Tuesday, 30 August 2016


Stats for the day by Brocky Yates.
Distance: 240 km's
Ride Time: 7:51:00
Ave Speed: 30.6 km/h
Max Speed: 70 km/h by Brocky
Climbing: 1306 metres
Min Temp: 7 degrees
Max Temp: 30 degrees

Road Kill by Serge and Sydsey.
1 Dead thong, 125 Roo's, 7 bad smells, 6 of which was from Sydsey, 1 flat Acubra, 1 squashed gumboot, 1 Echidna, 1 feral cat, 1 future road kill in a joey.

Tonight Serge and Sydsey were sacked after a unanimous decision by all the riders and road crew. Two new road kill counters will be unveiled tomorrow night. Exciting hey?

Blog Dedication
The two people in the two stories below I would like to dedicate this blog to.

Noel Duthie
An hour ago we arrived at our morning tea stop at Dululu and were told the news of Noel Duthie passing away after 93 years of living life on this earth. He was survived by his Wife Glady's. Noel and Glady's have lived in this tiny community for most of their lives. Each year they joined us for morning tea and made a generous donation. Their absence this year was inconspicuous, so Kevvy and Sammi-Jo made a beeline for their house and returned to share the sad news with the crew. Each year Noel looked a little worse for wear and we nicknamed him 'Kevvy's Dad' for they both sported a lovely long white Father Christmas beard. Noel and Glady's were passionate to our cause as they lost their daughter to cancer. Thank you Kevvy for the lovely words you said to the group and to the riders for their respect and giving a moments silence to another fallen comrade.

Ken's Grandmother
More tragic news greeted us at that morning tea stop when we were told that Ken Wood's Grandmother passed away this very morning. Ken was very close to his beautiful Grand Mum and it hit him hard. He opted to continue to ride and while we all know he'll be hurting inside, his time today on the bike is probably the best place for him to pay his respects to his Grandma.

Biloela To Dululu
Alan McTaggart is as Scottish as they come and each year, on a Monday morning in August, gives up his sleep-in, to send the riders on their way with the mystical and magical tunes emanating from his bagpipes. The send off was topped off by the support of the billet's that we all stayed with last night. Sadly this morning we said goodbye to Brenton Cope and his Father David, who have been our police escort for the past three days. Brenton knew Adam Smiddy well and has been involved with this event ever since that first ride in 2006 either as a rider, a donor or as a police officer. We are very fortunate to have his support and friendship. Thank you Brenton and David Cope.

The buzz in the peloton, after a night spent in the company of Biloela and Thangool locals, is always at an all-time high. Everyone chats away about their billet's, the hospitality, the nice beds, the cooked breakfast and so on and so on. Once again the peloton was greeted with superb, perfectly clear conditions, and the 30 kilometre run into our first toilet stop at Jambin was simply magic. In the early years Jambin was where we stayed the night as we rode straight through Biloela. Jambin is a very small community that consists of a pub, a town hall and of course people's homes. The riders used to sleep in the hall on mattresses that the locals would donate for that one night. The function was at the pub and many hangovers from the a.m. drinking-fests was the end result.

The next 33 kilometres to Dululu went Smoothly and as always the road crew were a welcome sight as we devoured everything in sight. After hearing the news of Noel and Ken's Grandmother, the peloton continued on towards their lunchtime stop at Dauringa mindful of a morning tea they'll never forget.

Quality Time with Kevvy, Kylie And Ella
Today I have had the pleasure of sharing a seat in the rear vehicle with Kevvy and our head Physio in Kylie Baldwin and student Physio Ella Kenafake, who is in her final few weeks of training before graduating in December. For any Physiotherapist to participate in a Smiddy event as a rider/practitioner is a huge task, as my old mates Tony Ganter and Cameron Schrembri from Allsports Physiotherapy Practice in Jindalee have found out in past Challenge events. Kylie is riding as much as she can while trying to conserve enough energy for treating the riders throughout the day and into the night. Ella is also a rider but for this trip is here for her Physio skills. We are indebted to the girls for giving up a week of their time and I know they are keeping quite a few of the riders going who otherwise would be out injured. Thank you Kylie and Ella.

