Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Written by Mark "Sharky" Smoothy

Stats for the day by Ray (I love you tailwind) Smithers
Course:​​ Whyalla to Port Pirie
Distance: ​​167km's
Ride Time:​​ 5 hours 40 min
Average speed:​ 28.7km/h
Metres climbed:​ 393 metres
Highest elevation: 107 metres
Temperature min:​ 8 degrees
Temperature max:​ 32 degrees
Average speed of 24.5km/h for first 76km's into Port Augusta
Wind direction:​ Headwind for first 76km's, Tailwind for 91km's

Tiny Dancer’s Special Stats:
Average heart rate: ​​109 BPM
Average Power: ​​143 Watts
Average cadence: 84
Coffee shots at Port Augusta coffee shop (5)
Time spent out of control (Nil) So much coffee cancelled out Captain Silly.

Road Kill Count by April (9) Lucy (5) and their Mother Robyn Conway
8 skippy's
3 lizards
2 snakes
1 magpie
2 crows

The great Journal writers\
Thank you to Tiny Dancer and Taser for the awesome journals over the past two nights. What a great pleasure it has been for me this trip to not only get many nights off from writing the journals, but to be able to sit back, listen, and thoroughly enjoy the readings each night. Back in 2006 when Ron, Ollie and I left for Townsville for that very first Smiddy Challenge, adorned with our 10kg backpacks, each night a journal was written, and each night that journal was read out to our group of 3. That tradition has passed down to each Smiddy event and of course to this extended 7in7 journey around Australia. I have records of every blog ever written since 2006 for every Smiddy Challenge event and every 7in7 leg. My, the stories over the years are pure gold and I keep them for future reference for a time when I can sit back, put my feet up and have time to reflect. So to all the past blog writers I dedicate today's journal entry to you.

An alarming night\
After a night spent at Hotel Spencer in Whyalla, where it is a common occurrence for the fire alarm to sound -and sound it did- precisely at 9pm, when someone had a shower and left the door open. Apparently if the bathroom door is left open while lathering up, the steam from the shower sets off the smoke alarm in the bedroom. This was explained in detail by one of the frustrated fire brigade personal who hinted that they attend false alarms to this Hotel regularly. So after the non-existent fire was laid to rest, everyone was invited to return to their rooms. For the 7in7 crew sleep always weighs heavily on our minds. As much of it as possible is the best thing to do prior to another big day in the saddle, and that is exactly what Taser did not get. My inside mole informed me that Taser was up until 12, slept until 4am and finished her blog just prior to roll out at 7am. A great display of dedication and passion Taser showed by completing her blog, as have all the crew who have done a blog this trip. I have said it before and I will say it again, I LOVE YOU GUYS!

76km's of headwinds gets the crew a reward in Augusta
Weather man Ray suggested we get out butts on the road early as a vicious headwind was expected mid-morning on the road up to Augusta. By the time bikes were unlocked from the hotel storage, and the Conway girls in Lucy, April and their Mother Robyn sent us on our way with the honour of ringing the cow bell, it was 7:20am. Thank you also to Robyn for staying behind and washing all our stinky riding attire. Raymond 'Laundry Boy' Smithers is enjoying the break. Anyway off we roll and the wind was present right off the bat -light at first- with just enough power to tickle your nasal hairs. We had time for a quick yellow room visit -called by yours truly- at the 11km mark, a second one at 30km's, and BAM, it hit us! Full on headwind, up to 25km/h and our nasal hairs were now being ripped out! A snap decision was made to ride to the 45km mark, where we had a quick stop to demolish one of the yummy fruit cakes that Robyn brought with her, made by Rusty's Mum Tina Korda. (Thank you Tina, very tasty and much appreciated.)

Port Augusta was at the 76km mark and the group were unanimous in their decision to tough it out until then, and have an extended morning tea break at a real cafe. So for the road crew, that now consisted of Kevvy, Jeff, Robyn and the two rascally little worker girls, Lucy and April, there was no morning tea to prepare. Instead we all met at this Coffee shop that I felt I was meant to visit. I could not believe my luck when I led the group to the first coffee shop in sight and saw that it was called 'Ozzies' Cafe. You see that is my Father's name, a name that it not so common anymore, but popular in the 30 and 40's. I was immensely impressed, took a photo and sent it directly to my brother Terry to pass on to the folks. Dad's 79th birthday is in two days time so it could not be more appropriate. Dad will be chuffed for sure.

