Average speed: 27.4 kmph
Maximum speed: 64 kmph
Temperature Minimum - 14
Temperature Maximum - 22
Metres climbed: 1331
Ride time: 4:18:35
Wind Direction: Slight headwind first two hours and Tailwinds last Two hours.
Blog written by Sharky
A huge thank you to Anna, Paul, Bryan and Rowan for taking the pressure off me to write the blog each night. It has been one of the toughest tours to date from a cold, wet and windy perspective. To take on the blog each and every night, combined with the toughness of this tour, I would now be in that hole in the ground. So thanks guys for saving me.
What is that bright orange glow
The crew awoke to a brilliant sunrise and virtually no wind to speak of. The contrast from yesterdays conditions were shockingly nice and giggles of delight could be heard amongst the crew as we went about our pre-morning ritual of getting ready for another and our last day on the road. We rolled out at 8:45am to Bob ringing the cow bell and joined by day rider and good friend of Kate and Tim's in Clinton. So right from the off go there was instant chatter and a great feeling in the peloton as we all joked about the cruisy day ahead of us. And that is exactly what it turned out to be. The sun kept doing what it was meant to do - Shining, the wind even behaved itself and did nothing more than provide a cooling sensation whenever it was in our face. And after 7 tough days in the saddle, even the majority of the riders legs were feeling okay after the enforced rest day yesterday.
Kate had organised a great day of eating activities that saw us stop at George Town at 55 kilometres, where the local RSL, led by the lovely ladies in Pat and Marley, provided morning tea for the crew of scones, tea and coffee in fine china and a selection of party pies and sausage rolls. I could not believe my eyes when I witnessed Marto putting just one pie and two sausage rolls on his plate. Was he being polite or had he reached his limit for the trip?
Pizza beside the Tamar River
From morning tea we then did another leisurely 45 kilometres where the peloton was flying thanks to a downhill run and a great tailwind. Kate had organised another eating surprise for us with sensationally yummy Pizzas for lunch at a place called Rosevears Tavern, which was right beside the majestic and wide Tamar River. We were greeted there by Kate's family in her Sister Amy and their Mum Tammy and also Tammy's parents in Jack and Jo. Kate was given a mystery $400 donation and I am not allowed to say who donated it, but I thanked them anyway and told them I knew nothing about it.
The great backpack race
It was directly after lunch that the great Knapsack Challenge was held. This event was cancelled yesterday due to the inclement weather, so a much softer version was held today. A two kilometre flat time trial, finishing with a climb of 500 metres of 7% gradient. The Slim Jims consisted of Shannon, Sambo, Rupert and Matt, who all had up to 20kg of sand in backpacks attached to the shoulders. The Fat Cats were Marto, Watty, Marky T and Tommy Boy, all these lads were close to or over 100kg's. Marto and Watty were given a 45 second headstart and the race was on. The handicap proved too much as Watty crossed the line a clear winner, proving his point that fat is stronger than muscle. Second was Tommy Boy, then Mark T and the first of the dejected Slim Jims was Rupert. It was awesome to watch and the rest of the riders awaited atop the climb and cheered on their chosen hero. The finish resembled a battlefield with the chosen racers collapsed over bike frames and sucking in some big breaths. It was so much fun that it was suggested the Challenge event to Townsville 2014 will be the next rematch.
Launceston here we come
The finish into Launceston was again a very easy 20 kilometres and the amazing thing about todays stage was that we somehow managed to turn a four hour ride into an eight hours journey! Like I said a pretty cruisy day was expected and delivered on one of the nicest sun shiny days we have had all tour. Life does not get more perfect on the bike than what we experienced today. So after eight most memorable days of riding -some good and some very cold and wet memories thrown in there- we returned to our starting point at the Launceston Hotel and we're greeted by our road crew and a huge turnout of Kates family members and the lovely Mary, who is Kevvy's very patient and understanding Wife. Congratulatory hugs were passed all round and the huddle was handed over to the delightful and beautiful Maria Smiddy.
Bikes were hastily packed into their boxes and a little R&R was appreciated prior to our final dinner function tonight.
Beautiful people and amazing journeys
This trip, like all 7in7 and Smiddy journeys is not about proving how good we are at riding a bike. It has, and always will be, a journey about people, very special people like the riders and road crew and the amazing hospitality and generosity of the people that we meet along the way. For the past 24 days and nights my journey has introduced me to many hundreds of these exceptional people and I consider myself extremely lucky to be alive and to appreciate each and every contact. To finish I would just like to make a few observations and memories of the 36 very special people I have had the pleasure of spending the past eight days with.
Lisa, I'll remember for not only being one of the most polite ladies I have ever met but her ability to wear next to nothing in the coldest conditions, while the rest of us are layered up in everything we own. She belongs at the North Pole.
Mick and his newspaper in his back pocket that he carried with him for three weeks, never using it once but happy to share the legend of the old timers who used this method in the 1940's to keep them warm on the descents to anyone that would listen. Also Mick for your caring attitude towards your fellow riders and road crew.
