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,

Cheers
Tom!


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!

Cheers,

Tom

Friday, 24 August 2012

Schweiz-land

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,

Tom

Monday, 20 August 2012

Switzerland

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,
Cheers
Tomo


Saturday, 7 July 2012

Watch This Space

After coming back from the States with some valuable lessons learnt, I now know what it is going to take from not just a riding side of things to take it to the best in the world.

In the short term I have been able to get some amazing local support from Foodstuffs SI Community Trust, OUSA and the Skegg's Foundation to make it possible for me to fill my selected spot in the U23 World Championships team which before was financially impossible. So thank you so much to them for supporting me and I am heading to Switzerland on the 20th of August to stay with Jo and build up for the World's on the 7th of September.

In the mean time with some amazing help from Scotty, this site will undergo a more professional look to help boost props and help get my name out there more.

For now it's into the books to finish off missed exams and get training for the big one in September

Monday, 2 July 2012

Windham World Cup



After a tough race at the Mont St-anne World Cup in Canada it was time to drive 700 k’s over the border to Windham NY state. Windhan was another ski town but had recently been devastated by massive floods last winter we were told. It was bit of a hick town but everyone was nice enough and was a mint week leading up to the race with around 30 degree days every day.


We were staying with the rest of the NZ team over here this time, so was good times had on and off the bike. The track itself was the complete opposite to Mont St-anne. It was a twelve minute climb up to the top of the chairlift on a grass slope then back down again. There was nothing technical what so ever and with the start being a kilometre down the road in the centre of town, leading straight into the main climb it was going to be all about climbing well and handling the heat. Usually I wouldn’t rate myself on something with so much climbing and no technical, but Silas has had me out on the road big time lately so was feeling good as soon as I got into my rhythm. With only one race under my belt due to sickness since Oce’s I’d learnt my lesson from last week and was planning on building into the 5 lap race in the heat.

Luckily we were starting at 9am on the Saturday we were first race up and was called up 30th on the grid. I got a good start pulling through gaps up the road well but was hurt from a lack of intensity in my training when the push came for the singletrack. I knew I had a huge base to take me through the race so just settled into my rhythm. I was passing people every lap and caught and past Matt on the third lap to be in first kiwi in the field.


The fast loose descent was getting more and more blown out but was loving it and was making the most of racing the best in the world. By the end of the 5th lap I had made my way to 32nd and was first kiwi in U23’s. I was happy with the race even if the result wasn’t quite what I was aiming for when I started the build up for this trip. I was stoked to feel good in a race and now I know with a proper build up I can really give it a good shot with three more years after this in the Under 23 grade. I realise what it is going to take and are going to have to make some big decisions soon.

The other kiwi’s in the XC were awesome anton smashing again, Nige in 9th and Filmo in eleventh in the Junior men. Amber Johnston had another awesome race to get 3rd in the junor girls with Sam Hope in 7th. Samara had a rough day in 6th (?) while Jolando Neff smashed the rest of the U23 chicks to win again.

For now it’s time to finish off my exams back in Dunedin which should be a laugh, but not before checking out NYC on the way home for some down time away from the bike. It has been an awesome but too short trip, and have learnt so much from the experience about my racing and myself. From the build up in Dunedin to putting it together on the race track, I honestly could not have done it without the support of everybody who has helped me along the way. So thank you to you all and I hope I can give something back in return someday. Especially Paul and Nige Mcdowell for putting up with me and my chat, it was an awesome few weeks cheers you legends.

I am trying to get the coin together to represent NZ at the world champs in September, I have been successful in some attempts and it is looking good, I may be running some fundraising events in your neck of the woods soon so keep an eye out. Until then

Cheers

Tom

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Mont Saint-anne, Canada World Cup



It was a tough day out for the kiwi guys yesterday, I'm really disappointed with my ride and are trying to figure out what went so wrong so can pull it all together for next weekend 
The kiwi chicks on the other hand were amazing, Samara Sheppard winning her first World Cup in the U23's, riding everything totally smooth and powerfully after the thunderstorm at the start of their race, and amber Johnston pulling her way though to 3rd in the Junior Girls after having one of the biggest crashes right in front of us on the rockgarden, catching most of the fall with her face.  