The taboo brown room discussion
After a slow average of 24km/h, or 3 hours of torture to ride just 76km's, we were all famished. JL and Baby G polished off 2 worlds best milkshakes waiting for their scrambled eggs on toast to arrive. It was here that Tiny Dancer had 5 shots of coffee along with some light and fluffy eggs, more on that later. The omelets were sensational and after a good one hour stop it was time to get back on our steeds. Now we all comfortable mention the 'Yellow Room' in our journals, but I am going to go where no writer has dared to visit. Read no further if you are squeamish because the 'Brown Room' has to be discussed due to my second visit of these intriguing musical toilets on this trip. As far as I know these toilets are as popular a tourist destination in South Australia as it is visiting the Flinders Ranges, which we rode beside for much of the day, but I will let you be the judge of that...

I am convinced they are needed back home in Queensland and would welcome your input, maybe a petition to our old mate Can Do back in sunny Queensland? Anyway a quick visit was needed by the group prior to rolling out of Port Augusta, and the first thing one notices is the lack of a door handle, as the door opens and closes at the touch of an electronic button. Once inside and comfortably seated, popcorn ordered and ready to go about your business, a calming male laxative type radio voice instructs you to take your time, enjoy, but to be aware that once 10 minutes has elapsed the door will automatically open... Which could be a tad embarrassing if your pants are still around your ankles. Anyway helping you along the way is some beautiful, we-love-the-world relaxing type music -the type they use when you are waiting for a Vodafone operator- but then a voice at 5 minutes interrupts the music that implores you not to dilly dally too much and from then the pressure is on.... A press of the button ejects measured amounts of loo paper, mysteriously the music stops at this point, which I must add is very disappointing as I was just getting into it. Upon arising from the royal throne one notices that there is no button to flush the toilet. I nearly panic, as I know Taser is waiting next, but quickly my fears dissipate when it is revealed that not until you actually use the automatic soap dispenser and sensor motion water dispenser and electronic hand dryer, does the loo dump the evidence and scare you with a throaty and noisy airline type flush. I had the undeniable joy of beating the 10 minute siren and retreated knowing that Taser was indeed in for a treat.

The eggs and the legs
So 76km's up one side of the great Flinders Ranges into a howling headwind, then the next 91km's we were rewarded with a 25km/h tailwind. The tasty and filling morning tea, and now the tailwinds, put the zen back in the yen, and 8 riders were as excited as a pack of gorilla's infested with flees and scratching themselves silly. Pretty exciting hey? It was during this stage that Tiny Dancer enlightened me with the following quote;
light and fluffy eggs make for fluffy and light legs. He got me to repeat it 5 times really fast and told me that if I was successful he would buy me protein bars for my entire life. I got to 4 and was looking good but fluffed it on the 5th one and TD's protein stash was safe.

Sharky needs a feed now!
For the remainder of the afternoon we enjoyed the great tailwind that pushed our daily average up to a respectable 28.7km/h. We enjoyed two more food stops, one at 120km's, then another one that I sprung on the group at 140km's. At that 120km stop I consumed too much simple sugar foods and was struggling and knew I needed something more substantial. 3 tuna, cheese and tomatoe rye wraps later and I was good to go. Had I not been selfish and done that I knew I would suffer like a dog come tomorrow's last long stage of another day over 160km's. The crew were good about it and I thank them for their understanding. Anyway we had daylight to spare when we cruised into Port Pirie Tennis Centre and we celebrated with our normal hugs all round another successful day done and dusted. Two to go!

Rusty's annoying song
Special mention goes to Rusty for coming up with the most annoying song of the entire 7in7 journey in 5 years, even worse than "100km's to go" from last year, see Journal number 24, issue 12, edition 2 from 2011, page 18, paragraph 9 on the second to last sentence if keen to sing that one. Anyway this is how Rusty's song went and please do sing along.
"I've got a song that will get on your nerves."
"Get on your nerves"
"Get on your nerves
Repeat three times and in-between each verse sing this;
"And it goes something like this."

Rusty made each of us sing it at least once, before making all of us sing it together. It was a really special memorable 'forgettable' moment.

