Toowoomba to Warwick
Climbing: 1017 metres
Desending: 1207 metres
Riding time: 6:07:00
Temp Min: 10 degrees
Temp Max: 24 degrees
Wind: Plenty of it either in our face or on the nose
Windmill Count 139 Game founder JL will be beside himself with excitement at this number.
White horse count 17
Road Kill count: Deleted due to lack of interest from our now sacked road kill counter Jess Geevsey.
Messages from love ones
Well last night I suggested to people reading this blog if they had any messages for their love ones that were riding the Midi to send them through to me to read out at tonight's function in Warwick. (Great short opening sentence hey? Notice lack of commas or full stops. Now go back and read that opening sentence and if you can do it in one breath then I owe you a glass of water.) Anyway the point is that lots of you responded, which excited me greatly for two reasons. 1. Because it actually means there is more people than my brother Terry reading my blogs. And 2. Your messages made a real impact on your love ones and will help get them through their big 220 kilometre day tomorrow. Keep them coming and I promise to read them out at our lunchtime break in Rosewood tomorrow.
The NOT easy day/Yellow room fever/First fall
So on with day two of the Midi Smiddy that saw our so called easy 160 kilometre day turn into a real challenge thanks to the cross or head winds that we experienced for all but the first 30 kilometres out of Toowoomba. Roll out was right on time at 7:00am and how lucky was the peloton to score such a mild start temperature of 12 degrees. The coolest thing about T/Bar is that it is situated atop a big mountain. All that climbing we done yesterday meant that the first 20 kilometres of riding we gradually lost altitude, meaning a downhill start and with a tailwind as an added bonus. The joy of this was soon lost as we came to our first 'yellow room' stop (a toilet intermission by the side of the road). A lapse in concentration and we had a rider down. Richard Wolfe had swerved to avoid another riders sudden braking and went down into a ditch on the side of the road. The end result a slight dislocation of his shoulder and in the van until further notice. Richard of course was bitterly disappointed but in his own quiet and mature manner, just accepted it as part of riding in a peloton and that shit sometimes happen.
Tour de France teams have nothing on Smiddy!
Prior to pushing off for the final 30 kilometres into Pittsworth Matt chatted to the group and reminded us of our responsibility to one another. The guys responded by riding like a well drilled professional cycling team and there was a noticeable uplift in the stronger riders doing their bit to help anyone who was struggling into the cross wind into Pittsworth.
Spoilt at Pittsworth
The stop at Pittsworth at the 60 kilometre mark for morning tea was organised by our local rider in Ian Corry, who's goal in 2014 is to complete both this Midi Smiddy and the full Challenge up to Townsville, and along the way raise in excess of $10,000! Ian has already, thanks to the amazing support from the Pittsworth community, raised $9,000. So as we rolled into Pittsworth Ian had arranged half a dozen school children on their bikes to lead the peloton down the main street of town and into Centenary Park. The kids were incredibly excited and held a fine pace to the park. It was there that the local Rotarians had come out in force to supply the riders with plenty of food and drinks for morning tea. A group photo for the local paper, then our little Smiddy school children ambassadors had a free rein to zinc each and every rider's face, a rousing three cheers for our Rotarian hosts and once again the Smiddy peloton was on the move for its next stop at Clifton for lunch.
Super six to the rescue and more food
The run into lunch was again into the cross wind scenario so ride leader, Captain Anna Tate and her lieutenants come up with a cunning plan to combat the elements and get the group safely into enemy territory, or in this case to our lunch stop at Clifton. A six man team continually rotated off the front, while the rest of the riders enjoyed the ride behind. The stronger riders were encouraged to ride on the left of the two abreast peloton, while everyone else on the right got the most protection from the wind. While it was hard going for all involved the plan worked brilliantly and all arrived safely in Clifton. Once again the road crew presented a gourmet of food for the riders, which was devoured in the glorious sunshine of a near perfect day for a picnic in the park. Smiddy rider, Melissa Crossman shared a lovely family moment over lunch in the Clifton Park as they all came out to support here, just as they did last year. The good news on roll out from lunch was that our old mate Richard Wolff was feeling well enough to rejoin the peloton for the final 60 kilometres into our finish at Warwick. Welcome back mate!
For the remainder of the Blog I am going to revert to my tried and trued method of:
Sharky's top ten highlights from today
1. Definitely number one was when Richard rejoined us at lunchtime. It is a big thing jumping back on the bike after a fall and I tip my hat to the big man.
2. Young Jessica Geeves, who really struggled yesterday, seeing her come back today and not only finish the entire 160 kilometre day, but that it was her longest ever ride to date. A mighty fine effort from this young and beautiful hearted 16 year old.
3.While on the Geevsey band wagon it would be remiss of me not to mention twins, Jack and Georgia Geeves, who both completed the full day yesterday, including the Upper, and then again today completed the full stage. The amazing thing is these guys are just 14 years of age. All the Geeves children are a delight to be around and without even knowing it, are an example for other teenagers to follow.
4.Sarah Collins is another 16 year old young lady from Rockhampton who confesses that track cycling and short efforts are more her forte. Well today she showed so much determination to complete her longest day ever and she deserves all the accolades of an Olympic champion.
5.The Young Guns! We are all so proud of our biggest Midi Smiddy field of youngest competitors and Sarah Casey, also from Rockhampton and at 16 years of age, struggled out there today as yesterdays efforts caught up to her, but she bravely fought on and completed her second full day. Sarah has also raised a staggering $6,000 for Smiddy and the Mater Foundation. An amazing achievement from someone so young. Tori Keating is another young lady from Rockhampton and one of the elders at an aging 18 years of age! Never one to give in and at times I saw her pushing her fellow Rocky mates. Yesterday she even cheekily pushed the big fella Michael Brady, who weighs in at 100 kg plus. Tori is that strong!
