Saturday, 7 April 2012


Jindabyne to Tom Groggan, Via Thredbo

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The bonding within the group is as strong as high tensile steel
Three days on the road now and the bonding within the group is as tight as any Smiddy ride I have been on. Yesterday's journal was read out tonight and the light ribbing I handed out to most of the members went down well. Which was helped along by the fact that most in the group had had a few schnapps at the local Wild Brumbies Distillery after a hard 120km's of riding today. But seriously, once again I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to hang out with these guys. They are a great bunch and everyone is so supportive and looking out for one another. Through this blog I would like to make Steve Van-Gils, Steve Newman and Johnny Wheaton honorary Smiddy riders. For they all have the right Smiddy qualities that they deserve this exceptional honour. Thanks guys for sharing your encouragement with the group, your fortitude to get the job done, always there to lend a hand and most importantly your exceptional friendship. Be great to get you on board one of our events sometime in the near future.

Pancakes nearly worth selling your wife for! I said nearly...
The morning began once again with a great breakfast, with the highlight being Milo's special recipe for pancakes. Let me tell you these pancakes were the best I have ever tasted in my entire life. If not for the fact that we had 120km's of riding ahead of us and close to 3000 metres of climbing, I would have been delightfully happy to make myself sick eating as many as humanly possible. Roll out was at 8:10 and once again I am pretty sure I was the last ready. The morning was crisp enough to throw on a few extra pieces of cycling attire, which quickly came off as the first climb of the day began just a few kilometres out of town. Once again we lucked onto another crystal clear sunny day with an eventual top of 24 degrees and our moods can only be described as outstanding. The reality of having a working life is long gone; our only existence at this point in time is to bike as many kilometres, and to eat as much food as possible. It does not get any better than that!

A course nearly worth selling your home and moving to Jindabyne for!
Our route today was an out and back course along the Alpine Way, which meanders past Thredbo at 1356 metres and eventually topping out at 1567 metres at a lookout called Dead Horse Gap. We stopped at Thredbo to sample the local bakery and it was decided unanimously that the owner was an unfriendly sod and the coffees sucked. But care we did not, the day was too beautiful to worry about trivial matters such as grumpy old store owners. Besides we were joined by Big Russ's wife Robyn and their two kids, as well as Penny and the kids, and our half hour bakery stop was indeed very good.

The mother of all descents
So we get to the top at Dead Horse Gap and I had no idea what we were in for. Milo warned us the previous night that it was a technical and gnarly descent for the first 10km's, then up for a couple of kilometres, and down again for another seven kilometres until we hit Tom Groggan, which is just a camping spot by the river and was to be our turn around spot. Oh my god, I hate that saying as it is overused all the time in society's everyday speaking. But on this occasion I have to say "OH MY GOD." Never in Australia have I experienced such a hair-raising, bowel-loosening, jaw-dropping and tantalising descent! My heart rate was higher coming down than coming up from Jindabyne from the sheer excitement and fear factor. In 17 kilometres we lost over 1000 vertical metres and when we reached Tom Groggan we were back in the warmth of the low country at 567 metres, which is close to the elevation that Canberra sits at.

The Father of all ascents!
What goes down must go back up. That was today's scenario. We enjoyed the ride to the bottom but now it was payback time. That first seven kilometres back up was heart and back breaking steepness with an average gradient of 14 percent. Think the top half of Coot-tha back home in Brisbane and you will understand that we all suffered. The next 10km's back up to Dead Horse Gap averaged out at 10% and by the time we all arrived we were famished and more than a tad tired. It was cold at the top and lunch was hastily demolished and the long extremely fun downhill run back to Jindabyne was commenced with untapped excitement. It was on this stretch that Baby Gorilla clocked his impressive -staining your pants- maximum of 93km/h, while us mere mortals were happy to just reach the low 80's.

Okay I am going to go into the road kill and stats for the day and tell a few highlights to finish off.

Road kill for the day was slightly busier than yesterday with 1 magpie, 1 skippy, 1 owl and 2 snakes. I can vouch for the fact that our road kill legend definitely was not looking for road kill while sitting on 93km/h. Good chance he missed something on that stretch?

Stats for the day:
Distance: 121.8km's
Average: 21.2km/h
Elevation: 2659 metres climbed (Equivalent to 13 times up Mt Coot-tha)
Time: 5:45:07
Max: 93km/h Set by Baby Gorilla

Greatest highlight of the day goes to Steve Van-Gils
Steve at 39 years of age has been happily married for 10 years to Wife Katrina, they have four sensational young children aged 4, 6, 7 and 8. If you fly on Qantas you should be thankful to Steve as his job as an aircraft engineer helps keep you alive and kicking. One year ago Steve was reduced to a walk on today's main climb from Tom Groggan. He had bonked so badly that he even begged a lift from a couple of tourists in a car, who took one look at his disheveled state, quickly locked the doors and called the hotline for 'Australia's Most Wanted.' Today was a different story as he powered up the climb, only to be beaten to the top by a scant few seconds by the other Steve and the big diesel Johnny.

Where we're the Queenslanders?
Once again we were given a taste of the expected outcome in this year's State of Origin. Going on the whitewash this weekend of victory's to the boys in blue it is not looking good for the Qld footy team this year. Positions at the top confirmed this with NSW 1, 2, 3 and 5. Baby Gorilla was meant to unleash his attack today but once again was nursing the grey shark all the way up the climb. We are fast running out of days so hopefully The Gorilla man can show some aggression, get over his infatuation of me and dish out some pain to the boys.

The one and only 'Shark Attack.'
Same climb again and for some reason the thrill of the descent left my legs feeling good for the first time in three days. For seven kilometres I was climbing with the big boys and at one stage even took the lead for a kilometre. I know they were playing with me and a kilometre from the top of that first section the NSW siren was sounded and Mr Newman and Mr Wheaton came past, wiggled their butts in my direction, then proceeded to exit stage left and left the Shark floundering. My team mate, Baby Gorilla, meanwhile refused to cover their attack and stayed by my side like a loyal seeing-eye guide dog. The next 10 kilometres I will leave to your imagination the state I was in after that attempt of climbing suicide.

Big Johnno Wheaton loses his speed record
Johnno is also happily married to Anna for six glorious years, they have just had their first child, a baby girl who is six months old. I was chuffed to the core to find out that they had named her Daphne, as that is my Mother's name. Johnno works at the premiers department as a regional liaison officer and enjoys his work. Johnno being the baby in the group at just 30 years of age has just one Ironman to his name but also, up until today, was the Jindabyne Speed King. Sorry mate but that is one trophy that us Queenslanders are keeping thanks to Baby Gorilla's record today of 93km's.

How did Baby Gorilla get his nick name?
That is a very good question and one that you will have to wait for the answer. If you get through my final journal after day five I will tell you then. Sorry but you have to earn it. A story so amazing you will be glad you did.

Okay time to go, this blog is way to long and I am testing your ability to read without falling asleep.

Take care and thanks for following our journey this long weekend.


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