Average speed: 23.9 kmph
Maximum speed: 32 kmph
Temperature Minimum - 7 degrees
Temperature Maximum - 16 degrees
Metres climbed: 666 (Scary as the devils number)
Ride time: 7hrs 48 mins
Wind direction: Bloody stupid-insane-ugly-not fair-I-want-to-cry-where-is-my-Mummy-Crosswind...
Road Kill Count by Bryan 'Walt' Humphrey
2 Foxes, 1 Possum, 95 snails, 1 Crow, 1 Shingleback, 1 Galorer, 1 Kangaroo, Sharky's Glove 1 Rabbit, 1 Red Belly Black Snake, 1 Magpie, 85 Mosquito's (As killed by the riders at one of the water stops)
The peloton get hammered by Mother Nature
Well it is late once again and I am only starting this blog at nine-pm. The reason for the late start is a nasty horrible malevolent act of Mother Nature that goes by the innocent name of 'Wind'. In our case an evil cross-wind that started during the night while we were sleeping and is still blowing now as everyone goes to sleep while I write silly tales of survival. This wind was never more less than 40km/h in strength and often gusted up to 60km/h. Don't ask me how I know this as it was just the general consensus amongst the group, oh and maybe the fact that we looked it up on the weather maps.
Wind on the bike during the 7in7 - It sucks!
Anyway let me tell you what I personally think of wind that is not directly behind my skinny arsed butt... Not happy! Someone once said to me when I was having a winge about the bad run of luck I have had with the wind on the 7in7 the past two years. 2013 is not looking too good either two days in. Anyway he said; "Smoothy if it was easy to ride around Australia every man and his dog would be doing it." Fair comment I thought at the time but does not change the fact that I hate head and crosswinds with a passion, nearly as much as I hate cucumber, but lets not go there.
Gain a brother but lose another
So our leave time of seven-am was spot on time with a 7:15am roll out. Kevvy is always excited if we actually get away within 15 minutes of when we say we are leaving, which in 7in7 time means we were right on time. It had been raining all night and a strong squall had hit us while we were having breakfast and conditions were cyclonic, insane and downright dangerous, then it blew over and went back to it's normal terrible conditions that we copped all day. Right off the bat we went into a two abreast formation and continually swapped the lead to share the brunt of the wind. But as all cyclists know there is no hiding in conditions such as what we experienced today. At ten kilometres into the ride I commented to JL that there appeared to be a rider missing. As it turned out there was. Mick had to call it a day thanks to a nasty flu that was attempting to squeeze his brains out through the ventilation holes in his helmet. He was in a bad way and after experiencing the cold and wet conditions today he may the right choice. We got wet with Forest Gump type sideways rain on nothing short of ten occasions. The wind was freezing and rain were freezing and once again we all wore our winter clothing all day long. Mick, while upset he had to pull out, had made the right decision. I wish I had his and Rusty's strength to look after myself as they did and saving themselves for another day.
Good news came out of today with Rusty back with the peloton today and finished the entire stage, with only a few niggles from his tight itb and hip flexors. It was a day when we needed him and he did not fail to deliver.
Wind into Kobe and the Devil comes out dancing with glee
So we get to Kingston, which is 44 kilometres from our final destination in Kobe, and it is just a dot on the map with a few servo's and of course a pub. We pile into the Shell servo for afternoon tea and everyone being the elite cyclists that they are all went straight for the health food; Golden Gay-time icecream, Coke, Snickers bars, chips, sausage rolls and pies. Even the road crew got in on the act and thought if it was good enough for elite cyclists then it was good enough for them. Leaving the warm confines of our health food haven was the hardest thing we have ever had to do, but a warm shower and non lycra clothes awaited us in Kobe. That last 44 kilometres was as ugly as they come and if I had a saw sharp enough to cut off my own leg to get me in the van I would have done the deed right there and then had I known what was in store. We got hit with more rain, more gusts up to a thousand kilometres an hour, and more long slow gradual climbs into the teeth of a wind sent from Hell. And from Hell it was delivered and this I can verify as the whole truth and notheing but the just a little white lie truth, when we pulled up at the Kobe Van Park and our total amount of climbing amounted to 666 metres! The devils number and eerie stuff that I will not reflect on anymore on this trip just in case it is an omen for more wind to come.
World record Huddle encounter
The huddle this afternoon was a world first for Smiddy and 7in7 events. It was monumental and simply amazing that not one media representative was there to witness such a ground breaking event of such magnitude that a slight disappointment went through the group when we had the very first huddle ever inside a shed big enough to hold one car. To huddle inside and out of the wind was a Godsend and helped us to shake the fear we had from climbing 666 metres. Just to be sure I got the road crew to check everyone's heads and I am happy to say we are all safe from Dark Knight, although a few strands of grey hair was detected in Rusty's hairline, not to mention a small amount of dandruff in JL's ears.
A great tribute to Bryan's Mother
A great hot shower was had by all shortly after and we all diligently ignored the save the planet water restrictions and ran the hot water dry and cold. It was awesome to thaw out our cold bones. Tonight the road crew prepared an amazing meal for the crew of steaks and vegies, stir fry and all washed down with some hot fresh rice-cream. Bryan got up and shared the story of doing this ride in memory of his dear beloved Mother who passed away after a long battle with cancer. He read out three short poems that he had written about his Mum, which were heartfelt and beautiful. The blog was read out by Bryan and Rusty and all was indeed good about this amazing crew we have put together for this year's 7in7.
A huge thank you to Rusty, Sarah, Bryan and Kate for using their fresh legs swapping turns out front to do the remaining 30 kilometres into Kobe today to look after the other riders.
Well there it is, I knocked out 1300 words in 50 minutes, which is not bad for a man who types with just one finger per hand. I have just one more thing to add before I depart. Two more sleeps to go...!
PS: If you are inspired to help me reach my fundraising total here is my everyday hero link, no amount is too small. Thanks guys. http://www.smiddyfundraising.com.au/mark_smoothy_8
PPS: Each night I am putting up photos on my personal Facebook site, so if you wish to see them just send me a friend request if not already.
PPPS: I looked up Kobe via Google and it kept showing nothing but Basketball and a Chinese city. So all you need to know about this place is if you don't like wind then not worth visiting! A liitle harsh I know but it hammered me mercilessly and deserves nothing but my wrath!