Distance: 89 kilometres
Average speed: 23.2 kmph
Maximum speed: 60 kmph
Temperature Minimum - 21 degrees
Temperature Maximum - 29 degrees
Metres climbed: 988
Ride time: 3 hrs 50 min
Wind: Very light winds at our backs
Road Kill by Nick 'Cougar' Bourns and Katrina 'KatPandaBalls Cousins
1 noisy minor
1 soccer ball
28 sore bottoms
Category Jersey won by: Melissa Speare
For the past 3 years was instrumental in helping Sharky with logistics in organising the 7in7 behind the scenes. Mel is also huge team player, a passionate fundraiser who truly believes in the cause, always turns up prepared physically and mentally for the task ahead of riding huge kilometres, handle the late nights without complaints and takes on the task of writing a blog or two as well.
Bonus Category Jersey was awarded to: Paul Hogan
Paul's Mum, Mavis is seriously ill in hospital and he was not even going to start this event. But Mavis had other ideas and sent him on his way. Thank you Mavis for giving us a week of Paul's valuable time, we are now indebted to you as getting to know Paul has enriched all our lives. I truly believe a person lives his life through the eyes of another. There are no greater teachers of humility and humbleness than the love of a Mother. Congratulations Mavis on producing such a fine human being.
Guest Speaker tonight was meant to be Mark "Mr T" Trembath but being from Sydney he opted to spend the evening with his lovely partner Cheryl. So I got up and told the story of that first phone call I received from David Smiddy telling me of their Son's passing and how it affected me. I also shared the opening of Adam Smiddy Park and how that came to be.
A late blog and a crash just 20km's from the finish
Well my apologies that this blog is now officially over 2 days late. It has been a busy past couple of days and I only now have the time to bring you up to date. So as you can see by the stats, the longest day in Smiddy history of 257km's was immediately followed up by the shortest day in Smiddy history of just 89km's. After 6 huge days of riding, 5 late nights and an assorted array of sleeping arrangements, the shorter day was not only appreciated by the weary riders but needed. The entire ride was nearly incident free up until inside the last 20km's when Smythey touched a wheel and came down with Big Billy coming down on top of him. Kev was there as always and sheltered them with the Smiddy vehicle from the traffic behind until they could untangle themselves. Luckily, bar some bark off the elbows and knees, all were okay and able to proceed to the finish. A stark reminder of why in our morning brief by Christian that an easy short day is by no means a time to switch off the concentration levels.
Bondi Beach Finish
The finish onto the grassy area above Bondi Beach was such an appropriate place to end the Sydney leg for our riders not continuing on in Panda, Smythey, Billy, Hoges, Bretty and Adriel. Emotions were as high as at the end of any Smiddy event with plenty of back slapping, high fives, man hugs and congratulations of a job well done. I handed the huddle over to Matt Marshall, who as our leader of Smiddy and first time veteran of a 7in7 event as a road crew member, really proved himself and endeared himself to the rider and road crew by displaying so much passion and friendship. Of course I gave him no warning of this honour and he had to make it up on the fly. As per any huddle it finished with a heartwarming chant of SMIDDY, SMIDDY, SMIDDY.
The riders and crew stayed at Bondi Hotel for the night and after everyone had checked into their rooms the beers began to flow. The final team dinner of the successful completion of this first leg of our journey back to Brisbane, was a chance to reflect and celebrate our achievements.
So what's next?
The next day all the riders continuing on had to get themselves over to the start of our last leg into Brisbane. To start in Bondi would have been a logistical nightmare getting through Sydney traffic and would add an extra 3 hours of ride time to an already long first day on the road when we roll out on Sunday. Some opted to put their bikes in the truck and get over by public transport or taxi, while 8 joined me in my 'connecting the dots' ride to Northride. You see, as I have ridden every single solitary kilometre of this 7 year journey around Australia, I had to complete the 40km's to our new hotel in Northride. Thank you to the 8 riders who joined me in Kratzo, Steely, Mel, Mick, Bretty, Kirsteen, Roger and a huge thank you Mr T for successfully navigating us through 40km's of back streets that kept us safe and off the main roads, as we didi it without our support vehicle and Kevvy.
Thank you to Norton Rose for the morning tea fundraiser function they put on for Kevvy, Matt, Mel, Mick and myself as representatives of team Smiddy. Prior to the 10:30am function we met up with 3 Norton Rose staff in Araceli, Hannah and Josh, as well as Phillip, who was our bike guide for the morning ride. 4 Smiddy riders that enjoyed a sight seeing tour and breakfast at Manly Beach as guests of Norton Rose. We are pretty sure that a couple of the NR crew may turn up for a Smiddy event in the furture after experiencing being pushed up the hills of Manly by Mick and myself in true Smiddy fashion.
The morning function saw 50 employers from NR turn up and the Smiddy video was shown and appreciated by all. We had a Cadel Evan's signed jersey to auction off and the CEO, Wayne Spanner, outbid The Chairman of the company, Adrian Ahern in a sale that went for a generous $1,200. They also run a raffle and sold food for morning tea, with all proceeds going to Smiddy and the Mater. A huge thank you to Norton Rose and especially to Tessa Hoser for organising everything and keeping kev company in the car when we did the ride with the NR staff.
Thank you to Steely
I would like to finish off with giving my best mate Steely a plug. He came onboard as our mechanic and has been performing miracles throughout the past 7 days to keep the riders moving forward. The amazing thing about the Man of Steel is that he has somehow managed to ride every single kilometre of the rode so far, as well as attend to all the mechanicals enroute. This afternoon he has been helping the new riders put their bikes together. Sometimes it is a thankless job as a lot of it is done in the backgrounds, but Steely be assured people are noticing and are appreciative of you giving up 2 weeks of your time to make sure this event is successful.
Well that's it from me for now. Today is now Saturday and I promised myself a day of rest and recovery and in that I have been most successful. Got my first 9 hours of sleep last night, received a massage yesterday after the connect the dots ride, eaten continuously and finally have caught up with this blog.
I will introduce you to the new members of the team tomorrow.