Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Written by Anna Tate – formerly known as Taser but now just Tired Tate

Stats for the day by Ray (of Sunshine ) Smithers
Course:​​Arno Bay to Whyalla (yes the very place Craig Emerson so successfully rapped about)
Distance: ​​152.1 km
Ride Time:​​ 5 hours 13 min
Average speed:​29.1km/h
Metres climbed:​ 650 metres
Temperature min:​10 degrees
Temperature max:​20 degrees
Wind direction:​Cross tail wind out of the South West – turning into a light headwind post lunch
Tiny Dancer’s Special Stats:
After a day of reserve, preserve and conserve, Captain Pain came out not once but twice today.  The first a 4 km pre nutrition smash out which would see him cover a decent incline solo with the following stats:
Average heart rate: ​​147 BPM
Power: ​​154 Watts
Average Speed: ​35.7 km
The second was to come at the very end of the day when Tiny made a dash for the 60km sign possibly a little earlier than expected due to Whyalla’s enthusiastic use of 80km signs.  His 1km sprint racked up the following stats:
Average Heart Rate: ​156 BPM
Power:​320 Watts
Average Speed: ​41km
Road Kill Count inspired rather than captured by Rusty
1 x Skippy
3 x Snakes
12 x Shingle Back Lizards
1 x Red Panda (reported by April and Lucy)
1 x Red Frog – lost in transit from back pocket to Anna’s mouth
The problem with Faff
5:34 am – my alarm goes off and as usual it takes me a couple of minutes to register where I am and who I am with.  This morning I wake to something a little different, I’m in my own room in my own bed with no Smiddy riders in view.  It’s a little weird.  In the last two weeks, even my trips to the yellow room are typically shared with Mel so to be alone is something new.
This morning we’re not due to leave until 8 am, so 5:30am may sound a little early, but trust me there is an art to preparing for riding, and after 11 days I am yet to perfect it.  While I may not have makeup, hair or wardrobe decisions to contend with, there seems to be a lot of other stuff to do and inevitably I enter the faff zone.  
So far I have been in good company, Sharky, Tiny Dancer (surprisingly) and JL (perhaps not so surprisingly) have also struggled to meet team kick off times, but they have sharpened their game of late so today I have pre-emptively set my alarm early enough to factor in an appropriate level of faff.  
It will come as no surprise to those of you that know me that in this 2.5 hours I only managed the following - put on outfit, freshly washed, sorted and laid out by Ray, prepared and ate two weetbix, applied chammy cream, jammed all stuff (2/3 not used) into one bulging bag and fetched my bike.
It’s an interesting time in the ride.  We’re close to the end but not close enough to celebrate.  We’re far enough from the start to taste success and with around 600 km of the 2530 km there is a quiet confidence building in the group that we can and will do this.  To date not one rider has squished themselves into the Gorilla (not a jeep) mobile for some van time, an impressive feat particularly for the three who already had The Smiddy Challenge under their belts when we met up in Perth.  As my legs start to tire and I take more and more shelter within the grupetto my respect and gratitude to the rest of the team continues to grow.
We roll out on time (sort of) to the ringing of Kevy’s bell by the lovely Bev from the Hotel Arno, who also presented us with a $110 donation collected from locals at the bar. Our sincere thanks again for your incredible generosity.
Both the warm up and winds are kind and a rhythm is soon found.  Today we are continuing along the Eyre Peninsula.   I don’t know why, but for some reason I thought the entire ride was through the desert – neither details nor geography being my strong points- so this section which features corners and coastlines as well as mostly favourable winds has been sheer bliss.  Wattle and other flowers line the roads, the hills are rolling, the shrubbery green.  It’s beautiful, but I don’t think my appreciation would have been so great had I not recently experienced the unique nothingness of the desert.  
So much to be thankful for
Gratitude is recognised as one of the keys to happiness and in my quest for zen in my everyday life I will often note down what I am grateful for at the end of each day (ok mostly I just do it in my head, but I do do it). Perhaps it is because you really appreciate the little things when you are on journey like this or perhaps it is because journeys like these really highlight what we have to be grateful for.  Whatever the reason today’s list is particularly long.

