Sunday, 19 May 2013

2013 MIDI SMIDDY DAY 3 The Hurt Of The Cold!

Warwick To Brisbane

Distance:217 km's
Average: 27.2 km/h
Climbing: 1791 metres
Desending: 2220 metres
Riding time: 7hr 57min
Temp Min: Minus 3 degrees
Temp Max: 18 degrees
Wind: Finally at our backs!

Welcome to my final blog from a day that delivered freezing temperatures rolling out of Warwick at minus three degrees, to dazzling crystal clear blue skies and a tailwind that rewarded the riders and helped push them home in their quest to complete an arduous Midi Smiddy event. Well as promised I gave myself the night off from writing and after a night were I tossed and turned I now know I should have written it before I went to sleep.

The Chuddle huddle
You see my mind was a hive of activity; I had just spent the day of my birth riding for eight hours and 217 kilometres alongside 42 incredible gifted Midi Smiddy riders. How lucky am I to be able to share my 51st birthday doing what I love the most, sitting on my beloved bike and doing it with friends. How many birthday party's do you get to spend eight hours with your mates? Not many, and for that reason I was extremely grateful that my special day fell on another special day- the last day of the Midi Smiddy. Thank you to all the riders and road crew that made a fuss throughout the day and made me feel very special indeed. Actually the Smiddy peloton celebrated two birthdays with Robert Kropp also celebrating his birthday at a healthy 28 years of age. The finish at Adam Smiddy Park was also responsible for my inability to sleep well last night. For me -and I am guessing- for a number of the riders, they felt the same way also. I am always nervous about addressing such a large crowd, as historically speaking, the Midi Smiddy is always the largest huddle out of any Smiddy event. Well I may fumble at times with my words when public speaking, but one thing is certain, I am genuine and not afraid of letting my emotions show. The Midi huddle was different this time around as I welcomed the seven lady riders into the middle to form their own small huddle. Then the road crew were welcomed to form their own huddle around the girls, the riders formed another huddle around the road crew, and then supporters followed suit and formed a fourth ring around the riders. For me it was my way of harnessing the positive energy that is Smiddy. After everyone had left and I was driving Jimmy, our rider/mechanic home, we discussed the huddle.

"Jimmy how was that huddle mate?" Jimmy, in his thick Scottish accent that I had to ask him to repeat three times replied; "Awesome mate but you did the same thing in Townsville two years ago."

"Oh yeh that's right and I called it the Chuddle." Which was my combining the two words of huddle and cuddle. My two most favourite activities next to cycling.

Jimmy continued; "Imagine if we could bottle that energy Sharky?" I get excited talking about Smiddy energy and replied;
"Mate if we could infect everyone in the world with the Smiddy spirit how cool would it be knowing everyone would then be related?" You see once you have been part of a Smiddy event you are automatically part of the Smiddy family. Since 2006 we have been fortunate enough to welcome over 1000 cyclists and triathletes into the Smiddy fold. In that time these amazing individuals, alongside of all our road crew members, have helped us collectively to raise close on four million dollars for cancer research at the Mater Research.

Thank you Jimmy
Jimmy is not shy when it comes to chatting and we got onto the subject of funding and finding a cure, drug companies controlling the world and secret agendas not to find a cure. Then before we had a chance to find a solution to world peace and a cure for cancer we were at Jimmy's home saying our goodbyes. Jimmy is such a valuable member of the Smiddy crew; has been on board since 2008 and one of the best mechanics in the business. Mate I know you will be reading this, so on behalf of the riders, a huge thank you for your contribution once again. I know you are not a cuddling man mate but I am sending you a safe email cuddle to show my appreciation!

Well after the longest intro in the history of Sharky blogs I better actually tell you a little about the day.

