the super steep Mt Vic course was putting on a dust party of its own.

We had the whole NZXC team plus Karen staying at the Bradshaw wharae over the weekend so it was a good laugh all weekend.

Racing rolled around on Sunday afternoon and I was pumped to let it rip after a month or so of some pretty solid riding. My bike was back together thanks to Stylie and Tristan being the top bloke that he is, let me give the Wheelworks ENVE Wheels a run for the weekend.

Wholly shit, these wheels are amazing. I've always heard people yarning on about them but I was never fully convinced until taking them for a blast on practice on Saturday. After coming down the first downhill over steering everything, I got used to riding a pair of wagon wheels that actually go exactly where you tell them to go. Mt Vic is full of roots and the lines I was able to hit over/between/around them were made so easy with the stiff carbon rims. I found that I had learnt to compensate for the flex in the wheels, but once I got used to the stiffness it was a dream.

Too bad the radiator wasn't working on Sunday to keep up with the heat. The race itself started well getting the wholeshot off the line and sitting pretty comfortable for the first few laps. Cramp set in far too early and the heat finished me off completely. I got round the 6 laps in a semi conscious euphoric state due to the heat exhaustion  The crowd on the course was amazing, always awesome racing at home on the home track, its really what got me through to the end to battle in for 7th in Elite men.

After putting myself in the medical tent again, I'm
trying to recover in time for the final round of the National Series in  Auckland this week before National Champs in Roto the following week.

Loving riding the bike at the moment and can't wait to turn that into some speed over the next two weeks! 

Friday, 14 September 2012

World Championships, Saalfelden Austria

As we moved into the team accommodation this year, none of us could quite believe the flashness of the Hotel Ritzinhof. With only 8 of us staying at the accommodation, 2 managers and a mechanic it was a great environment and the week leading up went extremely smoothly as we got to know the track and the area better.

I spent a lot of time in bed at the beginning of the week trying to get rid of the cough and spent a few nights up until 1or 2 am not being able to sleep due to the coughing. As race day got closer I started feeling better and was pretty well symptom free by friday, race day. 

A thunderstorm had come through on Thursday and made the track slick but not completely wet, I was doing my rain dances hoping it would keep raining as I loved the slippery days practice we had the week before. By race day it was pretty well dry again and the Under 23 chicks got rid of any moisture that was hanging round. 

The course itself came out of a stadium climbing for a few minutes on open paddock with a few stream crossings before going into the singletrack for a bit before a fast mainly open farmland descent back down to the feedzone. This was followed by a medium grade sealed climb before going into about 30 seconds of singletrack before another open grassy descent back to the finish. In amongst this were one or two fun obstacles but nothing too major. On first impression it was a pretty disappointing track but by the time hundreds of riders had been over it, it had roughed up a lot and was going to be a tough track to race. 

I managed to head down a bit early and catch the end of Jolanda taking the World Champs jersey which was awesome and Samara coming through. The heat was just peaking for our 2pm race and I was called up 41st out of the 102 riders in our field. It was a crazy fast start up the sealed climb of the start loop and was running alright holding inside the top 50. As we started the first lap and the first major climb I could tell something wasn't going quite right as the power I can happily put down wasn't coming at all. I battled through to the feedzone and asked for my inhaler as I could feel my breath getting more and constricted. Usually the inhaler fixes it immediately, so I put a big effort up the next hill to get back to where I should be. I didn't get far before I was swaying all over the place and had to really struggle to get any oxygen in me. By the time I battled through another lap and came through the feedzone I crashed into Paul feeding me and had to be caught by Northern to keep me upright. The feeling was like the moment after a max interval and all I could think about was sucking in enough air to get things back to normal. But instead I could only take a quarter of a pull before my lungs were full and the panic button was coming on in my head. I had come all the way to Austria and was not about to pull out without leaving everything on the track. So I pushed off after a few more puffs on my inhaler and tried to foolishly keep going up the hill. I got maybe 50 metres round the corner before Sonja Neff ran onto the track and pulled me over where I collapsed on the track. It was now that I really started feeling scared as I couldn't get enough oxygen into my lungs. I can't really remember too well but the doctor ended up coming and it wasn't until an injection of cortisone that my airways relaxed and was able to get back to normal. I had to get in the ambulance but really wanted to be away and had a good walk of contemplation later when everything was back to normal.

