Sunday, 4 March 2012



Statistics for the day

Distance: 167 km's
Average speed 23.3 kmph
Maximum speed: 66.1 kmph
Elevation climbed: 1775 metres
Riding time: 7:09:33
Min Temp: 13 degrees
Max Temp: 20 degrees
Average Temp 15.8 degrees

More rain and our amazing bike mechanic Gavin.
Once again the crew awoke to the sight of more rain, and while admittedly it was a whole lot lighter than yesterday it still got the desired effect of giving the riders a good soaking. Now from a bikes perceptive, riding continually in these sort of conditions are not favourable to looking after one's pride and joy. They take a hammering but thanks to one man, our very popular bike mechanic, Gavin Leahy, taking the time each evening to give each bike a thorough service, the bikes remained in a reliable condition and got each of the riders through their 600km epic NSW Smiddy Bottlemart Challenge. So thank you Gavin, your efforts with the bikes, not to mention the amount of riders you helped to push up climbs and back into the safety of the pack, did not go unnoticed.

Another day of climbing and plenty of help at hand
Today's 167km route involved some very long and tough climbs. About ten kilometres out of Gosford we had a climb along a road called Dogtrap Road. Fun to descend but an absolute bitch of a dog to have to go up. On the steepest part of the climb Rowan and I teamed up to help a struggling rider in Greg Casey. We then handed him over to Rocket Ron Steel and later Rocket Rod was seen to be helping out. It continued the great spirit amongst the team to help one another when times were tough. Our final day of riding was a memorable day once again thanks to 1. Another half day of light rain, although it was more the spray from the other bikes that gave us a good soaking more than the rain itself. And 2. Team spirit shone through for the entire day as the stronger riders in the group were always on hand to help out anyone that was struggling on any of the four massive climbs at Wiseman's Ferry Crossing, Galston Gorge, Bobbin Head and Ku-ringai National Park. I mention the stronger riders a lot but please know that it is not that the other riders are weaker; if left to ride any of the four days at their own pace they would surely make each day without a doubt. The pushing and helping allows the peloton to arrive as close to our scheduled time as possible each day. Without this we would be out there a bit too long. The riders that get pushed also deserve a pat on the back, as they put their pride aside and are thinking of the interest of the group, which is admired and very much appreciated by the riders.

The journal reading at lunchtime
In any Smiddy event we try to make everyone feel as if they are an important part of the ride. Regardless of if you are a rider, a road crew member, a supporter or a donor, we are all equal. Without any of us none of this could happen. With the journals, while I might be the one writing them for this ride I feel more comfortable if another person gets to read them out to the group. The journal reading has been an important part of the Smiddy journey since that first year when just the three of us rode to Townsville unassisted with our backpacks for support. Each night I would pen an article and the next night I would read it out to Ron and Ollie, two of the original three for that first year' journey. That tradition has carried over to each and every Smiddy event that we run, only now we invite other riders to contribute in the way of either writing a journal, or to have the honour of reading one out. So at lunchtime today it was decided that the road crew deserved a turn. Now the road crew are an amazing bunch but as I found out all so very shy when it comes to reading out a few words in public. No names will be mentioned here but finally after asking four I got a yes with the fifth and I am pleased to say that Lynette Cleland not only read it out but did a marvelous job.

A dry road/Gavin's crash
This would not normally be big news but I have to admit getting quietly excited when the first piece of dry road was spotted in over 250 kilometres and two days of riding. It came just after lunch and lasted for about 100 metres. Ironically where Gavin was to have his one and only secret crash over the entire four days was uphill and on a straight stretch of road and on another dry piece of road. No one was the wiser to his fall as he is always off the back keeping an eye on the peloton. No it was not until the huddle that afternoon that Kevvy let the cat out of the bag. I had just finished telling the group how awesome and exceptional they were for having so few incidents on what was a very dangerous four days of riding in treacherous conditions. Kevvy yells out "well there was one," apparently our ever reliable mechanic plopped down on the road and was up so quick that he was not entirely sure that he saw him fall!

Sharky's final words
Well the second annual Smiddy Bottlemart NSW Challenge has come to a close and what a most successful event it was. The funds raised from this event are staggering when you consider just 32 riders were involved plus the one day rider in Shane Richardson from Campari. I am pleased to say that the total fundraising effort has topped $200,000! The group rolled into the head office of LMG at North Ryde, lead in by our four inspirational ladies, Lee, Samala, Amanda and Sarah, and emotions were at an all time high with all road crew and riders sharing in the celebratory handshakes, hugs and kisses. We then formed our last and largest Smiddy huddle which had swelled in numbers due to the riders family and friends joining in. I told the riders about the Smiddy spirit and that it can only be experienced by riders and road crew forming an unbreakable bond. What the crew went through these past four days helped to build a camaraderie within the group that helps foster the Smiddy spirit. Each and every rider and member of the road crew exemplified exactly what the Smiddy spirit entails; sacrifice, determination, toughness and most importantly a caring attitude towards their fellow riders and road crew. The crew should all be extremely proud of their efforts, and I have great joy in saying that they are now part of the amazing phenomena that is the Smiddy family. Welcome on board and I truly hope to ride with you all again one day soon.

Final thank you
Without the foresight and fortitude shown by Doug, David and his team at LMG Bottlemart we would not have raised another $200,000 for cancer research. The team at Smiddy recognise how lucky we are to have such a great sponsor as Bottlemart on board. How many companies do you know where not only the staff actually throw themselves in to volunteer to make a fundraising ride happen, but the CEO gets so intimately involved as well? It is a rarity let me assure you. We at Smiling for Smiddy know this and will never take this for granted. We will continue to work with Bottlemart and LMG and will always hold you guys and this company in awe of what you do to help us in our fight against cancer.

Take care.


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