Saturday, 5 May 2012
SMIDDY HALF REPORT DAY 4
HALF SMIDDY - DAY 4
Warwick to Toowoomba
Today's blog is dedicated to our enthusiastic, energetic, gorgeous, handsome and amazing road crew!
A perfect Autumns Day
Sitting here writing my blog in the bright warming sunshine on a perfect Autumns day at four-pm in Toowoomba. The sounds of contentment drift lazily to my ears as a few of the lads sit outside drinking a bottle of red or a beer, and reflecting on day four of their Smiddy adventure. While other riders are showering and enjoying the chance to catch up with love ones on the phone or just taking the time to chill out. As for the road crew Sammi-Jo and Wendy are inflicting comforting pain as they massage the soreness and tiredness out of the riders legs. Jess is busy writing up a road crew perspective for my blog, Andy is running around sorting rider bags, while beautiful Katie is lying on the grass chatting to Pierre Grandjean. Pierre works for Sealy Posturepedic in Sydney and is doing the last two days of the ride. Our ambulance girls, Maryanne and Lauren, are tending to the wounds of Peter Dyer, who was involved in the first serious fall of the trip when he came a cropper and took his Brother Mike down with him. Now that is Brotherly love. Pete and Mike are all good but minus some bark. Donna and Wendy are tending to the washing and old Captain Kev is enjoying some down time chatting with Smiddy rider Julie Herholdt.
New road crew member
Yesterday we were joined by Rebecca Knight, who is the wife of Smiddy rider Peter Knight. Bec drove for seven hours from Gladstone to catch up with us at our afternoon tea stop yesterday in Killarney. Bec will help out over the next few days and is a welcome inclusion, not just because of her 2011 Smiddy Challenge experience, but because she brought a heap of home made sweet delights. The riders loved her instantly!
The safest peloton in Australia rolls out of Warwick
Leaving Warwick at seven-am after being spoilt with a hot breakfast thanks to our wonderful hosts in Gary and Jo, we pushed off with two police escorts, one ambulance, Kevvy in the follow vehicle and Rebecca in her 4WD with bike racks. At seven-am, on a Saturday morning, with a blanket of eerie fog, and not a car on the road, we definitely felt incredibly spoilt by all the attention -and infinitely safe. A huge thank you to the Warwick police, who support Smiddy events each and every time that we pass through town. To get to Toowoomba via the highway is 90 kilometres. But nothing is ever that straight forward in a Smiddy event, as today's course weaved its way through small country towns such as Allora,Clifton, Pittsworth, Biddeston and finally Toowoomba. Once the fog banked was burnt off by the warming rays of sunshine, a day was revealed that can only be described as perfectly brilliant.
The easy day of riding that was hard
It was one of those days where it would have been criminal not to be on your bike. Being an easier flatter day of 1200 metres of climbing over the 156 kilometre day caught a few riders off guard. I think we were all expecting a cruisy day, but with the accumulative effect of riding for three days and nearly 500 kilometres, eventually has to catch up, especially after yesterday's epic day, and for some, today was the day when the aches and pains and tiredness refused to go away. Not helping things was when Pete and Mike's fall occurred around the 80 kilometre mark, which was the usual scenario of sudden braking by a rider in front, a touch of wheels, and down Pete went. Mike, following close behind, had nowhere to go, so attempted to bunny hop Pete, but actually landed on his bike, did a track stand momentarily, took one look at his younger Bro on the ground, and said; "make way Pete, I'm coming to join you"! Mike was okay to continue, but Pete, who hit the tarmac the hardest and was clearly in shock, was told by Captain Kev that he was in the van until lunch. Which luckily was just 14 kilometres away, as Pete was chomping at the bit to return to his beloved peloton.
So besides the crash the ride was pretty uneventful except for the sudden appearance of a fast moving kangaroo crossing the road just in front of the peloton, and a wrong turn that lead to a rough dirt road and a muddy crossing that none of us wanted to traverse, so an about face was ordered and we found the right road soon after. The lunchtime stop at Pittsworth saw the owner Michael Carpenter once again put on a beautiful fruit platter, muffins and drinks for lunch, while the road crew provided the sandwiches. Michael supports all of our events and we are indeed humbled by his constant generosity for three years running with our two events a year. Thank you Michael and also for the donation of over $200 that was made up of coins in the two Smiddy money tins.
