NORA HEAD TO CROWNE PLAZA - HUNTER VALLEY
Statistics for the day
Distance: 169 km's
Average speed 25.8 kmph
Maximum speed: 79.6 kmph
Elevation climbed: 1329 metres
Riding time: 6:31:00
Min Temp: 19 Degrees
Max Temp: 37.9 Degrees
A night to remember
It is now eleven o'clock on Thursday night and I have just returned to my resort room from the most amazing night of festivities held at the Crowne Plaza in the Hunter Valley region. Tonight our amazing sponsor Bottlemart organised a full on, jam-packed evening that was designed to:
1.) Provide memorable entertainment (comedian Fred Lang, who's politically incorrect humour was correct for this crowd and appreciated by the 150 guests tonight. A lot of the guests tonight are suppliers of LMG and Bottlemart and their family members and friends.
2.) To encourage them to part with as much money as possible in aid of the Smiddy cause to raise funds for research. I am pleased to report that over $150,000 was raised on the night thanks to raffles, auction items and the buying of LMG's Greg Herron's friendship,(don't ask me to explain) which netted $120,000 of that total from three of LMG's loyal suppliers. As tired as I am from a long day in the saddle, where the temperature today topped out at 37 degrees, I am on such a high from tonight that I feel the need to tap away on the keyboard until I come down enough to be able to get to sleep.
Road Kill Count by Rocket Rod
Oh by the way, Smiddy rider Rod Turner put in a great effort today counting road kill to take his mind off of the pain of riding 600 kilometres over four days, knowing he had only trained enough to ride to the shop and back on a basket bike! To see his count please scroll to the bottom of this page.
Well as it is late let's get straight into my top ten highs and lows from today's epic ride.
1. Once again NSW is still my most favourite state in the whole wide world thanks to a second day of fine conditions. And get this; it did eventually rain, but not until an hour after the riders had finished for the day and were all cozied up and enjoying their first beer in the comfort of their own rooms. You gotta love a state that is so organised it looks after Smiddy riders to this degree!
2. Bottlemart Junction Inn Hotel at Raymond Terrace is now my mostest favouritest coolest Hotel in the world. For three years now the owners spoil the riders and road crew with a delicious assortment of hot and cold food, fresh fruit and icy cold drinks for our lunch time stop. Surely a better state or Hotel does not exist?
3. My third highlight occurred just prior to afternoon tea. We were within one kilometre of arriving at our stop but the bridge we were meant to traverse was flooded, seriously flooded. So a retreat of 13 kilometres backtracking on roads that were seemingly all downhill, were all now uphill. It was 37 degrees, the riders had 130km's in their legs and we were tired and thirsty and hungry. I heard not one whimper of complaint or any moaning or groaning, but then again I am as deaf as a doornail! Anyway I was proud of the crew for their amazing demeanor for accepting that shit sometimes happens, so deal with it and carry on.
4. Mick Young is the bloke you 'need' to have by your side if you went to war. Our war is against cancer, and Mick is always there when those battle scars become present; in Smiddy terms this typifies the following: headwinds- must go to the front or help to push anyone struggling. Tough decisions- is by your side gently offering advice to help the process. Leadership- Not by being in your face but through his positive actions from the front. Mateship- to have Mick by your side, on your side, you know you are a lucky man. Youngy lost his Dad to cancer, his heart is in the right place. He is a long term Smiddy supporter and we are lucky to have him as part of the Smiddy family.
5. Our road crew had to relocate for afternoon tea and relocate fast! By the time we backtracked from our flooded river excursion, they had packed up from where they originally set up afternoon tea, broke sound barriers to get back to the new location, reset up everything and with not a minute to spare as the riders rode in famished and dehydrated from a tough stretch since lunch. Hats off to the crew for taking it all in their stride. We love you guys.
6. The remaining stretch from afternoon tea was one of the most stressful sections of the entire trip. The traffic was terrible and we were single file for what seemed like most of the remaining 40 kilometre section to our final destination. While it was unpleasant, once again the group pulled together to help each other to finish what was a tough day of riding. Riders like Tony Hegarty, David Gyte, Rowan Foster, Gavin Leahy and Youngy, to name but a few, were always there ready and willing to help.
7. It is not until a road crew member or rider jumps in the rear car with Captain Kev that a deep seated appreciation of how Kev has this uncanny ability to remain cool, calm and collected, is revealed. Debbie Herron today got to see the great man in action today and was left speechless... Everyday Kev is subjected to abuse by impatient truck and car drivers. He never retaliates, never raises his voice and always calmly tells those that have two way radios that the riders that he is protecting may one day be responsible for saving the impatient person's life. Like I said we are lucky to have a bloke like Kev.
8. At the end of todays stage Paul Dury did us the honour of running the proceedings surrounding the Smiddy Huddle. Paul is a giant of a man, with arms as big as my quads and stands close to a hundred feet tall. He rides a hundred centimetre bike and has size 62 feet. Paul is an amazingly strong get-on-with-the-job cyclist, that never makes a fuss and is a joy to have in the peloton. He has also suffered his own losses due to cancer and was a deserved choice to lead the huddle. Thanks old mate.
9. After the huddle everyone was in a hurry to get their bags and get to their accommodation, and deservedly so after such a stickler of a day on the road. One bloke comes over to me, looks me in the eye, shakes my hand and say's; "Sharky thank you for such an awesome day, it was tough but I enjoyed every minute of it." This is Damian Kaehler's first ever charity ride and he typifies the spirit of the group. Damo thank you for choosing Smiddy and helping us to fund cancer research through your heroic actions.
10. And finally to Danny McCarthy from Mackay. Only two years on the bike, with the past six months really discovering this beautiful sport of ours since training in earnest for this NSW Smiddy Challenge. In the process losing 25kg and rediscovering your mojo or zest for life. I have only known you for two days, I have watched you help other riders who are struggling with a push, a laugh -plenty of laughs- and more enthusiasm than a Jack Russell on heat. An absolute joy to have you in the Smiddy peloton old mate. May there be many more adventures to come.
Final words from Sharky
Thankfully we are starting later tomorrow and I get to have a sleep in as it is now one o'clock in the wee hour of the morning as I write these final words. Some may think I am crazy staying up late to get this blog out. Maybe so, but I have a feeling the celebrations of a few riders are still continuing back in the main Ballroom in the Crowne Plaza. So while I will be tired for sure come the 8:15am rollout, I will not be hung over!
Once again please feel free to share these blogs with your family and friends and help Smiddy and the Mater Foundation fund medical research into our most common forms of cancers; Melanoma, Prostrate, Ovarian and breast cancer.
Thank you for following our journey and I look forward to sending out another blog tomorrow.
If anyone wishes to send any messages to the riders please feel free to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will read them out at each nights function.
You can make a donation to support the team at www.smiddy.org.au
Road Kill Count - To see who wrote the road kill count please scroll to the top of this page...
Possum x 1
Snake x 1
Lizard x 1
Rabbits x 2
Smelt like it was dead x 1 just out of Norah head and the chicken sheds out of Raymond terrace
It could have have something dead x 1 plastic bag on the freeway to Newcastle
Walshy almost made the list for a loose bottle cage goes In the category of stuff that exits the bike and dies
Tortoise x 1
The usual bogan motorist
Rabbits x 2
Fox x 1
Lizard x 1
Tortoise x 2
Sunglasses x 1
Exploding light x 1
1 x bogan commodore
1 x a smear of something unidentifable
1 x wallaby
1 x magpie