Monday, 3 September 2012

2012 Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge, Day 3

Stats for the day – By David Colahan
Course:Eidsvold to Biloela
Average speed: 28km/h
Metres climbed: 1320m
Temperature min: 0C
Temperature max: 33C
Wind direction: Hard to say
Number of Photos: 1127

Schindler’s List (road kill count) –By Dan Maunders and Nick Bourns
1 Large black dog
1 very large black dog
11 Very bad smells – no sightings
7 Wallabies
6 Skippys
2 Bandicoot
1 headless echidna
1 rat-like creature
3 unconfirmed
2 magpies

Day 3 - Eidsvold to Biloela
By Paul Mason (but typed by his amazing host Lesley Rehbein)

“I have carved you in The Palm Of My Hand”Isaiah 49:16

Why is this titled this way?

Geoff Honey is one of this year’s new riders. He joined the group from Sydney so missed all the training rides.

His comment before the ride started was that he felt his preparation was underdone but he had done all that he could have. With the climbs on day 1 and 2 he has struggled but at no point has he ever given up. We were moving up one of the many climbs on day 3 of the ride (thanks Sharky great road choice) when David rode along side him and placed his hand on his back to help him along. It then struck me so powerfully what this ride, this Smiddy Experience is all about! The “hand” –the hand that is offered – the hand on the back, the hand that gives you a little push just when you need it, the hand that helps you stand up when your body won’t when Kevvy blows his 5 minute whistle, the hand that passes you the sandwich for lunch - because as a group we are now carved into the palm of each of our hands.

This blog is what Smiddy is really all about– as Flooky said tonight at our Biloela “circle” at the end of the days ride; “Something powerful and magic has come out of the tragedy of Adam’s death”. The Smiling for Smiddy rides for the Mater Foundation are powerful and magic events to raise funds to turn the tables on the battle against cancer.

This description of today’s ride is more or less based on actual events.
Today is the third day of our ride to Townsville. We started from Eidsvold in a rather balmy 0C and headed north. The difference being -3C yesterday in Nanango yesterday and 0 Degrees this morning was almost tropical.
Nick Bourns (one of our riders from Victoria) is here with his mate Daniel Maunders and is our Schindler’s List secure keeper. He keeps track of the road kills we pass by. A little sad really but an interesting occupation. Anyway he was kept busy very early on – we passed a bandicoot, a wallaby, and a huge red kangaroo (he would have caused a lot of damage to somebody).

The ride began at a very gentle pace of 21 km/hour. The third day was always going to be a tough day after 2 days of seriously hard climbing and 450km in the saddle. Riders were always going to be mentally and physically tired.

Anyway on this day we are also on a tight time schedule so the ‘dark shark’ (he has had black leggings and black arm covers on since we started on Saturday) cruised menacingly to the front of the pack. You know when the shark cruises to the front of the peloton to speak, something is going to change. In his quiet ‘commanding’ reassuring voice he‘suggested’ the group might need to push the speed up so we could arrive at our first appointment on time. And as always when the Shark commands the group responds – our speed increased as did the temperature (I did wonder if the dark shark had anything to do with this as well)
This journey always has its stories, true or mostly true with only some poetic license. Nathan, our one and only Englishman has had great delight in regaling the success of the SKY Cycling team and the English Olympic Team. He is a member of the “Windmill and Whitehorse Spotting Team” (John, Nick, Daniel and Nathan being the four main conspirators). At one point Nathan with a great exclamation of success yelled ‘Whitehorse’…over there in the paddock! Upon closer inspection it was noted that the Whitehorse was a grey Brahman bull complete with hump between the shoulders and horns?????!!!!

And there is Mel – Mel is blessed with three beautiful children. One of Mel’s dearest friends has produced her a “package” to be opened everyday – they each have a different treat to eat and a message for the day – yesterdays message was from Eleanor Roosevelt:

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts”. Just what Mel and the rest of us in the peloton needed to hear today.

Anyway, in full and on time we rolled into St Theresa Catholic Primary School in Monto. What an experience, 100 Primary School kids cheering us into the school yard all with hands out giving high fives to all the riders as we rolled passed. Amazing!

Now there are a number of things experienced cyclists desperately want to avoid:

1. Getting a greasy chain mark on the back of your leg where you rubbed it against your bike chain – commonly referred to as ‘rookie error’ – (members to date include Row, Roger, Jarrod and John);

2. Not being able to click your foot into the peddle when you start the bike rolling out with the group an    you are one of the lead riders and

3. Giving high fives to a group of cheering school kids and having the front wheel slip out on you in front of the whole school! Now Jarrod Covey today managed to do just that. Rookie error Jarrod. (Fortunately no real damage was done to bike or rider – apart from ego).

The experience of St Theresa was an emotionally moving experience – the children aged from Prep to Year 7 are so excited about the Smiling for Smiddy ride. And the real driver for the visit is to get the message of sun protection across to all the kids.

This was introduced by the Dark Shark and Rowan with the basic sun care message of ‘slip slop slap’ coming through loud and clear. Six Smiddy riders with inadequate sunscreen protection on their face were ‘selected’ by the children and presented to the whole school. Five children then applied brightly coloured zinc to the riders faces. The ‘best’sunscreen face was chosen by the most amount of cheering from the rest of the school and the winner was: Flooky & Lachlan (his applicator)

After morning tea we then left St Theresa’s and headed out on the road to Thangool. Unfortunately between us and our next meeting was the Monto Range – a 10km climb at about 5-7% with some pinches up to 8-9% but the real issue is the 3-4 false peaks.

If ever you want to understand what the ‘Real Smiddy Spirit’ is all about then you only had to watch the number of hands from riders who pushed their colleagues up the seemingly endless climbs, this was one of the most spirit breaking climbs we have tackled as a group – with the false peaks and continual climbs around numerous corners but what is so typical of Smiddy riders is ‘they never give up and they never surrender’.

We conquered the range and powered on into Thangool State School at our fastest average speed arriving at the School half an hour early.

The reception was as passionate and enthusiastic as Monto and the project group lead by year 7 seniors at the school managed to raise over $500 – the most they have ever raised. AWESOME.

The Sun Smart message was delivered once again this time by ‘Principal Paul Mitchell’ (one of our riders). The children responded to Mr Paul’s authoritive manner and answered all his Sun Smart questions.

The winner of the sunscreened Smiddy rider face was Stan and his applicator Zane.

From Thangool to Biloela is the ‘at your own pace’ ride/race into to the township. The‘A Grade’ male sprint was won by David Silvesteri who has not only raised the most amount of money in his fundraising, but can apparently also sprint. The ‘A Grade” female sprint was won by Sarah Crealy. They were each awarded a newly created perpetual trophy and the take home stuffed toad.

The ‘B Grade’ sprint was won by David Lynch. Each rider is then passed over to the incredibly tender and generous care of their hosts for their night’s accommodation.

The day was finished with the Biloela/Thangool Community dinner at the Thangool race Club. An absolutely mind blowing experience shared with an amazing rural community of people.

Sharky then awarded his cycling jersey for the day and the winners were:

Team work jersey –Paul Mason for his teamwork passion, his fund raising and endless ‘helping’hand up the climbs to any rider apparently struggling

Smiddy Spirit jersey –Bellinda Grimwade who crashed twice on the Warwick weekend – one at high speed– who almost pulled out of the ride but with enormous spirit is here and has conquered all!

Oh and the next time you see Shark make sure you ask him if Naomi got her bike chain cleaned and re-oiled.
Thanks for reading guys. Stay tuned for our next post, brought to you with the help of our special friends at Telstra Country Wide.


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