Friday, 2 March 2012



Statistics for the day

Distance: 161
Average speed 24.5kmph
Maximum speed: 69.8kmph
Elevation climbed: 1168 metres
Riding time: 6:34:00
Min Temp: 19 Degrees
Max Temp: 40.1 Degrees
Total value of 32 bikes: $150K

A night to remember
It is now ten o'clock on Thursday night and I have just returned to my resort room from the most amazing night of festivities held at the Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens. Tonight our amazing sponsor Bottlemart organised a full on, jam-packed evening that was designed to 1.) Provide memorable entertainment (Google Crazy Horse and be amazed at this world class husband and wife acrobat show) for the 150 guests, who were all suppliers of LMG and Bottlemart. And 2.) To encourage them to part with as much money as possible in aid of the Smiddy cause to raise funds for research. I am pleased to be able to tell you that over $100,000 was raised on the night thanks to raffles, auction items and the buying of LMG's Greg Herron's friendship,(Don't ask me to explain) which netted Smiddy an additional $70,000 from two large brewery bosses. As tired as I am from a long day in the saddle, where the temperature today topped out at 40 degrees, I am on such a high from tonight that I feel the need to tap away on the keyboard until I come down enough to be able to get to sleep.

Who rides a bike on a day like today!
32 very stubborn and determined Smiddy riders that's who. Today's ride was in such a contrast to our first day on the road that it was like doing two completely different events in two different country's. While day one handed out the slush and slipperiness of wet roads and humidity thick enough to chew on, day two was all about the incredible zapping, leg cramping, dehydrating, and parched throat drying heat. Right from the bat when we rolled out at seven-am it was damn hot. The radar showed that the rain was gone for the day but the low cloud ceiling ensured that at first the humidity would prep us for the suffering to come later on in the day. Once the cloud cover burnt off by ten-am, the power of that vengeful sun completed the oven-baking of 32 riders where the morning tea stop at Adamstown and lunch time breaks at Raymond Terrace could not come soon enough. The Bottlemart Junction Inn Hotel at Raymond Terrace were kind enough to provide lunch for the exhausted riders at the 90km mark. The hardest part of that stop was the actual leaving. More cold drinks under the shade of the deck overlooking the water, versus another 60km's into the furnace like heat of Hell. Hell won out in the end, thanks to some additional help from our rear support driver Captain Kevin Enchelmaier blowing his annoying whistle and telling us to get on our bikes or he would get mad. Never get Kevvy mad!

Afternoon tea and a murderous 37 kilometres
To all the riders out there reading this let me ask you this; how hard can it be riding 37km's? Normally you would crack that out in a cruisy 80 minutes, 90 tops. Try over two hours... As it was on this section the temperature topped out at 40 degrees, and with a belly full of food sucking all the moisture from our guts, the dryness in our throats was immediately noticeable and it wasn't long before a few of the riders were suffering from mild dehydration. Three of the girls; Amanda Ashbrook, Sarah Holman and Sammy Dewe-Mathews were really feeling the pinch and needed assistance for the majority of this section. I have deliberately mentioned the girls as it is in times of toughness that the group really come together. I saw so many of the male riders really stepping up to the plate to help these girls out when their help was needed most. Big hearted Simon Mariner took on first base, while the quiet achiever Tony Hegarty made a save on second, not to be outdone David Gyte was there lending a hand on third, while on home base Rowan Foster always had a hand on someones back at anytime throughout the entire day. So many helpers too numerous to mention but I spied Rocket Ron Steel, Tim Dalton, Brett Jarvis and our bike mechanic/rider Gavin Leahy also helping out on many occasions.

Time for the girls to have a breather
Our beautiful hard working road crew prepared afternoon tea at Max McMahon Oval in Rutherford. Looks of concern were exchanged amongst the road crew as one look at the 32 exhausted riders arriving suggested we had just fought a tough battle since lunch. It was here that Amanda and Sammy made the hard decision to sit out the afternoon section into our finish at Polkobin. I did try to encourage them to continue but once we were out there and immediately turned into a strong headwind, with the temperature still hovering at 39 degrees at 3pm, I knew they had made the right decision. I could not have felt more pride at the girls efforts, and I only hope that they feel the same way. You girls are awesome and we are very lucky to have you both on board.

Who sprints in 40 degree heat?
Well about 3/4 of the Smiddy field. We stopped 12km's out from the end of today's stage and it was offered a go-at-your-own-pace section for eight kilometres. We thought a few might be tempted but were pleasantly surprised when all but eight of us went for it. The big guns up the front really put the hurt into an already hurtful painful day, and it was no surprise when I heard that the greyhound fox Mr Foster took it out, with Rocket Ron second and the big strong bugger Simon Mariner, who spent a ton of energy pushing Sammy into afternoon tea, still had gas in the tank to take out third.

Well it is now 12:30 in the morning and I am definitely down from my high and looking forward to some shut eye. Luckily we have a late roll out time of 8:30 so I should still get
six to seven hours sleep. Thanks for following my blogs on the NSW Smiddy.



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