Distance: 197 km's
Ride Time: 7:13:35
Ave Speed: 27.35 km/h
Max Speed: 48.20
Climbing: 1068 metres
Min Temp: 14 degrees
Max Temp: 36.8 degrees
Auntie Marie Barker, Olivia Sawarde - See Below
My most favouritest Auntie Marie turns 67 today, which is a happy occasion for the Smoothy family. Marie at this point in time, is facing a health crises in her life, and out of respect to her I will not say any more. I know she'll be reading this, and I want her to know how much we all love her beautiful bravery and for being the most upbeat positive lady we have ever come across.
Olivia is a young lady who no-one in the Smiddy family will know or has heard of except for Mr Smiddy and myself. You see we had morning tea with a fellow Smiddy rider in Paul Dawson a week ago. His best friend in Freddy Sawarde, who he has been buddies with since their school days and are now in their early 50's, just lost his beautiful young 18 year-old daughter last Friday. Olivia's funeral is today and I know Paul and Freddy and their families are grieving deeply. Our thoughts are with Paul, Freddy and Marie today.
Blog Reading Dedication By Mr Smiddy
Blog reading tonight was done by David Smiddy. Last year he and my Auntie Marie teamed up to read out the blog. He said that he wanted to dedicate this blog reading to Auntie Marie, who he respects immensely and knows she is not well and sends all his love.
Words Of Adam By Mr Smiddy
I asked David if he would speak some words about his Son Adam on this 10th anniversary year of Adam passing away. The beautiful man thought long and hard but finally agreed to do it tonight in Charters Towers. His heartfelt words about Adam touched every single person in the room and the tears flowed freely. Our hearts went out to the big man. We are all in awe of David's strength and bravery for what he does each and every year by coming onboard these Smiddy events which continually open wounds that are still trying to heal.
Beautiful Words By Mel Speare
Thank you Mel for getting up tonight and speaking about your Smiddy life since 2012. The story of your Mum beating cancer, your husband fighting it as we speak and all the Smiddy events you have participated in over the years, along with the money raised you should feel so very proud of your involvement.
Brooke Rose - Canadian Rum and Dry Please
Tonight's proceedings was run by last nights extremely popular blog reader in Brooke Rose. This lovely Canadian, with the booming voice that I do not need to wear my hearing aids for -bless her voice box- and did such a great job last night that Killer asked her if she would take on tonight. Of course she said yes because that is what Brooke does, says yes and then smashes everything she does with her incredible, vibrant and contagious energy. Thank you Brooke.
Aliens Again At Belyando
Our stay at Belyando Crossing is always a short affair but a memorable one. A few more lasting memories were added to the gene pool last night, although for those riders that stayed up past midnight their memories were erased due to Aliens visiting the camp site. It must have been the Aliens as what else would erase memories?
Mandy Rings The Bell
Roll out for the group was 6:45 on another glorious morning that infused you with a great-to-be- alive type of emotion. Our host at Belyando has always been Mandy and her partner Hog. While Hog is no longer with us due to passing away in 2010 to cancer, Mandy is still very much involved. After a group photo with Mandy and the two Hog Cup winners from yesterday in Ken and Robyn, Kevvy invited Mandy to ring the cow bell.
The Man Who Actually Does Not Stink
So the cow bell was rung, and as I was sitting out the mornings stage, I stood there clapping along with all the road crew sending the riders on their way. I then realized I was meant to be in the lead car with Mel and Shayne as they drove off into the distance. The good thing to come out of this was I got to jump in the car with Stinky Dave. So for the morning I get to share what it's like hanging with the man who has the most unappealing nickname in the entire Smiddy family. I often wondered how Stinky got his nickname and I have never once asked as I am scared of the answer. Thankfully at this very moment his smell is not offensive and we are getting along fine.
Ramblings From Belyando To Morning Tea At Capsize Creek
The road out here is dead quiet, especially at seven in the morning. Stinky and I were chatting and and he said he expected it to be a quiet start to the day. Well it was for the first hour then the action began. First up Andrew Hancox punctured, a quick change of a front wheel and a minute later he was back on the road trying to stay with the 'Kenny Freight Train Express' ride back to the peloton. After the first wee and hydration stop Julia joined us in the car, unable to keep up with the peloton. We pushed off and not long after, Bruce Frazer was out, as the hills and crosswinds made their presence felt. Bruce is still trying to get over a persistent flu and sounded terrible as he was hacking up flem in the back seat of the car. Within ten minutes, with a smile upon his face, he kept repeating the same word over and over again, Cherie, Cherie, Cherie as he drifted off to sleep. See my Facebook page to see Bruce asleep. Exciting stuff!