The course all week had been dry and loose, with holes getting bigger and bigger and the rock getting smoother. I was stoked the night before to hear and see the Thunderstorm come through as it turned the course into the same state that Signal Hill in Dunedin is in at the moment, and I love the how Signal hill is at the moment. 

I was amped up and managed to get up to the 3rd row on the start grid far to one side. The gun went and we hurled straight before turning sharp right up a grass ski slope for about 40 seconds. I got a good boost up there and went round the outside of people to be in the top ten. But from there it just started to go wrong. I was giving it everything standing up and trying to push the gears I know I can push but nothing was coming through. By the time we got to the first singletrack I was in about 25th so was still able to ride the rockgarden and everything else. Too bad the same couldn't be said for the uphill.

My technical riding was there riding past people on the technical flat, and niggly uphill bits as the roots got more and more muddy, but it was the climbs that were just letting me down. I re found my plot in the 3rd lap and kept fighting hard even though I was not on full cylinders and was no way in hell going to DNF no matter how bad it was going. 

Ended up battling through to 37th in the U23 in the end 3 places behind Brad Hudson. Really disappointing as I had so much focus on this race, not hugely from a results point of view, but are most gutted because I know that was not my best performance I'm capable of.  I guess you have tough days and it's how you pick yourself up from them so I'm still smiling, stoked to be here and well change a few things to make sure Windham next Saturday gets a hiding. 

Now just letting Nigel get ready for his race with him, anton and Tom Filmer on the front row should make for a good race. Get up kiwi's.

Will have pictures and video to come when internet isn't so patchy. 


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Beaupre - Mont St-anne

20 hours of flying then some more driving we finally made it to Mont St-anne in Quebec. The flight was good, little hectic making the connection in Vancouver to Montreal, but we made take-off by 4 minutes and got to our place in Mont St-anne eventually. So good to get out of the winter with the temperature here about 30 degrees warmer than NZ. That combined with the sun rising at 4am and setting at 9pm has taken some adjusting but slept in till 7.30 this morning.The first day we rode to the very top of Mt St-anne was about a 40 minute climb in the heat but was worth it for the view and the awesome descent off the top.







Have been being tourists as well, checking out waterfalls with some dodgy stairs up a cliff. Quebec City is about 30 minutes away and have been in to check it out, the old fort and views over the river.  As it gets closer to the race now we're just chilling out more during the day riding early, and nto doing much during the heat of the day.
Yaroslav getting his boost on
The track has been set up and it is good to be able to get on the track with not much traffic at the moment. The course itself is super rocky and rooty which suits me perfectly as a real bike handlers course. It loops back on itself quite a few times which makes it more spectator friendly and ensure some good tight racing. We will be doing 5 laps of the 5.2 kilometre track, but are looking at lap times around fifteen minutes for the fast guys.


There is hardly any passing on the track so the start will be crucial. Registered today and was given number 52 and thought i was starting number 52 on the grid, but looking at the start list it looks more like i'll be around 28th somewhere around the 5th row. There is a total of around 70 guys in the U23 category so should be good and will be amping to get a good start




The race itself is on Saturday morning at 9am here time, which in NZ is one am on Sunday morning. There is no live video coverage of our race but there is live timing at  http://static.sportresult.com/federations/uci/CM/ . I cannot wait to race as it has been awhile against racing the best in the world, and are keen to put a good performance in for my first race in the U23 category.
Entrance into rockgarden 


The internet is very dodgy here  and will get some solid photos up soon


Thursday, 14 June 2012

To Montreal


I’ve finally finished up my exams and am on the way to Montreal to get ready for the first World Cup round at Mt St-anne. I’ve been told that the course there is similar to Bethune’s in Dunedin so have been training hard smashing out the laps, feeling really good.

I can’t wait to get out of the cold my last ride yesterday was in 2 degrees, riding up through the snow was cool, but not ideal build up for the Quebec summer. She’ll be right though, last year I went from -3 to racing in 27 degrees in Val Di Sole, so I know it can be done. Huge thanks to Marky mark in R&R Dunedin for getting the rig running perfect, can’t wait to get on it and give it everything.

Leaving Dunedin this morning, tropical 1 degree on the left TV

The support I’ve had for this trip has been huge, from cheeky chats with lads to the amazing help from some big organisations and the laughs from Mr Kerr. Every little bit has helped me put it all together while studying from the deep south and I cannot thank people enough for keeping me on track. I want to put out some good performances for everyone who’s said goodluck, helped me out in training and been there from the start. Will keep it posted once we get to Montreal and have a look at the course, try get some footage out.

