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.