Not five minutes later Dr Koala was out as the fatigue of the ride continually catches up with him and is made worse once the climbs begin and the winds picks up. Stinky each time gets out and puts the bike on the trailer attached to his car. This time Dr Koala got into Kevvy's car while Stinky picked up his bike. Just five minutes later and Stephen Townsend was out suffering fatigue from a Smiddy tour that is excruciating in good conditions and murder when the weather turns bad. All in all they are doing an exceptional job and time in any of the cars is not defeat, it is smart, as they get to fight another day by being smart and listening to their bodies. Last exciting thing before morning tea was when a flasher was standing by the side of the road hidden behind an umbrella. He popped out from behind the umbrella and surprised the rider group, who thankfully remained upright as they realised it was Mr Smiddy, the immature one in David and not Allan. Thankfully David had clothes on when he revealed his intentions.
At morning tea an impromptu huddle was formed by all the riders and crew. Kenny Woods Grandma was to be buried this morning and due to getting phone reception he also received news that a close friend of his had passed away yesterday. He was very distraught and thanked the group for our support. Ken once again rode on and will use the next stage to help him with his grief.
Morning Tea To Lunch at Campase
Captain Kev relegated me back to the lead car for this next leg. He warned me that Stinky lived up to his nickname from 10 a.m. and as I was a mate he did not want me to go through what lay ahead. Thanks Kevvy. And thank you Stinky for allowing me to share the life and times of a rear, rear car driver. I enjoyed it immensely.
The run into lunch at 122 kilometres is along mostly flat roads with those annoyingly 1 to 2 percent gradient slow gradual climbs that linger for kilometres at a time. The riders are riding into the same wind as yesterday off the right nose and the temperature is gradually climbing into the mid 30's. It is a tough stretch into lunch. And for that reason I find myself getting very closely acquainted with Dr Koala, who is sitting in the middle of the back seat, while Cherie, who is on photographic duty today, fills the other seat. With Mel and Shayne in the front seat we have a full car and they just informed me that Stinky is not lonely as well thanks to the fine company of Stephen, Julia and Bruce.
Lunch to Afternoon Tea at Policeman Creek
This stage is always a welcome one due to the road surface improving and the trees denser to block out a little of the annoying wind. It was along this stretch that the strangest thing happened when a random non-Smiddy rider rode past the peloton absolutely stark naked. As he disappeared into the distance he stood up to sprint faster and the whole peloton spewed in unison.
The riders have broken the camels back by the time they roll into afternoon tea. You can literally smell Charters Towers from there and the small surge of adrenaline felt, is partly for that reason, but also attributed to the final sprint of the tour coming up just 15 kilometres out from Charters. This hotly contested extravaganza was called off at the last moment because the riders had battled a headwind for most of the day and the ride leaders were concerned with the group safety.
Today I joined the riders from lunchtime onwards to Charters Towers. The wind was up and it was pretty well on the nose. Now normally if the wind is that strong a six man peloton form at the front and those six strong man take the brunt of the wind for the entire peloton. Not today as a rolling peloton ensured that saw each and every rider do their turn in front for just a few seconds at a time. Your turn came around incredible quick and the pace was hard but manageable. I kept waiting for the call to 'slow down' or 'ease up', but it never came. Man these guys and girls are so incredibly strong and they should all be very proud of what they have achieved not just today but over the past seven days.
Thank you to the few riders that needed to pull out and join either Kevvy, Stinky or Mel and Shayne in their respective vehicles. You guys took one for the team and allowed everyone to finish into Charters Towers well before nightfall. I know it is gut wrenching watching from the car but your selfless acts are truly appreciated by all.
The Sprint That Wasn't On But Happened Anyway
This is the first time in nine years that this has happened, but thanks to Kenny and Damien, who decided that the tradition could not be totally wiped, they launched an attack with three kilometres to go. All the players in the peloton responded, but being caught out unaware, we had no hope of latching on to this Dynamic Duo, although Ben Hola and Scott Manning went close. Damien got it in the end and I have a feeling his good mate Kenny may have gifted it to him. Nice work guys.
Huddle By Peter, John, Dick, Shane, Fred, Or Was It Brock?
