Friday, 4 September 2015

2015 Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge—Day 7 Belyando Crossing to Charters Towers

Day 7 highlights written by—Sharky


To Roger Hawley, Tim Dalton, Brett Goebel and John Martin. To these four Smiddy lads that were all late withdrawals I dedicate this blog. Roger broke his ribs playing basketball; Tim's wife was diagnosed with breast cancer; Bretty has an issue with his heart; and poor John lost his father to cancer just last week. Our thoughts are with all of you and your families. Take care and please enjoy this blog.

Stats for the day

Distance—198 km
Average speed—28.7 km/hour
Elevation climbed—848 m
Riding time—7 hours 4 minutes
Min temp—12 degrees
Max temp—30 degrees
Climbing time—1 hour 25 minutes
Flat road riding time—4 hours 51 minutes
Downhill riding time—57 minutes
36 236 pedal strokes is the average for a Smiddy rider for the day.

Road kill count

Today's road kill count was a contest between the riders Zinky and Horse, and Lesley Ray and her gang. The idea was to see if the data from the two expert teams matched up. They clearly did not and both groups contested they were in the right. But you can be the judge.

Road kill count by Michael Zinc and Luke Horsfield:

36 Kangaroos
2 Cows
3 Pigs
14 Birds
6 Emus
1 Crocodile
27 bad smells

Road kill quantitative data collected by deputy road kill counter (Lesley), the assistant to the deputy (Nigel) and the assistant of the assistant road kill counter (Sammi-Jo):

83 Kangaroos
1 Lizard
3 dead cars
175 bag of bones
17 unidentified messes
2 Pigs
1 Piglet
19 fresh meat
18 Birds
3 Dingoes
2 Cows
4 Bust rats
0 bad smells as they were in air conditioned cars!
Lastly—Nigel claims he saw sardines in Sardine Creek

Jokes by Sean Lever

Each night Sean has gotten up and told some really funny jokes, short and sweet and hilarious. I actually never heard any of the punch lines, not much of the start either. Nor the middle bit to be honest, but so that I would fit in, I laughed long and hard when everyone else did so they surely must have been funny. Nice work 'Lofty Yak' (new nickname).

Category Jersey's  

Spirit Jersey: Paul DeMann—who doubted his ability to finish this event, yet here it is at Day 7 and he has not missed a single solitary kilometre. My Auntie Marie presented that jersey along with my brother Terry, as they have formed a very close friendship with this great man.

Team Jersey: Krista Page—tonight I broke with Smiddy tradition where we never award jerseys to staff, but Krista deserved it due to her ability to step up and deliver even though she was not at 100% health wise.

Mateship Jersey: Nic Wollett—a delightfully friendly and polite, respectable young man who would give you the shirt off his back and pay your mortgage off if you asked! I also gave Nic his first Smiddy nickname of 'Razorback' due to three wild boars checking out the bad smells coming from his swag at 3 am in Belyando Crossing.

Sharky's poem

Immediately following the jersey presentations I read out a short poem that I wrote for all the riders and road crew. I did it because I wanted to explain how I truly feel about their incredible involvement in this Smiddy Challenge event. Through my poem and writing I can get the mesasge through so much more clearly and meaningfully. I have added it at the end of this blog if you care to read it.

Guest speakers

Cameron Schembri—a rider during the day and then acts as a physio for hours into the evening—spoke of the long association of the Allsports Clinic involvement with Smiddy and Mater Foundation. He finished with some great advice to the riders as to how to recover and protect your immune system the weeks after this ultimate endurance event.

Peter 'Angus' Barnett also spoke about his journey as a cancer survivor after having prostate cancer.

Road crew song  

Our extraordinary and talented road crew kept coming up with new songs to entertain the riders, either on the road or at night time functions. Tonight they performed yet again and immediately after the five lady riders sang their very own version of what it's like to be a cycling girl in a male dominated Smiddy peloton, written by the clever Jenny Penfold. The cheers were enormous for both groups, but we think the girls won the sing off.

The days' wrap-up

The peloton were on a high after a great relaxing night at the infamous Belyando Crossing. Our roll out was scheduled for 6.30 am and I was ready on time at 6.35 am! Thankfully the extracurricular activities last night slowed a few riders down even slower than me, so I was actually made to look good. Our newest road crew member Nigel Harris was given the honour of ringing the delightfully sounding cow bell that has been in Kevvy's family for more than 100 years to get the peloton into the job of hand of another 200 km day.

