Wednesday, 25 March 2015


Distance:  172 kilometres
Average speed:  27.2 kmph
Ride Time: 6hrs 20min
Maximum speed:   kmph
Temperature Minimum - 5 degrees
Temperature Maximum -  24 degrees
Metres climbed: 1513
Wind direction: Very little wind all day with a slight tailwind from lunch

ROAD KILL BY Jayden Swarbrick and Bob Vander-Walve 13 possums, 1 rabbit, 2 wicks one in Paula's spokes, a rare bird that Dianne new the name of, a helmet, a BMC and Harry!

CATEGORY JERSEY: Won by Christine Labes for all the work she has been doing to the riders bikes. Working long into the night and up early attending to our bike needs. Thank you Chris.

GUEST SPEAKER: John Masson, who is a doctor  and 52 years of age, talked about the importance of getting the checks that may one day save our lives. A friend of his that was a doctor died of Colon cancer and would still be alive today had he gotten a regular check up. Also the effect of losing his Mother to breast cancer when John was just 7 years old. Research since then means more is now known about breast cancer and the majority of women are beating the disease.

Distance - 172.9km - 6h21m - 27.2km/h
Elevation gain - 1678m
Calories - 4200Cal for average rider
5 minute top average speed - 51.6km/h
60 minute top average speed - 30.3km/h
Fewest gear changes - 3 - Karl
Spectacular Dismounts - 1 - Harry
Energy burned - 47 timtams, 5.3L of chocolate milk, 29 Coronas

Cumulative stats - 466.5km, 4310m of elevation gain

Today was one of those deceptive days on paper; one glance at the profile card suggested an easy day with no climb bigger than 188 metres. But the spikes in the graph suggested in the proximity of close to a hundred small climbs throughout our 172km day. Now what happens throughout a day like this is this: the riders get excited and the pace is always a little high for the morning session. That enthusiasm continues on into lunchtime but the effects are starting to be felt and shows in the riders faces and body language. From lunchtime onwards the general feeling is the rider cannot wait for the bloody day to end. All those small climbs today still amounted to over 1500 metres of climbing and with an average of over 27km/h it was by no means an easy day in the saddle. While I admire the strong riders in the group immensely and respect that for the majority of the time they are actually doing it fairly easy, it is the guts riders that I tip my hat to. To the following riders; Louise, Diane, Spiderman, Dr Koala, Charlotte, Sandra, Rowan, Harry and Jeff, you are all legends of the highest order.

You see, each and everyone of you are capable of riding distances much further than what you rode today, if only you could do it at your own pace. What you have shown the peloton today was the guts and determination you possess to ride a 172km day, going at a pace that is out of your comfort zone. And let me tell you this; to do that, takes courage and an inner stubbornness that I know is admired by all.

I was talking to Diane today at lunchtime and she admitted surprise when I told her I have bad moments every day when I am on the bike during any Smiddy tour. Moments where I want to quit, get in the van, or constantly fight the negative thoughts going through my brain of why do I put myself through this suffering and tiredness? What I saw today with you guys is that you fought off those demons, refused to give in, even though every fibre of your very being was telling you otherwise. What did Diane do? Of course she was back out there after lunch and calling on the internal strength to see the job through.

Louise O'Brien;  if this girl had of gotten into cycling as a teenager she would have won the female Tour De France. Now in her early 'thirties' and new to cycling and with Smiddy being her very first charity ride, she displays so much determination and spunk when on the bike that it's as if she was born to the sport!

Harry Nina falls off his bike on a descent traveling at 50km's an hour. I stop and sit down and force him to just lie there in my lap for a few minutes as I know the adrenaline is pumping through his veins and overriding any pain he may be feeling. Why? Because he wants to get straight back up and get back on his bike, giving in is not an option with Harry, with all of you. Our other Harry, Harry Knowlman, literally hits the wall, bonks so badly it is an effort just to turn the pedals. I know the feeling, I have been there many, many times in the past. I reached for the last gel I always carry for an emergency, not needed by me thank goodness, but needed by a mate. I am not leaving his side, I am so proud of this man, He is delirious, I steady him with a hand on his back; that hand that I have felt on my own back many times in the past by a fellow caring rider. I whisper words of encouragement, the gel starts to kick in, Harry responds, he digs in, he will not quit, he gets to the finish and collapses over his handlebars; he is a Smiddy rider! I loved that man right at that very moment.

