2016 Noosa Smiddy - Day Four
Statistics for the day:
Distance: 126 kilometres
Ave speed: 24.5 km/h
Max Speed: 90 km/h
Elevation climbed: 1851 metres
Ride time: 5:08:47
Min temp: 12 degrees
Max temp: 26 degrees
Early Roll Out For Anzac Service
The early start of 5:15am was mandatory as we had a Anzac Day service to attend at Mapleton at 9am. Mr Anderson was extremely understanding in the matter as I think he is coming to like early starts. Mapleton was 56 kilometres away and on top of a very large and pain inflicting mountain that required approximately 10 kilometres of climbing, with the last 2km at 16% gradient. Captain Kev gave Stubbsy the honour of ringing the cow bell and we our departure was back to the normal time of 5:25am.
Now let me tell you today's first 56km's 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, 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 sunrise that began to make a most welcome appearance at 6am.
The icing on the cake was the 34 magnificent golden warriors (we were down a few riders) 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 tried unsuccessfully not to wake up the people sleeping peacefully in their cars and camper vans, it was time to take on the Mapleton Range climb of 10 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 2 kilometres is the business end of the agreement as it kicks up to a 14 to 16% 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! The one saving grace this year was the cooler conditions thanks to a very stiff Southerly wind blowing that promised a quick run home after lunch along the coast road and made for more comfortable climbing conditions. While Dale won the Garmin KOM, he sat out this climb to help the riders that were struggling, as did all the ride leaders in Stinky Dave, Coops and Ben Hola. Andrew Baker was the KOM here but admits that Phil Anderson gifted it to him. Nice gesture by Phil. Tamara Vella also won the ladies KOM. We had the pleasure of having Krista Page in the peloton today and she took out the Garmin Hill KOM but like Dale, opted to sit out and help the riders that needed it. Ni
Big Birds Can Fly and 99% Success Rate
I would like to point out how enjoyable it was to see the big blokes at 90kg plus, who are not naturally built for climbing, complete this mother of a hill. Well done to Jos Lablache, his third time at Noosa Challenge and the first time he has made the climb! Steve Bardsley and Clive Eakin well done to you pair as well. Stephen Cooper got close but that last pinch was just too much for him this time around. It was a most successful number of finishes ever with everyone else making the climb and in the process making Kevvy very lonely.
The 101 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 101 year service of the Gallipoli landing where tens of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders lost their lives.
There are two ways back down to sea-level from Mapleton and one called Razor Back is lethal and a dangerous hair raising descent that lives up to its name. 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 given by Geevsey and thankfully 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, our mapping expert had plenty more up his sleeve with some amazingly sharp pitches and the rollers that just kept on coming. For me personally and I hope for the rest of the crew as well, I have to say the past 4 days has been an immense joy that has not only challenged us but rewarded us with its incredible beauty and varying terrain. Nice work Killer, you have done well.
Ben Calls It A Day & Thinking Of You Dawso
The past three days of riding pushed Ben to his absolute limit and his body decided for him that he just had to sit today's stage out. He and his Wife and children still turned up for the Anzac Service and were there at the finish to welcome the riders in. Ben has promised to return fitter and more prepared next year and I can assure you we will all welcome him with open arms. I just wanted to say a special mention to Paul Dawson, who had to rush home to Brisbane as his Daughter is in hospital and extremely unwell. We are thinking of you mate and thank you for the two days you and Sharon rode with us.
Bli Bli And A Interview With Phil
The lunch today at Bli Bli the road crew pulled out all stops and the hungry riders got to eat every leftover from the past 3 days. It was a gluttonous feast and we all left there with tummies so full we would not need to eat for a week. It was at lunch that Geevsey did an interview with Phil and he was hilarious as he regaled us with a few select moments of his racing career in Europe in the 80's. A great group photo with all the riders and road crew was taken here as well.
Tailwind Sent From Heaven
The tailwind home from lunch was so strong that at times actually pedaling was an option but not a necessity. Seriously we covered that last 36 km's at an average well over 32kmp/h. It was a buzz and a tremendous way to finish the tour. All the riders arrived on such a high that hugs and handshakes were the order of the day.
Stubbsy Our Guest Huddle Speakers & The Riders Rock
Krista took over for me and introduced Stubbsy to do the final huddle. The quietly spoken man from WA has looked after us riders, along with Kevvy and Geevsey for the past 4 days. Each year he makes the trek over from Perth to do his bit for Smiddy. We are very fortunate to attract good people like Stubbsy and all the road crew that put up their hands to help. Thanks also to the riders for all the fundraising, the friendships, your patience and for being so humble in what you do. One day a cure will be found and you can all hold your head high knowing you have done something to be extremely proud of.
To the riders I say this one last thing; tomorrow when you wake up and you don't have 40 other people to go for a ride with, and you actually have to prepare your own food, let your mind regress back to the past 4 days and let your memories take over. It will probably be a whole lot less painful that way as you lie in bed, and that way you are not burning up the calories and will not have to prepare any food! Makes sense yeh?
Thanks for accepting my craziness through this blogs and one day I wan't to grow up and be as mature as the lot of you. Until then another batch of Smiddy riders I'll have to unleash on.
Take care and remember; you are all extraordinarily special! Why? Because you cared enough to do a Smiddy event!