Saturday, 25 April 2015

2015 NOOSA SMIDDY - DAY 3 And The Mapleton Grind


Statistics for the day: By Stinky

Distance: 136 kilometres
Ave speed: 23.6km/h
Max Speed: 90 km/h
Elevation climbed: 2067 metres
Ride time: 5:43:00
Min temp: 12 degrees
Max temp: 33.9 degrees

Early Roll Out For Anzac Service
The early start of 5:30am was mandatory as we had a Anzac Day service to attend at Mapleton at 9am, 61 kilometres away and on top of a very large and pain inflicting mountain. So after Captain Kev gave Kristine the honour of ringing the cow bell for her efforts over the past three days, and for the second morning running, waking our non-cycling RACV guests, we once again left right on time at 5:45! Now let me tell you today's first 50 kilometre section of riding was one that you dream of happening and when it does you cannot quite believe your luck. The road service was smooth, Geevsey and Andy took us on a beautiful additional roundabout tour of Noosa, traffic was very light, the air had a nice crisp, dewy taste, that we were fortunate enough to breathe into our lungs, and the Noosa skyline presented us with a subdued orange and golden pink as the sun began to make a most welcome appearance, The icing on the cake was the 40 magnificent golden warriors astride their trusty steads in perfect formation and floating through this nirvana of a morning as would a peloton of seasoned pro's that have raced together for a decade. Yes it was a very special morning indeed and we were on our way to pay our respects to the great Anzacs that gave us the freedom we enjoy today.

The climb up to Mapleton - A not so easy affair...
So after a seven-am bladder bursting yellow room stop at the 34 kilometre point at Endiandra Park, where we woke up our second group of people sleeping peacefully in their cars and camper vans, it was time to take on the Mapleton Range climb of 12 kilometres. As far as climbs goes, it is kind to the riders in the sense that after each hard climbing section, it gives you a little recovery section in-between. The last kilometre is the business end of the agreement as it kicks up to a 14% gradient and the mountain takes immense delight in the fact that it sucks the marrow out of your bones, replaces the blood racing through your legs with concrete, and the air in your lungs feel as if they are laced with asbestos! That glorious morning I was boasting about before, was replaced with a brutal sun that seemingly enjoyed physically melting your muscles before your eyes.

Our King and Queen
A few riders chose to take the Kevvy express to the top due to exhaustion or just wanting to keep Kevvy company, which I thought was very thoughtful of them as it stops Kev sulking for the day thinking that no-one loves him. First to the top and taking out the King of the Mountain competition, which no one knew was even on, was David Wadsworth, a worthy winner and so pleased with his victory that he announced at the top he was leaving his job and becoming a professional cyclist. True story.... In our esteemed Queen of the Mountain competition the new day rider lady in the peloton, Alicia Newman, showed the other girls, and quite a few of the lads, that fresh legs truly do rule! Congratulations to our worthy winners, trophies may be collected, at your own expense, at any trophy shop in the state. A huge congratulations to all that took on and conquered the climb, which was the majority of the riders. Our ever supportive road crew were at the top welcoming everyone in with much enthusiasm.

Big Birds Can Fly and Handsome Mark story
I would like to point out how enjoyable it was to see the big blokes at 100kg plus, naturally built for climbing, complete this mother of a hill. Well done Wendell, Big Bird from Sesame Street, Mr Sealy Dyer and our heaviest of heavy weights in Paul Spezza! A special mention to my best looking buddy in Mark Craig, who had a minor fall halfway up the climb and bent his rear derailleur. Our mechanic Calum took one look at it and said you are out! Mark begged him to bend it out regardless of whether it snapped, which, going against everything a good mechanic believes in, forced it it out with his hands and got Mark back on the road. Mark just did not want to do any van time and realized his dream of making it to the top. Nice work Mark and quick thinking Calum.

The 100 year Anzac Service at Mapleton
The Anzac Service started on time at nine-am and finished an hour later. A huge thank you to the riders and road crew for their patience and for attending this very important 100 year service of the Gallipoli landing where tens of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders lost their lives. For one proud Smiddy Father, Hugh Morrison, it was an extra special day to attend this service. Hugh's 14 year old Son Will, was gifted with the chance to sing in the choir at Gallipoli on this extremely important day. Congratulations Hugh and no doubt an experience that will long resonate with Will for years to come.

Razor Back descent relegated
Usually we descend down the infamous Razor Back descent; a dangerous hair raising descent that lives up to its name. But this year Killer took us down the safer and much more enjoyable Palmwoods descent. Which was still a great kickarse edge of your pants descent. It was at the top where we had our safety brief that Dig In Dougy now owes Rob Buick a lottery ticket for literally saving his life. Rob noticed a noise coming from Doug's rear wheel and got Calum to check it out before the descent. When Calum removed the rear wheel the actual nut that holds the cluster to the wheel just fell off. Doug was relegated to the van and his dreams of beating Phil Anderson down the descent were over. Much to Phil's relief! I believe Doug was going to have a few words to say to the shop that serviced his bike, which was definitely not AvantiPlus or Calum would have been crucified! Anyway most importantly, all the riders got down safely and the excitement at the bottom was tantalizingly effervescent!

