Tuesday, 7 June 2016



Distance: 215 km's
Average: 23.1 km/h
Max Speed: 67 km/h
Climbing: 1158 metres
Descending: 1155 metres
Riding time: 9hr 20min
Temp Min: Minus 6 degrees
Temp Max: 14 degrees
Wind: Crosswind with plenty of sideways rain
Road Kill by: 3 Skippies, 1 Dove, 1 UFO (unidentifiable fat object) 1 Body lying on the side of the road holding a camera (Denise - Photographer)
Windmills: 11
White horses: 5

Port Augusta Function
As I write this we are halfway through, what will be, the final official function at Port Augusta until the end of the trip when we reach Uluru. Besides all our Smiddy traditions of road kill, stats for the day, category jerseys, which were won by Tamara Vella for day 1 and Harry Notaras for today, and blog reading, we had our first speaker of this Smiddy tour in Kevin Moultrie, who tonight shared with the group the story of his 20 year old Son, now 21, who was diagnosed with Leukemia and was a survivor thanks to the research into this cancer. Thanks mate for breaking the ice and paving the way for our other speakers on each of the nights.

Also a special presentation of a framed Smiddy event jersey was made by Nigel Harris to recognize the wonderful support of LMG since 2007 to Simon Rowe and David Gyte. What amazing loyalty from a company to stand by our side for 9 years now. In that time Bottlemart and LMG and now South Australia Sip and Save, have been responsible for raising many hundreds of thousands of dollars for Smiddy and the Mater.

Lastly we had a couple of fun awards where a couple of riders get to wear fancy dress over the duration of the next days ride. Adrian Cross was awarded one for owning up, under pressure of course, that he prefers to wear ladies bike pants over male, purely for the fit right mate? No other reason right? We believe you old mate... And good old Andrew Freibe was duly paid out on thanks to enjoying the final descent so much that he failed to stop at the designated regroup station. This resulted in a lift in the road crew car and luckily missing out on the special Paris-Roibax and Hell of the North combined 20km bumpy road into Port Augusta.

Demons In Your Head
So today's stage from Clare to Port Augusta was one of those days where you questioned why you were out there. You constantly fought the demons in your head that wanted you to stop. You questioned your sanity to continue. For me personally I had all those thoughts and more circulating constantly in my frozen and sodden brain for the first 100 kilometres, which, coincidentally, I can tell you, took us close to 5 hours to complete at an average speed of a touch over 20km/h. That in itself will tell you the hell we went through.

But anyway I wanted to share with you a mantra that I repeat in my head on days like yesterday and today. "If it was easy then everyone would be doing it." I am kind of proud that I, along with my Smiddy friends, get to do stuff on the bike that most would deem stupid and irresponsible, but we get to do it and save lives. Pretty amazing hey? Anyway this mantra of mine was used that first ride up to Townsville, and pretty much every ride since, but mostly I needed it to get my butt around Australia. I definitely used it over and over these past 2 days. Actually I find myself using it more and more over the years as my aging body protests to any extraordinary activities. Which is basically every Smiddy event! Anyway there is a reason you don't see any cyclists riding to Uluru from Adelaide. It is a tough gig, and as all the new Smiddy riders will now attest, doing it with Smiddy means the distances alone are going to test you. Throw in inclement weather conditions and your chosen Smiddy event will try to bring you to your knees. Try as it does, Smiddy riders are made of stern stuff and quitting is not an option.

So as it is now 11:30 pm and I am bone dead tired and my brain is struggling to make sense of the words that are appearing on the screen, I am going to finish this up with a few quick high and lows from another epic 12 hour day.

1. I asked Mick Farrag what was his prediction on today's weather, he said; "showers in the morning and afternoon and strong crosswinds." He then proceeded to start the ride without his rain jacket and the heavens opened and we were drenched and freezing cold.

2. Nearly 4 hours to cover 77km's into morning tea. That mantra was needed and boy were we hungry when we arrived.

3. I can't believe how good this present crop of riders bladder control is. The first toilet stop was some 2 and a half hours into the mornings stage. In that time I stopped twice and scrambled each time to get back on the peloton. Thanks Zane for pacing me back on. No-one else went, they all held on. You guys are amazing!

4. We started in darkness and finished in darkness some 12 hours later. That is a long day in anyone's book.

5. Ride leaders today put in some bloody hard yards. Hats off to you guys for all the help you offered different riders throughout today. Also to anyone else that stepped up to help out, which I saw a lot of today. Nice work.

6. Getting through that crosswind section after morning tea that had the group pinned at 14km/h for up 20 to 25 kilometres. The battering we took was legendary and I hope never to experience that again!

7. The entire day the way the group worked together, the rotations just got better and slicker. How good we will be when we strike a good conditions day...

8. The 6.5km climb and similar distance descent was a last chance for the lads to have a hit out. While Andrew won the KOM he was disqualified and fined $250 by Whippsy for enjoying the descent a little too much.

Okay that's it from me and I am so excited to let you know that tomorrow I have a guest blogger in Ollie 'Oozo' Clissold. Ollie is a great story teller and has been involved with Smiddy events since 2008. Thanks Ollie, I get a night off and get to go to bed before 9pm!

Take care everyone and cheers for your support to all the team. If you wish to send any messages to any of the riders just email them to me at marksharkysmoothy@gmail.com and I'll be sure to read them out to the group each night.


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