Today I am grateful for:
• Waking up in my own bed thanks to the hospitality of strangers
• A microwave to warm my weetbix - a close second to mint jelly in terms of excitement levels
• A clean kit smelling ever so slightly of lavender thanks to the washing wonders of Ray
• The yellow room call coming just as I was reaching my outer bladder limits
• Arriving at both morning tea and lunch to find day bags out, food on table and cold drinks on hand thanks to Gorilla and Kevvy
• The chance to really get to know Sharky as our great story swap continues
• Changing scenery and roads that bend
• Craig for taking care of all comms between the group and Gorilla mobile and ensuring our safety
• Gentle pushes from Tiny and Sharky
• Fingers pointing me where to go for best wind shelter in the group
• Significantly lower road kill count
• Rusty with his ever watchful eyes for first realising that I was struggling in the afternoon session and finding me a better spot in the grupetto and then spotting that a rubbing brake pad may be part of the reason for my slump
• JL and Ray for pulling off a skilful move to fix said brake pad while travelling at high speeds
• Craig for providing and Mel for installing a plug into my handle bars
• The chance to ride with and learn from such strong riders who continue to generously and patiently share their knowledge
• Messages of support from the real world
• The abundance of pick and mix and other lollies in South Australia
• Rusty's wife Robyn and their two gorgeous girls April and Lucy for their pom pom welcome into Whyalla
• Kev and Gorilla for once again putting their bodies on the line in order to secure accommodation at a special price at a particularly special place
• Real coffee at a real cafe
• Tiny dancer pulling a classic Dancer move and shouting a surprise dessert for the whole group
• Isocol and its healing if painful ways
• Hot shower, warm beds
• Mel for showing me how females survive cycling
• The chance to be part of something truly remarkable
• Witnessing, reflecting on and being part of true mateship
Since beginning my Smiddy journey earlier this year I have learnt a lot about a lot of things. Some lessons have been relatively straight forward and expected such as the importance of not wearing underwear and that aero bars are more than just chocolaty goodness. Some however have caught me by surprise. The power and importance of mateship is one of these life lessons that Smiddy has highlighted and amplified.  This actually makes sense given that it is the close mateship between Adam and Sharky that inspired Smiling for Smiddy.
Here on the ride the power of mateship is abundantly clear. I see it every day.  The real hugs shared between JL and Craig at the end of particularly tough sessions where others may not have noticed their struggles, the sharing of each and every muesli bar by Rusty and Ray, the on again off again relationship between Tiny and Captain Pain.
It's not just from within the group. The mateship from outside has also been incredible. From Mel’s great mate who has created a message for her for each and every day of her rides,  Sharky's mates Cathy and Michael for dressing up 20 trees across the Nullarbor with signs of support, my own friends and loved ones for their endless encouragement.
Inspiring is a word that is used often to describe this trip and its members. Like many of you I have been inspired - to be more adventurous, to do something for others, to be fitter, stronger and to eat more protein. To be a better mate is my latest addition to this list.  
It’s very late and if these legs have any hope of making it through tomorrow I better get them to bed.
Amendment to Day 11 
(Public Apology from the Author Tiny Dancer to Rusty Carbo Balls)
You see as a test to all readers of this journal not a single reader noted that the Ultimate Smiddy 7 in 7 rider formula totaled only 7/8ths. That is because a giant 6 foot 6 inches was missing from the equation. Somewhere in the fatigue and delirium post ride journal writing  there seems to have been a slight editing error and Rusty’s attribute went AWOL. Perhaps subconsciously his omission occurred as a square up for the nickname that now seems to have become a permanent fixture in my life.
So here it is:
Rusty Carbo Balls adds to our equation the ultimate team man or domestique. He is the go-to man for all problem solving, he is totally selfless and constantly assisting the team all day long. Strong on the bike and very much the Jens Voight of this team. Helps all day long but when given permission from the Director is strong enough on the bike to chase the stage win.


  1. Congratulations everyone on another great day's riding. Sending you all our love. David and Maria.

  2. Anna, welcome to the Smiddy family. You have the Smiddy Spirit, I can hear it in your words. Everyone around you has gained from you just as much as you have from them. We are loving the blogs. Enjoy the rest of your time together. Keep safe, love to you all. David and Maria.

  3. Anna, you are a lovely writer and are so incredibly strong. I love reading all the funny stuff throughout the blogs because I believe, without humor in life, we have nothing but your blog today really brings home the truly emotional experience of this ride. I may never have the opportunity to ever meet you face-to-face but you have truly shown your beauty through your words. I'm sure your mates will agree that they are lucky to be sharing this ride with such a beautiful spirit. Thank you for such a beautifully open and heartfelt blog.

  4. "The chance to be part of something truly remarkable".... You coined it Ann! A friend from the other side of the world emailed after reading your Day 12 stating what a wonderful writer you are. No argument from this quarter :) Completely agree with previous comments of Carrie322. What a team!!!! Not long now......lotsaluv lynne xo