Fast forward 10 hours ...
I am now going to skip straight to the finish at the School of Distance Education, where the Principal of the school—John Clarke and his lovely wife Anne—joined us for a very emotional huddle as we rolled into Charters Towers at 4.30 pm. Now Chris Sydes is a good man to have on your side and he gratefully accepted the role of guest huddle speaker. Jason Boyd was meant to be Chris's sidekick, and while he wanted to talk he asked if I could tell his story for him as he did not think he could hold it together. Jason was very close to his mother and her loss just a few short months ago to cancer hit this quiet, kindhearted young man hard. I explained to Boydey that his Smiddy family were here for him and that we all cared and loved him dearly. Everyone gave Boydey a rousing cheer as we all respected his courage to ride this far in memory of his dear mother. Seven days on the road, living 24/7 in each others pockets, does this to a group, and it is one of the things we are extremely proud of at Smiddy HQ. Sydesy meanwhile did a stellar job in leading the huddle with the road crew, rider and Smiddy Chant, and he has indicated he is on board long term and eager to help out in any way possible. A good man that Sydesy!

Of course, as per usual, I stuffed up when speaking in the huddle. It's not a matter of if, but when these moment will arise for me. So I did the intro with John and Anne to the riders and road crew, and I explained that they had been friends with Maria Smiddy for many decades. David Smiddy then pointed out that he also was friends with them for several decades! A great night was had by all with excellent blog reading by Rusty and Ray, with the plea by Russ for the riders and road crew to check out the new kids Smiddy book that tells the Adam Smiddy story from 2006 to present day. A huge thank you to Smiddy rider and supporter Kate Warren from Tasmania and her student Charlotte Phillips, who put together this project and took two years of faith and passion to see it through to its completion. Copies can be ordered through any of the members of Team Smiddy if you are keen to support.

Five amazing highlights from today

1. The breakfast the road crew started preparing at 4.30 am in Belyando Crossing was dedicated to Maria and her poached eggs that she delivered each year only here at Belyando. We were also gifted with muffins, cereal, fruit and bread, and as a mother of all surprises our adopted Smiddy volunteer Cathy and Michael had prepared mouth watering porridge. Thank you amazing road crew.

2. Rolling into morning tea to discover no rider day bags present! Whoops ... they were located in a car heading for Cairns! With not enough time to get them back to the morning tea break it was decided the riders would have to go without their butt cream until lunch. How tough are Smiddy riders!

3. Seeing the team bond over the last seven days has been beautiful to behold. Today we were closer than two flies eyeballing each other, or two fleas wrestling, or finally two ants balancing on each other's backs. Now I know that may come across as weird, but truly that's how close we are!

4. Mateship comes in many forms and I have seen so much of it over the past week amongst the riders and the road crew. Today I experienced it when we had a handicap A, B and C grade 15 km 'go at your own pace session'. C was off first, followed a minute later by B—of which I was a part of—and A a minute after B. In ten years of contesting this session, I have never come close. Today Ron Steel, Oliver Bodak and Mick Young carried me to within spitting distance of the line and gifted me with the win by passing C early and holding A by a scant few seconds. I don't care about that win but I care of why they did it. What a way to cap off an amazing 10 years of Smiddy Challenge events. Each and every rider and road crew congratulated me like I'd won the Tour De France. They were genuinely happy for me and that meant more to me than all the diamonds in the world. Well maybe not all of them, I could hold onto just a few ...

5. The afternoon tea break was at Policeman's Creek at the 163 km point, where of course there was no water but lots of dusty dirt and dirt that was dusty. It was here that a totally random incident occured. The road crew were absolutely smothered by the riders in love and hugs and thank you's and handshakes and the odd small unintentional pinch of the bottom! Cheeky ... We have no idea how or why this happened but thankfully after much bouncing around and immaturity—mainly by my brother Terry—life settled back down to the customary shovel as much food they mouths as possible in the shortest amount of time.

That's it from me—it's now 1.15 am and Kevvy is getting up and rousing me every half hour for not being in bed and asleep. Thank you for all your support and if anyone wishes to help me reach my $5000 goal I sure would be mighty appreciative of a late donation for this my tenth Smiddy Challenge. Thank you and good night.

You can click here to make a donation to my page.


Sharky's poem for Challenge riders and road crew

Friends tend to shape how you lead your life
In my teens a few caused me to get into a fair amount of strife

But in my 20s I discovered friends in sport
Genuine people I am happy to report

Who influenced me in a positive way
Friends for life, here to stay.

In my 30s and 40s my number of friends grew
Some trusted and true by many of them new

Early in my 40s I said goodbye to a mate
Who changed my life forever and left me in a state

I think you all know the Adam Smiddy story
A young man destined for greatness and for glory

A life cut tragically short
Smiling for Smiddy legacy ensures his name will never abort.

Since Adam passed away
Even more friends have come my way

These friends are special I know
Showing that they care, their hearts on show

All of you here tonight 
Giving me the perfect opportunity to recite

I hope it is plain to see
You all mean the world to me

From the depths of my heart
I am grateful, my life, you are a part.

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