6.John Casey, our diligent and friendly volunteer photographer, was originally on board this journey to support his daughter Sarah Casey. It was noted by Smiddy staff that he had in his possession a very large camera and shoulder bag full of professional goodies. That was all it took and John was gently nudged into the role that our crazy South African mate Wybrand De-Toit did for the past 4 Midi Smiddy's. John is doing an awesome job and along with his lovely Wife Janelle are enjoying not only helping their daughter achieve her goal of completing this epic journey, but getting caught up in the whole Smiddy Spirit that eventually infects us all.
7.Tania Wolff is the wife of Richard and along with their son Ben, the Midi is definitely another family affair. Originally their other son Sam was meant to ride but two achilles injuries laid low those plans. Sam if you are reading this a huge thank you for organising the two Smiddy signed up cars from Lewellyn Motors in Ipswich. Tania is part of the official road crew and has been so helpful, not just to her husband and son, but to all the other riders and crew as well. She even helped to paint Ray 'Flatlander' Smith and I faces with three coloured zinc sticks at morning tea.
8.Today we were joined by a special guest Smiddy volunteer. This man was born to this world from the same womb that I was delivered from. This man is jolly. This man was trained today by the great Chris Geeves on how to be a lead car driver for the Smiddy peloton. This man learned his role so quickly that Geevsey handed over the reins of lead car driver for the final push into Warwick. This man did such a fine job that talk of sacking the Geeves man has secretly taken place. This man not only knows his stuff but if you were to ask him this question; "Doctor surely you can't be serious, please tell me what is it?" This man would respond with the following answer; "It is a big building with patients in it but that's not important right now, and please don't call me Shirley!" Finally this man would be my big brother Terry, 'Tez Man' Smoothy. In all seriousness Terry will be on board, along with my Sister Kay, as being part of the road crew for the Challenge event up to Townsville in September. Today was part of Tez Man's training.
9.Today after lunch we had a 15 kilometre 'expression session', or go at your own pace into Allora at 132 kilometres. About 25 riders decided to punish themselves into a strong headwind, while the rest of the group rolled in as per usual via Smiddy peloton style. Of that 25 a small group of six maniacs, that included myself, duked it out in fine style. I of course sat at the back and did absolutely nothing, as the remainder shared the workload out front. Meanwhile Tez Man and Brigit felt sorry for the riders in those nasty headwinds and pulled up two kilometres short of the finish. I could see Terry alighting from the vehicle heading for a bush toilet stop, while Brigit was opening up the back and getting the water ready for the thirsty riders. We proceeded to promptly rode straight past them. A quick look back and Tez Man zipped up his fly midstream, both back in the car and chasing us down. Window down and Brigit yelling out; "where is the finish?" I was trying not to vomit but managed to yell out; "T-Junction two kilometres." I was then ceremoniously dropped as the rest made a charge for the finish with line honours and boasting rights going to Chappy, Brocky Yates and Simon, your friendly plumber man.
10. Last but not least a big welcome to Jacinta Coman; yet another Midi Smiddy family affair with her Husband Mark competing in his second Midi event and Jacinta on board as part of the road crew. Jacinta, along with all the road crew, are just such a delight to behold and all the riders have been spoilt rotten these past two days and I can't see that changing for the final day tomorrow.
Spirit and team awards
Todays Spirit award goes to our one married couple doing the ride together in Sean and Robyn Lever. Sean has been on board every Smiddy Noosa Triathlon since 2010, has come in to this event with an injury that he told me would see him struggle to finish even the first day but has completed both days in their entirety. On top of that Sean and Robyn are fabulous fundraisers and both are just beautiful kind hearted people that would give you the shirts off their own backs. We are fortunate to have them as Smiddy ambassadors.
Sarah Collins, as mentioned above, today completed her longest ever day on a bike. Is a great fundraiser, loves a chat and has the ability to go on and finish the full challenge to Townsville. All this at just 16 years of age. Well she will be 17 if she does Challenge next year.
Steve Richards came to the Midi thanks to the enthusiasm of his Brother Brad, who has done many Smiddy events in the past and loves Smiddy with a passion. Steve is relatively new to cycling and although green he is willing and able to learn. Always the first to offer to help out in any and all situations, super friendly and all round nice guy that we would love to return as many times as Brad has in the past.
Warwick function rocks and rolls!
Warwick is always a big night for the riders and crew as we are given reign over the local Senior Citizens Community Centre. Tracy Vellacott from Warwick Tourism and Events has always been a huge supporter of Smiddy events since 2008 and supplies the hall and her sons front up the music for the night. Tracy a huge thank you once again for your continued support.
The night wrapped up after the Smiddy girls, Jess and Anna, delivered an amazing slide show of photos from the past two days of riding, which included supportive messages and photos from all the riders love ones. Rowan Foster made a surprise visit to act as the auction man and managed to succumb $506,00 out of Nicola Tabram for a framed and signed photo of the Midi riders. The team and spirit jerseys were handed out, all the messages love ones sent me today were read out by Jacinta, I read out my daily blog and our guest speakers tonight, Rob Caughey, Nicola Tabram and Emma Lendon all shared with us their passionate and sometimes tragic cancer related reasons for being part of team Smiddy.
The night wrapped up at 9:30pm and all retreated to their rooms with great haste as sleep beckoned. It will be a huge last day as I have said before with a 220 kilometre day ahead of them tomorrow.
Take care and look out for my day 3 blog hopefully on Sunday evening.