Friday, 1 March 2013

2013 NSW SMIDDY CHALLENGE DAY 3

HUNTER VALLEY TO GOSFORD - Day 3

Statistics for the day

Distance: 137 km's
Average speed 24.6 kmph
Maximum speed: 55.6 kmph
Elevation climbed: 1581metres
Riding time: 5:36:00
Min Temp: 14 degrees
Max Temp: 18.5 degrees

Road Kill by Rocket Rod
1 X Blue Tongue
1 X Cat
1 X Snake
1 X Frog
1 X Squishy thing
1 X Something blue and Blonde (Referring to Emma's slow speed fall at lunch)

Rain drops keep falling on our heads - All day!
UNBELIEVABLE! I cannot believe the diversity of weather conditions these past three days. Last night the rain started at six-pm and once it started it just did not stop. I mean as in I am now in the comfort of my motel room in Gosford at five-pm the next day and it is still raining! We started in the rain, had morning tea and lunch in the rain, and just for something different we finished the day into Gosford in the rain. Yesterday we got hit with a 37 degree day and quite a few of us suffered from mild heatstroke, while today we started out with the temperature sitting pretty on a mild 14 degrees and not getting any higher than about 19 degrees. Last year Doug Misener had mapped this traffic free route from the Hunter Valley region to Gosford, which included finishing with the decent down the dangerous Dog Trap Road, which we did safely on our first day on the road on Wednesday. Well descending Dog Trap in the wet is a whole another story, with quite a few of the riders -myself included- soiling their bike pants not just from the road grime! One of the riders renamed this stretch to 'Bog Crap' Road due to the potholes, loose gravel and sheets of running water that covered the road in places. Thankfully all of us put our ego's away and got down this beast successfully and safely. Doug has always said that the day three course is stunningly beautiful; only problem is that for two years running, due to the rain and misty conditions, not to mention fogged up sunglasses, we actual saw very little at all. but Doug assured me it was beautiful the year that he drove it in his air-conditioned car on a beautiful sunny day and who are we not to believe him!

The Smiddy riders are legends!
I know this statement will sound strange to some but conditions like today bring out the life in me. It is like the stupider the elements become the more I see life through rose coloured glasses. I know I was not alone in this feeling as a few riders commented that they really enjoyed the day. Anyway throughout today's ride I had plenty of time to watch what was going on around me and within the peloton, and let me tell you what I witnessed made me proud to be associated with this present pack of Smiddy riders. I so wish you could have seen these guys and girls in action. Under the most miserable and dangerous conditions to face a peloton of riders at this given time, they all just knuckled down and without as much as a whimper or a complaint, just got on with the job of knocking off day three with as little fuss as possible. The calls and signals for debris on the roads were loud and concise, the encouragement was forthcoming from many of the riders, but the pacing today definitely favoured the stronger riders, who were keen to move a little quicker in the wet in order to stay warm. Apologies to the few riders today who were struggling but thank you for accepting it and getting on with the job.

Our road crew are not bad also!
A huge thanks to the crew for looking after us so well today. They knew we were wet, they knew -at times- we felt miserable. In a time lapse camera shutter reading of today's events, this is what I took in from what I saw: Your good cheer and humour at each stop, Greg your portable rain shelters for us to hide under, the sandwich girls, Gavin the constant repairs to bikes breaking down, the pacing riders back onto the bunch after an unofficial call of nature stop by any one of the lads with poor bladders, to the girls who helped us find items needed to keep warm, the girls making those beautiful steamy cups of coffee and tea, the crew for always smiling and words of encouragement when needed most, the girls making us feel like movie stars by taking our photos with their high tech million dollar camera's, or was that an iPhone I spotted? But seriously thanks guys for being such legends and please can you come back next year?

Sharky's Highlights package to finish off day three

1. Arriving at the start this morning and seeing that each and every rider was there ready to take on the wet day ahead of them. Not one rider took the easy -and actually- quite sensible option, to sit the day out in the support cars. I could not have been prouder! We are out to raising money for cancer sufferer's and for research. They don't get to take a day off from having cancer, so neither do our Smiddy riders!

2. Last night every single solitary Smiddy rider and road crew member turned up in their team polo shirt for the fundraiser evening. All but one! Me. Guilty as charged! I wore a black t-shirt. In my defense I thought the night was casual dress and every other night we were meant to wear the polo shirt. Clearly I did not read my own briefing notes that were sent out to the crew two weeks ago. I promised Rowan I would pay out on myself so there it is!

