Day 4 - Biloela to Blackwater by John Martin
Tuesday, 4 September 2012
2012 Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge, Day 4
Course: Biloela to Blackwater
Average speed: 28km/h
Metres climbed: 1320m
Temperature min: 3⁰C
Temperature max: 38⁰C
Wind direction: Hard to say
Number of Photos: 1052 (Not alot in Wybrand's words)
Day 4 - Biloela to Blackwater by John Martin
Day 4 of the 2012 smiddy challenge dawned on us (quite literally at 5am) with much anticipation. This was due to another epic day of some 240km to take us through to Blackwater with a relatively small amount of 680m of climbing.
The stage was set by a fantastic dinner and auction and Biloela, hosted at the Thangool racecourse by the Biloela Smiling for Smiddy committee. The evening was a great success, raising over $3000 for the Mater Foundation. All of this success would be needed to crack day four. Of special note was the commitment made by Naomi from the Biloela Cancer Council with two of her work mates to ride the 2013 Smiling for Smiddy challenge. There is no doubt that with such a fantastic spirit in Biloela they will be well supported.
So on to the day. Once again it dawned fine and relatively balmy with a starting temperature of 3 degress. The riders were spurred on by the stirling sound of the bagpipes as we rolled out for another epic day on the bike.
Day four is when the challenge really becomes alive, and the peloton gels together. Today was no exception. The theme of the day was to ride with gusto and determination and was to be brought to us by the letter “F” for flatness (of terrain, not spirit), but rather turned out to be “F” for falls.
The group headed out of town from Biloela towards the township of Jambin, where the local community sign wished the smiddy riders all the best. Jambin holds a special memory for members of the inaugural Smiddy challenge as this was a stop over point on that very first ride. With the stripping off of the warmer over garmets, it was fantastic to see Maso (aka Paul Mason) wearing the blue team achievement jersey, and Bella in the green spirit jersey strip. Whilst I’ll never tell maso this, there is no way I would have got this far without his downright abrasive personality and in your face attitude, ok, really I mean fantastic support, inspiration, experience and dam strength on the bike. Ok, and his in your face attitude helps!
From this point we were under police escort which is always a great bonus for the riders and support crew, and we pass on very special thanks for the support from the QLD Police. It was whilst the police were on board with the peloton that senior Detective Sergeant and fellow Smiddy rider Copey to pull an illegal u-turn on a one way street. Nice one Copey.
The country was superb, with the road cutting through rolling hills, but alas also crossed three train tracks. Tracks are a particular hazard to cyclists and the peloton were very concerned when the call was heard “ease up, riders down” I’m thank full to say, that all the riders were ok, but this would not be the last fall for the day.
The next stop was Dululu, which is a very special spot, with a riders family coming to meet them for an emotion renioun, which put a tear in everyones eyes. The next tear jerker was young Kevvy, introducing us to his 'parents' and hearing that their local card club had raised a fantastic donation for Smiling for Smiddy. They too had made a personal contribution. I would like to express my personal thanks as well as on behalf of all the riders, to young Kevvy, Geevesy and the road crew for keeping us safe and looking after us so well.
The group set a good pace and were soon at the turn off to the Capricorn Highway. There was a stop to let some wide loads through, but they were rather disappointing as it was a D7 and a scrapper, and nothing too exciting. It is at this point that day four gets interesting, as the peloton changes to three abreast, with the outer two lanes, aka “the wings” circulating around business class. Paula and I remarked on how comfortable the sun lounge and the cocktail bar in business class are, but little did we know that these comments would come back to haunt us, as the pace hotted up, and the few climbs of the day needed conquering.
The peloton settled down into the three abreast routine. As the pace heats up, this becomes very exciting (ok, I mean scary but am too proud to say that), especially in business class, as there are riders either side and the calls, keep coming thick and fast. “hole left, slowing, hole middle, watch the gutter, bump, bridge ahead” Unfortunately we got it wrong at one stage, and a rider clipped a slowing rider and another fall resulted. I’m happy to report the riders were ok, other than cuts and bruises, and continued on.
We rolled into lunch at Duringa and once again were greeted with a fantastic spread prepared by the support crew. The cool green grass was a welcome relief for tired, hot feet. After lunch it was back to three abreast riding, and as the pace heated up, I started to struggle. And as if right on cue, the smiddy spirit kicks on, my low point is seized upon, and before I realize it, I’m singing bad 80’s covers, and forgetting about the pain and weakness some 900km of riding has lumbered me with, and I am once again focused on the task at hand. It was during this time that our worst fall of the day occurred. It was a very sobering experience to hear the thud of a falling rider behind, and the words “ease up, stop, riders down” After a concerning 20 minutes we found out that riders were ok, but would need medical attention. Even for experienced riders, the simple act of grabbing a biddon (drink bottle), whilst hitting bumps at speed can bring a rider unstuck, and unfortunately others in the peloton have no options to avoid getting involved.
We rolled into Dingo for afternoon tea and the highlight of the day was a calypso icecream. The group savoured them, and it took Kevvy to put his angry face on, as there was not a great response to the 5 min whistle. This had absolutely nothing to do with the 188km thus far cycled today.
The peloton reformed and the headed off at a steady business class kinda pace, but this wasn’t too last with Maso and Stinky Dave making the call “lets get this done” it took a few minutes for them to work their way to the front, and then it was on, and the job was done well, with the pace hitting an average of 41km/h for the last 20 km’s.
There was a collective sigh of relief rolling into Blackwater, another day was over, but there is also a sense of sadness, that our Smiddy week is far too quickly going to come to an end. But once you’re apart of the Smiddy family, this will last forever.
A highlight of any day is the coming together of the riders, support crew, billets and all those involved in getting us through the day. The closing remarks will stay with me – Adam Smiddy was the type of person who inspired fanastic people to achieve extra-ordinary things, and today was no exception. I hope that as you are reading this you to can be inspired to take on a Smiddy Challenge. You will be apart of a team that will ensure you don’t falter.