Friday, 27 March 2015

NEW ZEALAND SMIDDY CHALLENGE Bealey To Christchurch- Day 5

Distance: 137 kilometres
Average speed: 25.9 kmph
Ride Time: 5hrs 18min
Maximum speed:  82 kmph
Temperature Minimum - 3 degrees
Temperature Maximum -  21 degrees
Metres climbed: 1009
Wind direction: Light headwind for last 60km's

ROAD KILL BY Jayden Swarbrick and Bob Vander-Wal,
12 rabbits, 9 bags of bones, 2 birds, Jayden's back wheel and Geoff's front tyre.

CATEGORY JERSEY: Won by Peter Monopili. This bloke is so deserving of this award. A kiwi local from Christchurch and next-door neighbour to the Wonderful Vander-Wal family. Peter is a real quiet achiever, never says much, but for 5 days now has been driving that lead vehicle in his no-fuss way and keeping all of us riders safe. None of the riders know this but Peter lost his Wife to a heart attack just 18 months ago. He was the first person on the scene and what he went through will stay with him for the rest of his life. Peter's daughter is also fighting her own personal battle with cancer as we speak. He is moving on with his life and I just want him to know that he now has an additional 38 Smiddy people in his life that he can now call his friends. Congratulations Peter.

GUEST SPEAKER: No guest speaker tonight.

Today was our final day on the road for the NZ Smiddy Challenge and on paper it promised to be a cracker of a course with the last 85km either downhill or flat. But as is per usual in any Smiddy event, what looks good on paper does not necessarily unfold as it reads out on the road. Our roll out today was at 7:30 and we got away right on time at 7:45. The next 50km's into morning tea at Lake Lyndon took close on 3 hours to complete. This included a wee stop and an awful lot of regrouping thanks to the constants up and downs of the road. The peloton, while tired, still appreciated the magnificent Alpine views that these Autumn mornings and the thick moist fog banks provided.

Rolling into morning tea we were all famished and not only was the food at its usual high standards but we were treated to two surprise guests arriving in their hire car in Maria and David Smiddy. It was so good to see them as we were not expecting them until the finish at Christchurch. Maria had just finished her latest round of chemotherapy for her Pancreatic cancer and she was extremely happy that the administration of the drug timed perfectly so that she could greet her beloved Smiddy riders and road crew. Always thinking of others our Maria! She looks great, always smiling and always positive, while David was his usual cheeky self and straight into me. And I wouldn't have it any other way!

After morning tea we had a small of amount of climbing up to 950 metres of altitude and then the big drop commenced. We lost 450 metres in just 5 kilometres and the ride of our lives was over way to quickly.

From the 60km point of the ride and into Christchurch was a gradual loss of another 500 metres of altitude over the remaining 77 kilometres. If not for the headwind we would have been hooting along at a much higher speed. But as it turned out, the rotation and work ethic of the entire peloton was fantastic and approximately a 30km average was the order of the day into Christchurch. Lunch was at the 101km mark by the side of the road in the shade of one of the hundreds of tall hedges that line all the farming roads over here.

From lunch into Christchurch and the final 36 kilometres, it was switch on time, thanks to going into the dense traffic that coincided with the schools finishing at 3pm. Killer chose a good safe route and we managed to get most of the green lights. It was one of the smoothest finishes to a Smiddy ride I could remember as we sailed through the suburbs of Christchurch with no incidents occurring, that saw all of us arrive safely to our home for the night at the Speights Ale House. A very popular choice of accommodation going by the riders reaction when they spotted the Speights Tavern sign sitting atop the welcoming building.

Hugs and congratulatory handshakes were the order of the day once the bikes were put to one side. Emotions were high and the riders and road crew indulged in some Smiddy love in those very special ten minutes. The huddle was taken by Karen and Bob Vander-wal and a very special cheer went out for our wonderful Maria and David Smiddy. And that was our day and of course there were a few highlights that will finish off this blog below.

What an amazing effort by just 26 riders and 9 road crew to raise in excess of $100,000 for Smiling for Smiddy and the Mater Foundation. A huge thank you to the crew and all the donors out there that believed in their chosen rider and what their reasons for doing this ride.

Over five days the peloton went up and over and down hundreds upon hundreds of small and large climbs and yet we had just one fall by Harry Nina. Great work by the riders for their patience and skill shown through 5 trying days of riding.

Speaking of falls I really must mention Harry Nina, and not just because he told me I had to, but because I think he deserves a mention. You see Harry woke up sore for some reason after falling on Wednesday? Yet he still managed to climb Arthur's Pass and then backed up today. Nice work mate and I, unlike all the other riders, will never tire of you telling your fall story and what a legend you are for continuing to ride!

To Geoff McKeon a heartfelt thank you for getting in the van with Kevvy for the morning session. I understand you had a sore knee but more important is that Kevvy will stop sulking thinking that no one loves him anymore. Good to see you out on the road again after morning tea and finishing all but 40km's of this 700km odyssey.

While on the subject of Geoff. That hair raising descent that was catapulting you down the road at 80km/h plus and you pull into the regrouping zone, stop and have a drink and the chatter was high from the excitement of the descent, when BAM! Down goes your front tyre... Someone was looking after you today champ.

Still on the descent. While I made a promise to Hawk that I would wear his Shark helmet cover all the way into Christchurch, I would just like to say that on each and every descent the wind velocity trying to tear my head from my shoulders had me questioning my loyalty.

Last night I awarded a signed Smiddy jersey to Harry Knowlman, at the end of the nighttime proceedings Harry re-gifted the jersey to his beloved Sister Charlotte as he felt she deserved it more. Harry was concerned that he offended me. I can assure you I re-gift all the time and that it was his to do with as he liked. But I thought it was a beautiful gesture. Having 4 wonderful and gorgeous sisters myself I fully understood where he was coming from.

It would be most unprofessional of me to name names here but it was noted today by one of the riders that a gender change may be on the cards for a number of the male riders. Wherever you looked, pink was the order of the day when it came to patching up either abrasions from falling off one's bike, or from having sore knees. That's all I am saying about that.

Okay it is official; not one cow was spotted today, which brought the total of no cows spotted over a 5 day period to still none, which is zero and nil and absolute in the total of 000000 non cows spotted. Therefore my theory of Alien abduction has been proven to be correct, and that's all that I can say about that. If I say anymore I am likely to be mistaken for a cow and may be abducted myself.

Slingers showed real Smiddy mateship on this trip, especially when Karl's battery shat itself. Every time Karl needed to change a gear for a particular section over the past 3 days, Slingers would be by his side lending his battery for the all important change. I know that Karl is extremely grateful to Jason, for without his support Karl knows he would not have finished this event.

That's it from me. Our next Smiddy event will be the Noosa Smiddy Challenge in a month's time. I look forward to writing about another bunch of wonderful human beings then.

Thanks again everyone out there for your support and on behalf of Smiling for Smiddy and the Mater Foundation our gratitude is eternal.



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