Gidday, My name is Neil. I am born and bred in Perth, Western Australia. I am a Sheet Metal Worker by trade, but after having a Motor bike accident in 2008 in which I broke my back, I am now wheelchair bound due to paraplegia.
I am lucky to have good friends and family who helped me through my transition to my new life. One such friend gave me a job as an Estimator for his
Sheet Metal Company.
How did you start in Adventure Sports?
I got into Handcycling through a friend I met in hospital, who encouraged me to borrow a
Handcycle from Wheelchair Sports. I have always loved sports of all kinds; playing Aussie Rules, Golf, Surfing even though I couldn't swim. I would give anything a go, but I would never be good at any of it.
So once I started Handcycling I rode every chance I got and then went to the Nationals with the friends who got me going into cycling. I came about sixth or seventh in my category out of about 6 or 7 entrants (OK I came last), anyway I meet Kathy who came as the Team helper/photographer on the trip to Echuca. We sat together on the plane trip back to Perth, which caused much gossip amongst the group. I now call Kathy my wife.
Kathy has a number of crazy friends who do things like Swim the English Channel; between the Islands of New Zealand, another runs across or around countries. But Kath's boss at the time was /is a cyclist who talked Kath into doing a 24hr road cycle race (Delirium 24) down in Cowaramup. Just dating at the time, guess who got dragged along, I mean talked into doing it as well. That being the first of my adventure sports.
What inspires you?
An achievable challenge anything I think is achievable or a challenge, there are other events I look at that I am just too lazy to do the organizing or training for.
Have you had to overcome any obstacles?
Obstacles for a para sports person in Perth can be getting the organisers to include you. ATTA WA, the Cape to Cape Organizers, Kalgoorlie Cyclic Organisers, TriWA (Perth Tri Club) have all been very welcoming and happy to help us. Generally cycling and Tri events will try to help.
Did you get any help along the way?
Yes my friends have helped me both able bodied and disabled, from friends and family over my accident to my fellow Handcyclist and Wheelchair Sports the local organisation that helps introduce people of all abilities to Sport and Recreational activities.
So what is the craziest thing you've ever done?
So far I have done Delirium 24hr road bicycle race twice, the longest distance I rode was 410kms. I have done the Cape to Cape MTB race last year and the Busselton 70.3 triathlon (this end up a duathlon, due to bad weather, they cancelled the swim).
Not sure what is craziest maybe Cape to Cape because the off road training going into it was near none. Just thinking through the events, the second Delirium we did was in the bad weather (the back end of a cyclone that was up north) so it rained almost the whole time and then Busselton 70.3 it rained and strong winds, the Kalgoorlie Cyclassic from Kal to Menzies also rained most of the way. Oh the fun! Thinking though
the events the bad weather must wait until I enter then pencil the date in. The craziest event I think was the second year I rode in the Nationals. We were riding on country roads in the middle of Victoria with Road Trains passing us in fog that so thick you couldn’t see.
I was planning on doing all three - the Cape to Cape this year, then Delirium 24hr next year (they changed the course so I am seeing a longer distance achievement) and a month later Busselton 70.3 so I can claim to have done the half ironman, at the moment I say I have done the one third Ironman (due to not doing the swim). I will miss out on the Cape to Cape this due to a shoulder injury, but stay tuned for next year.
Otherwise, looking at events on the east coast of Oz and another event in Europe. Need to learn French to talk to the organisers.
As nice as it is when someone calls you an inspiration for doing an event, I prefer to be thought of as an equal to anyone else that does the event. Otherwise just give it a go.
Why did you join adventurefreak.com?
Interested in seeing what people are up to and if there are any events they are doing that I may be able to do.