Saturday, 18 May 2013



Average: 25.5km/h
Climbing: 1076 metres
Desending: 1276 metres
Riding time: 6:16:00
Temp Min: 7 degrees
Temp Max: 18 degrees
Wind strength: Hurricane!

No raining on this years parade
Super clear sunny days were ordered for the Midi Smiddy this year. Someone forgot to order no wind. On the bright side, for the first time in four Midi Smiddy events, we have not received any rain and none is forecast for tomorrow. But back to that wind: Rolling out of Toowoomba at seven-am the wind-gods had a sleep in. It was a fresh seven-degrees but with a downhill start for the first 30 kilometres the peloton were riding like a pro team from Europe, the only difference being a slightly less average speed! Spirits were high, there was plenty of laughter and the chatter in the peloton was definitely about that 'Upper' we all somehow survived yesterday afternoon.

The first taste of a kick arse wind
The first stop was at Pittsworth at the 60km mark. Morning tea was provided for the fourth year running by the friendly owner of the Bottlemart Pittsworth Hotel in Michael Carpenter. The fresh oven baked mini muffins were still warm and the platters of fruit were a welcome taste-bud-drooling-delight to the hungry riders and road crew. We thanked Michael with a rousing three cheers and a framed Midi Smiddy poster signed by the riders. It was on the roll-out from here that the first hint of what was to come for the remainder of the day appeared its ugly head. The westerly wind was now upon us in the form of a cross wind as we were heading south to Warwick. Two hours later we rolled into Clifton with the seven young ladies relegated to the front to lead the peloton into O'Shanley's Irish Hotel. The wind was tough but except for one occasion where the group splintered we still rode as a cohesive group. The pub has been our stop for four years and each rider is treated to a pot of Irish stew. Apparently the recipe has been in the family for over 100 years and it always goes down a treat with the group.

The Irish Spew Expression of Interest ride
Ten kilometres out of Clifton, still heading south and the wind-gods are not just awake but partying hard. Wind gusts of a million knots an hour forced the peloton to start a reverse rotation system, which sounds really cool and is supposed to help look after the outside riders punching into the wind in a two abreast stream of attack mode. In reality it still sucks and all riders are battered senseless by the buffeting winds no matter what we try. But that is riding and once again, while there was a lot less talk in the peloton, we all just knuckled down and did what had to be done to continue to move forward. So after ten-kilometres we get to the 12-kilometre go at your own pace section. Now the one good thing about this section into Allora is that a tailwind was promised -and delivered- for the entire 12km's. Due to the road turning East. This session is optional and while some choose to go to lactic-acid proportions to induce internal bleeding, others breathe a sigh of relief and use it to kick back and cruise into the finish. Ash 'Rocket Ship' Moor was clocked at 65km/h and definitely rolled in first after throwing down a few tacks to ensure Rowan was kept out of the hunt. Chappy, 'The Shepherd' was up there having a play as well and rumour has it that quite a few of the leading riders doubled tasted their Irish stew in their attempt to keep it down.

A true tale of a windy day in the life of the Smiddy peloton
From Allora to Warwick was 30km's of pure hell. The wind-gods were now absolutely sloshed and out to wreak havoc on any unsuspecting cyclists foolish enough to be out in the conditions. To give you an idea of how bad the wind was I want you to imagine you are on one of the first Virgin flights to the Moon; this will happen no doubt in the next few years if Sir Richard has his way. The jet space ship plane takes off and reaches Mach III; apparently this is really fast, like faster than 3000 km/h. Or to be precise; you see temperature affects the speed of sound, so at a temperature of 21 °C the speed of sound is 344 m/s. (metres per second) So for this temperature Mach 3 is 1032 m/s or 3714 km/h. Now you are feeling a trifle stifled and decide you need a breath of fresh air. You turn to your wife Marjorie and say; "Dear would you mind winding down the window?" She does as you ask and immediately the entire passenger cargo is sucked out of the window, lost forever and Sir Richard decides to turn around early to get home for dinner with his Wife.
Well the Smiddy peloton went through very similar circumstances today. True story!

Riders down!
Not five kilometres out of Allora, the wind buffeting the riders, a touch of wheels and two riders down. Niara and Brenton Thornhill had come to grief. Brenton was up like a flash and, as Rowan described it, used Niara as a cushion to break his fall, while Niara was a bit shook up and given some van time to recollect her confidence. To her credit, she was only out for ten kilometres and back out to finish the remaining few kilometres into the finish at the Horse and Jockey Motel. After the crash we decided to put eight strong guys on the front to rotate -which included Anna- then the remaining strong riders were placed on the right, while anyone struggling went to the left in the two abreast peloton. For the remaining 20km's we averaged 22km/h and nursed everyone safely into Warwick. An awesome team effort and spirits were once again on the highest of the high side.

