Friday, 17 May 2013



Distance: 210 km
Average: 24.6km/h
Climbing: 2290 metres
Descending: 1616 metres
Riding time: 8:32:13
Slowest speed up 22% gradient climb = 6km/h

Midi Smiddy turns four
Welcome to the fourth running of the annual Midi Smiddy which takes in a picturesque 600km tour of country towns encompasing Ipswich, Rosewood, Laidley, Gatton, Grantham Toowoomba, Pittsworth, Allora, Warwick and return to Brisbane over three days. 42 riders, which includes seven very determined young ladies, have honoured the team at Smiling for Smiddy by choosing to help us to raise valuable funds for cancer research through the Mater Medical Research Facility. This amazing group of individuals should feel extremely proud of together collectively raising close to $90,000 thus far. Once again we are fortunate not only to have the riders on board but our amazing team of 12 road crew. Without them this event would not be possible.

A tough first day
Each year that I write these journals I am affected emotionally by the suffering of the riders. Today was one of those unique Smiddy days that threw everything at us and the group did what every Smiddy group has done in the past when confronted with the same situation; They just put their head downs and soldiered on. There was no complaining, no dummy spats, but plenty of positive words and encouragement. Today, no matter how strong you were, each and every one of us, at some time, went through some very tough times on a day that tested us all. This is how the day panned out: The roll out from UQ Aquatic Centre saw a good contingency of supporters, UQ Swimmers, Cyc's Bike club and UQ Tri club join us for a hearty breakfast and a warm farewell as we departed right on time at 6:30am. It was a brisk 9 degrees at roll out and it warmed to no more than 20 degrees throughout the day. The challenges that presented themselves were the following:
Hills: Plenty of them.
Wind: Increased in strength throughout the day and seemingly in our face for the majority of the day.
Rough roads: Lots of vibrations and sore butts.
Mountains: Laidley Range- Gradient 6%, and then after 195km's, Upper Flagstone Creek Road, with the final kilometre to the top measured at 20-22%.

Our amazing road crew
Let me tell you this; We, the riders, are spoiled rotten by the energetic road crew who feed us three times throughout the day. For first time Midi riders it is always an eye opener rolling into these stops at 77, 152 and 180km's to see the rolling buffet of food prepared. The challenge is not to gorge yourself so much so that you can actually stay awake when remounting the bike. The crew do an exceptional job and even eight years as a veteran Smiddy rider I am still in awe of what they do. Not only their food preparation skills but the friendly manner in which they conduct themselves to make us feel extremely special. Thanks guys!

Fast forward to the climb called UPPER.
The climb we normally do is Flagstone Creek Road, but due to road works we were directed up a climb we will never ever forget, not even when we are dead, the memory will linger, forever afflicted to torture our lost souls for ever and ever. The climb is Upper Flagstone Creek Road. The word 'Upper' was obviously used as a joke to lure unsuspecting riders to see what was upper about this particular route. I can assure you from now until my passing the word 'Upper' will forever bring fear to my heart, a sweat to my brow and an extreme urgency to urinate. At first the route gently meandered through late afternoon sun-speckled fields, small hobby farms dotting the sides of the road and the occasional creek crossing that were thankfully dry. A few small climbs ensured and all were lured into a false sense of security. Five kilometres into the pleasant route we turned a corner and there it was; a wall! That is the only way I can describe it. In the growing darkness I took one looked up and had one immediate thought; "we need mountain climbing harnesses. All around me grown men began to cry, girls were screaming and the odd car that happened that way turned around and returned to Brisbane! I kid you not. Rowan, at the dinner tonight asked the question; "How many of you made it up the 'Upper' without walking, falling off and giving yourself a hernia?" One third of the 42 strong field raised their hands! Our follow vehicle, manned by Skip and Bob, were kept busy ferrying riders up to the top that had passed out or tossed their bikes in the bush and swearing on their grandmothers grave that a cow had appeared out of nowhere and stole their bikes.

The aftermath
Eventually the group were all together at the top, it was now dark, eight degrees, snowing and resuscitation of hearts that had stopped was pretty commonplace. True story! It was as if we had just survived Armageddon; the group, in that one climb, had just bonded like a Smiddy group does after five days on the Smiddy ride up to Townsville. It was breathtaking stuff and I was excited. I live for these moments, I could feel the raw energy of the group, we were all now part of the Smiddy family - I could not have been happier!

The first day Smiddy huddle
Pulling into our accommodation at Jeffries Motel we waved goodbye to our police escort that were with us for the final three hours. The huddle was quickly formed, it was pitch black and the first huddle I have done where I couldn't see anyone. Except for "Pretty boy", who was shining as radiant as a heavenly angel... I had to release some of my excitement, I was bubbling over, a overheated radiator ready to explode; amongst mentioning the awesome road crew and how good we, the riders, performed today, I apologised for the 'Upper', explaining that on Google Maps it did not look too bad. But the one thing I will share with you is that for me to feel connected with a group of Smiddy riders it can take up to three or four days. Today the 'Upper' did it in just 20 minutes. When connected I will say to the group these following four words; "I love you guys."! I said it, I meant it, and I could not be prouder of these 42 inspirational and tough guy and girl riders. Even the ones that cried and lost their bikes!

