Monday, 9 April 2012


Jindabyne to Cooma

Okay let's get straight to the stats of the day. There is a lot to get through in today's blog and we need to set the tone right from the hit off. The course today took in a reverse version of yesterday's 'The Wall'. Meaning we got to cycle down 'The Wall' and that is a story in itself. More on that later.

Stats for the day
Distance: 105km 's
Time: 4:08:24
Average: 25.1km/h
Maximum: 93.5 By Johno again, closely followed by Baby Gorilla at 91.1km/h
Ascending: 1599 metres
Descending: 1439 metres
Temperature: 12 degrees
Road Kill: 1 fox, 4 roo's and 2 rabbits.

At the bottom of this blog you will find the totals for all five days combined if you are at all interested.

First things first; Tom Boonan held on for the win in Paris-Roubaix. Gutsy effort from 30km out. The Jindabyne peloton were inspired by that performance and it was game on. Departure time was at 8:15am for our final ride of this tour and it promised to be an epic adventure, but anything here is epic so think of it as an epic epic ride. Anyway it was a hive of activity as clean up, packing and breakfast all had to be done, as we were doing a point to point ride, and would not be returning to this lodge, that has been our home for the past four nights. Leaving the lodge we faithfully followed our leader in Johnno Wheaton and he immediately went the wrong way and momentarily got us all lost within the facility. Big Russ and Katrina knew better and did not follow the pipe piper and waited patiently for us to emerge from the labyrinth.

Down 'The Wall'
Getting to 'The Wall' requires an hour of gradual climbing to get there. Going down was one of the most terrifying descents on this trip. The road does not feel rough when climbing it as you are going no faster than eight to ten kilometres per hour. Different story going down when the top speed recorded by Johnno Wheaton was 93km/h. I was braking hard all the way down and was still sitting on 75km/h! I passed big Johnny Leyshon and mumbled to him that I had lost my nerve and later Johnny said he felt the same way. Meanwhile super cat Johnno Wheaton told the group later that he could of went faster but the side wind half way down and the bumpy road brought on the start of the death wobbles. (Which is when you bike sets up a vibration that can bring a rider down- it is very scary stuff.) He brought it under control by pressing his knees into the top tube, then sat up, which lets the wind, to not only slow him down, but to bring the wobbles under control. The wrong thing to do is to pull hard on the brakes, which is what instinct tells you to do. We all got down in one piece and while it was a relief to arrive at the bottom unscathed we all were bristling with nervous excitement as the story telling began.

105 Kilometres of hard arsed riding
The ride to Cooma was no walk in the park let me tell you. You will notice our stats for the day included yet another epic day of climbing with over 1500 metres clocked in just 105km's. While the constant climbing was hard it was the 50 kilometres of head or side wind that made it such a brutal day. We were all tired from this tough five day tour and it was time to finish and go home to our love ones. But not before achieving our goal of finishing today's ride into Cooma. Which we all did of course but not without a few choice words to Mother Nature. But all in all no one was seriously complaining as we knew that the weather Gods were on our side this long Easter weekend and we were indeed very thankful for that.

Saying goodbye is never easy
Later that afternoon when we were safely back in Canberra after the commute from Cooma back to Michael and Penni's home, it was all hands on deck as bikes were dismantled and packed in their respective boxes or attached to cars. Steve and Steve, Russell and Johnno, did the fast turn around, as they had a long drive ahead of them to get back to Wollongong to drop off Big Russ, and then Sydney for the rest of the lads. After such an amazingly painful, but fun five days together, it was really hard to say goodbye. I know I will see them again when we reunite for a Smiddy event in 2013. That year we are hoping to do a reverse Smiddy from Townsville to Brisbane and they all suggested they would like to be part of that. For Katrina, her family lives here and she will spend the night with them and fly out with us tomorrow morning. Penni, Matilda and Rowdy feel like family now. I will especially miss Matilda as she told Mummy that Sharky was her favourite rider! How cute is that, I have one fan. Robyn, April and Lucy returned to Wollongong direct from Jindabyne and I will miss our little timing and support girls. The smell of Simone's cooking will linger long in my senses. And Michael Milton, well the guy is so humble and down to earth and such a good bloke to hang out with. I will miss him, but know we will share future adventures together in the near future thanks to his involvement in triathlons now. As for Katrina, Baby Gorilla and Big Johny Leyshon, I get to take them home to Brisbane and we can play anytime.

Baby Gorilla story very close - The wait is nearly over!
Now I promised you loyal readers two things last night. One was to tell you the story of how Craig Mitchell got his Baby Gorilla nick name, which will be told at the very end of this blog. And two that I had a surprise for you. Well here is the surprise first up. I enlisted the help of Big Russ and Robyn's daughter April and asked her to go up to each person and they had to write down five words to describe their feelings from this weekend' camp. So here they are. Even the kids got to write down their favourite words describing their time at Jindabyne. Hope you enjoy.

Riders first
Katrina: Awesome, beautiful, challenging, statistics and flatulence!
Gorilla: Camaraderie, breathtaking, challenging, speed and windy.
John L: Unique, funny, inspiring, scenery and descents.
Johnno: Enjoyable, unforgettable, immense, challenging and rewarding.
Big Russ: Breathtaking, fast, cold, fun and tired.
New Man: Friendship, inspiration, weather, mate-ship and kilometres.
Steve W: Inspirational, interesting, motivating, enjoyable and memorable.
Sharky: Appreciation, friendship, hard, suffering and joy.

Now the kids turn, all children under the age of eight. Rowdy is just three.
Matilda: New friends, happy, fun and yummy!
April: Freezing, inspiring, breathtaking, incredible and silly.
Lucy: Easter and cold in the morning!
Rowdy: Thredbo is fun, speed Minton too?

Now for our awesome road crew
Michael: Hard work, fun, great experience and learning.
Penni: Glorious aroma's, screams, beautiful niece.
Robyn: Sunny, mindful, scenic, yummy and dry.
Simone: Yum food, lots of fun, freezing cold, exhausting and crazy kids!

I bent the rules for Milo and allowed him six words as he is one of the key organisers. But Simone was allowed the biggest discrepancy of ten words due to the fact that she kept us all fed with such an amazing variety of food. Rowdy got six words and for the life of me I cant work out what 'speed minton too' means...? Katrina's final word flatulence was funny as it was so true. Good healthy food, mixed with a combination of sports drinks and powders, made for an interesting -somewhat volatile mix- that produced riders yearly allowable quota of Methane gas in just five days!

Just how did Craig Mitchell get his nick name of Baby Gorilla?
First let me dispel the myth that he is ugly as a mad gorilla. That is just not fair even thinking that. The poor chap is in the prime of his life at just 29 years of age. Is single for all you ladies out there reading this, and has no hair to speak of on his barrel gorilla like chest. No, Craig got the name simply because his Father earned the nickname 'Gorilla' when he was a working class man. And as Craig is the baby in the family, and he resembles a younger version of his now retired Father Jeffrey, he was given the moniker
of Baby Gorilla. Now wasn't that worth waiting five days for?

Final Sharky words
That's all for now from me. Thank you to anyone who read these blogs. Be sure to spread the Smiddy story and also to recommend Michael and Penni's training camps to anyone that is keen for something very different from the normal family get away. If keen to get involved in any of the Smiddy events be sure to drop me a line at I would love to hear from you.

Take care.


Total Stats for all five days
Distance: 533 kilometres
Time: 21:54:10 (actual riding time)
Average: 24:34
Ascending: 8396 metres
Descending: 8315 metres (equivalent to riding from sea level to top of Mt Everest)

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