Monday, 3 October 2016


Stats for the day by Brett Goebel
Distance: 224 kms
Ride Time: 9 hours 40 min
Ave Speed: 19.9 km/h
Max Speed: 91 km/h
Climbing: 1835 metres
Min Temp: 12 degrees
Max Temp: 22 degrees

Road Kill by Eric StayKov and Roger
Road kill counters took a day off thanks to the rain and not being able to see out of sodden eyes.

Jersey Recipients
Jerseys were handed out immediately following the huddle at UQ Aquatic Centre. Congratulations to Selina Green, Eric StayKov and Ross Pink. All three won for a variety of reasons. Selina has a beautiful heart and we all saw this when she donated to each riders fundraising page on Sunday night at Jondaryan. She also deserves this award for not hating us at Team Smiddy after we put her through her pet dislikes in dirt roads, mountains, wind and rain, but Selina does sunshine and downhills!

Eric at just 24 years of age and relatively new to cycling had his toughest day today and refused to give in. Eric is a beautiful kind and caring person and always so polite and was a poplar winner of the jersey.

As for Ross; well this guy is a machine at 65 years of age and while very quiet and reserved, he had the heart of a lion when it came to riding downhills on dirt. A perfect gentlemen, great fundraiser and a well deserved recipient.

So it's Sharky back now writing the final blog from our most epic of days. A big heartfelt thank you to my guest bloggers for the great work they did in getting their blogs finished in time to read out to the group each night after such long days in the saddle.

After the hot soothing bath that I had promised myself yesterday from the very first bone-drenching downpour into morning tea, I sat down last night thinking I have to write the last blog, no I wanted to write the last blog, needed to get that crazy day down in words, but with a belly full of food and warm cuddles from my beautiful 34 week pregnant Wife Alyssa, I promptly fell asleep. Hence why I am writing this morning at five-am.

Highest Fundraiser Awards - Maria Smiddy Rainbow Socks
A special mention and thank you to Stephen Richardson for his efforts in raising over $5,000 and taking out our highest fundraising award.

The highest team fundraising went to the team of Deanna, Lance, Selina, Steven and Alex for raising over $15,000 between them. All were awarded these incredibly special rainbow coloured cycling socks that are in honour and remembrance of our beautiful Maria Smiddy.

Smiddy Roll Out
Roll out yesterday was scheduled for six-am and guess what? We actually left at 5:56a.m. But hey, before you go getting too excited at our promptness, we only rolled to the front of the Jondaryan Woolshed sign for a group photo and the ringing of the cow bell by road crew legend, sporting his proudly broken arm from snow boarding a few days prior to this event, Brett Shipp. So photos were taken by the bubbly effervescent Brooke Rose and always Smiling and happy and hard working Nick Crilly, and as Shippy rang the bell, I glanced at my watch, and yes we were back on Smiddy punctual time and leaving by 6:10a.m.

Rain jackets? We Don't Need Em!
As we rolled I noticed just a few riders had rain jackets on. As it was still dry most of us opted to start without them. I made the cardinal sin of forgetting to put my rear mudguard on. What most of failed to comprehend is that a predicted weather warning of 90% chance of rain throughout the day meant that there was a 90% chance of getting soaked! That 10% left over is what 98% of us riders put our hedging bets on to.

Another fatal flaw that we overlooked was the fact that none of us knew in advance that another Smiddy first would occur on that fateful morning. You see, we broke the Smiddy world famous time-frame (roll out to morning tea) record, for being out there for four hours to cover the 85 kilometres into morning tea at Helidon. A lot can happen in four hours and by the time we arrived absolutely drenched to the bone, and resembling more a litter of drowned rats, to thunderous applause from our welcoming road crew, the stories began spilling from the riders lips.

Jondaryan to Helidon Snapshot
A quick snapshot of those four hours included our first dirt road within ten kilometres of the start. Tired minds had definitely not woken and battered bodies were just not ready for the vibrations to come. But as I already knew, Smiddy riders are a hardy lot and mentally that toughness switch was turned on and a much needed full-on-focus came into play. Which is what was needed to stay upright and safe.

The course was relatively flat for the first 40 kilometres right up until we got close to Toowoomba. Our elevation gain from 400 metres up to our highest point of just shy of 700 hurt and hurt a lot. The Murphy's Creek decent was our reward and it was there that a few of the guys sneaked into the 90's. Thankfully with dry roads. The regrouping at the bottom of the long 20 kilometre descent saw many happy faces and adrenaline fueled stories of pace-lining with their buddies in tow.

Our first shower occurred as we rolled out and after a few rollercoaster hills we made a left onto our third significant dirt road for the morning. The rain started in earnest and by the time we reached the tar road, bikes and bodies were all a bloody mess.

Helidon to Lowood Snapshot
Killer did a remarkable job keeping us off all the major roads throughout the entire four days, especially yesterday. This is only possible thanks to the extensive dirt roads that exist. It is pot luck as to the condition of these roads. Smiddy staff do a drive over the course a couple of months prior, but wind and rain can have a remarkable affect in such a small space of time.

The next section of dirt was ten kilometres in length and came upon us not long after morning tea. It is a road that the riders will remember for a very long time. Actually nightmares will be common in the coming weeks... In the dry it would have been fine, but wet it was an absolute nightmare. There was one climb so steep and mushy that all but a few riders were reduced to walking. I took a cracker of a photo of this climb and a picture tells a thousand words so check it out on my Facebook site. The descents on wet sloshy mud required full-on-focus-mode. As each rider finished that section at the regrouping point faces told the story of what they went through. Some were elated and relished the challenging conditions - sicko's! While others were glad to escape with theirs lives.

