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!



1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry for your grandmother Tom, must turn in your head all race long. Be strong and smash World Champs!