Thursday, 1 September 2016


Stats for the day by Brocky Yates and Brett Shipp
Distance: 176 km's
Ride Time: 6:36:00
Ave Speed: 27.1 km/h
Max Speed: 56km/h
Climbing: 861 metres
Min Temp: 12 degrees
Max Temp: 36.4 degrees

Blog Dedication
Brad Hartmann, Geoff Honey and Justin Jelonkovich are all Smiddy riders. They have all passed away in the last year. Everyone involved with Smiddy have been rocked to the core with these tragic occurrences. Therefore today's blog is dedicated to these three fine gentlemen.

Captain Kev and His New Lead Vehicle
Roll out today was for 7:30a.m. Our luck with the weather was holding as we pushed off with our lead vehicle being local Clermont business man Lochy Burnett and one of his enormous prime movers. Captain Kev was the co-driver of course and Stinky Dave became a human step, while someone else gave Kev a good shove to actually get the little fella into the truck. This has become a custom to get the riders out of town and in the process having some fun thanks to Lochy's generosity each year.

Mother Nature Has Been Kind
Today's course is the ultimate day to be on a bike and I was not going to miss a second of it as I decided to ride the entire day. It is now 5:45 in the afternoon and I am tapping away madly to get this blog done in time for the usual nighttime Smiddy festivities. As Youngy said to me, just keep it short and sweet, so that is my goal.

The road to the morning tea stop was simply perfect; great road surfaces that roll out as far as the eye can see. The beautiful Australian outback scenery is simply stunning due to the amount of rain they have had out here. For so many years, at this time of the year, when we have travelled through, it has resembled a dust bowl. So it is just so awesome to see the country in the shape that it is in right now. To see pockets of water, dams that are full and reservoirs glistening in the sunlight is good for the soul and I feel really happy for the locals out here that have been doing it tough for so many years. The only downside to this news is that the road kill count was nearly non-existent, due, I think, to the fact that there is no need for the animals to graze close to the road where they know the foliage is always greener.

A Quick Wrap Up From Morning Tea To Lunch
At morning tea the road crew put on another awesome display of food. This trip, so much food has been donated in nearly every town we have stayed in. I get the feeling that by the time the tour ends we are going to be left with an enormous amount of food, so riders eat up!

The predicted wind kicked in early and was with us all day on the right side of the nose. In other words a cross-wind. Thankfully it wasn't stupid strong and the peloton was still able to average a good speed of some 27 kmp/h. The temperature creeped up to our hottest day since we began in Brisbane and my Garmin said it peaked at 36.6 degrees. Water and Electrolyte the rider group went through by the bucketful.

The group once again rode well together into lunch, the calls were constant, the pace consistent and the crop-dusting went to a whole new level today! I don't know what Habo and Youngy ate last night but whatever it was it died in their guts and tried to get out all day.

Lunch was at a mound of dirt called Laurel Hills. The usual shenanigans took place with past riders sneaking heavy rocks into other rider day bags. This is the place where a group photo is taken with all riders and road crew on top of that dirt mound and where David Smiddy informs the group that they are to carry their day bags to the next stop. He does this tradition to remind the riders what the first three riders went through in 2006 doing the ride unsupported. Not one rider opted to not carry their bag. Beautiful!

The Hog Cup
We have always finished with an A, B and C graded sprint into Belyando Crossing. A few years ago we started to call it the Hog Cup, as the owner of this road house lost his battle with cancer. His name was Hog. Now a perpetual trophy sits in the road house and each year the winning male and female names are added to the trophy. Today in a close sprint with Damien, Shippy, and Habo, Ken Woods took out his second win of this tour. Robyn Lever of course won once again because she is a bloody legend and no-one can beat her! Nice work again Robyn. One day you will have to let us in on your secret...

Huddle By Allan Smiddy
Thank you Allan for taking the huddle this fine afternoon. I was meant to ask Allan earlier today if he would not mind taking the huddle and as I was having so much fun riding with my friends I totally forgot. As the huddle was forming I asked Allan and he stepped up brilliantly. He talked about how few people in Australia have the name Smiddy, 12 he said in Queensland. But after six days on the road he admitted that he now sees the Smiddy family numbering in the hundreds. He was, of course, referring to the extended Smiddy family of riders, road crew, donors, sponsors, supporters etc.

Fun Times With Lofty and Robyn
Lofty and Peter Hickey tonight run the nighttime proceedings and as expected, delivered was a hilarious cycling quiz affair that had us all in stitches of laughter. The great thing with Belyando Crossing is that it gets back to just us, the road crew and the riders. There is no phone coverage, swags are our accommodation, spirits are high and alcohol is consumed to help celebrate six successful days on the road. It truly is a special place and some of the most memorable Smiddy social moments of the entire tour have happened right here at Belyando Crossing.