I have only had one asthma attack like this before and I think it was the combination of the lingering sickness, full on race intensity and being on the wrong asthma medication. I am now back in Dunedin and went and saw the high performance Doctor yesterday who told me I have been taking the wrong medication which has caused me to become immune to my reliever medication, which explains why it didn't have any effect during the race. 

So yea, it was a very disappointing end to what has been a great trip. Although it is the tough times like this, that really give me a good kick and really make me want it more than ever before! So in some ways as a first year of four Under 23 rider I'm trying to see it as positive as possible. I learnt a lot of hard lessons and it really made me realise how young I actually am. I know I can put it all together and with a proper build up in Europe, things will start to fall into place for me in the future by keeping focused and committed while having fun on my bike. 

It was awesome to see Anton the following day smash the juniors and hearing the NZ anthem at the world champs was something really special!

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me have this amazing opportunity, The NZ management of Jeremy and Vicki, Northern mechanic ace, Big Dirk Peters for boosting round with us, Paul Mcdowell for feeding and always looking out for me, Sonja Neff and the rest of the Neff's for looking after me and always offering great chat, Silas Cullen for the hard work and all the support back home,  it really means a lot being away and knowing people back home are thinking of us. There are so many people who have helped me especially the PNP Mountain Bike Club, Foodstuffs Communtiy Trust, Skegg's Foundation. My awesome sponsers R&R Sport, Maxxis tyres and Santacruz, who I have to thank for having a completely stress free trip in terms of equipment and gear everything ran perfect! And last but definitely not least all my family especially Mum and Dad for telling it how it is, and keeping us together!

For now it's time for a few skids and being a student before having fun this summer on the bike,


Leogang - World DH Champs

After a few days more training in Thal including a good solid smash fest with Markus Neff and Dirk around the best tracks in the area, Dirk and I hopped in our browagon and drove across to Leogang in Austria for 5 days.

The World Champs were a bit odd this year, with the 4x and downhill being weekends apart, I hope this is not a sign of things to come as it always wicked fun seeing how the downhill boys do it. Anyway me and Dirk somehow found some accommodation 2 k's from the downhill so we could check it out, while also being 20 minutes ride away from the XC course for the following weekend to get some early practice on it.

Leogang is an amazing place and the mountains surrounding were incredible, this also meant for temperamental weather and we had one day of pouring rain and a high of 7 degrees. Followed by a 30+ degree day. I think the combination of this, not quite being recovered from Basel and a bug I may have picked in Thal combined to start making me cough and splutter on the Saturday before. I didn't think it was too major but still got some antibiotics in me from the NZ team courtesy of Karen!

Felt better watching the downhill on the Sunday and was awesome to see the big boys in action and everyone going mental for Minnaar.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Up's and Down's of Basel

Packing up the campervan on Saturday morning I was excited to head to Basel to scout out my first Swiss Cup race and catch up with some kiwi's over here. The whole Neff family and I piled into the van with the camper towing behind for a quick 2 hours up to Basel.

We arrived at the horse racing track to find it full of dirt jumps mixed in with food tents, pump tracks, team trucks and the cross country course. It was huge and it was so cool we were staying right on site with the other campervans. Saturday afternoon saw all the little kids and masters race and was able to have a yarn with some swiss riders in my terrible french. Checking out the course was a piece of cake as it was pretty much mostly road with a wee 50 metre climb and some obstacles inside the Horse track. It was going to be fast laps around 11.30 for the top guys so we were scheduled for 8 laps the next day!

