Friday, 26 April 2013


Noosa Smiddy - Day Two


Statistics for the day:

Distance: 145km
Ave speed: 26.5km/h
Max Speed: 97.3 km/h
Elevation climbed: 1538 metres
Ride time: 5:27:00
Min temp: 14 degrees
Max temp: 33.9 degrees

Doing it tough in Noosa
Staying at the RACV Resort in Noosa, during a Smiddy event, is akin to winning the lottery. At only four and a half star rating let me assure you we are doing it tough! Now combine this with the incredibly lovely weather we are having, plus having to put up with a free massage from either Sammy-Jo or Wendy each day, not to mention the resort type all-you-can-eat delicious dinners, and the road crew that spoil us rotten no matter what the request and you'll begin to understand what we are up against! Yep I can assure you that Belyando Crossing, 1200 kilometres from Brisbane and out in the middle of nowhere, and sleeping in swags under the stars during the Smiddy Challenge event in September is at this point in time, but a distant memory... Oh and don't forget we are actually doing a bit of riding each day!

Sharky and his animal friends
Speaking of riding let me fill you in with the happenings of a day that included one major climb that I have nicknamed the 'Giraffe Neck', which I'll explain later. Also on the agenda were two minor climbs, one of which I named 'The Slippery Eel', and the final climb which I called the Shark Fin. You see today we climbed less than yesterday's total but nearly all of the 1500 plus metres that we climbed came about because of these three notorious animal parts. For you to understand the lunacy of what I am speaking about I need you to paint a mental picture that you are actually a small flea and you are at first on the neck of a camel. Now look up and what you see is a slope so severe that your heart rate immediately spikes out of fear, in this case your tiny little flea heart comes to an immediate stop and your life as you knew it is now defunct. That was the first climb of 12 kilometres up to Mapleton, with the last one-kilometre section at a brain-stalling-heart-stopping 100% gradient, or so it would seem!

More animal stories thanks to our talented mountain goats
It was on this hill that our 'SuperGirl' Smiddy rider Spotty, put a serious scare into the leading mountain goats of Rowan Foster and Rocket Rod, when Spotty crested the climb in fourth position overall. You see the lads had just performed what I term a 'John Wayne experience'. The Duke, as he was known, was famous for his gift with a six shooter. Well our boys had their own 'Duke' out dual to the death, with Rowan being crowned King of the Mountain by a couple of bike lengths. Our esteemed mechanic Toby made a late charge and just passed Spotty near the top. Amazing effort from not just these guys but the entire group for winning their battles over this ridiculous Giraffe neck.

Cruel Photographer Mike and road crew bliss
I cannot begin to explain the terror of seeing road crew member Mike Dyer standing there taking photos of all the riders at the steepest point of this climb. The pain etched on everyone's face is something that no love-one should see... Thanks Mike. But then, just 30 seconds later, the catering crew were spotted perched atop this mountain in the clouds, well nearly, and our terror turned to instant joy and relief. Many of us cried in their arms like new born babies, or maybe that was just me? That morning tea stop was such a welcome respite with 61 kilometres covered and rider appetites larger than the most ferocious of mountain lions.

Razor Back descent
I can assure you that I am done with the animal names and I did not come up with this name. Razor Back is the actual name of this descent but interestingly enough it was actually a 1984 Australian horror film about a wild piggy -not the cute type variety- that went around eating human's for breakfast, and sometimes lunch if the breakfast human was a little on the light side. Anyway as we rolled out from our delicious morning tea stop it was a relief for two reasons to be on our way. Firstly because we knew that what goes up must come down. And secondly, and most importantly from a self-preservation point of view, it was imperative that we got away from the huge array of wild animals that had chased the Smiddy riders up that stupid climb. Hence now enters the infamous Razor Back. Now with a name like that we expected, and received, a descent to rival the Dream World ride called 'The Drop'. Top speed recorded by Kurt Kratzmann was a staggering 97.3km/h. I am extremely happy to advise you readers that Kurt is still alive and kicking, although his hair definitely got messed up by the wind! The big rig Vass Malanos, who coincidentally has raised in excess of $8000 for research, and is doing this ride due to his Mum and Grandmother both being diagnosed with breast cancer within two weeks of one another, also clocked some pretty hair messing up speeds down the Razor Back.