Sharky's final words:
Well it is now midnight and I would like to thank my roommate Chappy, 'The Shepherd', for dictating the notes below; he read them out while I typed and we laughed out loud a lot. The lucky bugger went to sleep about ten-pm and I am assuming he is sleeping as I tap tap tap away on this keyboard. I know he will tell me tomorrow! Anyway I asked the riders and road crew to write ten words that best describes their first day out in the Smiddy peloton. Please enjoy and I will look forward to bringing you day two journal tomorrow on our 160km trip to Warwick.

If you have any messages of support for any of the riders send them to me at and I will read them out tomorrow night in Warwick.

Thank you and take care.


Male Rider Comments

Peter Knight
Challenging, awesome, pushed to my limits, checked my prep for Tassie Smiddy in September.

Lee Smith
Beautiful saos and rice pudding, Spent. Shattered. Bloody wind! Hills -Groan.

Peter Corry
The toughest day of my life on a bike!

Love Row Man's comment up that hill - "Sorry boys"!

Fabian Gonzalez
Inspiring, exciting, humbling, exhausting, windy, legs, teamwork, support, selfless and painfull.

Chris H or Pretty Boy
Windy, inspiring, long, camaraderie, steep, friends, enjoyable, pretty boy, slowing and hole.

Mal Maddog
Embarrassed with self, disappointed with self, heartened, encouraged by others relieved, ready and keen for tomorrow.

Adam Kiyuna
My body hates me but that hill was sensational

Steven Heap
Overcoming barriers, resilience, friendship, challenge, mateship, monumental and shared journey.

Greg Ivers
Achievment, fun, frustrating, hurting, roller coster, scenic, amazing climbs, commending, support and encouragement.

Rowan Foster
Steady start, headwinds hurt and tired riders and what a final climb.

Brock Yates
Windy, hilly, windy, long, late, fantastic, rewarding, humbling, good times.

Shane Ritchings
That was bloody awesome and what a day.

Troy Anderson
F#%king Awesome x 5

Scott Manning
Cold, windy, long, hard, epic, record, characters, elation, rewarding and awesome.

Brendan James
Last climb and wind excluded, what a day!

Wayne Oddy
I struggled but it was a worthy challenge

Rob Kropp
Wowzers! That was possibly the biggest mental and physical challenge I have done. It has been a long 3 months preparing for that climb and the rewards and the success was worth it.

Brad Richardson
It was a pleasure climbing with Sharky. A memory saved for a lifetime.

Tom Hagenson
Tough, epic, challenging, inspiring, awesome, tough, funny farts!

Brenton Thornhill
Really really steep and the hardest climb I have ever done. Zig Zag and ridiculously hard!

Michael Brady
Oh my god! Windy, awesome, team spirit, good company and road crew.

Ash Moor
Today's ride: /length perfect: 10 out of 10. Suffering: Low/Medium 4 out of 10. Ambience: Great 8 out of 10. Support: Wonderful, 15 out of 10.

Mark Coman
Awesome and happy days! So pumped to clear that last hill without putting a foot down.

For my 51st birthday I want a set of compact cranks!

Girl rider comments

Leah Cannon
Emotional, achievment, pain, teamwork, tired, determination, pride, finish, challenge and physical.

Niara Oliveira
Amazing effort but a lot of headwind. Proud of myself and great bunch of people.

Antonia Bigault
Nervous, exhausted, challenged, sore, emotional, draining, brainfog, extremely tired, proud. Sick!

Anna Tate
I blame the tyres!

Melissa Crossman
Windy X 8, Sagwagon

Unnamed rider comments

1.Awesome, epic, comma, exhilarating, euphoric, challenging, rewarding, friendly, hospitable, enjoyable and fantastic.

2.Experience, fun, 210km, mountain, yummy, cold, hot, enlightening, eye opening and exciting.

3.Teamwork, helping, cold, hills, early, tired, 3:30, food, yummy and ten

4.Long, fun, tiring, exhilarating, inspiring, cold, stressful, emotional, friendship and love.

5.Friendship, support crew, emotional, teamwork, yummy food, encouragement, headwind, cramp, mountains and laughs.

6.Proud, crazy, friendship, love, respect, sadness, grief, kindness, empathy, philanthropy.

7.Dry, not hot, last climb-group bonding, awesome road crew and love saos.

8.Inspiring, satisfying, pride, hard, perseverance, hardwork with an inspiring bunch of people.

9.We all suffered together and we all pulled together to finish!

10.Tough mental and physical challenge with a fantastic group.

11.Smiling for Smiddy = BS and grimacing Clydesdale and more like it.

12.I have never chewed my handle bars until today

13.Too early, too cold, too hilly, too fast, too chatty, too hard, too hot, too windy, too steep. GREAT DAY!

Road Crew Comments

Bob Cage
Drive, food, drive, lost, food, drive, drive and drive.

Extremely grateful to be behind the lens and not on a saddle today, the range sucks!

Inspiring, heartwarming, brisk, delicious, fun, friendship, funny, insane, grateful and love Jo.

Broken spokes, punctured tubes, gap up the middle of peloton - great

Wind, big finale, wall of shame or walk of heroes.

Carlene Sparke
Insane, thinking of Tika (Fur Child) Booze and how much pain you guys are in!

Jimmy Acomb
High heartrate workout while brain was in limp mode

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