What I found amazing by the four days on the road was just how bloody talented all the riders were in technical conditions. Not one fall was recorded over the course of four days! Thinking back on the conditions, the road surfaces, the howling windy days, all the dirt and then yesterday the unrelenting rain, the guys and girls may come away from this a little mentally scarred and bodily bruised, but heck their skills on the bike now will be 25% better than when they started their Smiddy journey last Friday. Nice work guys, you are all dead set legends and the adventure you put yourself through can only ever be good for the heart and soul. Some suffering is required in life to truly appreciate just how lucky we are!

After that piece of dirt we were all happy to be back on terra-ferma and the rest of the ride into Lowood was going without a hitch until we stopped for a pee stop alongside an electric Fence. Of course no-one knew it was electric until Julie and Selina both touched it as they leaned their bikes up against it. When they told Eric, he just could not help himself, being the boy that he is, and touched it to see if they were joshing him or not. The returning jolt frizzled his hair and it went from jet black to white and he then believed the girls! Nice work mate.

Yet again, just like before morning tea, we were ten minutes out of Lowood and the Heavens opened and drenched us to the bone for the second time. Road crew were out in force to welcome us in, along with some love ones who were braving the elements to support their rider. Welcome back to the Richardson family and the Fraser family as well there to support Bruce. Once again riders were changing clothes in an attempt to stay warm and the lunch break was reduced to allow us to get back on the bikes and stay warm.

Lowood to Ipswich Snap Shot
Of course straight out of Lowood, with full bellies and cold bodies we were treated to Telecom Hill. A 150 metre elevation gain in just a couple of kilometres. It was brutal after everything the rider group had been through but somehow we all got up and down safely to the regrouping point, all in the now constant rain. More dirt awaited us and we safely got through another two sections to finally hit tar for the remainder of the trip back to Brisbane. One cruel element as we headed to our afternoon tea spot in Ipswich, was a wrong turn that required retracing our steps up a two kilometre stretch of road that we had just descended down. What's another two kilometres on an already long day. The rider group sucked it up without complaint and we got to Ipswich with the last ten minutes, as if on cue, into a heavy downpour and once again we were stoked to the bone!

Ipswich to Brisbane Snap Shot
After lots of loving from our gorgeous caring road crew we were on our way for the final leg into Brisbane. Light rain was with us the entire way and an absolute bonus was there were no more dirt roads. What we did have was short steep climbs for the remainder of the 40 kilometres back to our finishing point at UQ pool. Tired legs felt this for sure but each rider could smell the finish and everyone was determined to get there. From afternoon tea any rider that was in the van were out again and the peloton was felt complete. Even Liam gave up his warm air-conditioned road crew car to join us and snap some shots for his world class and award winning Smiddy documentaries! (Sharky appreciation award mate)

As if right on cue, with ten minutes remaining of the ride, the sky gave us one last hooray within 30 seconds we were again a sopping wet mess, but as Brad Richardson pointed out, the bikes were now clean!

Family and friends turned out in the thousands, okay the hundreds, okay well would you believe about 50? Anyway with road crew and family the thunderous applause, under the cover of the pool balcony of course, would have been deafening to the ears, had our ears not already be deafened from the heaviest of downpours we experienced today. Anyway it was beautiful and very much appreciated by the riders. As the first riders rode through the tunnel of spectators into the pool, and got in trouble for riding on pool grounds, (naughty Smiddy riders) the feeling was of awe that we had completed it and a sigh of relief by Team Smiddy that everyone was back safe and sound.

After the usual hugs, handshakes and back-slaps, which our supporters were staying clear of for fear of getting soaked by wet bodies, the huddle was formed and all the usual suspects were thanked for their amazing contribution over the past four days. Road crew gifts were handed out and I had a brain-freeze and forgot Ashleigh's name as I called her up, typical of me at the end of a tough Smiddy tour, actually any Smiddy tour, heck they are all tough, just different tough!

And that was it, done and dusted, nearly $50,000 raised by these magnificent machines, these people that care enough to do their bit in the hope that their children will live long and prosperous lives.

As I write this, I am glad I am not on the bike today, my aging body is not happy, but there is a part of me that wants to still be riding, not for the workout, but because to be around Smiddy people is empowering. Collectively as a group it always amazes me of what we can achieve, and have achieved, in ten years of Smiddy events as we close in on the $8 million raised since I lost my mate back in 2006.

Adam would be so proud, he would have loved to do a Smiddy event, for he was just like all you guys; kind-hearted, caring, had a zest for life that was infectious and loved oozed out of him that made you want to be -have to be- his friend. Everyone that comes to Smiddy, whether as a rider, road crew, supporter, donors and sponsors, you all possess these beautiful attributes and I thank you for your involvement.

A Special Message to All Smiddy Riders
Lastly to all Smiddy riders but especially now to our inaugural 4 day Challenge riders, we all know this event, threw at you challenges that at times seemed insurmountable. But you all got through it in the end. The suffering ends at the end of every Smiddy event, but that suffering is what defines you as human beings. For the majority of our lives we live in plush conditions, to get out of that comfort zone I believe replenishes the soul. It makes us better people. In my mind -and I have a feeling you may feel the same if you get what I am talking about- the greatest gift you could ever give to a colleague, friend, or family member is the gift of Smiddy. Whether as a road crew member, rider, sponsor or donor. This is no marketing ploy to get you to help fill our events. This is emotional Shark speaking to you after sharing those four days with you. Positive energy is generated through our events, that energy is passed from person to person and over ten years hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by that energy. Keep it flowing you beautiful people. I love you all for having such big hearts and for allowing us the extreme pleasure of sharing with you a Smiddy experience.

Take care and I hope to ride with you all again at some time in the future.


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