Thursday, 20 September 2012


Written by Rusty with special assistance from Ray “under the radar” Smith and gratefully edited by Baby Gorilla.

Stats for the day by Ray
Course:​​Nundroo to Ceduna
Distance: ​​152km
Ride Time:​​5 hours 7 min
Average speed:​29.6km/h
Metres climbed:​489 metres
Temperature min:​5.5 degrees
Temperature max:​29.6 degrees
Wind direction:​North Westerly turning to South Westerly in the afternoon.

Tiny Dancer Stats:
Average heart rate: ​​106 BPM
Max heart rate: ​176 BPM (Sprinting for the wrong sign)
Average cadence: ​86 RPM

Road Kill Count by Mel, Rusty, Ray & Baby G.

2 x Skippy’s
7 x Wombats
2 x Snakes
21 x Shingle Back Lizards
1 x Possum
1 x Rabbit

Everything’s made in China

Another shorter day lay ahead so it was decided to head out early today and get to Ceduna with plenty of time to spare. Undercover Ray bounced out of his top bunk like a kid on Christmas morning, keen for his morning shower that in his words “make him feel soooo good”. Ray’s enthusiasm for just about everything is normally very infectious, although at 5am it can sometimes feel a little out of place. This morning he was a little louder than normal and woke the lovely Chinese couple staying in the room next door. The couple were very intrigued with the people in lycra hovering around outside their hotel room before dawn. Fortunately the gentleman was quite excitable, a bit like a Chinese version of Ray, and seemed to know a little about where all the good bikes are made these days. He pointed out that although Ray’s bike is an expensive Italian Colnago, it is actually made in China before being sent to Italy to have a sticker put on it. After a few photos with our new friends, including one of him on my 10ft tall bike affectionately known as the “GIANT” Giant, we assembled for a 6:30am departure and the honour of ringing the cow bell was given to Baby Gorilla for his efforts whilst in charge of the road kill count for the first 5 days of our journey. A task that just about sent him loopy due to the sheer volume of dead Skippy’s on the road.

I would also like to acknowledge the amazing help from the staff at the Nundroo road house who made our stay so memorable. They were a special mix of unique individuals that seemed very comfortable with their own company. Of particular help was the young fellow whose moustache growing ability made me feel a little less of a man, your knowledge of the EFTpos machine was amazing.

Rolling out at dawn saw us witness an amazing red desert sunrise that at one point produced a smiley face as it rose behind a cloud, both stunning and entertaining. When you spend so much time riding a bike you start to appreciate the subtle differences in road surfaces. The type and condition of a road has a direct effect on the parts of your body you don’t talk about with friends, unless of course you spend far too much time together with very little to talk about. Today we experienced an 8km section of road with a “hot mix” shoulder. At the time JL was on the front of the Grupetto translating War & Peace into Japanese, so for the other riders the turns on the front weren’t coming quick enough. Hot mix to a rider with a sore backside is the ultimate in luxury.

WhWere is Kat “Panda” Balls when you need her?

Our first encounter with civilisation today was a town called Penong. We were all hoping it would be South Australia’s “Curry Capital”, but to JL’s delight it was actually a sister city to Amsterdam, having a uncanny amount of windmills for its size. Our Smiddy sister Kat “Panda” Balls would have been in her element. Baby Gorilla suggested Penong could be the place JL retires to; he could start a White Horse ranch and entertain passing tourists by explaining the complexities of a game that accumulates points by merely identifying objects to those around you. It would be similar to our encounter with Gloria and Peter who we met yesterday at Nundroo roadhouse, (Peter  has had a lung removed due to cancer), a couple that showed interest in us before JL tried to convince them they should start their own windmill spotting game. Gloria seemed keen, although Peter wasn’t so trusting and questioned if JL was trying to set him up for failure at the hands of his wife. As Peter walk off toward his car he pointed off into to the distance a yelled “windmill”, much to the excitement of JL and the disappointment of Gloria who thought she was the only one clued up to this game.

Our focus quickly returned to arriving as early as possible to Ceduna so we could have a few hours to kick back and get a few formalities sorted. Once through Penong it was all business with nothing too much to report except for another roadside message from Sharky’s friends Michael and Cathy Jennings. This was the sixth and final message for Sharky and it’s been great to see how much he has enjoyed and appreciated the effort his friends have gone to.

We are the crazy ones

Having a few hours of daylight in Ceduna to set up our swags and get organised has been extra special today due to the number of people that have approached us and enquired about our Journey. Ray and I seemed to be doing alright with the older ladies, picking up the odd donation, whilst Ray on his own still seems to be attracting attention in the shower blocks from older men. Is it right that after standing around half naked that another man gives you money? I guess if it’s for a great cause then one shouldn’t question how the donation is sourced. A win/win situation hey?

It has been humbling to talk to those who have passed us in their travels and shown a genuine interest in what we are doing. The sad but increasingly common subject of cancer has become a familiar story amongst most of the people we have met, with stories of lost love ones and personal, often ongoing battles with cancer dominating the conversations. One gentleman we met this afternoon, and gave us a donation, explained how he has had 4 melanomas removed but due to early detection he has avoided any further problems.
People love seeing us on the road and enjoy it when they have the opportunity to talk with us. We have become known as the “mad” or “crazy people” riding our bikes a seeming impossible distance every day.

