Yesterday we had the likes of David Colahan and Andy Loney work hard for us for a few hours. The team at Smiddy is deeply appreciative for this external help, even if Mr Smiddy is cheeky and keeps getting in the way, the important thing to remember is he does try and we’ll give him that and besides his enthusiasm is contagious!
So far Smiddy events this year have been an enormous success with over $800,000 raised thanks to the riders who have participated in the Smiddy Noosa, New Zealand, Adelaide to Uluru, the 10km Swim Challenge and now this event starting tomorrow. Our hats at Smiddy and the Mater Foundation are removed in respect for each and every person that so far has been involved in this great achievement to date. A huge heartfelt thank you to everyone from riders to road crew, to donors, supporters, and of course our loyal sponsors that stick by us year after year.
For the first time since the events conception we are starting with a reduced field of 32 riders, instead of the normal 50 riders. This is not a bad thing as many of the guys and girls that sat out Challenge event this year signed up instead to complete the Adelaide to Uluru event, which raised a staggering $400, 000. It will be a nice change for the small communities along the way, that have supported us for 10 years now, to have a little breather with the reduced field and not being stretched to capacity. For the riders and road crew, I envision our motely lot to become a very close-knit group of people as the demanding task of riding 1600 kilometres over 8 days commences.
This will be more 11th year and more importantly a turning point in my life as a Smiddy rider. With the amazing news in February of my impending fatherhood as of November this year it was time to have a good hard look at my life and make some important decisions. One of those was to look after myself and not to demand so much of my body in completing all the Smiddy events each year. So this year 100 kilometres a day is my goal and while off the bike I will be taking ownership of the blogs.
The writing of the blogs has always been shared amongst the riders and while this has been great to get a different perspective other than just my words, it is also very tiring and sometimes stressful after riding over 200 kilometres a day and then attending a community function to write a blog late into the night. I hope to relieve that pressure on the riders and also to achieve each blog is written and actually read out that same night, rather than the next night in a different community.
Anyway I’ll let you be the judge of whether this has been a good idea after we get to Townsville and you have sat through 8 days of my words.
Over the next 8 days I will bring you many stories of not only the riders and beautiful road crew but of some of the amazing individuals that live in the communities that we travel through each year. I will have the time to capture moments I would not normally be capable of when spending from sun up to sun down on my bike.
Finally, while this Challenge ride is the 11th edition it also marks the 10th anniversary of my mates passing. Wow, ten years has gone by so quickly and we have achieved such amazing things over those years. I know for David and the Smiddy family this year is quite significant, as it is with me and my thoughts will be very firmly fixed on my mate Adam, as of course it will be with Maria, especially when I eat the saos and those times I need a big loving Maria hug, as I enjoy the long road up to Townsville.
Roll out tomorrow is from 6am at the Queensland University Aquatic Centre and everyone is welcome to attend. I hope to see some of you there and if not then enjoy the words, photos and videos that will come out over the duration of this epic event.