Huddle by Oppy
Wayne 'Oppy' Oddy was given the honour of taking on the formalities of the huddle. Oppy was doing the ride in honour of his young Son who lost his leg to cancer last year. Oppy had a shocker of a day yesterday, requiring van time but always remaining positive and upbeat. The entire crew admire and respect Oppy and a better man could not have been chosen to lead the huddle.

Well I will finish with Sharky's top 11 highlights from today:

Rowan Foster wins the selfless award for giving up his wheel to Fabian Gonzalez, when we ran out of spares, so that Fabian could finish the days stage.

Anna Tate, for chasing down four riders prior to lunch, to slow them down and bring them back into the safety of the peloton. When Anna asks male riders respond!

Oppy for completing the entire days stage today with no van time. A dream he wanted to realise but was unsure if he could do it. Well he did it and I am going out on a limb here and declaring he will finish all of the 220km final day three stage.

Niara for climbing back on the bike and nervously going to the back of the peloton to finish with the group. A courageous young lady.

Troy Anderson, for his work ethic and always on hand to help struggling riders out. Troy also emphasised that he gets the whole Smiddy experience and what we are trying to achieve. Which I know the vast majority of riders and road crew get as well.

Kieren Knight, our youngest rider at 15 years of age and struggled big time yesterday but still got through 80km's. Today he showed some real gall by clocking up 110km's. Tomorrow his goal is to beat that total and I know he will not only do it but smash it. Nice comeback mate and please remember you are to feel proud of what you have achieved after just taking up cycling this year. I hope to see you fitter, one year wiser and back to join the Smiddy peloton a new man in 2014.

The Smiddy peloton, for the teamwork, the camaraderie, the stronger riders looking after those that were struggling, and the struggling riders graciously accepting help, which in turns keeps us moving forward and not losing too much time on the road. I tip my hat to you lot!

Shak Knight, Shak is just seven years of age and is definitely the riders mascot. She wears a cool pink beanie, chews gum and has the beautiful attitude of a young adult keen to fit in with the group. She is just like her Mum and Dad; a bundle of energy and always running around keen to do whatever odd jobs need doing. She told her Mum that she was going to be Sharky's personal assistance for the three days! HOw lucky am I?

The seven girl rat pack; Antonia, Leah, Melissa, Cynthia, Nicola, Anna and Niara, are barely ever seen apart, they look after for one another and are so strong that they are putting some of us males to shame. Nice work ladies and I aim to see you all sign up for Challenge 2014 for the freight train express to Townsville!

Smiddy events always attract quiet achievers and they don't come any quieter than Stephen Heap Greg Ivers and Peter Corry. All no fuss riders, who just get on with the job, both occasionally going through their own world of hurt, but saying nothing, riding safe, concentrating and in return earning the respect of their fellow peers. Love having you guys in the peloton.

The Geevsey family are one unique and special breed of family. Chris is our lead car man, while his Wife Bridgette is helping out here, there and everywhere. But it is their children I am excited to tell you about. Jess, Jack and Georgia are all bike riders and all under the age of 15 and all busting to become the next generation of Smiddy riders. For now they are content with running around and doing everything possible that the riders may need, and doing it with an enthusiasm of a Jack Russel puppy! A joy to have on board and I know the riders will join me in telling you what a joy it has been having them on board.

The team dinner - No one goes hungry
Tonight's functions was held at the Senior Citizens Club. Each year outside caterers come in and look after the crew with a smorgasbord buffet. Each year no one goes home hungry. The desert buffet after the main meal had to be seen to be believed and went faster than beers at a footy reunion dinner.

Row works his magic once again
Tonight Row Man did his usual wrap up of the days events, day one journal was read out by myself with a bit of help from Georgia and Jess, who did a marvelous job reading out the rider and road crew comments. I was determined I would get more than a few hours sleep tonight and managed to get the bulk of the day two blog done prior to dinner tonight.
Row auctioned off one item, which was a day at the races in Warwick for eight people. He was not happy with the amount so phoned a friend, Robert Boyd, put him on speaker phone over the PA and shamed him into paying $700 for the item. Nice work Row! And to you Mr Boydy, I know you are reading this, and are now broke, but we appreciate it from the charity perspective. And no using this as an excuse to forget my birthday present mate!

Poor Jack story
I was put in a room by myself tonight, does that tell you something about me? Anyway Geevsey asked if his son Jack could share the spare single bed that was in my room, otherwise Jack was sleeping on the floor in his parents room. All was good with me but I feel for poor Jack. Stay tuned for my day three blog of how Jack got through a night of sharing with a Shark that can not only snore, talk in his sleep, fart and sleepwalk, but do all four things at once!

Shark turns 51 tomorrow so I am thinking I may give myself the night off tomorrow evening from blog writing but promise to deliver the day three blog on Monday.


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