Thursday, 19 September 2013


Distance: 140 kilometres
Average speed: 29.7 kmph
Maximum speed: 51 kmph
Temperature Minimum - 8 degrees
Temperature Maximum - 19 degrees
Metres climbed: 191
Ride time: 4hrs 41mins
Wind direction: You little ripper, bloody beaut tailwind! Yippeeeeee...!

Road Kill Count by Bryan 'Walt' Humphrey

1 Currawong, 2 Crows, 1 Rascally Rabbit

A gift from the Tailwind Gods
The crew awoke at six-am this morning to a strange phenomena known as silence. Since arriving in South Australia all we have seen and heard is the ever present wind. But not today, and on seeing each and every rider going about their pre-morning Smiddy ritual, one thing was blatantly obvious; we were all sporting a grin from ear to ear.

Now by the time we pushed off at our allotted time of seven-am, actually ten past, so spot on time, the wind had returned, but guess what Harry Jones? It was now right up our cracker! Right where it was meant to be. So the roads into Mt Gambier were not only flat with a few small hills here and there, but the scenery was absolutely spectacular. Vast beau-tonic mania. (Sharky made up word that means bloody beautiful and just the tonic the soul of a weary cyclist needs to experience to reinvigorate the soul and a passion for life.) Great word hey? Means all that and you don't need to say much. Now I just need to work on my blogs to do the same and all will be said and done in just 50 words. WOW!

Course mapping by a legend and is Smoothy really gay?
My old mate Ray Smith, from last year's 7in7 and super navigator and mapping guru, actually is responsible for this years course. Ray if you are reading this then I have one thing to say to you mate, what an absolute bottler of a course you chose for us the past three days but especially today. The direct route from Robe to Mt Gambier is actually less than 100 kilometres. No Smiddy or 7in7 event would ever disgrace themselves by traveling such a trivial distance. Ray realised this and came up with a route that took in every back country ride this side of the Black Stump. He turned a 100km ride into 140 kilometres and a treasure chest of scenery was our just reward. If you get to see my photos on my Facebook site you will see some of the thousands of acres of bright yellow Canola fields and lush green fields of green stuff that I have no knowledge of, probably Canola before it goes yellow...? The thousands upon thousands of happy sheep and cattle that had not a care in the world, except to run away when a rider would yell out; "run away if Smoothy is gay." Which of course they always did. I aint admitting to anything! JL would then confirm the fact by asking the cows this question; "if Smoothy is indeed gay can all you cows look at us?" Which again they did, so according to the law of the animals, the jury was out and I had no defence. Which is all okay as I now only have one more sleep to go before something insanely delicious enters my life!

A perfect day turns ugly with rider down!
What an amazing day we spent on the bike; it was so cool to roll along two abreast and actually have a decent chat to our fellow riders, to actually take the time to admire Mother Natures incredible gifts, when she is not trying to smash us into oblivion, to pull up to a stop and witness the road crew not battling to hold desperately onto everything before having a chance to devour all food in sight and mainly having that delightful tailwind behind us no matter what direction we travelled today. Life does not get any better than what we experienced today.

But all that came to a grinding halt when before my eyes, with lunch just finished 20 kilometres ago and just a cruisy ten kilometre roll into town to finish, when their was confusion in our small elite peloton, a shifting of riders to the left, a swerving of the rider in front of me to his right, and then the dreaded action of a rider falling two up from me as if in slow motion. We were moving at 30km/h on a slight uphill as the tailwind pushed us from behind. I locked up my rear wheel and skidded and got around the rider in front. Melissa had touched the wheel in front of her and forced her to fall towards the centre line of the road. Luckily no car was traveling in either direction as she ended up on over the centre line. My first thought was of Mel and getting her off the road. My bike was dumped in the middle of the road, Kevvy and Bob turned their car onto an angle across the road, Bryan was up the road slowing down cars coming in the other direction, concern was etched on every riders face.

Now let me tell you this; Mel is one tough young lady. I get to her and already she is trying to get up. I help her to the side of the road, she is saying she is okay, I knew better as she was shaking like a tree losing its leaves in Autumn. She wants to stand, I ask her to sit, she wants to get back on the bike, I ask her to slow down as she is going nowhere fast. The call goes out to get the girls driving the van back to the site, Mel is bundled into the car, Kevvy takes her to the hospital, Bob stays back with Mel's bike and awaits the van return, while the rest of the riders cruise into town in single file with the two big men of the peloton book ending the group for safety.

Mel returns to the group and incredible acts of kindness
Once again we are staying in a van park and sharing a room that sleeps five people each, which sure makes for some interesting nights on the journey so far. Mel gets back from the hospital after getting checked out by the doctor. She has taken a good whack to the head and has also face-planted the bitumen. Her helmet is ruined, her right cheek bone a bruised and lumpy mess and a hip that is going to stick to the sheets for a few nights to come. But most importantly, she is doing okay and is in good spirits. Mel has not uttered one word of complaint and is just keen to get back on her stead and join her friends in the peloton tomorrow. As a side note the team all kicked in some cash and brought Mel a new helmet and paid for the repairs on her bike done at the local bike shop. Also a big thanks to the local Physiotherapist, Ben, who treated Mel after getting out of hospital, and he not only didn't charge her for his services, but his receptionist, Judy, made a $20 donation.

The belated huddle
Because of Mel being in hospital the traditional Smiddy huddle was not performed until we were all out for dinner at the Mount Gambier RSL Club. Where the huddle was performed while seated at a long table, arms entwined, Melissa had the honour of leading the huddle after her tumultuous afternoon on and off the bike. Again it was a first for a huddle as we were all dressed in our Sunday best 7in7 dinner attire. Jeans and t's wrapped up in our winter woolies. Incredible that so many firsts happening already on this trip, can't wait for the first official nude huddle! Dinner was at the local RSL Club, where it was a wet and windy walk thanks to rain settling in on Mt Gambier. But with food in our tummies and a few beers, spirits were high and we were all settling into life on the road in this sixth stage of the 7in7.

That's all from me and I just have one last thing to say and that is one more sleep to go!



PS: Oh by the way I found out this morning while sitting on the toilet why I could not find anything on google about Kobe; because there was sign on the back of the toilet door saying; "Welcome to Robe Caravan Park." Robe, not Kobe. I am a space cadet sometimes! Sighhhhhhh...

PPS: Here is a little information about the historic town of Mount Gambier.

It is the major service centre for the Limestone Coast. A thriving progressive community, residents enjoy a quality city facilities and services, many attractions, a wide range of accommodation, shopping and entertainment and surrounded by volcanic craters, lakes, limestone and underground aquifers.

Famous for its 'Blue Lake' which changes colour dramatically each year. The Blue Lake is just one of the lakes within the three craters of the volcano. The city also boasts beautiful parks and gardens, caves and sinkholes. An interesting mix of galleries, museums and markets provides an insight into the culture and arts of the town. W
ith fresh local food and wines available at many cafes and restaurants everyones tastes are catered for.

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