Thursday, 21 June 2012

SMIDDY PYRENEES' CHALLENGE - Getting there

A year in the making but finally the inaugural Smiling for Smiddy Pyrenees' Challenge is just two days away. As I write this I am sitting in the airport at Singapore with 3 hours to kill, so what better way to pass the time then to do my first blog entry for this epic 5 day tour. Our first venture into the French Pyrenees' consists of a team of 13 riders. Each of these special individuals are here because they believe in the Smiddy cause. They have not only had to train extremely hard but have fund-raised tirelessly to achieve their committed goal of raising $10,000 each prior to departure.

So Rowan Foster and myself are here representing Smiddy and both of us have extensive background in endurance events from Ironman through to all the Smiddy events that we complete each year. We were both very good mates with Adam Smiddy.

Jimmy Acomb;our ever faithful Smiddy bike mechanic the past 5 years, who is hanging up his tools for this one and riding instead. His Scottish blood is bubbling with excitement.

Jimmy's partner of 5 years, Anna Tovey, also joins us, and besides being a very accomplished triathlete, she is one very lucky young lady to even be here after being cleaned up by a scooter just 5 days ago when she was hit from behind and tossed into the air like a rag doll. Her bike was written off in the process and Jimmy had his work cut out to get a new bike sorted for her before our departure today. Miraculously Anna escaped relatively unscathed from her close encounter and we are all glad she is okay.

Johnny ' Bad Boy' Reagan trains with me at UQ and did his first Iron distance event with me last year at the Wanaka Challenge. This is his first Smiddy event and 2 weeks after the tour he will complete his second Iron distance event in Switzerland.

Young Billy 'The Kid' Elliot joins us as well and has 2 Challenge rides up to Townsville to his name. Billy shows amazing fortitude and caring towards our cause and has raised close to $25,000 for Smiddy over the years. We are lucky to have him on board.

Katrina Cousins rode the Challenge event up to Townsville last year and wanted more of this amazing Smiddy experience of helping those inflicted by cancer, so joined up for the Smiddy Pyrenees'. Two weeks after the tour of the Pyrenees' Katrina will join bad Boy and I in doing the Switzerland Ironman on July 15.

Next we have Adam Young, who has not done any Smiddy events up until now. Adam had 2 melanoma's cut out in December of 2006, which ironically was the same year that we lost our mate Adam Smiddy to Melanoma. Youngy not only shares the same name as my mate but was also the same age as Adam Smiddy when he passed away at 26 years of age. We lost an Adam that year but gained an Adam. I can't tell you how good it is to have Youngy on board this tour.

David Agudelo is our final rider from Brisbane and he also completed the Challenge event up to Townsville last year. David gets the whole Smiddy Spirit thing and throws himself whole heartedly into the fund raising and achieving the most out of his Smiddy experiences.

Michael Harris is from Sydney and is the managing partner of a Sydney law firm. A triathlete and a devoted cyclist, Michael decided to channel his love of outdoor sports to charity events after his number one supporter, business partner and friend, his father Barry, lost his fight to bowel cancer.

Joining Michael from NSW is the 3 brothers from Sydney. These boys are Phillip, Mark and Peter De-Angelis and they work in the corporate world of Hotel chains. These lads love a beer and have not stopped celebrating last weeks win over Queensland in the State of Origin. Luckily they love the bike even more. Mark and Peter both completed the 2010 NSW Smiddy event and have extensive experience on the bike. Phil on the other hand is the new dog in the neighborhood and has only been cutting his cycling teeth so to speak for the past 6 months. Should be an 'interesting' tour! Watch this space...

Well it is nearly time for me to board my flight so just quickly; what we have in front of us is 750 kilometres over 5 days of riding and a massive 12000 plus metres plus of climbing in front of us. (The equivalent to 60 times up to the top of Mt Kootha! The tour starts June 24, which will give us 36 hours to recover from jet lag prior to pushing off on that first stage. The team are quietly excited, but also a tad nervous of the suffering we know is coming our way. I look forward to keeping you up to date with our adventures.

Bye for now.

Sharky

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