Saturday, 7 September 2013

Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge, Day 1 - Brisbane to Nanango

Day 1 - Brisbane to Nanango

Stats of the day
Elapsed time - 11 hrs 23 min
Moving time - 8 hrs 43 min
Average speed, 23.5 km/hr
Total distance 204.87 k
Vertical gain - 3698 m climbing
Min temp - 9 degrees C
Max temp - 33 degrees C

Killer, Stinky Dave and Bretty here.

Well, we have made it through "election day fever frenzy" and Australia has a new Prime Minister, we were obliterated in the rugby (again), but more importantly, the first day of the 2013 Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge has come and (almost) gone. The three of us have completed a combined six Smiddy Challenge rides, but that meant little when we lined up to roll off from the UQ pool this morning. The butterflys were back and the excitement of the adventure awaiting us was palpable.

The day started, as ever, with a gathering of riders, friends, supporters and family at the UQ pool. David an Maria Smiddy have again made the trip across the ditch to support the Challenge ride and Maria was once again successful in smuggling a couple of home made fruitcakes through customs - such an honest face!

It was a glorious Brisbane spring day, but most of the riders were more focused on tucking in to a bacon and egg burger and/or bowl of porridge. The volunteers did themselves proud with the spread that was presented. But with a bunch of nervous and excited riders chewing at the bit to get started, the 6:30 am roll out could not come soon enough. Before the roll out however, Matty Marshall gave his first challenge ride briefing and acquitted himself very well, immediately gaining the respect of the riders. Matty has recently picked up the baton from Row Foster, who is now moving and shaking with a different suite of clientele, but we are fortunate enough to have Row join us for the first 3 days of the Challenge ride this year, hairy legs and all.

Killer and Bretty led the peloton out through the suburban streets of Brisbane towards Samford Village, under the diligent support of one of QPS's finest, Brenton Cope, a multiple Smiddy Challenge rider. To keep things rolling smoothly along, the typical Smiddy rotation at the front was put on hold, so riders riding two abreast got to know each other very well over the first couple of hours. In particular, Clair Schneider and Row Foster talked incessantly - Clair in particular. The rational behind this soon became clear when we realised Clair is a lawyer and is paid by the word!

A quick stop at Samford Village, some relieved bladders and we headed towards Dayboro and the first climb of the day up Mt Mee. A few supporter riders joined us, but soon we said our good byes and started to meld as a new Smiddy Challenge team. Morning tea, some saos and a refresh of the water bottles had us heading towards a dreaded Sharkey Shortcut. A couple of little climbs were followed by the major obstacle of the day, a creek crossing followed by a few kms of gravel road. Now the creek crossing has historically had a habit of taking out the odd rider, and this year was no different. With an eager Sharkey watching on and waiting for the inevitable, Nomes took a tumble but was quickly back on her bike after a cooling dip.

It was turning into a hot day, and everyone was relieved to roll into Kilcoy for lunch. 40 minutes to unwind, eat some sandwiches, drink some coke(better know as "the black Dr"), secure a bag of lollies (I have heard a rumour that some 40 kg of lollies are under lock and key for the ride) and make a quick call home to say "all is good".

Kilcoy to Nanango via the Blackbutt range was the job for the afternoon, and much of this was done in single file due to the nature of the roads. Not ideal, as riders love to talk, but it gave everyone some time to contemplate life and the challenge that lies ahead. It was just after dusk that the peloton finally rolled into Nanango for a grand dinner at the Nanango RSL, supplied as always by our fantastic hosts Mark and Deserli. Thanks guys for your fantastic ongoing support.

At dinner, the tradition of awarding a jersey to two special riders continued. The selected riders for the night were:

Spirit Award - Renee Kerr - a quiet achiever who struggled after lunch but persevered

Team award - David Colahan aka Stinky Dave - never fails to turn up and lend a helping hand or supportive word for anyone who needs it

After dinner Melissa aka Bike Tart or BT for short, spoke to the team about her reasons for coming on the Smiddy journey. It was a moving story and really bought home to the group the importance of helping fund cancer research. Melissa lost both of her parents to cancer but has found a way to honour their memory.

There is a crucial ingredient to a successful Challenge event, and that is the presence of a sensational road crew to support the riders. This year, our road crew are all repeat offenders, having been road crew for the 2012 Challenge. It was no surprise then that we had an amazing spread for morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch. No Smiddy morning tea is complete without the traditional Sao's with cheese and tomato. We're still trying to work out how Maso arrived last for morning tea - but still managed to get the first Sao. He's obviously an experienced campaigner!

Quote of the Day

The quote today actually comes from the night before the ride started. Anna Mears spoke at a fund raiser organised by Clair Schneider, and made this telling observation, and I paraphrase "success is measured not on how many times you win, but how you handle it when you don't"

Schindler's list - Naomi Bath, Nathan Barden and Michaaaaaaael Jordan

Each year, the skills of Andy Schindler are remembered through the collation of "Schindlers List" during the day. This list categorises the road kill count for the day. A bell ring symbolises:

1 ring - confirmed and identified sighting - "that's a dead possum", for example
2 rings - unconfirmed animal - "what the hell is that bag of bones"
3 rings - really bad smell that one would typically relate to a dead animal

The list for day one is a follows.

1 miner bird - apparently was a noisy miner bird but not any more
1 possum
6 bad smells
1 pile of feathers
1 magpie
1 wallaby
3 kangaroos
3 snakes
1 rabbit
1 poor kookaburra

The final word of tonight's blog is reserved for our fellow Smiddy Challenge riders, in particular, those who are taking on the 8 day challenge for the first time. Day one is over. We are all feeling a range of different emotions. You will certainly be feeling tired - but probably tired in that nice way. Tomorrow we are in for a treat as we have the freedom to get up and do it all again. The days in front of us will roll past very quickly. Some of us will get stronger as the challenge progresses, while others will accumulate niggles and maybe wish the days were shorter. But don't miss the opportunity, this once in a lifetime opportunity, to soak up the moments, soak up the seconds. Look around you, feel the brisk morning air against your face. Listen to the banter of your fellow Smiddy riders and the whir of gears. Don't focus on the wheel in front of you but experience the country you are travelling through. Experience the people. All too soon, most of us will be back at our day jobs and wondering how it passed us by so quickly.

There is lots more that could be said, but it is late and both Stinky Dave and Killer are asleep. Now it is my turn.

Killer, Stinky and Bretty

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