Truckers that will get us with their dogs.
I learnt a new trucky terminology today, not a good one as it turns out. The windy stretch into Port Augusta was on a beautiful piece of road with stunning views of the Flinders Ranges and the vibrant blue of the Southern Ocean inlet. What ruined it was not the amount of traffic, but how dangerous and impatient some of the motorists were along that 76km stretch. One white 4WD bypassed Kevvy and Jeff and swung in so close to the peloton that they narrowly missed taking out all 4 riders in the outside lane. It was scary and totally unnecessary. Hell Mel said to me afterwards that she had to restrain herself from lifting her finger, and that is was something she never did, but that incident brought her close. We all felt the same way. The incident with a couple of trucks was even scarier. Once again a semi-trailer 2 carriage truck went close by the group, and then swung the second trailer in to just miss JL and Tiny. He was heard to say over the UHF to another truckie, "I scared the c*#ts with the dog. Dog means the second trailer. I hope that Karma exists and he gets his own back one day. It was stressful for the crew and Kevvy and Jeff took charge and came so close behind us for that final 20km's into Port Augusta that nothing could get close to us. Thank you beautiful road crew. One day people like that may need treatment for a cancer related illness. Does not seem right they receive it...

A Baby Gorilla who is as courageous as a lion
Baby G told me that last 25km's coming into Augusta was up there with the lousiest he has ever felt on the bike, which is the third time on this trip he has stated this fact, each episode worse than the other. The thing I love about Baby Gorilla is that he feels that way but just buries his head closer to the top bar on his bike and soldiers on until we reach the next stop. He is as hard as nails and has earned the respect off all the riders in this year's 7in7 peloton. The G also has an amazing sprint on him and very rarely loses a sprint to the 60 sign as we enter each town. Today the boys gifted me with a win for the 60 sign into Port Augusta, but I declined as I wanted to win one fair and square or not at all. Rusty on the other hand had no qualms in taking my spot once he realised I had sat up.

Maria Smiddy
Tonight Maria Smiddy surprised us all with a phone call from New Zealand. Each and everyone of us got to chat to her briefly. It was a highlight of the night and very much appreciated and loved by the group. Thank you Maria and David for thinking of the 7in7 crew.

Scott bikes rock
Just before the Challenge event Mel and and Matt at Avanti Plus Bicycles in The Valley helped Rowan and I out with new CR1 Scott, Shimano equipped bikes, for all future Smiddy rides. Just an update for Matt and Mel that after 4000km's of riding in 21 days it has not missed a beat. Not one mechanical, no punctures on the Maxxis tyres and is a gem to ride. Thanks guys for your support. So if you're looking for a bike or parts please drop in and say hi to this beautiful married couple, who treat their customers like they are close friends or family.

Thank you to Mark, Neil and Noel
Firstly to Noel and Bronwyn Bates, my home-stay hosts for the Smiddy Challenge who look after me each year in Biloela. They kindly arranged the contact here in Port Pirie at the Tennis Centre. Noel lived here and was a member at this club. Thank you to Mark, who helps to run the centre and was here to welcome us in and basically to take over the whole centre and use it at our leisure. Lastly thank you to Neil Lucas, who is licensee for Port Augusta and Port Pirie McDonalds, who donated all the food for the night.

Neil's ride for children and rider donation
Rusty organised a collection amongst the crew and we came up with a $200 donation to go towards Neil's fund raising page. You see Neil has organised his own epic ride with 24 mates of 1200km's over 7 days, which begins in October. His ride is raising funds for sick kids and the McDonald House Foundation. Neil was invited to stay for the journal reading tonight. I think we will be seeing Neil on a future Smiddy ride. He has the Smiddy spirit that's for sure.

Sorry this journal has gone on but hope you have enjoyed it.

With just two days to go the crew are excited but also remembering not to switch off until we safely arrive at our destination.

Thank you for the donations that continue to come through, here is the link again in case anyone out there is still keen to donate


I know the crew would love to hear from our supporters out there so if you wish to send any messages to the crew, we finish at 12pm at our sponsor's destination in Glenelg. I will make sure the messages are read out to the group at our celebration dinner on Thursday night at the local Thai restaurant. Send to sharky@smiddy.org.au

Take care and expect a special combined journal tomorrow from JL and Melissa.





  1. Aah....Mark 'Sharkey' Smoothy.... what's there NOT to like ref. your full on journal jottings. What with taboo brown room complete with throaty flush to terror truckies unleashing dogs....the makings of a future thriller best seller that's for sure! What a trip and what marvellous support pre and during your 'awesome' ride. Have soo enjoyed the read. Not long now.....safe riding....lynne xo

  2. Safe riding. Great to read the journals. Where in Glenelg?? Is it still 12pm today? I am a work colleague of Taser's and live in Glenelg so would love to be there to congratulate you all. Heather G @ Beacon.