Clinton it was a huge pleasure to have you join us for a day and you fitted in well with our riding style right from the get go. Nice work mate.
Pete so good to see you ride the last three days of this journey with us mate. There is nothing that you can't do now that you have accomplished finishing the Challenge and a leg of the 7in7.
Mel thank you for spoiling me with special deserts at some of the nighttime dinners. When a desert was not available out would come the mars bars and kit kats. Also for your amazing support and help to make the last two years of 7in7 a reality.
Nat and Paula not only are the only riders who use hankies to blow their nostrils but are two of the most respectful and grateful girls in the peloton. And so bloody strong and determined.
Sambo I will always remember your kindness, politeness, (as long as I don't mistake you for Marto) and your skin coloured face zinc.
Nicole your friendliness and incredible strength on the bike. You have a great season ahead of you in triathlon.
Bryan and your poetic outlook on life and doing the ride for your mum. The pace was at times to high for you but you always got on with the job.
Marky T for asking me if he can do 7in7 in 2014 before this year's event was over. I love how highly you spoke about your love for your partner Cheryl. I love that you got how I feel about my lady Alyssa.
Shannon what a pleasure getting to know you and finding out how much you care about your fellow rider and road crew members. I look forward to more adventures to come.
Tim and your enthusiasm even when the weather was foul. The roads were dirt and the wind was howling. You were always smiling and I just love your spirit mate.
Aloka thank you for giving us Smithers for the past eight days and for introducing Henry to all the crew.
Anna for your bubby personality and contagious spirit for all things Smiddy. Two years now as a Smiddy riders and learning so fast.
Row man for being Row Man. Always humble and the front man each night and making us all laugh. My greatest memory will be our climb together up to Cradle Mountain in that snow storm.
Marto for all the true stories of the amount of pies and sausage rolls you ate in eight days. Which at last count was 64 rolls and 24 pies. Also for toughing out the past four days with sciatica pain in your right leg.
Watto and your infectious spirit and great ideas for fund raising throughout the ride. Even when the chips were down with the weather you stayed positive.
Maso for battling the whole eight days with an Achilles injury that would have stopped the most determined athlete but not you my man. Also for not asking the sheep and cows about my sexuality over the past three days.
Matt for your strength and that incredible aero flat back position you can maintain on the bike all day long, but especially for your helpful attitude to your fellow riders.
Rupert for accepting that Kevvy is wise and an old man. Also for helping out on many occasions with your pushing. Both Rupert and Matt for getting what we are all about regarding the Smiddy spirit.
Kate for being Kate. The tour you put together has just been amazing. Your humble attitude and not wanting any attention for all your hard work but you are getting it now! Two years ago you said to me that you would take on the Challenge of this tour and you were true to your word. I can never thank you enough.
The twins Leanne and Cheryl for being so much fun. Such beautiful ladies and your sense of adventure is second to none. I loved it when you said the East Coast will be dryer and sunnier and we get hit with the worst conditions on record. Please can we have your amazing company again for Smiddy Tassie 2015? Only this time in March!
Kev for giving me six years of your life to Smiddy and for being the only driver in the world to travel around Australia at an average of 25kmh.
Rebecca for volunteering for three Smiddy tours back to back over the past 4 weeks. You are so incredibly patient and nothing is too much to ask. Pete is exceptionally lucky to have such a beautiful wife.
Maddog for all your positive energy. You were the only one during the super storm to be heard whistling and singing.
Maria for without you there would be no Smiddy events in memory of your son Adam. Your hugs are worth dying for.
Flying Flynn for his friendly attitude and for not giving in with his itb and knee injury and doing these Smiddy journeys for his Dad.
Bob for taking on the task of doing two tours back to back and not going insane. Thanks Bob for the awesome memories and I will see you in the gym next week.
Sammi Jo for your ability to hurt people and smile while you are doing it. One of the nicest but nastiest lady I have ever met.
Tommy for your gentle nature and for a guy who only starting cycling two years ago your ability is amazing.
Geevsey for giving up your time to look after us for those four hard and testing days. For your friendship and for always paying out on me.
Boydy for being Boydy, an incredibly gifted individual who I missed immensely when he left us on day four.
Andy for having the loudest voice in the peloton when shouting car back and being so excited after the first three days when he sorted his injuries and knew he could finish this tour.
Jess for your role behind the scenes and always making sure the riders were looked after with accommodation and washing and doing it in a fun and friendly manner.
Kate's family for their unbelievable involvement in helping not only to make this ride happen but happen in such a fun way. We are all in awe of you guys.
Ollie for being one of the original riders from 2006 and showing once again on the day you joined us, that you truly possess the Smiddy spirit by helping the other riders that were struggling at times.
And finally Mary, Kevvy's wife, how good are you to have a husband as grand and as ancient as that cow bell that he sleeps with. You are a truly exceptional women!
That's it from me, hope you enjoyed the journey over the past 4 weeks of Smiddy adventures.