Monday, 1 September 2014

2014 Bottlemart Smidy Challenge - Day 3 - Eidsvold to Biloela

Smiling for Smiddy Bottlemart Challenge 2014 – Day Three
Distance 173.60
Elapsed Time 9:56
Moving Time 6:43
Average Speed 25.8kph
1600m Climbing
Min Temp 1.0 degrees
Max Temp 34.0 degrees

Schindler’s List:
22 Roos
1 Bird
9 Bad Smells – Unidentified
1 Pig but others thought it was a dog – so call it a Pig Dog.
6 Bags of Bones

Category Jerseys
Spirit Jersey – Krista Page
Mateship – Ian ‘Donkey’ ‘Elaine’ Corey
Teamwork – Geoff Honey

Guest Speakers
Mark Turner
Melissa O

Team Tom and Ben have been given the honourable duty of authoring the Day Three blog taking in the Eidsvold to Biloela leg. We take our responsibilities very seriously and in honour of many great authors past (F Scott Fitzgerald, Edgar Allan Poe and Ernest Hemmingway) we started this journal entry on our third beer.

Day Three started with an early 4:45am breakfast under the stars at 0.7 degrees (Josh Stemm Garmin reading). Good luck struck early with the lovely Megan Wallace being defecated upon from a high by a bird with serious bowel problems; needless to say she doesn’t need to use hair spray for the rest of the trip. Whilst this was a quiet and isolated incident, the cackling laugh that followed by Melissa O swiftly alerted the surrounding suburbs to a crazy women on the loose.

The cow bell was rung by our own Ian Cory after he selflessly rolled close to twelve swags whilst many others were still getting ready; secretly we think he’s just trying to get in with someone. The riders began the day with many complaints about sore backsides and gut issues related to the consumption of protein bars; judging from their comments perhaps that bird found one left behind the afternoon before.

On the way north this morning, we noticed a turn off sign to Gin Gin.  We took this as a sign to commit to our authoring experience.  Let’s face it, the only thing better than a gin is a double gin and if it’s good enough for Hemmingway, it’s good enough for us!  As such, we made a pact that later in the day we’d each order a double gin at the bar in Biloela.  We then passed another sign for Gin Gin…and another.  We took this as another indication to commit to our authoring experience so took a pact to order two more double gins each at the bar in Biloela.  Needless to say, it’s amazing we can still currently spell Biloela.

We had 73kms to our first school visit of the Challenge at Monto, St Theresa’s Primary School. Day Three is renowned for being the best eating day and it certainly started off sensationally; Ben was particularly looking forward to this day. Anna and Sharky delivered the sun safety message to the kids who were all too willing to take to the zinc face painting competition.

We were welcomed eagerly by the kids awaiting a high five ride by-line to which we can declare there were no incidents. Jarrod Covey, a returning Challenge rider, approached this with apprehension as in 2012 he was brought down by an overzealous three foot high front rower.

We left morning tea with the imminent promise of the Monto range which consisted of three peaks, 5 or maybe 15km away (depending on how accurate Matty Marshall was feeling). Fittingly on the way to the base we passed over Graveyard Creek. By the first peak there were a few of us who felt that our headstones were being inscribed upon.  It was amazing to see the display of Smiddy spirit as we ascended the peaks.  Despite many people believing that their eulogy was currently being prepared, all riders of varying abilities made it up the mountain. Watching the stronger riders help those that weren’t having great days was inspirational stuff, certainly what makes Smiddy rides so special.

After a rapid descent back down Monto Range, the peloton made their way into lunch at Grevillea Creek – a truck stop on the side of the road.  Once again, the wonderful road crew provided a delicious lunch.  However, immediately after our first mouthful, Captain Kevvy decided that it would be a funny joke to finish lunch early.  It seemed strange, but when Ben realised it was only 30km more to afternoon tea, supplied by the Thangool State School P&C, he was more than happy to scoff down his lunch a little more quickly than normal.  You see, Ben remembered this afternoon tea very clearly from 2012 and was quite happy to leave some room for sausage rolls!

Sharky and Anna once again spread the sun safety message at Thangool SS.  In an amazing coincidence, the headmaster of Thangool SS was also an old high school mate of Adam Smiddy from Ayr.  This took Sharky aback – amazed and excited to hear more stories about how great a person Adam was.  It is always amazing to hear the great stories about Adam from people of different backgrounds, many of whom don’t know each other.  Neither of us ever got the pleasure of meeting Adam but after meeting his amazing mother and father and hearing the stories about him, he truly sounds like an inspirational man.

The Grevillea Cup followed immediately after Afternoon Tea.  This involved a 14km “Go your own pace” section from Thangool to Biloela.  This was divided into A, B and C grades.  While Ben had been looking forward to afternoon tea all day, Tom had been looking forward to this sprint.  Team Tom and Ben were hot favourites for the A grade cup!  According to Matt Marshall, Tom was the 3-1 hot favourite, and Ben was quite happy to live off the coattails of Tom.  The sprint started off at a leisurely pace of 30km/hr, although this was quick to change, when prematurely (and naively and, some may say, stupidly) Jarred Covey took off in a blaze of glory with 10km still to ride.  We think he was still a little too excited about not being taken out by the grade 3 bruiser.  With 500m to go (luckily because Ben’s legs weren’t lasting any longer), the proper sprint got under way.  Tom left his charge for the line late, but demolished the opposition to take the trophy!  Melissa O, returning female champion, finished among the top riders to take the female trophy once again!

We received a great welcome in Biloela from all the locals.  It was to be the first night in which riders were billeted out to local residents and our first major function.  We were billeted with the very generous Greg Lee who provided us with our inspiration for this literary masterpiece.  Greg accompanied us to the function, held at Thangool Racecourse, where we enjoyed a filling and amazing dinner.  The entire dinner (including food, drinks and so on) was generously donated by the local community, who also turned out in force to support the evening.  It’s easy to be proud of what we’re doing when we see so many people get behind the cause, despite not knowing many of the riders.

The evening was run by former Smiddy rider, Naomi Bath, who played the role of MC brilliantly.  Several local personalities got up and spoke eloquently, including Mayor Ron Carriage and Don, who has been a huge supporter of Smiddy for many years.  The Smiddy Category jerseys for Spirit, Mateship and Teamwork were awarded and then the night’s guest speakers got up to tell their stories.  Mark Turner shared his heart wrenching story, telling us about his inspirational son who suffers from severe epilepsy.  It was a truly tear jerking talk and left the room speechless, but in awe that he could get up and share this story.  Melissa O told the audience about her terrible experience of watching her mother and father both battle different forms of cancer at the same time. 

The night ended with a high paced auction to raise more money for Smiling for Smiddy and an impromptu performance of Bohemian Rhapsody by the local Rotary club, with assistance from Maria Smiddy, Dave Colahan and Brenton Cope.  Naomi finished proceedings efficiently on 9:30, much to the delight of all the riders.  We all left to the homes of our billets to get as much sleep as possible before our big 240km ride the next day.

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