Wednesday, 15 June 2016


DAY 9 Roadside Camp to Uluru

Final Blog By: Sharky

Stats For The Day
Distance:161 km's
Average: 29 km/h
Max Speed: 43.1 km/h
Climbing: 254 metres
Riding time: 5hrs 33min
Temp Min: 1 degrees
Temp Max: 23.6 degrees
Wind Conditions: Tailwind for most of the day

As I sit and write this final blog I am on the Virgin flight home to Brisbane via Sydney. Waiting for me at Brisbane airport will be my dear Wife Alyssa and a baby bump that I am sure has increased in size since I left home on May 30. Most of the riders flew out yesterday, while the road crew all left in convoy this morning at 6am to return the six hired vehicles to Adelaide. For the road crew they are rundown and tired but return to Adelaide with an enormous sense of accomplishment, of a job well done, riders delivered safe and safe to their destination at Ayres Rock.

Blog Dedicated to Road Crew
Our job as riders is hard, bloody hard as this trip proved, but without those amazing individuals that make up our esteemed road crew, who gave up two weeks of their time to work from before the sun came up and long after the sun went down, there would be no way any of us would have made it to the big red rock. Therefore I would like to dedicate this blog to our 'Up The Guts' road road crew that consisted of my Brother Terry, my Auntie Marie Barker, Captain Kev, David Smiddy, Sammi Jo So, John Curran, Wanyne Smith, Racel Pennisi, Nigel Harris, Colin Cross, Cath and Mick McDonald, Denise Barnett, Colin Fairchild, Trevor Menhinick, Laraine Dunn and Lynton Stretton.

On Behalf of team Smiddy of Cherie Nicolas, Wendy Muir, Krista Page, Christian Killeen, the Mater Foundation and myself, a sincere and heartfelt thank you. You guys rock!

A Cold Start
So back to the final day and packing up our final camp on what was the coldest morning of the entire trip. Frigid hands made slow work of the monumental task of packing up a camp built for 80 people. A welcome hot breakfast of eggs and bacon and Auntie Maria's heart warming porridge was again appreciated by the hungry riders and helped to warm our tummies. Our scheduled 7:30am start saw us get on the road close to 8am. The air temperature was one-degree and it was ever so good to be on the bike and moving and not standing around shivering and waiting for the start. Thankfully by the first toilet stop at 28 kilometres it had warmed up sufficiently to shred a layer or two of clothing.

A 160 kilometre last day was still a formidable distance, especially after already having 1600 kilometres in our tired legs. But on our side was our third day straight of tailwinds. The strength had gone out of the wind but the important thing was that it was still up our cracker and made the going a little easier, for which we were all extremely grateful.

Road Crew Surprise at Morning Tea
With 84 kilometres to cover to our morning tea break this distance was dispatched in around the three hour mark. Waiting for us was the final road crew surprise of the trip when we pulled up to the smell of freshly cooked pancakes! Hundreds of pancakes, coated with maple syrup and bananas were demolished in record time. It was here also that family members of some of the riders came out to greet us, which provided a lovely buzz throughout the peloton. A couple of former Smiddy riders were there as well in Claire Schneider and Alicia Cross-Newman.

Uluru - Here We Come and The Final Chuddle
From morning tea the final stage of a further 50 kilometres began and Ayres Rock kept getting larger and larger the closer we got. It truly is a mesmerizing sight and I understand now why they say you can't truly appreciate it from photos and seeing it on the TV. Lunch was at the Rock, as was the final huddle, which was turned into a Chuddle. I invited David Smiddy to stand in the centre, the girl riders were invited to crush him, then the road crew, followed by the many supporters that turned up to see us finish, then finally the male riders. Brendan Whipps and Matt Muir were then invited to say the final words for this final day 9 Chuddle. They spoke magnificently and with passion and emotion and I could not have been happier.

I wanted David to be infused with so much positive energy from this group that he would go out and be strong and survive until the next Smiddy infusion in August for the Brisbane to Townsville Challenge.

After the Chuddle the final road crew prepared lunch was devoured as we viewed the majestical beauty of the enormous Rock. Riders were then invited to do the 10 kilometre lap of Uluru to take in the Rock from all sides or to make their own way back to our accommodation at Yulara. Most chose to do the lap while a small group scuttled back to the comfort of a lovely Hotel room and hot refreshing shower. The journey back to Yulara measured 30 kilometres. Which in my head fitted nicely to make up that missed 30 kilometres on day four due to the dangerous crosswinds where we were transported 30 kilometres to camp 1 in the Smiddy vehicles.

Final Smiddy Function
The final function of the event was held at the Sails Resort and with so many family members present the group expanded to over 110 guests. All the usual Smiddy traditions took place! With a few little extras that included Bretty and Roger asking each rider to stand up to acknowledge their Adelaide to Uluru nickname. The two boys sat at the back of the peloton to shepherd the group and to pass away time would make up nicknames for everyone. It was entertaining and one of those things where you had to be there to appreciate it. I assure you it was funny and they did a great job on it.

Also thanks to some last minute big money donations coming in on the night the fundraising total was pushed beyond $400,000. Thank you to David Gyte for pumping up his LMG customers to throw into the kitty in excess of $10k and to Smiddy rider Zane Williams, who sponsored Whippsy to get his legs waxed by 7 of the lads to the tune of $10k. All I can say is that I am gobsmacked! From an idea to ride up the guts of Australia, has made for the Mater Foundation, a massive amount of money that will got towards the cutting edge research that we know is making significant inroads to cancer care through Mater Research.

Thank you Smiddy Riders
Before I go I just want to to thank the riders for their perseverance, determination and extreme patience over the past nine days. It is never easy taking on a new event, let alone an event that travels through the Australian outback. It tested the team at Smiddy and it pushed the road crew to the brink of their volunteering capacity. But in the end, as always, human perseverance prevailed; mateship and pushing aside individual egos is what got us through those past nine days. We accomplished our goal only because we did it as a team. For that alone, you are to be congratulated. Each and every one of you should feel extremely proud. The next time a breakthrough happens in cancer care, please know that in our small but significant way we had a part to play in that.

Think about that... How special to be able to say to family and friends that you helped to save someone's life?

I am humbled to have been in the company of such great people.

A small piece of you will always remain with me in my soul.

Please take care and I hope one day I am fortunate enough to share your company again.




  1. Such an interesting informative read! You are all so inspirational. I have just finished my cancer treatment and hope to one day join you on a Smiddy Ride! Well done to all of you!

  2. Brilliant words as always Mark. I am amazed by what we have all achieved, and keep achieving in honor of the Smiddy name ,and all of our friends family and loved ones.