Statistics for the day:
Ave speed: 26.1kph
Max Speed: 77.3kph
Elevation climbed: 1726mtrs
Ride time: 6:11:00
Min temp: 12 degrees
Max temp: 31.5degrees
Welcome to my first blog since the Noosa Triathlon back in October last year. In this ninth year of Smiddy events our first cab off the rank for 2014 is the Noosa Smiddy. This years event has attracted 28 male and 4 absolutely gorgeous stunning and incredibly beautiful females. One in particular, just may be my Fiancee Alyssa Coe, but as I can't be seen to be having favourites, I can't actually confirm this fact...
The roll out
So onto today's 162 kilometre ride from Brisbane to Noosa. Our departure point was from the UQ Aquatic Centre, who have been supporters of Smiddy events since 2006 up until the present day. A huge thank you to pool manager Jae Marr and staff for allowing us to use their facilities many times throughout the year. After a friendly welcome speech from Smiddy leader Matt 'Cant find my Wheel' Marshall and a safety brief from Christian 'Killer' Killeen, and with Mike Dyer given the honour of ringing the infamous Kevvy Cow Bell, the peloton rolled out at 6:15am and spent the next hour getting every possible red light out of Brisbane. I mentioned our run of red lights to the rider beside me and he, John Hartley, admitted that it was his fault... Something about being a magnet for red lights. While red lights were an annoyance for some, my old mate from Sydney, Mark Anthony, who completed the French Alps Smiddy Challenge last year, who actually detests anything uphill, was actually quite happy with anything red or downhill as it provided an opportunity for a nice rest.
Matt the mechanic
Meanwhile Matty Hopper, who is the owner of AvantiPlus Bikes in The Valley, and was kindly donating 4 days of his valuable time as our bike mechanic, was kept busy right from the get go. First up with a rider Ben Scully in the first 50 metres, who's electronic gears weren't working, and then Harry Nina at 10 kilometres in, suffered a faulty carbon seat post that kept slipping down to BMX proportions. Matt rides in the peloton along with the other riders and pulls up as mechanicals happen, allowing the rest of the riders to continue on. They then either ride back on if they are strong enough, or Kevy vans them and gets them back up to the peloton. Anyway I know Matt was kept busy all day and after the ride servicing bikes, so mate please know that all the riders are very appreciative of your support. Matt and his beautiful Wife Mel are sponsors of Smiddy and just maybe they may be at the dinner tonight when I read this out. Who knows? Anyway I would just like to say if all the riders rode Scott or Avanti bikes there would be no mechanicals! Boom! Sponsorship secured for 2015!
The two P's
Today Smiddy history was created when we actually stopped at a school, the Genesis Christian College at the 26 kilometre mark, not to deliver a sun-safe message, not to give an educational talk to the students about Smiddy and not for students to lather copious amounts of zinc onto our Smiddy rider's faces, which happens often on the Smiddy Challenge ride from Brisbane to Townsville. No, we were actually invited to stop there to pee. So without further adu, I would like to, on behalf of Smiling for Smiddy and the Mater Foundation, thank this wonderful school for allowing us this luxury. I do hope no riders abused their trust and did anything other than a number 1. A show of hands please if guilty? So that was the first P.
Now the second P involved a P Plater driver, who had an immense love for his horn. His angst towards our motley friendly and happy lot of Smiddy ambassadors was clearly shown as he proceeded to handle his horn in a very manly like fashion, applying firm pressure to it from the moment he entered into the slip stream of the back of the peloton, right up until 17 kilometres after he had passed us! Now while he demonstrated his immense maturity to us lowlifes out here riding and raising money that will one day actually save his life when he gets cancer, I must acknowledge the groups incredible restraint not to say anything or even give him the bird. And there you see is the difference between P Platers with no patience, and Smiddy riders who care enough about our cause and their fellow rider to not retaliate. I could not have been prouder of you lot!
Our road crew rock
No Smiddy event goes ahead or is successful without these amazing people that give up their time and even fundraising as well. Today our lead driver Mr Geevsey and rear driver Captain Kev kept us safe and sound from not only the P Platers but from the impatient motorists that hate being held up any longer than a nano second. Thank you Sammi Jo and Wendy for making yourselves available to massage the weary and very much appreciative riders. Thank you to Claire, Jess and Andy for all the running around you all do preparing food, (the morning tea and lunches were simply amazing) sorting rooms, getting our day bags, listening to our complaints about P Platers and for the hugs. And last but not least thank you to Garath for providing the wittiest humour and wickedest laugh of any human being on this planet. Oh yeh but you suck at finding my day bag mate! I have already mentioned Matt and what he is doing for the riders out on the road but thank you again my friend.
Lunch and the other Upper Wall
Our morning tea stop was at 62km's at Centenary Park Caboolture and the group was chomping at the bit to push off and get to the lunch stop at Kolora Park Palmwoods, especially Mark from Sydney, as we now know how much he loves climbing. You see, the talk of the day was the wall like climb that peaked out at 22% gradient up Kiel Mountain road. The only other climb that compares to this is the Upper Wall in Toowoomba, that the Midi riders get to do in May. This climb is not as long but just as nasty, so with full stomachs the climb began in earnest, gradual at first and even some downhills to lull the riders into a false sense of security, but around the next bend and you are greeted with a climb so ridiculously steep, that it would not have looked out of place at Dream World as the worlds highest roller coaster ramp. It was only short but heart rates maxed out in 30 seconds, riders fell off; good one Melissa, I, along with a dozen others, saw your glorious dismount and final resting place in the middle of the road (she was not hurt just wounded pride) some walked, some yelled obscenities, others phoned a friend for help and those that made it without walking were ordering trophies at the top via their iPhones to be collected in Noosa! Yep it was a tough mother and I hope I never see it ever again! On a side note the nasty side of me came out as I rode a little way back down to take photos of the riders walking. I am mentioning no names but if you friend me on Facebook I have uploaded the photos for all to see. But seriously, all jokes aside; it mattered not how you got to the top, the important thing was you got to the top. Oh and Marky I did spot you getting into the van with Kevy at the bottom. Nice move mate, keeping yourself fresh for the bigger climbs to come over the next 3 days. You are very wise!
Tailwind home and the first huddle
With the small Upper out of the way and a nice flat ride for the remaining 40 kilometres into Noosa and the last 20 with a tailwind, the group made excellent time to finish the days stage into the Noosa RACV Resort just before 3pm. I took the first huddle and told the group about my first ride in 2006 where just me and two mates tried to bring the huddle in to play, but with just 3 blokes it was just plain silly back then and my mates quickly tired and refused to hug me for the rest of the trip. But now it is firmly entrenched as a Smiddy tradition since 2007 and I got to hug my new 30 Smiddy riders and 8 road crew. Thank you crew for embracing it with the Smiddy spirit that I know you all possess.
I will be uploading photos from each day within the peloton to my Facebook site. Just search for Mark Sharky Smoothy and friend me if you wish to see them.