I chucked my tent up just outside the Campervan and had a choice as sleep, the heat on Saturday had shattered me and and was still trying to get rid of a cough I had caught on the plane. In the morning the juniors raced (M.C. Cooper winning by 2+ minutes) followed by the Elite woman (lando finishing 2nd in a fast sprint). Then it was us, up at 2pm.

20 minutes from the start, as I was warming up I popped back to the campervan to pick up a new drink bottle and could hear my phone ringing. It was Dad on the other end, and I thought he was just ringing to wish me luck. Unfortunately this was not the case and instead told me of the passing of my awesome Granny Jessie. She has meant so much to me over the years, Forever I can remember her and Grandfather always leading the whole family into the crazy, outdoor, full on Bradshaw lifestyle that we have grown up with. She was always way too supportive of my dumb adventures and was always encouraging me to keep going further with my biking, and helped me get to the States earlier this year when I was scraping the barrel. I was lucky enough to go and see her just before I left for Europe when she was in hospital with the pancreatic cancer, and she told me to keep chasing my dream and give it everything in Austria this year. I am sorry I cannot be back in New Zealand with the rest of the family but are sure that everyone will be there for one another, and will have to do the best that skype will allow.

With all these thoughts running through my mind I wasn't quite where I should've been for the race but was still fired up for my first European Elite race against the likes of Nino, Absalon and other top Olympians. I was thinking of doing it for granny and had a good start with 3 crazy laps of the Horsetrack before diving off in to the singletrack. I made it out of the arena just missing a few crashes and was able to sit on Christoph Sauser's wheel and pull a few places up the side before it got narrow as. Just as the big Dirk Peters came past me the track narrowed and the guy beside me took me out into the fence as it narrowed to two abreast. I was sweet as and smashed it up the first climb trying to hold on. I sat in the train for the first lap but the jet lag and cough were causing dramas and wasn't able to hold onto the group I was with up the road section the 2nd time around. I was left battling away by myself and was only able to hold on for 5 laps before being pulled. I was pretty gutted with the race, ending up 60th but knew I wasn't going to be flying 5 days off the plane and wasn't 100% there in my head. But I can take away a lot from the amazing expierance lining up against guys I have idolised for years, and come World Champs on the 7th I will have some legs and be motivated to give it my all for Granny.

I must thank the Neff's for putting up with me and taking me along, I had a really great weekend up until about my race and loved the atmosphere of all the racers staying together at the race, NZ XC races would be so cool if it was like that! Now I am back in Thal until Wednesday before me and Dirk head over to Austria to catch the DH World Champs and get set for Worlds at the end of next week!



Friday, 24 August 2012


After 40 hours and quick stops into Sydney, Bangkok, Dubai and Zurich and forgetting to pay for a train ride to Lake Constance, I finally arrived in Thal, my home for the next week. It such a cool little place, right up in the North east corner of Switzerland by the lake and 2 km from the order of Austria. 
Jolanda 'lando' Neff and her family have been stupid enough to give me a bed for the week in their campervan and has been an ideal place to get my feet on the ground on the other side of the world. Their bike shed is just outrageous with at least 17 smoking race bikes plus all the training bikes plus all the 'station' bikes they use to get around everyday jobs with.

I couldn't ask for a better set up but I have still felt pretty shizenhousen since arriving, and have taken awhile to start feeling good on the bike again. The fat ass coughing guy I was sitting on the plane next to for 15 hours has past some of his sickness to me and I'm coughing up a whole bunch of crap after every ride. Yesterday Jolando toke me and Mary and Murray Gray down to Chur, and spent the day downhilling off a 2800 metre mountain. The tracks were insane as they were just hiking tracks and it was good to spend the day handling the bike down some dodgy swiss tracks. 

Tomorrow the whole family and I jump in the Campervan to head over to Basel to race the Swiss Cup on Sunday. It's going to be a tough race to say the least with the Olympic silver medalist Nino Schurter, Julinan Absalon and this handsome as guy called Dirk Peters lining up in the field. I was starting dead last in the 70+ field to make things even tougher but got that sorted and now starting in 30th which I can't complain about. 