Police Escort Keeps Us Safe
We have now reached the Capricorn Highway and waiting for our local police escort in Sargent Paul Jones from Duaringa Paul has been incredibly supportive over the years and always gets us as far as our afternoon tea stop at the small community of Dingo. The Capricorn Highway is notorious for accidents, and for the Smiddy group, this section is the most dangerous of the entire trip, due mainly to the frequent oversized loads on top of the thousands of normal mining trucks, utes and cars that frequent this highway every day. So to Paul we are deeply in gratitude for his amazing support.

Two New Mates For Kevvy
It is here that our car is boosted in numbers by two riders in Dr Koala and Julia Shaw; both riders have needed some Kevvy or Stinky company over the last few days at various points. While they have trained hard over the months, the reality of this journey is that it is one of the toughest tours in Australia and not to be taken lightly. Any weakness in anyone will be brought out by constantly riding 200 kilometres per day. They are both itching to get
out at the lunchtime break, which is just a few kilometres away. The riders are making awesome time thanks to the tailwinds and mild conditions and have been slightly ahead of their schedule all day. For Julia and Dr Koala this is their first Challenge event and has been a real opener. Dr Koala just commented that the reason the peloton are making such good time is because he is not in the peloton!

Time Out With Sargent Paul Jones
The riders rolled into lunch 15 minutes ahead of schedule and Kylie, Sammi Jo and Ella went straight to work working on those riders that needed some injury management. I am now in the police car with Paul and and he is regaling me with stories of death and destruction that has happened on this road and told me it is the reason he has come out for the past nine years to look after us as he sits within 20 metres of the rider peloton protecting them from behind. Kevvy now hangs back, with Stinky still behind Kevvy waiting to take any additional riders on board should they pull out. Paul just shared with me two incidents, one that happened in 2009 involving a head on with a semi and a ute. The highway was closed for 18 hours as the truck caught fire and because it was carrying a fertilizer known as urea, if it had of exploded, which luckily it didn't, the blast would have taken out all the windows in the town we just had lunch in some two kilometres away! Apparently the heat was so intense that it completely melted all the rims on the three trailer road train. Unbelievably both the truck and ute drivers survived.

After this next story I am starting to get nervous being on this road. A year ago a middle aged driver was traveling along the highway speeding as he overtook another car with a car coming from the other direction. The driver pulled in to quickly avoid a head-on collision, lost control, rolled and slammed into a tree. The ironic side to this story is when Paul arrived he found an old speeding ticket and recognised the writing as his own. Sure enough, three weeks prior, this now dead gentleman, that should have known better, received that speeding ticket from Paul and paid the ultimate price for speeding yet again.

Icecreams and Maria Smiddy at Dingo Afternoon Tea
We have just rolled into afternoon tea at Dingo and my time with Paul has come to an end. Actually Paul's time with us has also come to an end as he hands over the reigns to Senior Constable Dorinda Freeman. Thank you Paul for the small insight to your life as a country policeman. A little plug for Mick Farrag, Paul commented on what an excellent job you did calling the traffic up front. He was very impressed. I told him you were trained by the best in Captain Kev.

Dingo is important stop for David, the road crew and myself, for it was here, at this very stop, many years ago, when the ride used to start in September and the heat and headwinds hit the group hard, that Maria Smiddy surprised the group with icy cold ice-creams. It was the lift the shattered group needed, and ever since that year, this stop is now synonymous with beautiful Maria and ice-creams.

