Friday, 6 April 2012


Jindabyne to Charlotte Pass return

Like my old mate Milo (Michael Milton) promised, todays ride was sheer bliss. Virtually no traffic to speak of, super smooth wide roads, a beautiful temperature of 25 degrees and 30 kilometres of gentle climbing. The plan today was to climb 40km's up to Charlottes Pass, lock the bikes in the trailer then walk up to the highest point in Australia to Mt Kosciouszko. Jindabyne is at 900 metres, Charlottes Pass at 1837 metres, and the last nine kilometres was on foot up to the roof of Australia at 2228 metres.

Nine-am start and the battle of the states is not looking good for the Queenslanders!
Last night Milo told the group that roll out was at nine-am. I nearly wet myself with delight as on most Smiddy rides we are out on the road, at the latest, by seven-am. My body clock insisted on waking me at five-am and try as hard as I could there was no getting these old Shark bones back to sleep. So I used the time productively to finish the first days blog. Slowly but surely the other riders began to stir, while our beautiful organisers in Penny and Simone prepared a breakfast fit for a king. Nine-am came quickly and while we all resembled Sumo Wrestlers due 17 bowls of porridge we all rolled out full and content into stunning mild sunny temperatures, excited at the day ahead of us. The climbing began in earnest ten kilometres from Jindabyne and the group quickly split up as everyone locked into what pace was comfortable for them. I have to say that this battle of the borders is not looking good for the Queenslanders. Baby Gorilla has been telling me for days, weeks, months, even years, that he has lost ten kilo's and is climbing better than Lance Armstrong at his best. But for some reason he feels compelled to hang back and look after a crumbling Shark. While I am appreciative of his gesture I need for him to show some Queenslander superiority, as it is a safe bet it is not going to come from me. Until that day comes, maybe tomorrow... the New South Welsh men will continue to lead at every turn, at every hill and every sprint.

Charlotte's Pass Conquered and Michael to the rescue
So the climb up to Charlottes Pass went off without a hitch and we arrived hungry after taking nearly two and a half hours to travel just 40km's. We were meant to have a quick lunch and a change of clothes and shoes before heading off on the two hour trek up to the top, but just down the road an elderly lady had an epileptic fit in the middle of the road and before you could say, "Sammy bring me a broom as I want to use it to hit this grasshopper over the head", Milo was running down the road on his crutches, with a first aid kit under his arm faster than I have ever run in my life, and provided first aid to the lady once the fit had passed. The poor dear fell full force straight on to her face and actually lost pieces of her nose due to the impact. There was a fair amount of blood and a very confused lady when she came to.

Time for a run and goodbye sunshine and hello wind!
Milo warned the group to come prepared, some listened, most did not, including your's truly. It was so warm when we left at 20 degrees. By the time we reached the top the wind was blowing a freezing gale, and my shorts and t-shirt were not holding up so well. We estimated the windchill factor to be close to the zero mark. Now three out of the group had the right idea, and once again the NSW factor left us Queenslander's floundering. Not only did the two Steve's and Johnno run the nine kilometres to the top and back, in shorts and T's, keeping warm in the process, but they did it on a full stomach from lunch. Proving that they are not only fitter than us and don't feel the cold, but they have cast iron guts! Good work lads.

Milo in action
It was so cool to see Michael in action again, not since NSW Smiddy in March of 2011 have I had the pleasure of riding beside him. Today he drove the car and trailer up to Charlottes Pass, jumped on his bike, descended down to the group, rode back up to the top with us, then proceeded to walk, with crutches, at a good rate of knots, the 18km's up and back to Mt Kosciuszko. Inspirational stuff let me tell you!

Well before I get to the highlights of the day here are the stats of the day thanks to Baby Gorilla.
Distance: 85.6 km's
Time: 3:52
Average: 22.1km/h
Altitude: 1752 metres climbed
Fastest: 86km/h Set by Gelignite Explosive Johnno Wheaton. Rumour has it that this speed was 4WD assisted, but who cares, it is bloody fast!
Temperature: 26 Max
Road Kill count was a pleasing 1 only Skippy. Sure sign of the quietness of the roads.

Highlights of the day:

Katrina returning to the car after the walk so hungry she could not get her winter gloves off to eat her pre made sandwich.
Katrina being one of the one's who listened and had all the appropriate gear to keep warm. But not enough food to warm her tummy.
Big Russ for completing the ride and walk to the top although suffering from a flu and a dodgy lower back. He missed out on the descent after the walk, which was disappointing for him but the right thing to do to look after his ailing body. Gutsy effort by the 6ft 8" super giant.
Johnny Leyshon for talking to me last night while I was sound asleep. I had been asleep for two hours and john was still up cutting his toenails and pulling out his two inch long nasal hairs when I said, "What's a Meze Platter?" He replied, "It's an assortment of food on a platter." I then said, "Oh okay thanks." And went back to my snoring ways.
Russ's Wife Robyn and their two kids Lucy and April arrived today to spend a couple of days with the group. They are a welcome inclusion and the Milton's kids have play company on tap now.
Steve Newman is happily married to his beautiful wife Yasuyo, with their young four year old boy Oliver, he has a secure job as a contracts manager for TransUrban, has successfully completed 12 Ironman events. He is a happy and content man. That is unless his mates drop him on the return leg on the run back to Charlotte's Pass. Which is exactly what they did, unintentionally of course, but Steve was not happy. This is how the lads told the story. Poor old Newy, on returning to the car park at Charlotte's Pass, tossed his water bottle in the direction of the lads, then verbally let loose, then proceeded to get down and do 40 pushups on the tarmac, got up and phoned direct to the complaints department in Sydney and asked, for a severe reprimanding for the lads deserting him under very dangerous climatic conditions. True story!
The kick arse decent back down was thrilling stuff. Taking just an hour to return to our lodging at Lake Jindabyne Winter Academy of Sport.

Hope you have enjoyed day two. Tomorrow I will share the amazing story of how Craig Mitchell got his nick name Baby Gorilla. It will knock you for six, that I can guarantee.

Bye for now.


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