The most common complaint today from the riders was of tired legs, sore backs, necks and shoulders and just generally feeling fatigued to the point of making it hard to concentrate fully while in the peloton. Which is about normal for this stage of the game. Eventually we rolled into Toowoomba, arriving spot on our scheduled time of three-pm. Sammi-Jo was invited to lead the huddle and she did a wonderful heartfelt job. While three cheers were reserved for our youngest ever Smiddy helper in Shak, who at just six years of age did a great job of helping out her Mum Rebecca to look after the riders. Tonight I was joined by my family for the speeches and journal reading. Mum and Dad turned up for dinner before heading home early, while my Brother Terry and his wife and their son Craig joined for the after dinner activities. It was an emotional night with Jess sharing the story of her Auntie just being diagnosed with cancer, and Simon Small sharing his inspirational story of serving with his best mate Gordy in the armed forces and that in a very short space of time his mate will pass on. Julie did a fine job of reading the blog and Row was awesome as usual giving a rundown of the day in his own unique cheeky way. Pete Dyer also spoke about prevention through regular check ups, the value of giving blood, watching what we eat and please don't smoke. No problems on all those fronts in this group mate.
Get to know our exceptional road crew
To finish with I wanted to give you a sneak peek at our road crew. So I asked Jess to give us a rundown of each of these beautiful people who have given up five days of their personal time to support the 20 strong peloton who are cycling day after day on this 900km journey. Each road crew member has contributed in an individual, exceptional way - a way that won't soon be forgotten.
This lovely lady is a full time pediatric physiotherapist at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, and has a personal history with cancer. Wendy generously gave up her time to join the road crew, and has contributed endless support, delicious treats, hugs and massages to our riders and crew. Wendy's beautiful cheery disposition and calm 'can do' manner has kept spirits high throughout this ride, and we will be forever grateful.
There is not one member of this ride who has not been touched by Sammi's infectious energy and gorgeous smile. Sammi is an exceptional massage therapist who has been only too happy to use her healing hands (and sometimes knees and feet) on anyone in the team who needed it. Sammi has managed to make everyone's heart lighter on this physically and emotionally challenging journey.
Donna is one of our few experienced road crew members on this journey. Donna is the Queen of the lead vehicle, and excellent on road commentary. Offering amazing support to all riders on the road, and working tirelessly to keep the peloton safe - Donna is an integral part of this team. The riders and crew have been incredibly grateful for Donna's ongoing support and expertise.
Katie has brought along her big heart, and beautiful smile to lend a hand on this challenge. Traveling all the way from Hamilton Island, Katie has experienced a challenging last few months, but with that big smile and patience, has offered nothing but support for all of the riders and crew. It should also be mentioned that Katie has also been a very active fundraiser, and even managed to auction herself off as a date for the evening.
Andy has worked with Sealy for 13 years, and has been a friend of both Peter and Mike Dyer for just as long. This generous, loving man is a keen cyclist himself although an upcoming knee replacement has prevented him from joining the peloton on the road. Andy has put his hand up to assist with any task that has been required and has become known affectionately as 'tomato man' for his prowess with Sao preparation at morning and afternoon tea.
Maryanne Szwinto & Lauren Jackson
This dynamic duo have worked tirelessly on the road with the peloton, following behind with the ambulance and providing invaluable support. It is a great assistance having the ambulance with its beautiful flashing lights, and not one, but two trained paramedics on board to assist with any injuries that may occur. Luckily no significant injuries have occurred, but just in case... Touch wood.
Uncle Kevvy, as always, is on board following the peloton all the way. Kevvy is always on hand for a cuddle and a bottle of red (and a telling off if you are not behaving yourself). Kevin gives up his time for Smiddy for every challenge, and works tirelessly with the crew and the riders to make sure everyone has an exceptional time whilst on the road. A million thank you's would never be enough for Kevvy's ongoing support and love
Jess has been with the team at Smiddy for just two months now and with the Half Smiddy being her time to show what she is made of, she has stepped up to the plate and delivered a winning home run. Her happiness and genuine interest in helping people has really shone through over these past four days.
Well that's it for now, one more blog to go and then I have earned a sleep in on Monday morning, as have everyone here from riders to road crew. Tomorrow we are joined by two new day riders in Angus Blackwood and John Kazakoff. With a 210 kilometre day to finish with it should be an eye opener of a day for them being part of the Smiddy peloton. I know for the sure the group will welcome them with open arms.
Take care everyone and I welcome you all to come and cheer in the riders when we finish at Adam Smiddy Park, Park Road Milton, this Sunday, tomorrow, between 4 and 4:30pm.
10:45pm - Getting better!