I am looking forward to the hit out and catching up with some kiwi's over here, afterwards the plan is to come back to Thal for a few days before heading over to Austria with Dirkuslav on Wednesday,


Monday, 20 August 2012


After coming back to NZ to finish off a couple of exams it’s time to fly again, this time for Zurich! My trip in the states taught me a huge amount about my riding, it was a massive learning curve. My results were not what I was aiming for but with my limited build up due to illness I did enough to show that I should be in the Worlds team.

With my selection confirmed I was able to get some amazing support from local community grants and trusts to help me get overseas! A huge thanks must go to Foodstuffs South Island Community Trust, Skegg’s Foundation and OUSA. I’m going over to stay with good old Jolando, and will be hitting a swiss cup in Basel on the 26th, then hopefully a mid week race before heading over to Austria to meet up with the rest of the kiwi’s for the real business of World Champs on the 7th!

I can’t wait to see what I could do with a proper build up and had a bit of time off after coming back, but was back on the road bike soon enough doing some k’s. I was gutted to have a decent crash and give my bad knee a whack that rejigged a previous knee injury that I had. That coupled with extra tightness from poor technique caused a lot of drama with my knee.

A lot of trips to the Physio and one up to Christchurch to see Anthony Chapman have sorted it out, and are riding pain free again now! I was this close to pulling the plug on the whole thing but some guru advice from Kashi and as always the rents helped me through and made me want it more.

Epic last ride in Dunedin
So now I’m killing time in CHCH airport, waiting to set off for Zurich to somehow end up in Thal, Switzerland at some point in the near future. I’m feeling great on the bike at the moment, putting out bigger numbers than ever and have had a far better build up even with any knee dramas than ever before.

As always I have tried to battle through things by myself but, I would be absolutely no where had not been for some absolute champions. Firstly the lads and ladette’s who I live with, especially AJ for being my personal chauffeur service. Marky mark and jizza at R&R in Dunedin for getting the bad boy ready, Kashi at Black Seal imports, and absolute TC Aaron ‘mcgoober’ Mcgrouther  for letting me smash some roadies on his CX bike, for some perfect ideal world cup training. Scotty Lane for helping get this site a little more professional, watch this space in the future! And ofcourse Mum and Dad as always they are always dumb enough to support me in my riding and can’t thank them enough. There are a ton of people who I have forgotten but you know who you are, catch you later.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Getting on the CX buzz

Word on the street is that Cyclocross is the new black this winter in NZ. Today I jumped on the bandwagon and have to say, had a bloody good time.

For those who don't know what cyclocross is, you take a road bike, chuck some mud tryes on it and go race a 2 km course that has barriers, stairs, mud, logs and whatever other obstacles you can come up with, for about an hour. Fun aye??

Huge cheers to Aaron McGrouther for letting me give his bike a spin. Took it out around Bethunes yesterday for a first spin and loved it! I have taken my road bike down a few MTB tracks before but the slacker head angle and beefer tyres made it a lot more enjoyable on the CX bike.

I was loving the late 3pm start as it had been a late messy one watching the olympics and rode over three mile hill to the course. My knee has been playing up lately with some big miles on the road in build up for World Champs, and had to take a day out on friday to let it rest. The physio's have told me my patella is not tracking correctly on my right knee and is causing irritation and inflammation with every pedal stroke. But the exercises are helping heaps and a change in bike set up has made it a bizzilion times better.

The course set up by the Cycleworld guys was mint with a bit of everything in the 2 kish loop. There was a decent turn out and was loving playing on a new bike. Mcgoober was out there taking photos and had promised to show some moto action during the race.

I had an awesome time out there and was awesome catching up with the real chilled group of dunners riders.

It was a perfect race for training for world cups, getting off and on quickly and smashing yourself up some steep gnarly crap. I felt awesome and was loving putting the hammer down and managed to lap everyone just on the last lap!

Ballet on bikes
For next time gloves could definitely be an option and my own CX bike for next winter could be crucial,