Thursday, 6 September 2012

2012 Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge, Day 6

Stats for the day – By David Colahan
Course: Clermont to Belyando Crossing
Distance:177.6 km
Average speed: 27.4 km/h
Metres climbed: 554m
Temperature min: Unknown (but not as cold as Nanango)
Temperature max: 37C (much hotter than Nanango)
Wind direction: Definitely head to cross wind
Number of Photos: Too many
Schindler’s List (road kill count) –By Dan Maunders and Nick Bourns
11 Kangaroos
5 deathly smells
1 wild pig sized water buffalo
4 furry unknowns
1 sack of bones
5 dead cars
1 unknown
1 bald eagle!?!? Suspiciously far from home
1 dead Belyando cat

Day  - Clermont to Belyando Crossing - by Ben Pearson and Dustin Hobbs
We have had the delightful task of writing the blog of Day 6 – perhaps the most uneventful day of the Challenge thus far in terms of hills, corners, roadkill and crashes.  We thought this would make it easy and we’d get to bed early.  We quickly decided that this blog would have to be more about peoples’ feelings and inspirations than talking about the events of the day.  Unfortunately, Ben has a memory of a fish so he forgot the answers to most of his questions.  This made the blog task more complicated.
Before we get into the details of the day though, let’s recap on the events of the night before.  Clermont put on a fabulous dinner and fundraising evening in our honour.  Guests included the Smiddy riders and crew, all of the riders’ hosts for the evening and other members of the Clermont community.  More fantastic funds were raised for Smiling for Smiddy through a raffle of numerous items, including a Jonathan Thurston signed Queensland Origin jersey and signed Cadel Evans paraphernalia.  After the event finished we all made our way to our respective hosts’ houses.
We were both lucky and unfortunate enough to be billeted with the Fingers.  Lucky, because Vicky Finger was a wonderful lady and Scott Finger provided constant amusement and they were both amazingly welcoming.  Unfortunate, because the Smiling for Smiddy crew actually think we both like each other.  Luckily enough we had different beds this time.  Sharing a double bed again was not something that we felt like doing any time soon.  Instead of the double bed, we got two single beds.  Dustin with the Thomas the Tank Engine sheets and Ben with the Dragon sheets.  This was quite apt as, during the night, Dustin tooted like Thomas and Ben sounded like he was breathing fire.  Thanks Jack and Angus for giving up your room for the night!
Day 6 provided us all with a little sleep in.  Roll out time was 7:30 – a good hour and a half later than usual.  This was a nice surprise as temperatures were also more respectable.  We had a couple more BMA riders from Moranbah joining us for this leg, which was really nice to have their support.  After arriving at the meeting point for the morning, Geevsy decided Kevvy’s manhood needed a little boost as the crew car he’d been driving was a 4 cylinder, so surprised him with the honour of leading the peloton out of Clermont in a Kenworth big rig.  Unfortunately, his feet didn’t reach the pedals, but he did toot the horn many times!  Clermont saw us off in style with cheers and waves and we were on our merry way...soon to realise just how uneventful this stretch of road really is.

Gone were the windmill and white horse spotting!  And gone were the hills (thank goodness)!  However, keeping us entertained were the names of places, creeks and other features on the way.  Like Black Johnson Creek.  I don’t know how they came up with this name, but I’m sure it’s significantly larger than the neighbouring White Johnson Creek.  Golden Gully and Pelican Spreads also produced sniggers amongst the peloton.  Potty mouth Paul Mason also kept us all alert as he provided us all with plenty of opportunity to take the micky out of him.  Big Johny Leyshon also kept our minds active with plenty of entertaining games... like kiss, marry or throw off a cliff!  In amongst a bit of this tom foolery, there was also some pretty nice scenery – the few rises in the landscape that there were offered wonderful views of the vast grassy plains.

The roads certainly were long and uneventful – this included a couple of 10 or more kilometre stretches without a single bend in the road.  By the time we reached that bend, half of us had forgotten how to turn.  Despite this monotony, long stretches of roadworks with more cones than an ice cream parlour and the intermittent passing of road trains and their cyclonic wake kept our riders on their toes.  Head winds mixed with road trains are one feature of this ride that we won’t miss.
The long and uneventful roads also allowed plenty of time to reflect on why we were doing this ride and whether we do a similar Smiddy ride again.  We asked a lot of the first time participants this question and the answer was a pretty resounding yes.  We know we will be back at some stage in the near future (and as soon as our partners give us another leave pass).
As per usual, the main breaks supplied us with ample delectable food.  Special mention has to be made here as the road crew has gone out of their way to accommodate peoples’ intolerances.  Ben has many, but one of them is a food intolerance.  Every food break, there is plenty of food available for people with various intolerances.  Ben made sure he consumed more than his fair share of these!  Hence him not losing any weight this ride, as yet... Mention must also be made of the extremely generous food donations for today’s meals.  Blue Mac Bakery in Clermont donated some delicious muffins and Elaine from Beales IGA in Clermont donated $50 worth of groceries.  There were also plenty of home baking products given by our Clermont supporters.  Also on offer at the breaks were the amazing hands of Sammi Jo.  Without her, we would need more support cars than bikes to carry the walking wounded.
After lunch, there was a short 19 km stretch where all the riders were asked to carry their small day bag on their backs.  This is a tribute to the original 2006 ride, where Sharky carried his fellow riders’ bags through Home Hill after they couldn’t carry them any further.  All riders, regardless of their state, took up this request and we headed off towards the finish into another headwind.
The stage finished with an unofficial “go at your own” pace sprint for the Hog Trophy, named after the former owner of Belyando Crossing Roadhouse who sadly passed away 2 years ago.  It was a toughly fought battle with Richard Langton pipping Dan Maunders in a photo finish.  Mel Speares won the ladies’ sprint by a country mile.  In other news, Ben thrashed Dustin in the C Grade Sprint, largely due to Dustin’s premature dash for the line. 
After the sprint, we all regrouped and rode into Belyando Crossing Roadhouse – our home for the night.  We were greeted with post-exercise nutrition of high-carb drinks (beer).  Both being lovers of the outdoors, we have both been looking forward to this stay – our accommodation is a swag under the stars!  The day ended with our usual team meeting, which included some really heartfelt talks from Dustin and Paul Mitchell about the reasons for them undertaking the ride.  Sharky also presented the Smiddy Spirit and Teamwork jerseys.  Frank won the Smiddy Spirit jersey for his amazing attitude towards the ride.  Frank is the oldest guy on the ride at 63 and has managed to hold his own against many of the younger riders.  John Leyshon was the recipient of the Teamwork jersey largely due to his constant witty remarks and his delight in helping others.  He is always a pleasure to have in the peloton.

The night ended with many more carb-loading drinks and stories that will probably be shared the next day.  Bring on Charters Towers...

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