We could not do it without you

As mentioned a few times already, but probably not enough, when someone commits to taking part in an event like Smiling for Smiddy it has a ripple effect on the lives of those around them. Husbands, wives, children and work colleagues are all impacted when we put our hand up to partake. Back in the “real world” someone is picking up our kids from school, chasing our work responsibilities, walking the dog and mowing our lawns. We think of you every day and thank you for making it possible to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. The Smiddy family extends far beyond those who are fortunate enough to be doing what they love, riding bikes.

She’s got legs and she knows how to use them

Everyone gets something different from their Smiddy experience, although one of the common themes is the amount of inspiration people draw from taking part. This year’s 7 in 7 is no different. Anna & Mel’s work on the bike has been nothing short of amazing. Today I sat behind them at one stage whilst they were averaging close to 40kms per hour on the front of the Grupetto chatting away comfortably.

Mel completed the Smiddy challenge ride of 1600kms just 5 days before our departure from Esperance, so has now racked up over 3010kms. She also contributed more than her fair share of time to assist with organising this year’s 7 in 7. Whilst on the ride Mel is busy every night massaging tired bodies and making sure Sharky remembers to brush his teeth and upload his journals.

Anna, although constantly apologising for her lack of experience on the bike has risen to every challenge and more than held her own. She has then backed up by doubling as our chef and putting in 2 or 3 hour shifts some nights to produce great meals.

Mel and Anna your efforts on the bike are admired by your fellow riders and all the additional things you do for us are really appreciated. You are both truly inspirational.

As we’ve moved further away from the sparse open plains of the Nullarbor our friends at Telstra have provided some of us with an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. Tiny Dancer has finally been able to update his status on Face Book from “I’m one scary guy” to “Don’t smile at me or I’ll yell at you”.

I get by with a little help from my friends

Last year during the challenge ride I was fortunate enough to meet some awesome people. Justin Carney, Ray Smith, John Leyshon, Craig Mitchel, Katrina Cousins and the Shark man himself have stayed in touch and become great friends. Kate Warren was also someone who I loved spending time with and was a huge favourite with my two daughters April and Lucy. I made a conscious effort to support Kate through her 7-in-7 journey last year as it must have been an incredibly hard time for her. Kate sent me a book titled “The Book of Hard Words”, and as a tribute to her I have chosen a sample to share:

LALOPHOBIA – (lal-oh-FOH-bee-uh) from the Greek lalien (to speak) plus phobia (fear)

Definition: a morbid fear of speaking that is no just confined to public speaking, but exists in a wide variety of circumstances.

Upgrade your vocabulary: Don’t say “Tiny Dancer is reluctant to communicate with others”, say “Tiny Dancer suffers from lalophobia”.

Your love is lifting us higher

We love the messages being sent so please keep them coming. Last night Sharky read the group an email from one of this year’s Smiddy Challenge riders, Stephen Potts.

Pottsy I have taken the liberty of quoting your email below, I hope you don’t mind. We all found it very moving, especially those of us with young children.

Sharky and the Team

Keep up the great work. You are making a difference… here’s proof!

I have 3 daughters. Matilda is almost 5, Isabella 3, Lucy 1. I explained to them that Sharky is still riding his bike, and that he didn’t stop at Townsville. They were most impressed! Matilda then turned to me and said ‘is Sharky still raising money for Adam Smiddy so other people won’t die of melanoma?’. Yes, I said, with a lump in my throat. They next morning, Matilda – who normally carries on about what clothes she wants to wear to kindy – got dressed with minimal fuss. I said ‘good girl, you’re all dressed for kindy’. She tells me ‘I’m wearing a T shirt today Daddy (instead of a sleeveless dress) so I won’t get melanoma’. It stopped me in my tracks. She’s not even 5 and understands what cancer and melanoma is, and what she can do to help prevent it. My heart sank when I thought to myself ‘what if one of my girls got cancer’… I even find that hard to write, let alone think or say.

Matilda and Isabella know about Smiling for Smiddy and Sharky’s Oz 7 in 7 because they ask to hear the story about Adam every morning that I put my Smiddy jersey on, with the picture of Adam on the sleeve. So THANK YOU for helping the next generation of kids and their parents… thank you in advance, from me – a parent, who never wants to be in the position of having to say goodbye too soon.

Chins to the wind! Ride on!


It’s fast approaching bed time and quality sleep hard to come by so it’s over and out from me. Thanks again to the awesome Shark man from allowing me to share this amazing journey with you. You have really made it feel like “Our Journey” not just Sharky’s 7-in-7, another example of how special you are.


Rusty (aka the looker… thanks Anna)

P.S. A massive thanks to Mark and Leanne Miller who have pledge $1.00 for every kilometre ridden on today’s stage, $152.00, to the worst fundraiser. This is great news for me as I’m currently in 8th position when it comes to getting others to part with money. Thank you so much for your generosity.

Sharky has been sending out the wrong link to the 7-in-7 fundraising page, please use the one below:


  1. Wishing all of you a safe ride. This has been wonderful to read. Not sure where I came across your blog posts, but it came from one who was supporting your cause by asking for encouraging comments. I have followed for the past 3 days and its amazing to me how quickly you can feel an affinity to people you do not even know. To each of you: I applaud your perseverance, your abilities, your strengths, and your compliments of your riding mates. May the wind always be at your back. :o)

  2. Here's to the 'ripple' mentioned by Rusty....sooo powerful! Lovely read and great to hear 'the sistahood' so strong. YAY! Soirelles send their love Ann....mum/lynne xo