You see, when a rider goes through a bad day, a bad moment, has a negative thought, but fights on regardless; that riders displays a trait of human nature that we all possess; kindness... I believe, on a very deep-seated level, without that person even realizing it at the time, that through hardship, is when a person must reach into themselves and deliver for someone other than themselves. I do it, and have done it so many times, more times than I can remember - for Adam Smiddy. A vast proportion of my fellow Smiddy riders, over the past ten years of Smiddy events, have been doing the exact same thing, but for their love ones, either lost to cancer or battling their own illness as we speak.

So today was one of those days, where I witnessed so many acts of kindness, that just the mere act of writing about these amazing human beings, wets my eyes with an emotion that I will call pride. How could I not be proud? Of not only this current crop of Smiddy riders, but for every single solitary sole that has signed up and completed a Smiddy event over these past ten years. Their random acts of kindness has brought in close to $6 million dollars for research at Mater Research and is actually saving lives as we speak due to many early warning cancer detection tests that were not available back when Adam passed away in 2006. My mate would be alive today had we known what we know now! Nothing will bring Adam back, but I sure do know him well enough, to say, that he would be extremely proud that his passing has had such a positive effect on so many lives in such a short space of time.

Thank you riders for the hope you give each and every person that is going through their own version of hell right this every minute. We do not have cancer and I am so eternally grateful for that. Your very act of riding a bike has prompted all your amazing family, friends, work colleagues and complete strangers to donate on your behalf. Whether you are a rider, a volunteer, a donor, a sponsor, or a supporter, on behalf of Smiling for Smiddy and the Mater Foundation we thank you, thank you and thank you 1 million times for showing that you care. Care enough to sponsor your chosen rider, care enough to make a difference thanks to your random act of kindness. Through these words I want to reach out and give you all a great big Smiddy cuddle. You are all now part of the Smiddy/Mater family and once inside it is a family you will never wish to leave!

Take care and with two more blogs to come before this ride wraps up on Friday, I am sure there will be many more stories to come out of bringing together so many good people for this New Zealand Smiddy Challenge 5 day cycling event.



P.S. Just before I go I just wanted to acknowledge a few special people. Firstly a big hello to Taylor, Jeff Mckeon's Son, who I know is reading these blogs. Taylor I do believe that you and I wear the exact same Ironman watch. Let me know when you are up for your first Ironman and we can do it together?

Harry Nina, thank you for bouncing so well at 50km/h and not seriously hurting yourself, although your pride may be a little wounded! Also for giving Killer a night off and taking on MC duties tonight. You were very funny and may do Killer out of a job!

To Mother Nature, for provided that stunning wet fog of the first 50km's of riding this morning. I am told the views were majestic for that section, if only we could have seen them!

Karen Vander-Wal, Sammi-Jo and Wendy, as far as all the riders are concerned we all wish you to be our Mums and cook that banana and chocolate cake for us each and every week. We're all moving in next week.

Peter and Rebecca, thank you for the additional tour of Reefton this morning. The backdrop of the buildings in the fog was outstanding.

To all the riders; averaging 30km/h for the first 69 kilometres to morning tea, while admirable, probably left not much gas in the tank for the afternoon session into Greymouth. But what the heck, it was fun and awesome at the time!

Karl Jameson, legend effort today by the little fella when his electronic battery died and he rode all those climbs in his big chainring to look like Michelin Man by the end of the day, legs only.

Sammi-Jo, for your efforts today in patching up quite a number of riders so that they could continue. Legend!

Mother Nature again for the West Coast scenic ocean views that has us all drooling for more, but please not another bloody long slow gradual climb!

Top 5 stats on NZ possums by Karl Jameson

1.Natural immunity. Possums are mostly immune to rabies, and in fact, they are eight times less likely to carry rabies compared to wild dogs. So the motto to that story is don't get bitten by a dog or a possum- although given there is no rabies in NZ this fact is totally useless. Anyway moving on.

2. Possums have superpowers against snakes. They have total immunity to the venom produced by rattlesnakes and vipers. This statistic is actually totally irrelevant as there are no snakes in NZ.

3.Natural defenses. When threatened, possums run, growl, belch, urinate and defecate. Basically they act like Martin and Harry on a night out!!

4. When possums are threatened they also act as if they are dead. They roll over, become stiff, close their eyes (or stare off into space) and this catatonic state can last for up to four hours. Really a bit like Sharky after his wedding night.

5.Possums invaded what they thought was an island paradise in NZ. They now number near 30 million . It is legal to shoot and trap them. The Kiwi's hate them but they love them enough to make jackets and high end furniture from them. Basically It sucks to be a possum in New Zealand.

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