Flying Into Blackwater and Inspirational Huddle
Luck has been with the peloton for four days now with such amazing conditions and thanks to favorable winds today the group averaged an amazing 31km/h, and arrived into Blackwater so early that the Homestay hosts, as organized by Lynlea O'Neill, long time Smiddy supporter and our local ambassador here in Blackwater, were caught unaware and arrived to pick up their riders 30 minutes after we arrived. Which was no big deal as we spent time taking a very special huddle, taken by Ken Woods, who dedicated it to his Grandmother. His best mate Damien Peale, backed him up with some awesome words and was there doing what his does best and supporting a friend in need.

Our stay in Blackwater, like Biloela, is made incredibly special due to the local community coming out in force to billet the riders. A huge thanks once again to Lynlea for going to so much trouble to make us all feel so welcome. It was nice to surprise Lynlea when we got in early, rather than often arriving late due to the inclement weather in past years.

Tonight's dinner at the Golf Club needs to be mentioned for the fact that we were originally meant to pay for the dinner. But thanks to Lynlea's amazingly handsome, extremely talented and Rambo like physique in Ian O'Neill, who just yesterday rang BMA Blackwater and asked if they would cover the cost involved, and BAM! $1,500 saved for Smiddy and the Mater. Thank you Ian. Legend mate!

Category Jersey Winners
Tonight the team at Smiddy wanted to recognize three exceptional ladies, who without their healing hands, many of us would be a quivering mess. Therefore Ella, Kylie and Sammi Jo were asked up tonight to accept their jerseys with a rousing cheer from everyone present. The girls get to wear them all day tomorrow and hopefully realise just how much we appreciate all that they do for us.

Guest Speaker
Tonight we heard from Stephen Townsend, who spoke of his emotional journey through life and the loss of many important family members in his life, especially the loss of his Mother. He reflected on when he spread her ashes in the ocean that the current kept returning them to shore and he thought that was his Mum's sense of humour and love of life that she wanted her Son to have.

Tonight Mick Young and Cameron Habermann stepped up and run the proceedings, giving the Smiddy team a break and in the process doing a very fine and funny job. Thanks lads and I can't wait until Belyando Crossing when Lofty and Peter are let loose. Will they top tonight's efforts by Youngy and Habo? I'll let you know.



History of Blackwater
Six major open cut coal mines and one underground dot the landscape surrounding the town and provide its main employment opportunities. The town is also situated close to the Blackdown Tableland National Park which lies to the southeast and Blackwater coal mine located south of the town. Emerald is 74 kilometres (46 mi) to the west.

Blackwater is named after the Blackwater Creek which apparently was first observed to flow with black water, believed to be caused by the local coal deposits.
Coal deposits were discovered there by Ludwig Leichhardt on his expedition from Moreton Bay to Port Essington (now Darwin, Northern Territory) in 1845.

Leichhardt saw "beds of coal indistinguishable from those on the Hunter at Newcastle".

It wasn't until over a century after Leichhardt first discovered the beds of coal at Blackwater that the town saw major coal mining development. With the opening up of several coal mines near the town in the 1960s, Blackwater's population rapidly increased as people searching for work flocked to find employment in the town's booming mining industry. There were 77 people living in Blackwater when the 1961 census was recorded. This increased to almost 2,000 when the 1971 census was recorded.

The town's population peaked in the early 1990s with 6,760 people living in Blackwater in 1991. Since then, the population of the town has gradually waned. In the 2011 census, there were still over 5,000 people living in the Blackwater community.

Blackwater Post Office opened on 19 July 1877.

Notable people from Blackwater
Olympic track cyclist Anna Meares was born in Blackwater in 1983. In 2012, Anna Meares had a street named after her in the town when Meares Street was constructed as part of a new subdivision in the centre of Blackwater.

Australian television personality, actor and comedian Josh Thomas was born in Blackwater in 1987 but moved with his family to Brisbane soon after.

Australian rugby league players PJ Marsh and David Taylor both grew up in Blackwater and have represented various teams in the National Rugby League co

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