Tuesday, 15 March 2016

2016 New Zealand Smiddy Challenge - Day two

Day two - Hamner Springs to Reefton

Ride Stats

Total distance - 138.8 km
Total climbing - 1620 m
Average speed - 23.9 kmph
Total ride time - 5 hours 47 minutes
Lapsed riding time - 7 hour 31 minutes
2664 calories used up and 2663 eaten at morning tea and lunch. Beer at the end of the day doesn't count.

Day two road kill count:

2 rabbits
4 possums/red fluffy bits
1 Sid from Ice Age (thanks Ramon)
1 flattened winter coat
1 chewed bug
16 UFOs (unidentified flattened object)
2 birds
1 squished caterpillar by Tim Russell's wheel

Maria Douglas - first time Smiddy rider, referred by good friend Berty.
Maria is riding with her husband Kevin as they both love challenging holidays together that they consider a bit 'out there'. However, they are both ex-kiwis and were possibly a bit drunk when they registered, but have no regrets. Maria is riding in memory of her mother who rode the Smiddy New Zealand course on her 1950s road bike in 1950 as a gap year before she started her nursing training. Maria is challenging herself to ride up the similar climbs on her 2016 road bike with all the bells and whistles.

Today was a tough day on the bike for Maria and Kevin. The head wind at the start over some lumpy terrain on yesterday's tired legs meant all four knees and two backs were hurting. With help from our wonderful ride leader Paula she showed Maria how to do yoga on the bike. It may have been more a distraction than therapy, but it worked. By lunch time they needed some special care from Sammi-Jo and hugs from their fellow Smiddy riders. Maria was really doubting she could make the two big climbs after lunch and couldn't believe her mother had ridden this way 60 years ago on a bike with no gears and camping gear. But somewhere both her and Kevin dug deep and rode the whole way finishing in Reefton with smiles and a new self belief that they could finish their adventure.

Last night the New Zealand Smiddy riders and road crew started the 'Perkynana' awards, and the first recipient was Malcolm who couldn't find the tap on the water container. Tonight this very special award has been given to David Solomon who locked himself out of his room wearing nothing but a towel and had to walk through the Old Nurses Quarters for help.

Today we had some fantastic opportunities for the riders to stretch themselves and chase down the Smiddy records from the 2015 New Zealand Tour. Ramon won the King of the Mountain and Cat the Queen of the Mountain for both climbs from Hamner Springs to Reefton. Cat and Ramon battled it out all day to see how was first and it was a tight contest with no mercy given.

But in between the fun contests, there were some tough sections for most of the riders and they all needed to show the Smiddy Spirit and work together as a peloton. After lunch this was really obvious where the group rode together from the final climb to the finish covering 33 km in just 55 minutes at 36.5 kmph.

The weather forecast was for rain but once again the Smiddy riders were protected and it was a lovely temperature for riding and we finished the day under blue skies.

Tonight the special Smiddy jersey has been awarded to Amanda who pushed herself through pain and tears to finish the ride. Her trip to New Zealand is her first overseas holiday and with her brand new passport. Amanda left her husband and kids behind to challenge herself and become a better rider. She had no idea how she would cope with the five days and 700 km of riding, but her Smiddy Spirit is shining through and she has become an inspiration to everyone.

Day two finished with all the riders on a high and smiles all round. The Smiddy cheer and huddle was stronger and louder than the day before with new friendships formed and new respect for all.

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