The bitter cold rolling out of Warwick
Not for a long time have I ridden in conditions were even my eyeballs were cold! Seriously minus three degrees... Who rides on a morning like that when the rest of the world -or Warwick in this case- is safely tucked up in bed in their winter flannelette PJ's and the electric blanket on toasty warm? Well not many other cyclists were spotted -actually none were spotted all day- outside of the hardy crew that will forever be known as the 2013 'Midi Ice Breakers.' Look you know I am prone to slight variations of exaggerations from time to time, but let me assure you I have no need to go to that level as everything I am about to tell you is the utmost truth from how I saw it. Here are my ten reasons why you should believe that Warwick, while it may be one of the coldest harshest climates know in the entire world, I do need to point out it has the warmest and friendliest human beings living there. It is not their fault that these ten things occurred so please do not judge them harshly... We rolled out at six-am, just on dark, bike lights flashing and attired in everything we owned.

1. As I noted before, all eyeballs were frozen in place; the zombie look of horror continued on 42 faces until the temperature got above zero.

2. Full finger gloves were going for up to $1000 in that first 90 minutes on the bike.

3. Riders who did not have leg warmers had to be pushed for an hour consistently as legs froze midway through first revolution.

4. A few really brave, and definitely not foolhardy riders -I would never say that- for it is their freedom of choice to wear fingerless gloves on a morning where the temp is minus three degrees. Those rider's fingers had to be pried from the handlebars at the first comfort stop at Allora which was an hour into the ride.

5. The first amputations of toes and fingers from frostbite occurred at the morning tea stop. All good though, nothing stops a Smiddy rider and they soldiered on.

6. When urinating in nature, amongst the trees at Allora, streams froze solid, and was actually quite pretty, a rainbow kind of effect!

7. The road crew suffered big time as they had to turn the aircon up as high as 20 degrees in their vehicles!

8. Two riders made the mistake of sitting on a metal railing at Allora. I think they are still there?

9. Speech was impossible as mouths were frozen solid, some open, some shut and some even with a drink bottle inside their mouth when they foolishly tried to follow Geevsey's advice to drink early as what you do in the first ten kilometres will make all the difference in the last ten kilometres.

10.And finally the incredible joy of the peloton when the temperature climbed to a balmy five degrees two hours into the ride.

That pretty much sums up what the crew went through up to our morning tea break. Everyone was pretty pleased to see the friendly smiling faces of the road crew and the extra special feed they provided, which included frozen packets of Tim Tams and a birthday cake for Rob and I.

Getting back to Brisbane from there, while still 150 kilometres of hilly countryside, was pretty much plain sailing after that start to the day. The tailwind helped to push us home, so fast in fact that the road crew were caught out when we rolled into lunch a full 40 minutes ahead of schedule. Maddog done me the favour of reading out the day four blog as all the crew sat in the sun, thawing out and resting their tired and aching bodies. The riders were now a well oiled machine and an absolute pleasure to ride with. The family oriented road crew this year bonded as tightly as what the riders did and once again it was a Smiddy experience to remember for a long time to come.

Sharky's final words
A number of riders expressed disappointment that their Smiddy journey was coming to an end. But nothing could be further from the truth. A Smiddy journey never ends. Once in the family, always in the family. Maria and and David Smiddy may now reside in New Zealand but they are with us every single day of every single Smiddy event. They have always placed their extreme trust in Rowan and I since the very start back in 2006 that we will always do the right thing by the Smiddy name. While that continues, and I assure you it will, the Smiddy family will always give us permission to use their name to honour their sons memory. Each rider, road crew member, donor and supporter make up the Smiddy bubble of positive energy. Smiddy is a humbling journey and I implore each of you to feel good and proud about your involvement in the Smiddy journey. For Maria and David, you give them a purpose to keep moving forward. Most people reading this will have children and could not imagine a life without them. Keep doing what you are doing and one day you will be saving the life of your own child. It's as simple as that!

What's next Shark?
My next journey is with 17 Smiddy riders up in Townsville this weekend. I have a couple of days on the bike with the North Queensland contingency that are part of the Smiddy ride to Townsville in September. Then two weeks later we have our two five day tours for Smiddy in the French Alps. If you wish to follow the blogs from those journeys and others please feel free to go to my blogsite, leave your email address and automatic updates will be sent to your inbox.

Thanks again everyone out there reading these blogs for your support for the Midi Smiddy crew. What an epic three days and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.



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