Saturday, 14 September 2013
Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge Day 6 Report - Clermont to Belyando Crossing
Stats: 177.1km, riding time of 6:55:52. Started at 8:05amfinished around 5:30 so it was a big day in the saddle. Average speed 25.5km/HR. Top speed 57km/HR. Total 752m climbing.
This morning riders were greeted with a late roll out as a reward for a tired peleton with five days of accumulated fatigue in there legs and 20 plus sao's in their bellies. Big thankyou to all the Clermont billets who treated riders to 5 star hospitality. Tamara and Claire were made special rockets by the kids which would help power the peleton throughout the day. As a tribute to Declan, all riders were presented with a duck riding cap, which were all worn with pride as show of respect for Project Declan.
We all thought Kev would have been happy today after the extra grandpa nap, however his true colours shone again when riders were not quite ready to roll out after his 5 minute whistle was blown. To raise Kevs spirits, Geevsie organized a Mack truck which lead the riders out of Clermont and along the long straight rolling road to Belyando. The peleton was full of high spirits until the truck pulled off to reveal yet another blistering headwind which dented our confidence but not our spirits yesterday. The 177km journey along straight desolate roads was not going to be easy With another hot day forecast, the peleton had 75km to travel before morning tea however planned to stop every 25km to make sure everyone was well hydrated. The jovial peleton which spent the first few days sharing war stories turn into a sufferfest with riders staring at the wheel in front not game to look sideways in fear of getting blown off their bikes by passing road trains. Neil was not concerned with the conditions, showing his abilities to pedal one legged doing the highland dance Kirsteen presented in Clermont the night before. It would be sensible to pull up for a water stop under a nice shady tree, however as there are no trees in central Queensland Geevsie decided dead kangaroos would provide for an ideal location to stop and ensure riders were quickly back on the road. It is still unknown if bears defecate in the woods, but I can confirm cyclists do take full advantage of long grass on the side of the road. JL will have to carry his baby wipes for another day, not getting the chance to partake in the tribal ritual. Rolling onto lunch, Derek tried to explain to MJ that the haze ahead on the road was actually due to the Tarmac evaporating off the road and not a 50m Olympic size swimming pool. The orange tyres turned black as bitumen melted in the 40deg plus heat. The only thing still holding together on the road was the true Smiddy spirit. You can always tell when the Smiddy family is together, as it is socially acceptable to ride up beside your fellow Smiddy member and enquire about the status of their bum. Most responded in the usual, a bit sore and tender but it will be ok, however one was noted to say "it requires a good waxing". As there are no towns between Clermont and Belyando Lunch camp was established on the side of the road in another tropical oasis. Vehicles provided the only shade for hungry riders and shade cloth provided for a comfortable seating. The road crew excelled once again with tasty treats and first class service including cous cous salad and home baked goodies left over from our generous Thangool P & F. After a quick group photo on top of a red ant nest, we were off too complete the last 50km of the day. The heat had dropped by half and now at only 39 degrees riders were hearing the calls of the tinnies opening at Belyando crossing. With daylight slipping away thanks to unrelenting headwinds, the 6 stallions were called to duty to help keep the peleton tight until we reached the 14km mark from home base where the expression session would start. Riders battled it out over the last section of straight roads and rolling hills with Ken and Melissa taking out the Hog Cup as King and Queen sprint champions yet again. Riders were presented with their accommodation for the night and the pitching of swags was completed as the sun set for another day. The mood in the Smiddy family was somber, not due to another difficult day in the saddle, but the sad news that Claire would have to leave early to be with her father who at the moment is fighting for the very thing we are riding for. Her smiles and infectious laugh will be missed dearly in the peleton, but her spirit will be with us all the way to Townsville. After a warming meal at the Belyando Crossing, the Smiddy family had the opportunity to reflect on the week it was under the glowing stars above. Tonight we heard amazing stories from three of our Smiddy riders Brenton, Jason and our very own Tamara. Each one of them told heart felt stories reminding us all of why we are here. Brenton ended with a quote...."Vita Sine' Alterorum Cura Non Vita Est. "A life without helping others is a life not lived."
Sleep tight under the stars as we all rest ready for day 7 into Charters Towers. Signing off you friendly Mackay Team Jarrod, Tamara, Danny and Ron.