Saturday, 15 September 2012

Bottlemart Sharky's OZ 7in7 - Day 3 Journal

Written by Sharky

Stats for the day by Raymond “Smithers” Smith
Course: Balledonia to Caiguna
Distance: 181kms
Ride Time: 7 hours 03 min
Average speed: 25.6km/h
Metres climbed: 282 metres
Max Elevation: 271 metres
Temperature min: 7
Temperature max: 22.3
Wind direction: East (blustery headwind)
Longest straight stretch of road: 145.6kms
Corners in total before entering Australia’s longest straightest stretch of road: 6
Longest flat stretch with no change in any elevation at all: 50kms

Road Kill Count by Craig “Baby Gorilla” Mitchell
163 x Skippys
1 x Crow
1x Snake
1x Emu
3x Eagles
1x Blue Tongue Lizard
11 x UFO (unidentified flat object!)

“Baby Gorilla” is a road kill count legend!
 I have to tell you, today “Baby Gorilla” was really under the pump with his kill count.  As you can see by the above total of kangaroo’s lying on the side of the road we had definitely entered what the great Andrew Schindler would refer to as “The Kill Zone”.  The amazing thing about Baby gorilla is that every time a kill is potted he must – under the road kill counting laws – ring a bell, which he does as diligently as an honours student studying for their final exam.  Let me share with you his undying devotion to the cause.  Shortly before morning his one and only bell carked it and refused to “ding”.  Baby Gorilla then, for the remainder of the day, every time a kill was spotted would sing out “ding” in a very loud and clear voice.  Not only that, but I shared a tip with him on how the 2 Victorians on this years Challenge ever, Nick and Dan, remembered the road kill count.  They would sing a Christmas Carol called the 12 days of Christmas and replace the words with the names of animals.  So Craig started to do this as well, but he soon bored with it and changed it to Sesame Street and the dude called “The Count” Ah! Ah! Ah!  We are all so extremely proud of his efforts today and as a surprise I presented him with a back up bell that I had saved for just this sort of incident occurring.

Kate where are you?   
Kate, I know you are devouring these blogs religiously.  Today I was thinking of you and your comment on that final day last year when we rolled into Esperance against the 14th day straight of headwinds.  You turned to me and said “Sharky I don’t know if I can do this anymore.  Its as if the wind is conspiring against us to prevent us from finishing this bloody ride!”  Well Kate, I just want you to know that is exactly how I felt today. This years Challenge event we copped a few days of headwinds and now the first 3 days of this extended trip have been into headwinds.  I must be getting soft the further I get around Australia, but is it too much to ask to get a break when the body and mind is tired from my biggest year in 30 years of doing events?  Once again I was so glad I was surrounded by 7 incredibly strong athletes, who helped shield me from the wind.  Melissa and I definitely had a better day compared to yesterday but the residual tiredness is still there and the wind just exacerbates that tiredness.  Anyway all is good, we are doing what we want to do and crossing the Nullarbor was never going to be easy.  If it was then everyone would be doing it.

Our third day of Ironman distance rides
Just like the Challenge event this extended ride has begun with 3 epic days back to back.  203kms, 191kms and todays 182kms.  An Ironman triathlon consists of this distance for the bike leg and you then have the pleasure of running a marathon off the bike.  I mention this because we have one nutter in the group that is training for his first Ironman at Busselton in December and this event is perfect training for “Tiny Dancer”.  He came into the ride planning to run each day;  Tiny ran after the first day, then took the second day off.  When asked why, he responded; “after careful consideration I think its best I run every second day.”  On this third day he did indeed run, and Anna, who is quickly turning into a Terminator type cycling machine, ran with him as well.  They both knocked out 5 x 1km efforts!  Impressive after nearly 600kms of riding into headwinds.

Team work by the 7in7 team
Today after lunch the wind increased and was a right on the left nose.  The going was tough and our average at the time was dismal 24km/h.  It was suggested we rotate continuously in a controlled pace-line.  For 30kms we rolled like a professional riding team and managed to lift our average for that stage up to 29km/h.  We rolled into the lunchtime break with a real sense of accomplishment.  Once again going into afternoon tea we got into the same sort of rhythm but just prior to the afternoon tea break, as in 1km prior I cracked and needed to just roll in.  The final section into Caiguna saw the controlled pace-line at a comfortable 25km/h and all was happy.  Especially  Sharky!

Other notable mentions
Prior to the ride Ray shouted himself a brand new $15,000 Colnago racing steed and as luck would have it his was the first bike to suffer any sort of mechanical when he popped a rear spoke. We of course did not let him forget it!

Prior to the ride, my close friends Michael and Cathy Jennings, who crossed the Nullarbor back in May on their Harley Davidson, gave me coordinates for a surprise somewhere along the Nullarbor.  Those instructions were left at home in my box in Brisbane but luckily eagle eye road kill counter, Baby Gorilla spotted a sign taped to a tree on the side of the road that said “Sing Sharky, La La La La Laaaa”. Thanks heaps guys for such a lovely welcoming message.

Some belated thank yous
  • Tony Ganter for his incredible kindness the day before we started this ride in Esperance.  You see in the planning stages of this ride it was decided as Jeff and Ruth were driving over that we would give him our gear.  Which we did and Jeff did an amazing job getting everyone’s gear over here except he left behind my packing box.  I only bring this up, not to make Jeff feel bad, but to share the story of what Tony did for me.  Everything I needed for the trip was in there, 7in7 bike gear, all my supplements, vitamins, clothes, running shoes.  Tony grabbed me by the scruff of the neck after breakfast that day and took me shopping.  He would not take no for an answer and I am incredibly grateful for his help in securing the items I really needed for this trip.
  • The other lads and the girls also pitched in and shared their supplements, bike kits, food and anything that I required.  I felt like crying when I found out my box was left behind, but after receiving their support and kindness  I felt like cring as I was surrounded by such amazing people.
  • Thankyou to Ray Smith for being the washing boy so far on this trip.  Not a great job that one, but very much appreciated by the group.
  • Thankyou again to Kevvy and Jeff for two things; one, for not getting lost today, and two, for being such wonderful people.  Poor Jeff is suffering with all the lifting as he was sick for an extended time prior to the trip and lost some of his strength.  He assures me he is ok and will get stronger as his body adapts.
  • Every time I use this iPad I think of my mate John Martin.  Thankyou again for your incredible kindness my old mate for trusting me with your iPad.  As you can see it is coming in handy and we would be lost without it.

Face East for a day and win $600
Before I go I just wanted to acknowledge JL’s amazing accomplishment today when he won a bet from fellow Smiddy rider, David “Stinky” Colahan.  You see Stinky said he would donate $500 to JL’s fundraising page if he managed to face East for the entire day once we got onto the longest straightest stretch of road in Australia at 145.6kms.  Another Smiddy mate, Ben Pearson added an additional $100 if JL was successful in todays challenge.  Not at anytime was John able to face in any other direction and he had 7 riders watching him closely if he ever waivered.  Very funny to watch John walk sideways, backwards, pee into the wind and all this when it was his time to have his worst day since the Challenge event began back on September 1.  John suffered like a dog today but raised $650 to add to his growing tally over $5000.

That’s it from me today. Here’s hoping that we awake to our fourth day on the road with a howling tailwind!

All the best and thanks for your support.


PS  The riders and crew are not ignoring loved ones if you have heard from them.  Coverage is very limited and we have been lucky just to be able to send out these blogs.

1 comment:

  1. Blast those headwinds! Continue to be inspired by awesome effort of riders and support team.....AND to continue fund raising ie Face East effort....Congrats!!! lynne