Monday, 23 March 2015


Distance:  155 kilometres
Average speed:  25.4km/h
Ride Time: 6hrs 6min
Maximum speed:   65km/h
Temperature Minimum - 8 degrees
Temperature Maximum -  18 degrees
Metres climbed: 862
Wind direction: Little or no wind all day

ROAD KILL BY Jayden Swarbrick -1 Black kitten, 1 Hawk and thankfully it wasn't Zane and Jaye's son. 2 Rabbits and 1 possum and nine flat pancakes (unidentified flat objects)
Category Jersey: Won by Louise O'Brien for not only her awesome fundraising efforts totaling over $4000, but her efforts today in the peloton as at times the pace was a bit high for Louise but she refused to give in.
Guest Speaker: Jackson Gerard

70,500 wheel revolutions
3251 calories burned on average per rider
A 15 tooth sprocket engaged 1 million times
Top 5 minute speed was 36.2km/h

As promised, prior to giving a rundown of the day, first let me introduce you to the stars of this ride. Without this dashing males and determined and beautiful females, there would be no New Zealand Smiddy Challenge. So to all the riders onboard the NZ Freight Train Express, bound for the entire South Island, I and all the team at Smiddy and the Mater Foundation tip our hats to you and the wonderful contribution you guys have made already to cancer research at Mater Medical.

So without further ado a big welcome to the following exceptional riders:
Townsville riders in Jason Slingsby, and Rowan Carr, 2 former Smiddy Challenge riders. John Masson, first time Smiddy participant and husband to road crew extraordinaire Kirsteen Masson.

The Swarbrick lads, Jayden and Ian from Ingham return for their 3rd Smiddy event after two successful Brisbane to Townsville Challenge rides. Jayden will be also taking on the immense responsibility of road kill counter.

Sister and brother pair of Charlotte and Harry Knowlman, who are both first-time Smiddy riders, thanks to Harry being the successful bid at a Mater function for two slots into this event. Harry originally thought he'd won a nice casual 50km a day cafe latte' ride, with 3 hour stops for shopping and sight-seeing every 25 kilometres

Diane Crowe, Louise O'Brien and Sandra Fields, all ladies of the highest order, with the greatest of hearts and enthusiasm, competing in their very first Smiddy event and  huge welcome to you three.

Glenn King, Rodney Tanner, Ben Walding and Andrew Hauff are four muscle bound lads destined for greatness on the climbs that lay in front of them this Smiddy tour and all first-time Smiddy participants. Thanks boys for coming onboard.

Jackson Gerard and Geoff McKeon, our Midi Smiddy boys, back for their second Smiddy event, with Geoff signed up to do the triple this year in NZ, Noosa and the Midi Smiddy. Nice work guys.

The inseparable buddies in Harry Nina and Martin Millard, who both completed the Noosa Smiddy last year and not only fell in love with Smiddy but fell in love with cycling all over again.

Paula Fleming is the workhorse out of the ladies for this ride and back for her second Smiddy event. She is a machine on the bike and will beat most of the guys up all the climbs. A more lovely lady you will not find and if we are lucky we should hear a song or two from her other passion in life - Singing.

Karl Jameson is back for Smiddy number two after completing his first Challenge event up to Townsville in 2013. Always good to have Karl back in the peloton as he gets what Smiddy is all about.

Christian and some dodgy bloke called Shark will also be riding. Killer will do his best to stop that Shark guy from taking the peloton on any shortcuts, known as 'Sharky Shortcuts'!

And then there is Zane Williams, who, if you yell out any train tracks, will shout that person a coffee each and every time... In house story that one. Zane has completed Smiddy Alps in Europe and two Challenge events up to Townsville. Being in the company of his Son Hawk and wife Jaye on this trip, will hopefully keep this great man upright on his bike.

Christine Labes, as mentioned in the road crew intro, is one of the riders as well and we are in her debt for giving up a week of her busy time to look after us riders.

Gary Leong is known as Dr Koala and completed the Italian Dolomites last year with Smiddy. He is cute and cuddly and actually resembles a koala. We love him and welcome him back for his second Smiddy experience and a third to follow this year when he completes the Midi as well.

Finally we have Bob Vander-Wal, our only resident Australian-Kiwi rider from Christchurch. A gentle giant of a bloke and I have a feeling, after this trip, our first ambassador to come out of NZ.

So our first day on the road looked like this:
Roll out was pushed forward by an hour to 6am to avoid the rush hour. Good call by Killer on that one as the traffic was horrendous, even at that hour, the many sets of lights were not in sync and the roads were crap with heaps of road works. Getting that first 30km done was a welcome relief and it just got better from there for the remainder of the ride.

Today's route saw us travel through:
Rangiora for a yellow room stop at 32km's, although I cracked at 16.2km's and had a sneaky wee stop when doing one of the many regroups for riders who got caught at lights.

Amberley at 61km's we were treated to a great morning tea stop by the beautiful road crew.
Waikari at 90km's was official pee stop number two.
Culverden saw the road crew deliver a lovely lunch in this cute little town that had great coffee for those that went looking.
Hamner Springs was at 155km's and is famous for its natural hotsprings, which is were everyone is now while I get this blog up to date.

Highlights of the day
The beautiful rock formations from morning tea onwards
The open fields of grass and sheep a plenty were bountiful and easy on the eyes.
The peloton working well together on day one like a well oiled machine.
Killer time trialling back on after picking up a dropped Go-Pro and looking a tad worse for wear for his efforts
The first spotting of a white horse and one legitimate windmill -there were a few bike wheels made into windmills that did not count
The tractor charity drive raising money for 'Care Flight' I believe
The fight of the cutest mascots between Hawk, who is one year old and very cute and Dr Koala's stuffed Koala that sits in the front passenger seat with Kevvy and keeps him company. Hawk won out!
The electric blankets in our rooms at Greenacres Motel were branded 'Shark' so I felt right at home
The huddle, we recognised our amazing road crew by inviting them into the middle to form their own midi huddle.
That amazing natural thermal and spa bath, where most riders spent their afternoons before retiring to the bar.
Harry and Andrew collecting their bikes from the airport at 2am and only getting 3 hours sleep.

After a relaxing afternoon in town or at the natural springs, the road crew then delivered a great barbecue dinner, while Killer gave a rundown of the day, Jackson delivered a very emotional speech about his parents and their battles with cancer. Jayden then read out the road kill count, while Karl and Ben delivered the stats of the day. Finally the intro blog was read out by me and my Brother Martin read out the day one blog. The riders then retired to their bedrooms, while the road crew went about completing their jobs in order for us riders to concentrate on the job at hand and doing what we do best - riding our bikes for obscene distances for causes worth riding for.

If keen to support any of your favourite riders please go to the Smiddy website to donate at



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