More climbs and more descents keep the riders from falling asleep on their bikes
The run into lunch at Muller Park near Bli Bli had its fair share of ups and downs. Just when the rider group were thinking the climbs were over, the Kill Man had plenty more up his sleeve with some amazingly sharp pitches up to 14 and 16% gradient. One of the dead straight roller coaster type descents we did had us touching just shy of 90 km/h. It was delightfully-pants-filling excitement and always the grins were ear to ear, especially on the fearless birds in the flock, who's names need not be known, but even now, as I cast my eyes around the room, as this blog is being read out, I see the joy and delight in those mentioned riders eyes.

Goodbye old mate Chris
After another exemplary gastronomic delight for lunch by the most popular road crew on this Noosa Smiddy event, we said goodbye to Smiddy rider Chris Lincoln, who had to return to Brisbane due to his young fella taking a tumble and hitting his head. Thanks for the great camaraderie Chris and taking out the most improved rider award after coming into this event with your longest ride being just 58 kilometres and on a borrowed bike because you do not own one. Also we are all thinking of you and hope that your Son is okay.

Bli Bli to Noosa and the madness of impatient drivers
What is it about holding up a driver and taking less than a minute out of their day, that causes them so much stress towards cyclists? Surely they can comprehend that with a front and rear vehicle that has flashing lights, event signage and 40 cyclists in-between, that something is actually going on? Sitting in the lead car after lunch and writing up my blog I witnessed first hand the abuse of several motorists towards, not only the riders, but to our drivers. Kev and Geevsey are amazing, as are our riders, they just cop it on the chin and never retaliate. I could not have been prouder. If only those drivers knew that these magnificent Smiddy people will be instrumental in actually saving, if not them directly, but one of their family members or a close friend, from cancer one day. My hope is that they would be deeply embarrassed for their abusive nature towards these beautiful caring individuals.

Great Scott, takes the huddle
Anyway after a cracker of a course, the best of the Smiddy Noosa tour, we all arrived back to the RACV safe and sound and into the embrace of the huddle. Scott McGeever, surrounded by his family of two boys, daughter and his Wife Amanda, was kind enough to take take the huddle. Scott was on this ride because of his mate Rob Buick asking him to ride. He acknowledged how grateful he was to be part of his first Smiddy experience and having the support of his beautiful family.

A few additional moments from today

Due to the disqualification of Pretty Man/Boy and Quiet Nice Guy Allan McMurtie, due to crossing the double white lines, I am pleased to announce that Phillip Good actually took out the first KOM up Garmin Hill, just ten kilometres into the day. And as his name is Phil, he is now officially dubbed the third Skippy in the peloton after Pete 'Skippy' Hammond and Phil 'Skippy' Anderson. Getting a bit crowded... Nice work also to our new Smiddy leader in Cherie Nicolas, who was riding her very first Smiddy day and took out the Queen of Garmin Hill in the process.

Gytey's feeling have been hurt with the shock realisation that he does indeed have small guns. But today a miraculous human growth hormone drug induced change occurred overnight. After the Anzac ceremony his guns had increased tenfold and he seemed a lot happier, although a bit groggy as he may have overdosed.

Alicia Newman and Cherie Nicolas were the new girls in the peloton today and their presence increased the girl numbers to an outstanding six participants. A big welcome to you both and well done on completing day three of the Noosa Smiddy.

Welcome back Neil, Pete and Dominic, who sat out yesterday but made a welcome return today to the peloton. Good to have you lads back.

Shane Walsh left us yesterday and I wondered all day if it was my Fat Barsted crack in yesterday's blog. If you are reading this mate I just want you to know that you are a fat Barsted!

Andrea and Nigel are three days in and have surpassed all their own and the groups expectations by completing all three days of this tour. Considering they only signed up for the 80km a day option they have done extremely well and tomorrow, no doubt, we'll see more of the same.

Pretty Man/Boy was on his best behavior today, either that or he managed to avoid my prying eyes all day as I have nothing to rag him about in today's blog. Although he still managed to get a mention. Blog hoggerer!

Annalie Houston is a dietician by trade and it was she that came up with the food that we eat directly after a ride. All in the name of a quick recovery for the next day's ride. Thank you Annalie and good to see you in such good shape this year.

Simon Chambers thank you for being so enthusiastic each year, three years of Smiddy Noosa events, over your idea to hold a Smiddy Mountain bike event in New Guinea, where you live. Don't give up on us old mate!

A huge shout out of gratitude to our fast thinking and hard working mechanic. This tour Calum has been kept extremely busy as a multitude of problems keep occurring with riders bikes. If only we can get them all on a Scott or an Avanti bike from the crew at AvantiPlus The Valley! Now if that's not a shameless plug for a sponsor then I don't know what is!

David and Brook Wadsworth, thank you for sharing with the group tonight your amazing story of your time with Adam Smiddy. I only wish Maria and David Smiddy could have been here to hear you speak so highly about their Son.

Riding out of lunch Mike Stubber organised the road crew to stand in line and high five each and every rider as they left for their final leg into Noosa. Nice touch guys and duly appreciated by the riders.

Tonight Phil, the real Phil Anderson, got up and spoke about the life of a retired cyclist and in front of the Smiddy crew promised to come back for next year's Noosa Smiddy. Thank you Phil. You are a true gentleman and very humble and we are deeply appreciative of your support of Smiddy events.

And finally I would like to thank myself, Jim Coward, for standing up and reading out Sharky's blog! I tried to say no but Sharky would not take no for an answer!

And that's it for my day three blog. With one day remaining of this great ride I look forward to sharing some more stories of the amazing people that make each and every Smiddy ride what it is... Memorable and a life-affirming experience.



PS Love you Sister Kim!

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