The Slippery Eel and the Shark Fin
So we have descended all the way back down to sea level and each time there was a flatter route to take, the lead car would steer the peloton up another side road, and just like that, we were back amongst the animals! The Shark Fin was first; turn the corner and the fin dared us to climb its shiny black slopes without falling off and into the jaws of what lat below that fin. Meanwhile poor young Anthony De Domenico, who's knee had blown up going up to Mapleton and had recovered somewhat, screamed in protest and slowed the brave man to a knee grinding snail like pace, but give up, he did not. Back down the Shark Fin, right turn along something called a 'flat road' for a massive 300 metres! Then 'Bam', sharp right turn and there was the Slippery Eel. This climb was so deceiving in that every time you thought you had a hold of the bugger, another corner and another slivery mess to negotiate. Poor young Anthony -who was now feeling very old- was last to crest the top but again he did not give in. This man has a huge ticker and he earned the respect of the peloton with his never say die attitude. So down the other side of the Eel and the hills were done and dusted and I have to say we were all pretty happy -actually ecstatic- about that.

To finish this blog you will read about the rest of the day in condensed form in Sharky's top five highs and Lows of the day.

Sharky's top five highs and lows

1. The riders and road crew paid a fun and educational visit to the Noosaville State School. 200 grade one to five students invaded the assembly hall and watched -but mostly screamed- as Rowan and myself got the kids excited with five little-people volunteers race-dressing five fellow Smiddy riders, so they were sun-safe to finish the rest of today's ride. We wrapped up with Toby and I having a race to remove a bike tyre and tube and replace it with a new tube. The kids were split into two groups of 100 and they cheered -actually screamed rock concert like decibels- for their favourite rider. Toby played it well and let me get close to him but in the end he won in a time of 2 minutes 30 seconds, with me finishing a few seconds later.

2. Nic Woollett originally signed up as a one day only rider. He thought the fitness and raising of funds was beyond him. I am so pleased to say Nic not only worked extremely hard on his fitness and has successfully completed the first two days, but that he killed his $2.5 thousand commitment and is closing in on $5000. A nicer bloke you could not meet!

3. Phil Anderson and his partner Annie arrived today just in time to hear the Smiddy chant. They knew they were in the right place. The team welcomed them warmly tonight over dinner and we are all super excited about both of them joining us for tomorrows slog fest to Gympie and back.

4. The RACV Resort have not only looked after the Smiddy group with great rates on their amazing rooms that are big enough to play cricket in, but tonight surprised the group by providing a sumptuous barbecue by the pool area, complete with a free three-hour drinks package. A huge thank you to management and staff who looked after us tonight.

5. Riders comments after climbing the 'Giraffe' today. I used the iPhone and asked a few of the riders in 10 words or less to describe what their immediate thoughts were of today's major bump in the road. Here are their responses.

Anthony Hawkins: "It was quite scenic, actually I was watching your butt the whole way up!" (Ed note:Ant was referring to sitting on my wheel the entire way up the climb.)

Anthony De Domenico: "The knee was blowing up but good to make it without stopping."

Kurt Kratmann: "if it wasn't for the downhill part I would not have done it!"

Jim Houston: "Are you talking about the uphills or the downhills?" ( Ed Note: I informed him the uphill.) "Oh that was a barsted!"

Rocket Rod: "Yeh it was tough, a bit steep, Row pipped me." (Ed note:Exactly 10 words from Rocket)

Vass Malanos: "Heart wrenching but awesome to see the jeep at the top." (Ed note: Most were happy to see road crew or the food?)

Annalie Houston: "Lunch tasted very good because of it." (Ed note: It was actually morning tea but we were all a little delirious by the top)

Andreas Schibler: "Well it was all good until I chose to ignore it, what climb again?" (Ed note: Andreas past cycling coach told him to treat each climb like it is not there.)

Erik Anderson: "I was disappointed, I thought it was going to be tough, I had to do it with my left leg only and using the big chain ring!"

Shane Isbester: "Strong, steady, on and on and on but well worth the effort to get to the top." (Ed note: I think he was referring to the free coffee that one of the riders bought from the cafe.)

Jodie "Spotty" Spottiswood: "I loved it! Bit of a pinch at the top. When Toby went past I was disappointed he did not push me!"

Simon Chambers: "It was a stretch, a very hard push for me."

Nic Woollett: "Hardest climb I have ever done but I made it, very happy."

Well it is now 11pm and as much as I have enjoyed writing this blog I really need some sleep. If anyone out there can help the thoughts get out of my head faster as I get more tired I will let you ride up the 'Giraffe' three times for fun.

Thank you to all the supporters and donors out there. The donations are rolling in and we are closing in on $85,000 from this event. Which is simply amazing considering just 20 riders are involved.



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