Sunday, 27 April 2014

2014 NOOSA SMIDDY CHALLENGE - FINAL DAY 4 REPORT

Noosa Century ride.

Please note that these stats for the day are off another riders Garmin as I did not ride today.

Distance: 164 km's
Ave speed: 27.8 km/h
Max Speed: 84km/h
Elevation climbed: 1508 metres
Ride time: 5:53:00
Min temp: 15 degrees
Max temp: 32.4 degrees

The final day of the Noosa Smiddy ride was a very different experience for me. You see I promised my body that as of 2014 I would treat it with a greater respect than I have in the past. Last year fatigue and annoying illnesses forced me to rethink my suicide mission of completing each and every Smiddy event on the calendar. A few years ago when we had just two events it was no big deal, but each year as we add events, culminating in eight Smiddy events last year, my body and mind insisted time out please! Hence this year's decision to gradually cut back. So the promise I made to myself and to a bunch of mates, just as insurance to remind me if I tried to change my mind, was to not do the final 160km day of riding in the Noosa Century.

The 6:00am start meant the Smiddy crew needed to be at the start by 5:30am to secure their position at the front of the thousand strong peloton. Alyssa and I were both not riding but still got up early to ride down with the crew and see them off. I had said nothing to the riders about not doing the last day and I got a few strange looks when I pulled off to the side with Alyssa when the starters whistle blew. It was a great starting system this year with the mass start being replaced with a staggered start of 100 riders every two minutes. Word got back to me that the Smiddy crew stayed in the lead right up until the first major climb at 30 kilometres, thanks mainly to the pulling power of a few Cyc's lads doing all the work out front. The Cyc's club is made up of many past and present Smiddy riders and like all Smiddy riders are powerhouses on the bike once they get through their chosen Smiddy event.

Phil Anderson, at 56 years of age, once again showed just what he is capable of doing when he releases the handbrake. For the past three days he was such a gentleman; always hanging back and helping out the riders and never being the first to the top of climbs and harder sections where the group might split up for a regrouping later on. He is a true champion and like all thoroughbreds the legs do the talking when it the time is right. Today was that time. With 20 kilometres to go Phil was in the lead group, as they approached a traffic light that turned red, half the group got through, a few ran the red light and were pulled over by a police car waiting to catch unsuspecting cyclists. Phil did the right thing and made us proud at Smiddy by electing to stop. Smiddy riders do the right thing! What this meant is that he lost the lead group so in his own words he said he just floated in at 40kmp/h with the second group. A nice float speed that pace...!

Alyssa and I stayed on after the riders had cleared out and cheered on the half marathoners doing the Noosa Half. Mainly because a good mate of mine was competing in Russell Wilson. We then joined Russell's wife Carol for breakfast in Hastings Street, before making our way out to Eumundi, which was the 100km point of the ride and where all the Smiddy road crew were decked out in their colourful wigs and variety of noise machines and screaming the house down, not just our guys, but for every person that passed by on their bikes. Jess, Claire, Wendy and Sammi-Jo were screaming machines, and with Garath, Andy, Alyssa and I, joining in with our manly voices (Alyssa has an army voice when she wants to turn it on) the riders could not help be uplifted and inspired to carry on due to our affectionate Smiddy madness. Or maybe they were just keen to get away from us? Regardless, it was a ton of fun, and it made me feel better about not riding. The loudest cheers were of course reserved for the Smiddy riders and what a surprise the road crew got to see the final 20 Noosa Smiddy riders all roll in together at that Eumundi stop. We were besides ourselves with excitement and they all stopped for a lengthy 20 minute break before carrying on to the finish, a further 60 kilometres away at Noosa.

Back at the RACV we waited patiently for all the riders to finish their final day of the Noosa Smiddy event and by 2:00pm all the guys and girls had finished, showered and were lounging around the resort settling in for a relaxing afternoon of eating, drinking and recapping the past four days of Smiddy adventures.

It was such a nice end to the ride and everyone seemed very happy and content in the fact that they had completed their first or second Noosa Smiddy Challenge. Many riders commented that they would be returning next year and bringing their mates along to experience the magic of this event. But I will let you in on a little secret; there is no magic to this event, it is the people that it attracts that creates the magic! Like every Smiddy event that I have had the utmost pleasure of attending, the riders and road crew that we attract, are just beautiful kind hearted individuals that care enough to do something for their fellow human beings.

We are just so grateful that they choose Smiddy and the Mater Foundation to unleash their kindness to. So as there will be no journal reading for this final night, as it is now 9:30pm and all but 15 have made their way home, all my newfound friends will be reading about their final day when they wake up tomorrow morning and log onto my site. To the Smiddy riders, our distinguished road crew, all your family members and all their supporters and donors; a huge heartfelt thank you not only from Smiling for Smiddy and the Mater Foundation, but from me personally. You guys have again succeeded, as many Smiddy riders have in the past, and will do so in the future, to move me in a way that continues to replenish the trust I have in human beings. You all need to hold your head up high with pride in what you have accomplished over the past four days, not just physically and mentally in finishing this tough event, but for the hope you give so many thousands of people out there that are going through their private battle with cancer.

Thank you again my Smiddy friends and please one day honour me with your presence by attending another Smiddy event soon. I can't wait to not only ride with you all again but to revel in the infectious laughter and positive energy that resonates from each and every one of you!

Take care.

Sharky

PS: My Spirit Award jersey today went to Dig In Dougy for his never give in attitude. Dougy lost his beautiful Uncle just 2 weeks ago and rode in memory of him. Nice work Doug and remember what I said mate about setting yourself anther immediate goal. The hard work is done, now revel in the rewards my friend.

And finally my Team Jersey award goes to Chris Geeves, our lead vehicle man. Chris has done so much for Smiddy over the years as a rider and as our driver. He never asks for anything, encourages his entire family to become involved in Smiddy; all 3 children are doing the Midi Smiddy, while his wife Bridgit always helps out as road crew and one day will do one of our events as a rider. Thank you Mr Gentle Geeves, you deserve this one mate!

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