Jersey Recipients - Shayne Ritchings and Scott Manning - Allan Smiddy
Shayne for breaking his hand and still fronting up for road crew duties and doing it all with a smile. Scott has been battling with an injury since early in the tour but refuses to give in or get in the van. Both lads are great friends and worked extremely hard to raise up over $12,000.

Allan Smiddy took ten years to finally get permission from his work to get a week off at this time of the year. He had to use some of his long service and give work two years notice. Allan is very popular with the riders and road crew, he works hard and is such a likable and friendly gentleman. Being the younger Brother of David the resemblance is definitely there and like David has a heart of gold.

Guest Speakers
Tonight we heard from Serge and Sydsey. Serge spoke of his reasons for doing this ride and the battle that his Wife Emma is facing as she fights a stage four terminal Melanoma. Chris Sydes spoke of suicide prevention and depression and offered any rider any help they may need now or in the future.

Road Kill by Rambo
Ian stepped up to deliver road kill tonight as Serge and and Sydsey needs a breather.
As there was not much out there he decided to count mature things like dead cars, old shoes and the occasional roo. Thanks Rambo for having some fun with it and entertaining us tonight.

Conversations in the peloton
To finish this blog tonight I just wanted to pass on to you some of the conversations I had with the riders and road crew today, which helped to pass the time. Warning... Immaturity about to commence.

Krista Page - We spoke about a giant mound that was covered by grass, which was quite obviously a giant human being that passed away 2000 years ago and had a huge belly due to eating all the trees.

Sean Lever - Taught me a joke, I practiced on other riders. He overheard me and was not pleased. This apprentice has his work cut out for him before Alyssa pops out a little person for me to practice my Dad jokes on.

Robyn Lever - Asked me what was my most favourite place to stay in the entire world. I told her it was her home as she lets me eat her secret stash of Manuka Honey that not even her husband is allowed to touch.

Dr Koala - Said to me he was honoured to be given the chance to experience this event. This was said as he was dehydrated, delirious from the heat and wobbling all over the road.

Brett Shipp - Said that he thought just maybe I did not love him as I had never shared a Homestay family with him and I. I assured him I did and that he could set up his swag in my room tonight.

Chris Sydes - Offered to carry the rock that was placed in my day bag. Nice one mate.

Serge Simic - Today when everyone took off their day bags Serge decided to ride the rest of the day with it on. Why Serge? I said... "Because it's actually quite comfortable and sits nicely on my back", he replied. Okay I thought and rode on to the next person.

Scott Manning - I would say Blah, Blah, Blah, Scott would reply Yackety Yak, and I would respond Etc, Etc Etc. This happened every rotation for the entire day. Very deep and meaningful are Scotty and I.

Mick Young - "Sharky, we better start thinking what rider day bags we are going to put rocks in at lunchtime."

Sammi Jo - "Sharky please don't tell anyone but please, please, please can I nominate Allan Smiddy for a jersey?" Your secret is safe with me...

Brooke Rose - "Sharky, please keep this to yourself but I just wanted to tell you first that I am going to sign up to ride this event next year." That's awesome and my lips are sealed...

Cameron Habermann - "Hey Sharky, bleep, can I Bleep, Bleep, Bleep you when we get off the bikes as I am feeling Bleep Bleep and need some Bleeping." I replied No!

Andrew Hancox: "Sharky thank you allowing me the privilege of doing this ride and for speaking last night." My heart went out to this guy, wow, what a lovely thing to say when really the privilege is all ours!

Ian Mallyon - Wow was this guy happy today. On every rotation Ian said this; "Sharky this ride is awesome, I am loving today, thank you so much!" I said to Ian, "Was yesterday awesome?" He replied, we don't need to discuss yesterday!"

Brett Shipp - "Clearly excited by being in the lead bunch to the line at the Hog Cup. "Sharky I went too soon."

John Martin - John was doing it tough going into morning tea. "John do you need a rest in the van?" "Bleep off, no bleeping way, never going to get in the bleeping van!" I decided then was the best time to go for a wee.



Belyando Crossing History

Located 220km south of Charters Towers on the A7 (Gregory Developmental Road). The roadhouse is located at Belyando Crossing and offers a shady picnic area to customers passing through. Fish for redclaw in the local creeks. Camp the night and marvel at the stars. Visit the historic grave site. Nearby Lake Buchanan is a large, flat salt lake.

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