Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Armidale To Sawtell Beach- Day 11

Stats now by David 'Stinky' Colahan
Distance:  185 kilometres
Average speed:  24.6 kmph
Maximum speed:  77 kmph
Temperature Minimum -  1 degrees
Temperature Maximum -  29 degrees
Metres climbed: 3066
Ride time: 7 hrs 33 min
Wind: Tailwind all day (We needed it after yesterday's hell day on wheels)

Road Kill by Nick 'TinkerBell' Bourns and Hava Mendelle
2 Turtles
15 bad smells
1 snakes
2 lizards
5 kangaroos
5 bags of bones
Tinkerbells Gloves that fell out of his back pocket.

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 see what he has come up with for day 11

Category Jersey won by:
John Curran for keeping the riders safe with his expertise driving the front vehicle. The amazing thing about John is that he is here not only to support his Wife Janet, but drove his own vehicle all the way from Townsville to Melbourne and now back to Brisbane over a two week period. When the event finishes he and Janet still have to then get home to Townsville. The riders all agreed that you were a worthy recipient John.

Russ will not be reading this as he is still in Tamworth hospital and it has been confirmed that he has pneumonia. His wife Carol is driving from Brisbane to be with him until he is released and will then drive him home. Everyone is so busy on this tour and so tired that things get left undone. In one moment of clarity yesterday, after we were hit with that sleet storm and we rolled into afternoon tea, I had 30seconds to send off a text message to Russ to say we were thinking of him. I feel bad actually admitting this but I then promptly forgot about Russ as the fatigue and stress of being on the road for 10 days, and the possible threat of having to abandon the stage due to failing daylight consumed my mind. We were so late getting in last night that we did not get to sit down for dinner until after 9pm. For the majority it was after 11:30pm before we hit the sack. And that was for the lucky ones. Blog writer Mel, road crew Wendy, Michael and Cathy doing the riders  washing up until 1:30am and all other road crew members rushing about with their particular duties to be performed up until midnight and then up again at 4:30am to do it all over again! Anyway Russ was doing all that and doing it while he was crook and thinking his health issues will eventually pass. Well as we know it didn't and that is why I dedicate this blog to Russel Wilson. As I sit here and start to write this the clock is telling me it is already 10:30pm. I am bone dead tired and so do not feel like writing, but for Russ I will get this done.

Firstly I wanted to thank Mel for writing last nights blog that I know she did not finish until 1am. You are awesome and thanks to you I got 5 hours sleep last night.

A quick wrap of our day
So today was like any other day on the bike where we biked insane distances, ate continuously and non-stop throughout the entire day and halfway into the night, as if it were our last meal each and every time that food was stuck in front of our face. Killer found some more incredible roads for us to go up and down over on a course that resembled a 186 kilometre roller coaster. Of course he threw in some classic 'I-hate-cyclist -jackhammer-vibration' roads that would rattle you and your bike to the core, which helped to keep the peloton awake, all a part of the safety planning the Kill Man assures me! We actually did something out of the ordinary today and made a side visit to Ebor Falls, which thankfully had some water running over them and all who saw were impressed.

We froze on roll out as the temperature nudged just 1 degree. Everyone was fully kitted out in all their Winter gear and for the first 4 hours not one person removed one stitch of clothing. For the first 100 km's along the tourist road called Waterfall Way the elevation we were riding at remained above 1000 metres and as high as 1300 metres. It was bloody cold any time we stopped, whether for a pee or for morning tea. Short breaks and keep moving was the theme of the day. Finally once the real descent started after the 100km mark we found warmth in the air as we got down to 700 metres of altitude in a lovely town called Dorrigo. It was here where the road crew had found a lovely park in the warming sunshine where the riders relaxed for the first time all day. After eating the road crew prepared feast I was still hungry and wandered off into town and brought a coffee and a curried meat pie. I don't eat meat pies often but this one went down a treat. I then re-tasted it for the next 2 hours as it insisted on revisiting the inside of my mouth.

How weird is cycling? We bust out butts for two days to get to an altitude of 1300 metres, then in the space of less than an hour's riding time we are back at sea level. The reward just never seems enough, but then that is human nature I guess, we will always want more of a great thing, and for a cyclist nothing is greater than descending a mountain with your buddies.

Tonight the road crew and some of the riders who got in and helped, prepared a barbecue gastronomical delight at the Sawtell Beach Holiday Park community area. It was supposed to be for anyone but our sheer numbers ensured that we had the place to ourselves, especially once Killer got up and began to speak. Was it something he said? We were a bit behind with the reading out of the blogs due to last night cutting it from the program in an attempt to shorten the proceedings, so tonight Bella read out my blog from Day 9 and Melissa got up and read out her blog that she dedicated to her Husband from day 10 on the road.

It is closing in on 11:30pm, gotta finish this as thoughts are waning.  Steely has just finished working on Kirsteen's bike, who couldn't get her bottom gears today and was trying to spin down the hills at 200rpm! The hidden cables presented a timely problem; getting them out was the easy part but getting the new cable through proved difficult. But the Steel Man soldiered on as giving in is not part of his nature. He knows I am tired and just made me a cup of tea to keep me awake. Such a great mate. These Smiddy tours are something that can only ever be fully appreciated by being part of the team, whether as a rider or road crew. My good friends Michael and Cathy are here for the first time and doing this last week out of the goodness of their big and beautiful hearts. They have read every blog I have ever written on Smiddy and this journey of mine around Australia. They are one of my biggest supporters and along with Steely, two of my closest friends. They said to me tonight that it is unbelievable seeing a tour like this from the inside. Their admiration for the riders and their fellow road crew members continues to grow and they are truly in awe of what we are doing for a full two weeks on the road.

I tip my hat to the all the road crew, especially Captain Kev, and each and every rider that has been part of this 7in7 event over the past 7 years. I thank you all for coming on board for your own reasons of course, but along the way for helping me to complete my goal of riding around Australia. Your involvement in this final installment truly has been a gift that I will treasure for a lifetime. You all should feel justifiably proud, as without you we would not have raised over $400,000 for cancer research through your efforts of competing in a leg of the 7in7 these past 7 years.

Okay that's enough for now, just shy of 12am and this blog, just as is my brain, is done!



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