Saturday, 25 May 2013


Stats for the day
Distance: 130km's
Ride Time: 4hrs 40min
Ave Speed: 27.9km/h
Climbing: 708 metres (Hervey's Range 3km & Castle Hill 2.5km's)
Min Temp: 10 Degrees
Max Temp: 25 Degrees
Smiddy Riders: 25

North Qld Smiddy riders rule!
This year for the Smiddy Challenge event in September we were overwhelmed with support from North Qld riders. In the past we have never had more than a few riders from up north. So this year's ride is already shaping up as a year of firsts. Our first year where we have had 20 women starters. (Our previous best was nine in 2010) Also our first year to have over 20 riders from North Qld, surpassing our previous best of ten! A first also to run a training weekend in far north Qld. And the major first, wait for it... The first time in eight years that I have flown to Townsville instead of cycling here! And do you know what? It was a whole lot easier and faster! What was I thinking? Why didn't Adam and I talk about a credit card flight to Townsville instead of a ride? Oh well, we are stuck with the ride so will have to keep doing it for the next 100 or so years. How cool to reach the same amount of years that the Tour De France has been run. Happy to aim for that and hope you are all along for the ride...

So without further ado please let me introduce you to the riders that attending todays session.

Road Crew:
Arron Eastment
Luke Eastment

Townsville Riders
Janet Curran (Also my homestay host and her husband John)
Lee Gasser (Fighting her own battle returning from chronic fatigue)
Ranetta Eastment (This girl is not only strong but beautiful)
Kirsteen Masson (As I found out today a hill-climber to rival Marco Pantani - The Pirate)
Paula Castle (Completed Challenge last year and back for both stages of 7in7 this year)
Bruce Goodwin (Our ride leader this weekend, great course mate!)
Neil Klein (A true gentle man and a real asset to the ride)
Michael Dunn (Loves the bike and strong as an ox)
John Livingstone (An experienced rider with his heart in the right place)
Ray Francis (Challenge rider from 2012 supporting this year's crew)
Jason Slingsby (Very strong rider with a wife that makes protein balls for him!)
Anthony Marano (Challenge rider from 2008 and 2009, supporter this year's crew)

Emerald Riders
Errol Rosenblatt (Errol is our oldest rider at 60 plus and bloody fit and determined)
Derek Hedgcock (Derek is great friends with Errol and 2nd eldest strongest rider)

Ingham Riders
Jayden Swarbrick (Son of Ian and new to cycling but very talented)
Ian Swarbrick (Just 18 months on the bike but very strong)
Gordon 'Nugget' (Good mate of Ian and Jayden, Nugget for a reason!)

Mackay Riders
Danny Mc'Carthy (First 2 years into cycling, lives and breathes cycling and Smiddy)
Tamara Vella (Lost mother to Melanoma, father 4 years ago- this ride is personal)
Jarrod Sampson (Friendliest Mackay guy I've ever met, very talented)

Bowen Riders
Owen Land (Old triathlete friend of mine from 90's, lost first wife to an aneurism in 90's)
Naomi Land (Wife of Owen and first outright to crest Hervey's Range, this lady is not only strong but humble)

Blackwater Rider
Ross McDermott (Couldn't wipe the smile from his face as had other riders to rider with)

Guest Riders
Brian O'Conner (A future Smiddy rider along for the ride)
Josh Eastment (Future Smiddy rider at 14 years of age)

Brisbane Rider
Sharky (Some dude with no experience, very skinny with a sharkfin nose)

So todays ride left at 5:30am from Bob Jane T-Mart carpark and after a quick chat from Bruce and myself the excited group rolled out and into Smiddy history with the first Smiddy Townsville training session under way. Please now see the highlights below to wrap up this Blog.

Sharky's Top Ten highlights from today

1. I said to young Luke Eastment, who came along to help his Dad with road crew duties today; "Luke would you like to be a future Smiddy rider once old enough?" Luke is 12 years of age and responded enthusiastically; "Sharky I would love to do road crew instead." How cool is that I thought... The next generation of road crew coming through.

2. Witnessing the arm and leg warmers come out for the cold start of what the local riders described as 'freezing conditions' with the starting temperature at 14 degrees! Only when the sun started to rise did it drop to 10 degrees for less than half an hour.

3. Seeing first hand Naomi and Kirsteen battle it out for Queen of the mountain up Hervey's Range. These girls can climb!

4. Witnessing firsthand the strength of all the North Qld riders. These guys are not only taking their training seriously but their fundraising is going through the roof. As I said to them in the huddle, they should be extremely proud of themselves already.

5. Paula Castle excitedly saying to me; "Sharky we have to talk Danny into doing Tassie with us, his smile is awesome, love that smile!" Danny's love for cycling knows no bounds, since taking it up less than two years ago he has shred 20 kilo's and looks like a pro cyclists but has a heart of gold! Hence the Smile is permanent affixed while on the bike.

6. Anthony Marano, old school Smiddy rider from 08/09 staying back to help Janet up Hervey's Range, even though if he had of tried he would have been first to the top. The man can ride and had his glory when he took out the points on the Castle Hill climb.

7. Young 14 year old Josh Eastment, who did the remaining 40 kilometres with the riders and expressed his gratitude to me for letting him ride with the group. Not only does he have awesome rider sense in the peloton, is super strong but a teenager role model for sure. The next generation of Smiddy rider's are coming through, and if they are all like Josh then future Smiddy pelotons are looking very healthy indeed.

8. The first Townsville training huddle ever performed and done in front of 100 people enjoying a coffee at the many cafe's on the Strand.

9. Tamara and Danny getting lost on the descent down Castle Hill and missing the now famous, never to be repeated, once in a lifetime Smiddy training huddle on the Strand. They arrived a scant few seconds after it was completed with huge smiles on their faces and very poor excuses for their late arrival!

10. Last but not least the incredible enthusiasm of the riders and the camaraderie that formed in such a small space of time on the bike. We are indeed - and for absolute certainty -in for a very special Smiddy Challenge event this year come September 7.

After a celebratory coffee at the Strand, all the riders made their way back to their respective accommodation and had the rest of the afternoon to relax, eat, stretch and start to look forward to tomorrow's gathering once again where we take on the mighty ten kilometre climb up Mount Stuart.

Until then it is cheers big ears from me.


1 comment:

  1. Great post Sharky. I've been lacking a bit of motivation lately. Hearing how the crew from the north are going I better get back on my bike. Can't wait to ride together come September.

    Stinky Dave