The huddle this afternoon was taken by Brocky Yates. I picked Brocky because all week we have been playing this game where we both pretended to forget each other's name and each rotation we would call each other by another name. We literally went through the entire alphabet and Brock ended up by winning this very mature game as I was disqualified when I started calling him girl names. Anyway mate you earned it not just for that reason but for all the amazing work you have put in for Smiddy over many, many years. Four Midi Smiddy events and two or three Challenge events. Not to mention all the fundraising and recruitment you do in the background.
Rotary - John and Anne Clarke
Once again our hosts tonight were John and Anne Clarke, who are volunteers at Charters Towers Rotary and their team in Wilma Gibson President Of Rotary and fellow Rotarians in Nev Steel, Theresa Thomspson, Robyn Donovan, Tom Dempster and friends of Rotary in Leslie Elliot, Brenda Elliot and Maz Howman.
Each year this amazing group of individuals cook up a storm, both for dinner and then breakfast the next day for the entire team at no expense to us. Thank you to all, we are are very much appreciative. John is also the principal at The School Of Distance Education and it is where we spend the night each year. The grass here is so green and lush and like sleeping on the plushest carpet made by man.
A big welcome to the three school children here tonight helping out from Charters Towers Interact Club. Which is a training ground for young people to eventually enter Rotary.
Category Jerseys Recipients - Robyn Lever
I have saved this until tonight to present Robyn Lever with her special jersey as I really wanted her to wear it on the final day. She exemplifies the Smiddy spirit so perfectly. So modest and patient and caring and understanding and never demanding. Has fundraised for Smiddy, along with Sean, since 2010. Surely one of the nicest purest ladies we have ever had on tour. Congratulations Robyn.
And finally this next jersey goes to a man who has been there for us since his first Smiddy event as a volunteer back in 2010. Has been involved in at least ten Smiddy events or training weekends. Has does amazing amounts of fundraising, manages to score significant items that we then get to auction off. Is one of the most calming influences in the road crew. Is extremely respectful, quiet and a human being that deserves some recognition for what he does. So tonight he got some in the way of this Teamwork, Mateship and Spirit jersey. Congratulations Andy Loney.
History Of Charters Towers
Charters Towers, the town they call ‘The World' was born to the sound of thunder and flashes of lightning.
Hugh Mosman, George Clarke, John Fraser and horseboy Jupiter had been prospecting away to the south of what is now Charters Towers when their horses scattered during a fierce thunderstorm.
It was while searching for the horses next morning that the first Towers gold was discovered. The discovery point was just near the modern day intersection of Mosman Street, Rainbow Road and Black Jack Road and was at the end of the year 1871 or the very beginning of 1872.
The party returned to Ravenswood to register their find which they named Charters Towers.
Charters: for W.S.E.M. Charters, the Gold Commissioner - the big man from the Cape (Charters was said to be about 6'6" tall and weighed some 20 stone).
Towers: because of the conical shaped hills in the vicinity of the discovery.
A rush of ‘fortune seeking men' quickly followed and a small settlement named Millchester formed on the water at Gladstone Creek. By the end of 1872 some 3000 souls inhabited the new field. The alluvial men left early on for the Palmer River discoveries but the hard rock miners remained, seeking the gold in the deep veins underground. Charters Towers rather than Millchester soon became the main settlement.
The goldfield did not reach its peak of gold production until 1899. During the period 1872-1899 the place changed from a rough settlement with bark and calico buildings to a thriving City of some 25,000 inhabitants.
The City, by that time, had properly formed streets, some wonderful houses and many grand public buildings lining the two main streets. A plentiful supply of water for domestic and other purposes was pumped to the town from a Weir in the Burdekin River about 9 miles to the north. Underground electricity was also supplied to parts of the main town area.
Literally 100s of shafts were sunk during the lifetime of the field and the ore raised was processed through many large Treatment Batteries. It is estimated that 6,000,000 ounces of gold was won in the first 40 to 50 years of the life of the Towers.
All religions were strongly represented on the field and in 1890 the miners could quench their thirst in no less than 65 hotels registered on the field.
Sports, music and the arts all had fantastic followings. It was said that everything you might desire could be had in the Towers. There was no reason to travel elsewhere for anything. This is why the town became known affectionately as ‘The World'.
The decline of mining following World War I saw the population shrink and the town become the supply centre or hub of the Dalrymple Shire as well as the educational centre for students from all over North Queensland