Saturday, 29 August 2015

2015 Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge—Day 1 Brisbane to Nanango

Stats of the day by Dave “Stinky” Colahan

Elapsed time –     10hrs 42 mins
Moving time –       8hrs 21mins
Average speed –  24.6km/hr
Fastest Speed –   72.7km/hr
Total distance –    206km
Vertical gain –       3096m
Min temp –            9 degrees
Max temp –           23 degrees

Special Stats – Terrific Trevor has done an outstanding job of Day 1 mechanic: working into the night washing and oiling every chain. Lord knows what he is doing to the bikes that require extra attention. He was a fitting recipient of the Mateship jersey.

Road Kill Count by Michael Zinc:


  • 4 possums
  • 2 birds
  • 1 black swan for Perth…it was big…and black!
  • 2 destroyed wheels


  • 1 lizard
  • 1 cat
  • 1 bat
  • 12 cane toads
  • 5 bad smells

Michael is starting a recruitment process for his deputy…so please be prepared for a job interview.

Category Jerseys

Spirit Jersey: Liz Butler – for always having a smile on her face and raising an incredible $17,000

Team Jersey: Sean Leaver – for his role in supporting riders up tough climbs

Mateship Jersey: Trevor Menhinick for lending his bike to a fellow rider after a last minute mishap.

Riders' account of the day- Anna & Bathy

The day dawns, the day we have been waiting/dreading for the past 12 months. It’s roll out day for the 10th Annual Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge and, as they do each year, staff of the UQ Aquatic Centre host the traditional breakfast for riders, family, friends and supporters.  Huge thanks to Jae and the team.

The crowds were out in force and the buzz in the air was enough to overshadow even the greatest of nerves. Time is something that Smiddy has traditionally chased but safe in the knowledge that Matt Marshall was not speaking there were high hopes that we would leave on schedule.

The group was addressed by Nigel Harris, CEO of the Mater Foundation who will be joining us in Townsville while Sharky honoured the efforts of donors, in particular Sammi who has kindly donated every year to Sharky’s fund and attended the roll out for the last nine years. Many of the returning riders have their own ‘Sammi’ and we thank you one and all.

As many of you reading this blog would know, our Smiddy family lost our matriarch Maria a short time ago. Her beautiful smile and wonderful hugs were missed this morning.  Her image now takes its place on our bikes, alongside Adam’s and will provide inspiration along our journey.

With the ringing of the cowbell by David Smiddy we were off. One of the absolute highlights for cyclists is to enjoy the presidential motorcade experience managed by QPS (Queensland Police Service) who shut down lights and block traffic for our exclusive benefit. For the first time such a service will continue thanks to Brenton (Copey) Cope sometimes known as Bruce, who will accompany us all the way to Bilo. In addition to making us feel special this significantly increases our safety and we thank him for this massive contribution.

3000 metres of climb

Today we climbed half of Mt Everest, beginning with the beautiful Mt Mee, where Claire and Cam claimed KOM status. This was followed by Sharky’s shortcut, known for its pinches where sadly no one was able to uphold the tradition of a swim in the creek.  And the last significant climb, the Blackbutt range which saw Jen channel her passion and sprint to the top.

Food glorious food

We all welcomed a tasty spread at the top of Mt Mee where Maria’s Café was officially launched in memory of her amazing cooking abilities including the traditional sao. Food was again celebrated at lunch where the truck was officially renamed Terry’s Tucker Truck in honour of Terry Smoothy one of the many roadcrew who will ensure we arrive in Townsville this year.


If you have ever stood by the side of a road or race and cheered for people and wondered if anyone noticed or even cared then we are here to tell you a resounding yes.

Today random cheers appeared throughout the day to lift our spirits. From Michael Jordan (past rider not basketballer on Mt Mee), Chappy’s gorgeous wife and kids and Emma and Jarrod at lunch and of course Denise, wife of Peter, who followed us all day screaming her support.

Sharky’s appendage 

Much of the talk in the peloton today focused on the strange appendage emerging from Sharky’s rear. It was the Shark man who was to have the last laugh however as it was this very appendage that prevented his bottom from splash back that every other rider had to endure. Look out for more appendages in future Smiddy pelotons.

When the going gets wet 

This afternoon despite inhouse weather predictions provided by Ray Smith, the rain did eventually catch us. Just short of afternoon tea at Blackbutt the heavens opened bringing intimate contact between riders and roadcrew earlier than anticipated. There was some reprieve from the rain as we rolled out for the final 35km stretch to Nanango which was fortunate for the 66% of the peloton who had either left their rain jacket at home or in their night bag.

This was also the time where we saw the most Smiddy Angels in action. These are the guys who put a hand on the back of a fellow rider who may be struggling. It is this simple action that in our view sums up Smiddy and makes you fall in love with this organisation all over again.

The end 

Nanango show grounds where we are staying for the second year, was a welcomed haven from the rain. Hot showers and some great food worked wonders on the crew who settle down for the first night on the road together.

As is tradition the ride was closed by the Smiddy huddle, this time led by Brock, a long-term Smiddy supporter who worked with Adam at the PA. His moving tribute was a fitting end to a tough first leg. The evening continued with Malcolm Frizzle and Mick Young sharing their reasons for riding. Stinky and Zinky delivered their first stats of the Challenge and Sharky awarded the jerseys to the well deserving recipients.

The ongoing support of Mark and Desley Gadtke was also recognised. These guys have been on board since the very beginning when they housed the original three and they continue to play a pivotal role in housing and feeding the Smiddy crew.

A woman’s insight

We can’t let this opportunity pass without providing readers a unique insight into the trials and tribulations of life on the road as two of six female riders in a 52 strong peloton.

These are our main issues we would like to table:

  1. Bibs – those lycra things you wear under your jersey – while comfortable such garments make peeing incredibly tricky. While the boys pop off anytime to relieve themselves we have to hold for official public toilet stops. We then have to queue with said boys who for some inexplicable reason are no longer able pop off to the bush.
  2. Beards – Smiddy tradition sees riders grow their beards ahead of shave down in Townsville. This year’s crop has been particularly fruitful and as a result it is almost impossible to identify individual riders. Name tags on helmets help during ride time, not much help during meal time. We without beards are much easier to identify and so now have these awkward moments of being known without knowing. 
  3. We are all in agreeance that personal hygiene and care is of great importance on these rides. How these standards are met are inconsistent between male and females. It is perfectly acceptable for boys to reapply chamois cream in public view, clear nasal passages of all ingredients and rearrange private parts as required. Such luxury is not extended to the lady riders. 

As always it is an honour to be part of this ride with such incredible people. We all have our reasons for riding and finding out a little more about these reasons is one of the great joys of the ride.

Thank you Sharky for trusting us to write the blog and thank you for putting us before Rowan and Matt.

1 comment:

  1. Supporting a positive cause doesn’t necessarily need to be in the form of providing a solution like finances or physical labour. However, every little effort counts and contributions can comprise of mere presence at the organized event. Every member of the general public should come forward to provide motivation to the participants.