Thursday, 23 April 2015

2015 NOOSA SMIDDY - DAY ONE


Statistics for the day:

Distance: 170km
Ave speed: 25 km/h
Max Speed: 77.3kph
Elevation climbed: 1726mtrs
Ride time: 6:50:00
Min temp: 12 degrees
Max temp: 26 degrees

Our Talented Peloton
Welcome to my first Noosa Smiddy blog for 2015. Throughout this blog I will introduce you to the riders, road crew and the new Smiddy team. In this ten year anniversary of Smiddy events, the Noosa Smiddy is our second for 2015 after a most successful first up excursion to New Zealand just one month ago. This years event has attracted a record 38 riders with a breakdown of 34 hand picked professional Tour De France type talented handsome males that would all be eligible for a part in Bondi Beach Rescue. Then we have four absolutely gorgeous stunning and incredibly talented beautiful females in Kim Bertwhistle, Kristine Ramsay, Andrea Davis, all first time Smiddy riders and Annalie Houston, who has done quite a few Smiddy events. Many of the peloton are past NSW or Noosa Smiddy riders, while quite a few are first time Smiddyites. A huge welcome goes out to all of you guys but especially to all our newbies in the girls mentioned above and our male riders in Mike Cooper, Philip Good, Paul Spezza, Scott Mcgeever, Alan McMurtrie, David Wadsworth, Hugh Morrison, Nigel Smith, Mark Craig, Dominic Panaccio, Mark Craig, Blake Coats, Chris Lincoln. Apologies if I left anyone out.

The roll out
So onto today's 162 kilometre ride from Brisbane to Noosa. Our departure point was from the UQ Aquatic Centre, who have been supporters of Smiddy events since 2006 up until the present day. A huge thank you to pool manager Jae Marr and staff for allowing us to use their facilities many times throughout the year. After a friendly welcome speech from Smiddy and Mater employee Christian 'Killer' Killeen, and with multiple Smiddy Challenge rider Tony Hegarty given the honour of ringing the infamous Kevvy Cow Bell, the peloton rolled out at 6:15am and spent the next hour getting every possible red light out of Brisbane. Well the back half of the peloton that I was in at least. Where was Copey and our police escort I ask? (Brenton Cope, Smiddy rider and 4 time Challenge rider and a Brisbane detective who sometimes organisers a police escort out of Brisbane for us.) Well actually Copey was in the pool that morning at UQ doing laps and clearly not thinking of us Noosa riders. Thanks Mate!

With the change in a weather a week ago from a long drawn out hot and humid Summer, it was a welcome relief of the cooler conditions that greeted the hardy Noosa Smiddy riders. All were happy and smiling and commenting on their good fortune to be:
A. Not at work on a Thursday

B. Have such awesome weather odd day one of the ride

C. And not to be out work on a Thursday. Have I mentioned that the riders were pretty chaffed not to be at work on a Thursday?

Morning tea was at the 61 kilometre mark of the ride at Caboolture and for the first time riders, their eyes devoured all the food as they approached the table, then their mouths and stomach caught up with their eyes as everything in sight was consumed in quick smart fashion. Thank you to our beautiful road crew. Also nice to see former Smiddy leader; Matty Marshall and his young Son Fergus drop in for an unannounced visit. Great to see you old mate and miss you! Hug...

Road crew intro - The Stalwarts
Which brings me this exceptional bunch of human beings that are instrumental for each and every Smiddy event to even proceed. So please help me to welcome our amazing stalwarts that have been on board Smiddy events for years, some as long as nine years in our rear car driver Kevvy Enchelmaier. Then we have Chris Geeves, Smiddy rider and road crew since 2007 and as valuable to us as what Kevvy has been over the years. Sammi Jo So, our beautiful Smiddy Masseuse, The Chinese Ninja Assassin, with hands of steel and a heart of gold, since 2011. Andy Loney from Noosa Smiddy sponsor in Sealy Posturepedic and helping out since the Half Smiddy back in 2011. Mike Stubber from LMG and a Smiddy helper since the very first NSW Smiddy back in 2011. Mike flys in each time from WA, so has the distinction of being the furtherest travelled volunteer in the history of Smiddy.

Road Crew and the Newbies
Every year the great thing about Smiddy events is that not only do new riders come through but new road crew personal. Which is critical for the growth of Smiddy and awesome that heaps of different people from all walks of life get to experience the magic of a Smiddy event. So a big hug and welcome to Alana and Georgia Buick, Wife and Daughter  of returning Smiddy rider Rob Buick, who kindly wanted to involved his family in the magic that is Smiddy. Georgia is just a teenager and was holding up well considering she was roused from her bed at 3:40am this morning! Calum Lazenby is another newbie from our bike shop sponsor in Avantiplus The Valley, who kindly supplied Calum as our mechanic and without him the riders bikes that break down would be going nowhere. So a huge thank you to Calum for giving up 4 days of his valuable time to look after us.

Morning tea to Lunch
From morning tea we travelled another 61 kilometres to get to Palmwoods and enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Bottlemart Palmwoods Hotel. A huge thanks to the proprietor Steve for being so welcoming to a bunch of sweaty cyclists, and to Kerry Brown from the Sunshine Valley Gazette for joining us for lunch and doing a story about the ride. As for peloton they were traveling well and some first timers were exceeding their own expectations as to how far they could ride. Please see my highlights at the end of this blog for more details.