Bradshaw

Monday, 4 June 2012

Sickness, Selection and Study

The last few weeks have been super busy getting ready to go off to North America, getting all the last minute admin sorted. I'm leaving on the 15th and can't wait!

I'm travelling with Nigel and Paul McDowell landing in Montreal and going straight to Mont St-Anne to get ready for the World Cup at 9am local time on the 23rd June.
From there we will head down to Windham in New York State in the US to get ready for the next World Cup round. Us under 23's are racing at the same time as the juniors on the 30th there, so will be good run around for all of us kiwi's chasing each other at the same time.

The bike has been getting some TLC and with the help of Marc and the crew at R&R Sport Dunedin it's now running some bling with nice new XTR running gear, ready to race. 



Training was going well but the cold Dunedin flat cracked me and I came down with a painful chest infection that had me off the bike for a week. In that time I was able to do some study however for the upcoming exams I have to do before I take off. I am now looking after myself a lot more healthwise as I was losing the plot slightly not being able to ride.

However when I was sick I received some great news on Wednesday morning, being named in the U23 New Zealand Team for the World Championships in Austria later in September. 
http://www.mtbnz.org/wordpress/?p=1200
I was stoked to hear this, and really happy to see some reward from the summer of racing. With some uncertainty regarding selection criteria this year it was good to get some concrete evidence and  if I can put the results out in the US after this sickness I will be up to have a crack at the euro superstars in August/September.
 
Also in the down time, I was able to make a horrible mash up of the go pro footage I got while I was out procrastinating up Signal Hill in the Dunedin sunshine. 


Cheers 



Friday, 1 June 2012

Mike Montgomery


Trying to not make this just another XC blog,

                                           This is what a real GoPro video looks like....


And Aaron Gwin who "auto piloted" a 7 second win at Val Di Sole last night

Legend.....


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Launching a site

Cheers for checking out the site,

It's been set up from suggestions from some smart people and to let people know how my races and times are going when i'm away overseas.

I am currently training and building up for a North American Campaign in June, where I'm looking to put some good results down on the world stage in my first year as an U23. I'm taking a Gopro over there so hope to get some good videos of the riding and racing.

Chur

Tom

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Contact Epic 125km
                                                                   


I've always seen this event as the Karapoti of the South Island and wanted to really see if the event was as epic as it was made out to be. As part of some long base miles this was a perfect build up race for my North American Campaign in June/July. With a few hard weeks of hours on the roadie I thought I was ready to step it up from the usual hour and a half races to the 5 hour plus mark.

After stressed out at week at uni, I drove to Hawea with my cousin on the friday afternoon and toke in the beautiful drive from Dunedin through Central. We got to Hawea spot on dinner time and were lucky enough to stay with step auntie and uncle at their bach in Hawea.

Was up and ready for the 7am start in the morning and we took off down the first 20km road section. I was keen to catch up Tim t-rex Wilding as he was the one who planted the idea to do this race in my head in the first place and managed to have a good yarn on the road. We then hit the gravel about 25ks in and the race really began. My race plan was to sit on T-rex as long as possible, and so I foolishly did. After reaching the high point of the course there was a group of me, t-rex and defending champ Dougal Allen smashing down the first of the river crossings on the west side of the lake. At this point I started to realise that at 2 hours in I was feeling quite puffed and Nick Miller came flying past and dissapeared . It was here I decided to race my own race as we got to the North end of the lake and crossed the massive river. I then battled through the hardest part of the course flying on the 4wd track, with massive holes and rocks in it. I was so glad to be on a 29er and but was dreaming that there was rear suspension in the Highball. But as soon as I got back onto the hard pack 4wd at Dingleburn station I knew it was a straight smash back to Hawea. the final 30k's were along the awesome cliffs and once I stopped to have a leak and lube the chain I felt way better and put the hammer down to get home and stay in the top 5 overall.

it unfolded to be a wicked day and was all done riding by 12.02 pm meaning I'd done 5 hours and 2 minutes and had the rest of the day to chill. I ended 5th in Open men and was stoked to say that it was one hell of an epic day on the bike and would happily do a karapoti anyday than that again!

Thanks heaps to R&R Sport for the entry, and also to the Miller's for putting me up!