3. Mike Stubber, Captain Kev, Marianne Grace and Richard Honey, today these four amazing individuals took care of the riders out on the road, in conditions that were dangerous and at times confronting. I know it gives us peace of mind that our safety is paramount and that you take your jobs seriously. On behalf of all the riders a heartfelt thank you for every day, but especially today in the wet and treacherous conditions.

4. During the huddle this afternoon, which was done in the rain, just for something different, Doug Misener did us the honour by taking on the huddle duties and wrapped it up quickly due to the shivering and chattering teeth of the riders, when Mark Bayfield asked to speak. He thanked all the riders who helped -and these were his words- 'The Smiddy Snails'. Mark was referring to a number of riders that were doing it tough and the band of stronger riders that helped to push them up many a hill. I won't mention all the riders that helped, as there were many, and they know who they are!

5. The three Amigo's from Western Australia in Lynton, Brian and Ross, for their team effort at raising a stack of money to help with the Smiddy cause of funding cancer research. To date these amazing men have raised in excess of $17,000 between them and we at Smiling for Smiddy and the Mater foundation are extremely grateful.

6. And to all the other riders who have really got on board this year with your fund raising; Danny McCarthy at over $6000, Greg Dring with $3150, Paul Dury at $3000, and the surprise package in our one day rider James Rudder at $2880. James was not sure if he could raise any money for riding just one day. Well James a one day ride of 170km's is still a huge day in the saddle and isn't it great that your donors recognise this? Again a sincere thanks to all the riders who have made the effort to fundraise, regardless of the amount. As you know it all adds up!

7. This one is for our supporters, family members, work colleagues, friends and donors. Without you guys I would not be writing this blog, there would be no Smiddy experience to write about. A sincere thank you for your contributions; whether it be supporting your rider, making a donation, sending us a message of support. You are an important piece of the puzzle and we thank you for completing our picture.

8. Have to get this one in; not just in the hope of continued support, but because the friendship Rowan and I have with Doug and the team at LMG are so important to us. Again without our shared vision of raising funds for cancer research through Smiddy events we would still be riding bikes but not doing it for all the right reasons. Thank you and bring on 2014 but please Doug can we see the beauty of the day three course without the rain?

9. Now this highlight has not happened as I write this but will happen tonight. Last year I asked road crew member Michelle Franks to read out the day three blog. She said no as she was scared of not being able to deliver a fine enough performance. Well tonight she has agreed and is now speaking these words out of her own mouth and how good is she doing guys? I bet real good! Thanks Michelle, means a lot to me.

10. And finally a very important highlight: Maria and David Smiddy are always thinking of each and every rider who go that extra mile to join any one of our many Smiddy events throughout the year. I would like to share with you this email that Maria and David sent through to us today.

Hello Smiddy riders and road crew,

Mark, thanks again for a another great journal. What a high you would have definitely been on after that amazing day and night. We were not surprised at all to read about the Smiddy stalwarts and how their leadership, physical assistance to others and strength is getting the team to their destination each day. We are in awe of those who are new to
this charity cycling events and are finding new realms of pain meeting them, but they persevere. We are so proud of you all and wish you all the very best for the rest of the ride.

How exciting it was to read of the fantastic total achieved last night. Another amazing night by all accounts. Thank you Doug and your team at Bottlemart/LMG for your dedication to this cause. The difference you are making to the lives of patients and their families cannot be measured as easily as kilometres or dollars, because if it means that there are more
survivors of cancer, that is immeasurable. We know Adam is with you in spirit, but oh, how we wish he was with you in body too. He would be loving it, just like all of you are.

CONGRATULATIONS and WELL DONE to all. Love and huge hugs,

David and Maria.


Sharky's last words:

Another bottler of a day and I can't wait for our remaining day on the road. It is a strange world when you are on the road riding a bike every day. It actually begins to feel normal to ride a bike as it is the most natural thing that you do when you get up each day. The weird thing is going back to getting up and not riding. As work and family and other commitments step back into our lives starting this Sunday, it somehow does not feel right but is right at the same time to complete that balance we all need in our lives. I will leave you with this final email from the Turner boys Mum and Wife Barbara.

I am just so proud of my two boys....my amazing husband Bob, who has been so determined to do this ride despite many setbacks and my equally amazing son, Matt, who has encouraged him all the way.

Congratulations to you both, I am so proud of you for your “awesomeness” and to all of you riders and support crew for being so selfless in the quest of helping others.
We are with you in spirit and hope your blistered butts are not too painful!
All my love
Barb / Mum


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 the final blog tomorrow.

If anyone wishes to send any messages to the riders please feel free to send them to me at sharky@smiddy.org.au and I will read them out at each nights function.

You can make a donation to support the team at www.smiddy.org.au

Take care.

Sharky.

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