Our ride leaders
Another group of very special individuals I would like to acknowledge are our esteemed ride leaders. Without them there would be no hands on riders back, no clear instructions and definitely no calls of rolling, rolling, rolling, or pedal, pedal, pedal! As made famous by Stinky Dave. Besides Dave, a huge show of gratitude to Adrian "Crossy" Cross and Dale "Pretty Boy" Heaps, for giving up four days of their time to volunteer for this role that will help deliver the peloton to its successful conclusion on Sunday.

Palmwoods to Kiel Mountain Road and let the falls begin
The notorious thing about lunch is that the infamous 21% gradient climb up Kiel Mountain Road, at the 125 kilometre point of the ride, is always waiting to claim its next victim. The lovely Kristine Ramsay was so taken by this climb that she insisted on going down and getting intimate and giving the climb a big fat hug. She was okay as it was a low speed fall and she made Kevvy's day as she got to spend the last of the ride with Captain Kev and hear one of his never ending stories of how he followed my butt around Australia for seven years at 25 km/h! Now Doctor Jim Coward, from Mater Research, had no issues getting up the same hill, but coming down the other side he decided he needed a well deserved rest and into the gravel and a soft landing into the grass by the side of the road ensured not too much damage was done. He was up quicker than Flash Gordon but if a rider falls, sorry but its van and Kevvy time for them. So now Kevvy was beside himself with joy; life couldn't get any better for Kev; two passengers and he started on his story all over again!

Our awesome Smiddy team
Cherie Nicolas took over from Matty Marshall as our leader of Smiddy. Matt moved on due to a transfer, that  his lovely Wife Tash got, that involved a move overseas with the company that she works for. So Cherie has been thrown head first into the behind-the- scenes-calm-madness that is Smiddy, that thankfully the riders never get to see. Two months in and her hair is going grey already but she is adapting well to her new role, with this event being her first on the road and her first big test. Wendy Muir also just joined the Smiddy team just before the New Zealand Challenge and already after that stint in NZ is beginning to find her feet and already an integral part of the team. Christian "Killer" Killeen, our captain in the peloton has been with Smiddy now for over a year and with his experience of being a Smiddy rider since 2008 he has taken to Smiddy like duck to water. His greatest attribute; a very calming influence to have as a leader in the peloton. Krista Page is another Newbie with Smiddy, just 5 weeks into her new role and again thanks to her experience as a Challenge rider she is already excelling in her new role. Last but not least, we have the great Row Man Foster, who lead team Smiddy for many years before stepping across to a corporate role within the Mater Foundation a couple of years ago. Row is always a pleasure to have in the Smiddy peloton, not just for his friendliness and welcoming attitude towards each and every rider and road crew, but for his immense experience within the peloton. Team Smiddy, through the Mater Foundation, is fresh, full of new ideas and a change I welcome with open arms.

Kiel Mountain Road to Noosa
As part of my goal to look after my health and wellbeing, so that I am around for many Smiddy events for years to come, I sat out from lunch up until the last water stop with 20 kilometres remaining to complete the 170 kilometre day. Sitting in the rear seat of the lead vehicle witnessing Geevsey and Stubbsy safely lead the peloton to its next destination was an incredible eye opener. I took in the awe of it, then threw myself into this blog. Like in New Zealand, my goal is to deliver a blog to the crew on the same day as it happens. So I furiously tapped away and got 800 words down in the hour it took to get to the final water stop of the day. Missing all the major climbs and feeling a little cheeky and a touch guilty, I rejoined the peloton for the remaining 20 kilometres. All arrived safely and after a quick talk by Rowan and I to the riders on the positive results of research over the ten years of Smiddy events, we did our customary huddle where we acknowledge the riders, road crew and finished the day with a nice chant for our mate in Smiddy, Smiddy Smiddy.

To finish here are a few highlights from today in no particular order:
Andrea Davis and Nigel Smith from Sydney, came into this event expecting only to cover 80 kilometres a day. I am happy to report that this lovely determined married couple, not only completed their longest ride ever but completed the entire day. Nice work guys and I have no doubt tomorrow will see more of the same heart and soul.

Chris Lincoln came into this event with his longest ride being 58 kilometres. Not only did Chris smash this by completing the entire day but also took out the biggest Guns competition, with Blake Coates a close second and also won first puncture of the day just outside of the start at UQ, and the Gyte Man was a dismal third with his puny guns!

Jos Lablache did Noosa Smiddy two years ago and was 20kg heavier and kept Kevvy company on many occasions. Not this time around, as the big man is now a shadow of his former self and cruised up all the climbs this time around that caused him so much grief in 2013. Nice work old mate.

A big welcome to Mike Dyer, who has wanted to do this ride for the past two years but was relegated to road crew duties to injury or health issues. He is now fit and healthy and completed his first of what I know will be four full days on the road.

Once again we are gifted to have the great Phil Anderson along for his third Noosa Smiddy event. We actually have two Skippies in the peloton with the original in Phil Anderson and a ring-in with returning Smiddy rider Peter Hammond, who claims he is slightly hoppier than Mr Anderson!

Crossy was pushing people all day, in particular Kim Bertwhistle, who was appreciative, but not until Phil Anderson pushed Kim did she get the real experience of having the Hands of God on her back, which apparently she recognised immediately and Crossy was then sacked!

Dougy Clayton takes out foghorn award of the day with his constantly loud and precise calls for anything resembling a stick, a hole, which he could spot from a mile out and even a call for a rock was heard throughout the peloton, which ended up being one of the Glass House Mountains...

Tonight all the riders were presented with a long sleeve Smiddy jersey that was engraved on the sleeve their name and Noosa Smiddy from the great and not shy Phil Anderson. Who was even happy for one of the riders to jump up on Phils back and pretend he was a bike.

That's it from me until tomorrow. Nighty night.

Sharky

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