Sunday, 12 October 2014


Northryde Sydney To Cessnock - Day 8

Stats now by David 'Stinky' Colahan with Bretty now home in Brisbane.
Distance: 193 kilometres
Average speed: 26.2 kmph
Maximum speed: 60 kmph
Temperature Minimum - 9 degrees
Temperature Maximum - 37 degrees
Metres climbed: 2369
Ride time: 7 hrs 20 min
Wind: Very light winds in our face late in the afternoon

Road Kill by Nick 'TinkerBell' Bourns and Hava Mendelle
2 snakes 18 bad smells, 1 cows head, 1 blue tongue lizard

Video by Liam
Want to see what a day in the Smiddy peloton is like on the road? Well thanks to our old mate Liam Cavanagh, or Cav, you can by following this link to uTube.

Category Jersey won by: Mick Farrag
Mick gets the jersey for being a team player for the past 4 years of Smiddy events and for two years of completing the 7in7. Always the first to put up his hand to help out and even after 7 days on the road for this event was still seen to be pushing riders that were struggling. Mick, along with Melissa Speare, was also instrumental in helping me to complete the 100km leg that was missed in Tassie last year due to wild storms that ripped the state apart.

Guest Speaker tonight was Andrew Chamberlin, who is one of the new 15 riders to be joining us for this last leg. Andrews reasons for being apart of the ride is in loving memory of his mother who lost her battle to mesothelioma almost 12 months ago. Her attitude of keeping balance and enjoying life to the fullest inspired Chambo to take on the Smiddy challenge to raise awareness that simple life choices like not smoking and wearing sun screen can help prevent cancer.

Our updated road crew for this final stage into Brisbane
Well after a nice 2 days in Sydney the crew were bolstered in numbers by new riders and road crew. The road crew that left were replaced by Cathy and Michael Jennings; two very good friends of mine of 37 years. They have supported and followed my Smiddy and 7in7 journey since the start and have always said they would love to do road crew one year. Well as we drive right past their place in Burringbar NSW on day 6 it was decided that this is their year. Wendy Muir from the Mater Foundation has come onboard to replace Nicole, Geoff Yip is here to not only road crew but to support his Wife Joy, who is riding this final leg into Brisbane. Belle Stephensen, a good friend of Jess Ebelt, has kindly filled in for a road crew member that pulled out at the last minute. Besides all these beautiful people we have all our originals in John Curran, driving the front vehicle, Kevvy bringing up the rear as per usual, Sammi Jo as our masseur, Russell Wilson, our best directions and hand sanitizer man, as well as Ron Steel as rider/mechanic and Jess and Christian from Smiddy. A big welcome to the new and old road crew members.

Fresh legs for this final stage
As well as new road crew members coming onboard we have 15 new riders joining us in Mary-Anne Elkington from Sydney, Paula Fleming, Hava Mendelle, Kylie Adair and Joy Yip of Brisbane and Tara Preston from Canberra. The new guys riding are Shane Isbester, David Colahan, Julian Wojcieszuk, Andrew Chamberlin, Liam Kavanagh, Ken Woods and Todd Linford, all from Brisbane, while from Sydney we have Scott Morphett and Geoff Honey. Thanks guys and girls for being part of this final stage into Brisbane of my 7 year journey to cycle around Australia.

How the day panned out
Roll out at 6am was a quiet affair with Katie Dick being given the honour of ringing the famous Cow Bell, which has been in Captain Kev's family for over 100 years. Kev picked Katie, as her parents, who were meant to road crew the entire two weeks, had to end their journey prematurely on day 3 due to ill health of her mum Elizabeth Dick. We were gifted with perfect cycling conditions for the majority of the day with low temperatures in the mid 20's and virtually no wind until the afternoon session. What this meant was that we made good time and eventually rolled into our finish at Cessnock a full 40 minutes ahead of schedule. The only hiccup in a perfect day was from afternoon tea to the finish the temperatures climbed into the mid 30's and a few riders began to feel the effects of a nearly 200km day and slight dehydration. But we got everyone in safe and sound and except for Kratzo, who is still not feeling 100% health wise, all the riders completed the entire day. Poor Kevvy was sad as no one wanted to spend time in the van with him! The day ended with a yoga session thanks to the lovely Katie Dick and then it was a mad rush for the 3 showers at the Caledonia Hotel that was built in 1912. '

Sharky's top ten highlights from day 8 on the road

1. Our small peloton of last week of 20 something riders has now grown to 33, with 15 new riders bringing to the group renewed enthusiasm and work ethics. What this means for the 18 originals from week 1 is more places to hide in the peloton and less time on the front. Also new speed dating conversations, new friendships and news from the outside world.

