Sunday, 22 March 2015


Not since the finish of my final leg of cycling around Australia, when 40 of us rode from Melbourne to Brisbane in October last year, have I pencilled in a blog. If you are reading this now it can only mean one thing; and you guessed it, the first Smiddy event of the year is not only looming but is near upon us as early as tomorrow, Monday the 23rd of March 2015, when the Inaugural New Zealand Smiddy Challenge commences. So first up a few quicks facts about this ride:

26 magnificent and enthusiastic Smiddy riders have signed up
9 gorgeous and warm-hearted charity minded individuals will give up a week of their time to become our very first international road crew. Of course headed up by Captain Kev Enchelmaier.
The course will take in over 700 kilometres of glorious South Island majestic views
Of course it would not be a Smiddy ride without a few hills, so the riders will test themselves by climbing over 7000 vertical metres in 5 days.

Our goal to raise $100,000 is tantalizingly close thanks to not only the riders, but the road crew also pitching in to raise close to $80,000 already!

Now I'm told by the locals that if you wish to choose any month of the year to do a bike tour in New Zealand, then February would be that month. This was proven when I married my sweetheart Alyssa Coe, now Mrs Smoothy, exactly 1 month ago, when we exchanged our vows during the Iron distance event at Challenge Wanaka. The weather for those 10 adrenaline fueled days was spectacular! Meaning that the weather on this Smiddy Tour of the South Island, from Christchurch and back to Christchurch 5 days later, should be in true Smiddy fashion, absolute crap! I do honestly hope I am wrong, but if we expect the worse and get the best then it is a bonus right?

Without these fine individuals volunteering their time it just would not be possible to run these events. So first up a huge thanks to our awesome road crew in:

>Captain Kev, signing up for his 9th year of volunteering in every Smiddy event that we have run since 2007.

>Rebecca Knight, who has been involved with Smiddy since 2011 when her husband Pete signed up for the Midi Smiddy. This lady is so good at what she does that she could organise to an ants nest to co-exist with a beehive of 10,000 African Killer bees. She truly is that good!

>Sammi-Jo, our most favourite Chinese Assassin Ninja warrior massage therapist, who not only is the cheekiest funniest lady in the entire world but has hugs that will crush the strongest of men

>Kirsteen Masson from Townsville, is normally a Smiddy rider, but has given up her spot so that her husband John can participate in his first Smiddy event, while Kirsteen tries her hand at road crew.

>Justine Swarbrick is the wife and mother of the father and son rider combination of Ian and Jayden. Here not only to support her boys but to see firsthand what the Smiddy experience is all about from a road crew perspective

>Jaye Williams is wife to Smiddy sponsor and rider in Zane Williams. Jaye has brought along a Smiddy mascot in their 1 year old son Hawk, who is already proving to be popular amongst the riders as we all scramble to hold Hawk; that is until he cries, dribbles or does a number 2 and then he's definitely handed back to mum!

>Christine Labes is our Smiddy mechanic for this tour and she owns a bike shop at Airlie Beach in North Qld. Chris, as we call her, is not only a girl, but a girl mechanic that knows how to hold her own in this male dominated industry. She will be riding with the peloton and stop when needed to attend any mechanicals.

>Karen Vander-Wal is a local lady and married to our only New Zealand rider actually living in New Zealand in Bob Vander-Wal. Karen brings that local knowledge that we need and offered up her home in Christchurch for the crew to do the baking required prior to the big depart tomorrow.

>Peter Monopili is the Vander-Wal's next door neighbour, he will be in the front vehicle utilising his local knowledge to help deliver the riders safely to their destination each day.

>Last but by no means least, is Smiddy and Mater employee Wendy Muir on board for her second Smiddy event. Wendy was part of the crew last year for the final week of the Melbourne to Brisbane Tour. She decided the experience was so grand that she wanted to work with the Smiddy crew. Four weeks ago her dream came true and she now works with the team at Smiddy and we are fortunate to have this beautiful passionate and highly intelligent lady on board.

>Oh and we have Christian Killeen (Killer), who also works for Smiddy and the Mater, but as he is riding I will fill you in tomorrow when I introduce you to the riders.

Sharky's final words for this entry
I promised myself this year that the daily journals must not keep me up writing until after midnight on any of the Smiddy tours, as has happened over the past 9 years. I need to look after my health and get just as much sleep as any of the other riders do, therefore my goal is nothing over 1000 words per entry.

So I'm at 941 words so will finish with yesterday's event that Smiddy riders Paula, Rod, Karl, Ben, Tim, Martin and myself participated in called Le Race. 100km's and 1800 metres of climbing. Lots of wind; tail, some head, some cross, fog at the top of the two passes, seat of your pants descents, we all finished, happy, smiling. 5 words left... BYE BYE!

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