Tuesday, 14 June 2016


DAY 8 Kulgera Roadhouse To Roadside Camp

Blog By: Sharky

Stats For The Day
Distance: 208 km's
Average: 31.3 km/h
Max Speed: 42.2 km/h
Climbing: 328 metres
Riding time: 6hrs 41 min
Temp Min: 5 degrees
Temp Max: 15 degrees
Wind: Tailwind all day - You little ripper!

Today the planets aligned and the rider group was gifted with the utmost perfect conditions for a human to be on a bike. With a 208 kilometre stage needed to get to our second roadside camping spot we needed this day like no other. What was delivered on a silver platter to the very appreciative riders was a continuous tailwind of 206 kilometres, with the last 125 kilometres a direct tailwind that measured 35km/h. Only for two kilometres did we feel that same wind become a crosswind when the road tilted back to the North.

Spirits were incredibly high in the group and for the first time all week we were coming in early for the scheduled stops. The rider leaders did an incredible job containing the cheetahs in the group to keep the average speed at a constant level. Parts of this incredible day the entire peloton was whizzing along comfortably at 40km/h! What a gift and what a buzz it created.

Once again the road crew excelled in providing food fit for a king and the highlight of the day was definitely lunch when we were treated to a hot stew. As lovely as the sandwiches and wraps are the hot food was truly a lovely change and most appreciated by the eating machines called Smiddy riders. Maria Smiddy was always in charge of the food for the ride up to Townsville and would quite often surprise the group with treats such as what we got today. So thank you road crew, for I know Marie would be incredible proud of you lot, for, not what you did today, but for every day that you have been on the road.

Thanks to the awesome conditions today we got into camp early at 3pm, which gave everyone time to set up their swags, have a shower, prepare all their stuff for the final day into Uluru tomorrow, but most importantly plenty enough time to get stitched up to the high nine for the Hawaiian themed night. The outfits are hilarious and in the middle of Winter here we are, 80 silly buggers, perfectly comfortable dressed in Hawaiian attire. The atmosphere has been electric all day, especially since we made our first left hand turn in over a thousand kilometres at the sign that said Uluru/Ayres Rock this way...

As we bled the last of the daylight a group photo was taken in the beautiful calming and subdued orange glow of a sensational sunset as we stood on top of a small mound of dirt with Mt Conner in the background. It was all very peaceful and somehow life-affirming. For me personally it has been a hard tour, both mentally and physically. Becoming a first time Dad I am experiencing emotions a little foreign to me. I have struggled mentally being away from my Wife Alyssa as I yearn to share every single solitary minute of the 9 month baby bliss journey. Yet at the same time, being around this latest lot of Smiddy inmates has been another one of those moments in time where I would not swap this experience for all the material possessions in the world. Tonight, as we gathered around the camp fire and shared all the usual Smiddy transitions, which included two great but sad talks by Steve and Bretty, I decided on the spur of the moment to share my thoughts with the group.

The whole day yesterday I felt extremely emotional and was thinking a lot about Maria, Adam, Geoff Honey, Declan Hegarty, Herman Herlaar, Brad Hartman and so many other Smiddy friends we have lost over the years, but strangely enough there were no tears. I knew that David Smiddy was struggling yesterday as well and I sought him out and assured him I was in the same room, that dreaded room of pain. Well those tears may not have rolled then but they surely did this afternoon as we rolled into our roadside camp.

Another dream so close to becoming reality, shared with 46 other riders and 20 road crew, who are all on the same wave-length. This delightfully refreshing and energetic energy this group is generating could power a small city. Once again a positive bubble of Smiddy energy has engulfed the group and as I said to everyone tonight; "If we could bottle this energy and sell it to the world there would be no evil or diseases in this beautiful world." While I know thats not possible, in my head I know we are making a difference to a lot of people anyway.

So in closing I will give you a few highlights from today

How often do you get to do a ride that gifts you with a 206km tailwind? Not often let me assure you, and today that was the highest of highlights.

2. How often do you get to see one of your fellow riders ride nude for 20 kilometres as a means of raising thousands of dollars for Smiddy and the Mater? Well only once I am hoping as the sight of Richard stark naked in the middle of the peloton saw many riders bring up their afternoon tea!

3. Kirsteen you deserve a million dollars for being the first wheel behind Richard for that longest ever 20 kilometres!

4. Dig In Dougie was the proud recipient of the special category jersey for living up to his knickname. Doug has dug in every day to complete the stages up to day 8. One to go champ.

5. Road crew Mick and Cath were awarded the special category jersey tonight because they have supported the Swarbrick riders for 3 years now and always done it in an unofficial capacity, that is until this journey. They are a retired couple and two of the loveliest people you could hope to meet. Congratulations guys.

6. Adrian Cross and his Father Colin were given the honour of doing the huddle this afternoon. What a lovely experience for Father (Road Crew and Son (Rider) to share a Smiddy experience.

7. Smiddy rider Nick Thorpe was given the honour of ringing the Cow Bell by Captain Kev as Nick lives in Darwin and we crossed the border into the Northern Territory yesterday.

8. The Kill Man was acknowledged due to pouring his heart and soul into this event since 2014. We hope after tomorrow's stage and final run into Uluru that he can let his hair down and enjoy the fruits of his labour.

9. To love ones back home that have a rider or road crew member that is part of this event. Smiddy always, and I mean always, attracts like-minded people that care enough to get out there and do something for people that can't help themselves. Sure we all do it for other reasons; the adventure, the travel, the friendships, the comaraderie, the fundraising, the early prevention tests and ultimately the cure for cancer, but after a few days of being engulfed in the Smiddy bubble, they all soon realise they are doing it to help ease, the great man, David Smiddy's pain. He hides it through his jokes, his smart arse demeanor, his big hearty laugh, his enormous hugs that could only have been learned from Maria. But inside this beautiful kind hearted man is someone that is hurting so bad that his heart feels like it's being crushed in a vice. So you see, your love ones, that you have so kindly supported to allow them to do this event, are helping us to save a man that I would take on as a Father if I did not already have that Angel already in my life in Ozzie Smoothy.

Over the past 8 days I have seen all of them, riders, road crew, pour out the depths of their soul to get to where we are today. They have suffered like dogs, they have cried and they have laughed so hard it hurts. Their determination to complete each stage is beyond belief. None of us could do it on our own, yet together we refuse to give in and support each other as if we were at the height of a battle, which in same ways we are.

So I guess what I am trying to say is be proud of them for what they have achieved over the past week. They will all return to you better people, they were good people before this event already, but now they are folklore great!

I know a big loving hug awaits all you love ones when you see them again. Thank you again from myself and the team at Smiddy and the Mater Foundation. We are in awe of them all, and in awe of your support back home.

Take care.


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