Sunday, 22 April 2012


Stats for the Day:

Distance:184 kilometres
Average: 28.6km/h
Time: 6:25:56
Climbing: 1300 metres

A course worth the drive
The third training day of 184 kilometres saw a mix of Midi, Half and Full Challenge riders make the effort to drive 40 minutes out of town to our departure point at Marburg. 56 enthusiastic riders turned up and after a quick brief by Rowan and myself, the readymade peloton made tracks for its first stop at Lowood. The huge 184km loop course today took in the small welcoming towns of Lowood, Coominya, Gatton, Blenheim, Laidley, Mulgowie, Plainlands, Grandchester, Rosewood and finally back to Marburg. The terrain was a mix of short sharp climbs, long climbs (Laidley & Rosewood Ranges), rough, smooth, undulating, flat and even dirt roads. There was something for everyone and I am pretty sure by the end of the day that it was unanimous that the 40 minute drive out of Brisbane to get to the starting point was worth the effort.

View, what view?
The day began foggy as we rolled out at 6:30am. Sunglasses were quickly removed as condensation rendered them useless. The promised beautiful country views would have to wait until later in the day when we could actually see something. On our side was the weather, as once the fog and cloud cover was burnt off by the sun by mid-morning we knew that we were in for a spectacular day. Temperature wise it got no hotter than 29 degrees, but with the high humidity thrown in it made for very sweaty riding at the times when the pace was on or during the many climbs.

Smiddy peloton bonds
Like any Smiddy ride we always ride together as a group. With nearly 60 riders turning up of various abilities, I was nervous as to how the group would go. But full credit to everyone involved; where at times the pace was too fast or too slow but with the riders showing incredible patience the group eventually settled in and operated like a well-oiled Smiddy machine. The few locals we saw along these amazingly quiet country roads of the Lockyer Valley were treated to the tantalising view of a Smiddy peloton snaking along and stretched out over a distance of 200 metres.

The Smiddy Smash!
At the 70km point in Gatton and after a short break for morning tea, the group were let loose on a 'go at your own pace' session for 11 hilly kilometres. This section was created by Smiddy on Strava, (If you are not yet a member please join the Smiddy club at This is our way of rewarding the stronger riders for being so patient riding at a pace that is almost too comfortable for them while in the peloton. It lets them vent built up energy and have a bit of fun along the way. We then regroup, form the Smiddy cocoon once again, and everyone is happy.

Incredible act of kindness by Mick Porter
Our 130km lunchtime stop at the Plainlands Hotel and home of one of our Bottlemart sponsors, saw a great feed put on by the owner in Mick Porter. For just $5 each we were treated to a great feed of sandwiches and fruit platters, offered icy cold water to refill our water bottles and sent on our way after a group photo and Mick donating $250 to the Smiddy cause. Country hospitality at its best and the riders were definitely appreciative of Mick's generosity.

The heat - The climbs - The girls lead us home.
The remaining 54km's was at the hottest part of the day, and with a belly full of food and mild dehydration a few of the rider's problems of cramping and fatigue started to emerge. The three kilometre climb up the Laidley Range saw the big guns go for it and a lot of pained expressions crested the top of the range, but then continued to hurt themselves just as much going downhill as the racing continued into Grandchester. The regroup here saw us ride into Rosewood together for our last stop of the day for water. One final climb up the Rosewood two kilometre steep range was conquered by all. The last eight kilometres the six girls in attendance were invited to lead the peloton back to our starting point at the Marburg Show Grounds - and what a fine job they did.

Smiddy riders are the best!
All in all I believe it was a most successful and enjoyable but testing day of riding. Once again I would like to thank the riders for showing such awesome patience and for understanding that the ride is more than about the individual but the entire peloton. These training days are run for that sole purpose of bringing a large group of individuals together to learn how to operate as a team and always thinking of the weakest riders. I saw that in abundance today and I could not have been prouder of the group.

To finish with just a few honourable mentions below:

Mairead and Holly: These two girls rock! They both only started cycling this year and have gone from not being able to average over 20kmph on a river loop just two months ago to riding with a Smiddy peloton averaging 28kmph over 184km's. Keep up the great work girls.
Nicholas Read: Our youngest rider at 15 years of age, who although suffered badly from cramping up the Laidley Range, toughed it out and finished his longest ride to date. Mate you are an inspiration!
Richard Wagner: Who at the last training ride a month ago suffered badly, saw he was lagging in fitness, trained his arse off for four weeks, and proved to himself today just what he is capable of by finishing his longest ride to date and did it in comfortable style. Awesome job mate.
Jess, Kevvy and Bec: Our awesome road crew today who were kept busy from the very first half hour of riding. At times both 4WD's were full of riders, bikes and all the equipment needed for these training days. Thanks guys for the unbelievable job you all did. Also for writing off a whole day of your weekend to look after us.
Scott Fraser: Scott started his journey weighing in at 160kg. Scott saw the Smiddy peloton roll through Clermont last year and vowed he was going to be part of that in 2012. He has since lost 30 kilos, and today he completed 130km's of the ride and showed the fortitude and determination that will see him lose a further 30kg prior to September. Thank you Scott for your unselfishness in getting into the van at times so as to allow the peloton to remain on schedule. You possess the Smiddy spirit mate and I can't wait to see the new Fraser come September.
Jimmy Accomb: As of today Jimmy is the fastest cyclist on the planet! After finishing at Marburg 184km's was clearly not enough. The info on Strava tells the story; Marburg to Tivoli climb completed in 12 minutes at an average of 88km/h at a heart rate of 91 and at 813 watts. This guy is good. He also left his Garmin on while driving home to Brisbane!
Bill Maddock: If you have met Bill you will know that he is not only a very consistent no fuss rider, but one of the truly nicest guys you could ever hope to meet. Having Bill in the peloton is a win for Smiddy.
Adam Robinson: Had an incredibly scary fall while descending Laidley Range at 70km/h. Thankfully he plowed into thick scrub which help to dampen the impact. To his credit he picked himself up and after five minutes was back on the bike. Great stuff Adam.
Tim Russell and countless others: Timmy was always at hand pushing riders up climbs and words of encouragement, especially to his brother Sean, who was struggling at times. To all the other stronger riders, too numerous to mention, thank you for your contribution on the day.

Keep May 20 free for training day 4 for an epic 200km hilly ride out to Crows Nest. It is beautiful but the hardest ride of the lot. So train hard these next four weeks and reap the rewards on May 20.



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