2. Paula Fleming created Smiddy history today when she slept through her alarm, missed the start, and only thanks to the quick actions of our esteemed road crew was she driven to us at the 32km section where we had stopped for a toilet and drink break. Never before has a Smiddy rider missed the start of an event, although it has happened in a training weekend, which does not count, so Paula now holds the world record for this embarrassing moment!

3. A Hawaiian theme was the order of the day for the roll out today. You see, our good mate, Kate Warren, fellow Smiddy Challenge and twice 7in7 rider, was racing the Hawaiian Ironman for the very first time today. Sarah's husband Scott was filtering through results for us throughout the day. It was kind of cool knowing that while we were at it riding all day, Kate was at it completing an Ironman. As I write this she has finished but not sure of times or placings. Nice work Kate you legend. Funny side story to this was I had forgot about Hawaii being on today and when asked to wear a skirt and boob cups by Melissa I just did as I was asked. It was only at morning tea that Mick informed me about Kate racing.

4. Ken Woods, who has ridden Smiddy Challenge, Tassie 7in7 and now this final leg into Brisbane, is one of the strongest riders in the Universe. So strong he once won the Earth to Mars endurance event. Anyway the guy was giving the honour of taking the day 8 huddle for his efforts today in pushing Janet and Wendy, sometimes both at the same time! His crowning moment was pushing Janet up todays' longest climb of 5 kilometres. This young fella is strong!

5. How nice was it that Adriel Cahir, Paul Hogan and Tony Smythe, 3 riders from the first weeks ride from Melbourne, turned up this morning to see the Smiddy crew on their way. Thanks guys, it was noticed by all and appreciated. Also great to see Maddog, Nicole Bourke's husband, and the big man John Leyshon, there to see us off.

6. Russel Wilson came into this event a man that did not do hugs. Well not is he now giving out hugs to all and sundry but the big fella was convinced that it would be a good thing to wear a Hawaiian skirt for the day. Good to see you coming out mate and there may be a spot for you at the Mardi Gras next year!

7. Russell again and new road crew member in Michael Jennings for rescuing my helmet at morning tea. It fell down in behind an old tank that was surrounded by a 8 foot brick wall, which required Kev's step ladder and a huge stick to fish it out. Thanks lads, much appreciated.

8. NSW roads are amongst some of the worst roads I have ever cycled on. Today all 33 riders got a taste of those said roads and I think they will whole heartedly agree with that statement. Seriously the roads today were so bad that we all agreed that back on day 6 when we did the big 257km day, that the 17km's of dirt road were in better shape than todays poor excuse for a road. I was quietly amused when every now and then the road builders would put in a stretch of smooth bitumen for 100 metres and then go back to the same crap roads. I have a theory; NSW road builders hate cyclists, they laugh when they build those smooth sections, as if to say "hah, hah, this is what we could have done if we wanted, take that you lycra clad poofta's!" Which is what I have been called when waiting for a red light to change in Brisbane on the odd occasion.

9. Slippery Dip Smiddy World Record
Sarah 'Cereal' Crealy and category jersey winner, 'Mick 'Farragio' Farrag are out to set a new Smiddy record of engaging themselves on every slippery slide that we pass over this 14 day adventure. To date, this entertaining pair have been down 3 in total and I checked the Guiness Book of Records and can confirm that they are only short by 1203 slippery slides. I know they will not give in and guys please know that we are rooting for you and not laughing behind your back.

10. Finally Farragio is in all the news today and this final mention is for being the first rider of this second leg of the final leg to take a tumble exiting morning tea. Captain Kev and Mick were doing a little argy bargy and Kev accidentally pushed Mick too hard and down he went. All was forgiven as Mick got up so quick that I was not able to get a snappy with my camera, and he gave Kev a hug and carried on. Mick of course had his Hawaiian attire on and his only concern was the dirt collected on his skirt.

Well that's enough for this blog and I will finish by telling you I have set a small Smiddy world record myself by finishing this blog spot on 9:00pm, which is good for me as I am usually still going at 1:00pm. Oh and a huge thank you to Chris for coming in on his day off to feed us deep gutted barsteds a cooked breakfast!

Until tomorrow.


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