Wednesday, 14 June 2017
2017 Alice to Darwin Smiddy Challenge - Day 8
Distance: 81 km
Ride Time: 2:40
Ave Speed: 30.5
Max Speed: 52
Climbing: 254 metres
Descent: 325 metres
Min Temp: 13 degrees
Max Temp: 28 degrees
Written by Mark Sharky Smoothy
I wish I could ride with Adam by my side
The one over-riding thought that came to mind throughout the past eight-days was this; I would give back every experience I have ever had over the past 12 years since Adam's passing to have him back again and riding by my side. As we all know, that can never happen, but let me tell you here and now, that I have relished, appreciated and respected each and every occasion, since 2006, to come into contact with some extraordinarily special people. On this occasion, I have had the pleasure of hanging out with another 50 of them during this years Alice to Darwin Challenge.
Luxurious Green Grass
After camping so many nights in the red dusty dirt of the Australian outback, (Which was extremely popular with our Rider Dusty Club) our last night in swags in Coomalie Creek Van Park was luxurious. Why? We had grass, green grass, soft green grass, and about three football fields of it. Choose any spot you wanted. No-one chose to sleep near any of the known snorers, why would you? This field was so large, that if you got up out of your swag to go the the toilets, you needed to leave the day before. It was better to just wet your bed.
The nighttime entertainment included a great juggling comedian dog act, all the usual Smiddy shenanigans, a very moving speech from Ray Ray about friendships and a great reading of the blog by the Sydney girls. All were tucked up in their swags by nine-a.m. Dreaming about the final day on the road into Darwin.
Why Smiddy Riders Boarding A Bus For A Second Day
Once again we boarded the bus to get us up the road by another 32 kilometres. You may be wondering why are Smiddy riders on a bus and not on our bikes? We could not get permission from the powers that be, to allow us to ride on the highway between Katherine and Darwin. Therefore, so as not to break our police permit instructions, a bus transfer from Katherine was involved. All the riders were of course disappointed, but like all Smiddy riders past and present, they understood and did not make a fuss.
The Cow Bell And Most Worthy Recipient
So once we arrived to Old Bynoe Road, which was the start of the alternative road that kept us off the main highway, our goal for the day was just 80 kilometres left into Darwin. We managed to get going by about 8:30a.m. And Ron, The Man of Steel, realized a life long dream, well Smiddy life long of 12 years at least, when Kevvy finally gave him the honour of ringing the cow bell for the final days ride into Darwin. It was Ron's first time ringing it and it meant the world to him, as he has told me a little break from Smiddy events next year is on the cards. Well deserved after 12 years of saying yes to most of what I ask of him.
Anyway we rolled out under clear skies and our ever present tailwind. Not an hour later we rolled into morning tea for an average speed of over 32km/h at Crazy Acres Mango Farm. It was here that there was an immediate Smiddy rider explosion of love delivered to our beautiful road crew. We all agreed that they deserved to be smothered in love, hugs, slaps, kisses and stinky sweat, to show our appreciation for eight days on the road. Thank you to the lovely owner who donated free Mango Smoothies to the entire team.
Different Roads Dizzy Heads
The remaining 50 kilometres into Darwin saw us take every back road known to the outskirts of Darwin. Christian did a great job mapping out this alternative route, which at the least allowed us the joy of riding into Darwin and not being bussed in. Great job Killer and very much appreciated by the entire team. The riders certainly enjoyed our first different variety of roads and we all got dizzy and disoriented from all the twists and turns, after following just the one and only road for the past seven days.
The finish was into an undercover car park, close to where we are staying, right in the heart of Darwin. We were meant to finish near the water but due to a big festival being held on the same day, there was no room for stinky cyclists and a convoy of seven trucks and cars. Anyway it was shady and cool and many of the riders love ones had flown in for the finish and what a welcome sight they were.
Hugs and high fives and backslapping were of course the order of the day. We then did the Smiddy Chuddle; the Smiddy Chuddle is a combination of a huddle and a cuddle. It has been done a few times now at the finish of these epic events. Mr Smiddy was held up in the middle by road crew Michelle, then all the road crew women embraced the pair, then road crew male, followed by our supporters, then the lady riders, lastly the cross dressing male riders and the rest of us normal tough burly blokes that wear no underwear. All the usual thank you's and three cheers are done, but finished off with a Smiddy chant that never stops until the people in the middle are melting inside the Smiddy Sauna!
Let's Pay Money To Get Eaten
A photo finish in front of the Crocasaurus Park entrance followed immediately after, which is where many Smiddy people have paid good money to swim and get eaten by them this afternoon at 5:15p.m. The pub over the road was the next port of call and a good many hours and beers were consumed in celebration of another safe and successful Smiddy event. Just a quick thanks to Shaun Gamble, who is not the Mayor of Darwin but should be. Shaun use to live here and still has his hands in a few pockets and was able to help out the Smiddy crew with accommodation and dinner tonight, amongst a few other things. He is a humble man and wants no attention but I am giving it to him.
Smiddy Riders And Road Crew - You Guy's Rock
One thing I take utmost pride in is this; in each and every Smiddy journey- it is a fact that even the most hard core athletes are broken down and accepting of the fact that during this eight-day journey, it is okay to let your emotions shown to the entire group. How can you not? When you hear the stories of suffering and loss due to cancer from our fellow riders and road crew who speak so openly and passionately each night. My appreciation went out to my fellow Smiddy riders from the day they signed up 10 months ago, but now, each and every one of these fine human beings, have earned my admiration and respect. I do not apologise for wearing my heart on my sleeve, that is me- Please know I hold you all in the highest regard and mere words can't express what your actions mean -not only to myself- but to David Smiddy, the staff of Smiddy and the Mater Foundation. We are in awe of your contribution and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Sharky's final words
What an amazing journey so far. Here we are nearly 12 years since my mates passing. In that time we have completed 11 Smiddy Challenge events, 6 Midi Smiddy's, 3 Half Smiddy's, the Smiddy Pyrenee's, the Italian Smiddy Challenge, Tasmania Smiddy Challenge, the French Alps Smiddy Challenge, 1 Kiddy Smiddy, 7 Smiddy Noosa triathlons, 4 NSW Smiddy Challenge, 4 X 10km Smiddy Challenge swims, Adelaide to Uluru and now Alice to Darwin. On top of that 2 documentary's have been made about the Smiddy story, a park was renamed Adam Smiddy Park in Milton Brisbane, and my own Sharky Oz Smiddy 7in7 ride around Australia was a great success.
In that time over 2000 Smiddy athletes have participated in the above events and we have raised nearly 9 million dollars for cancer research. But for me, the greatest success is that many thousands upon thousands of people now know the Adam Smiddy story and what a special story that is. I miss my mate, and as Maria Smiddy once said to me, prior to she herself passing away from Pancreatic Cancer two years ago, this is a story she wished she could have shared with her son!
Adam was a shy, quiet and reflective kind of guy and would have been a little embarrassed about all the attention. But if it was for one of his mates he would have been the first person lining up to help out. No doubt Adam would absolutely have loved participating in all these events.
Thank you and see you all at your next chosen Smiddy event, if not before.
Most Massages: 10 Geoff Ney, Shaun 8 and Karen 7
3 hospitalisations - Jennifer, Brooke and Gilles for asthma, allergies and a sore butt
116 acupuncture needle used
14 litres of chamois cream
Photos taken 1.3 million by Brooke. But seriously, she took approx 2400 and 121 videos
Mia also took 1871 photos
The most Facebook uploads goes to Geoff Ney with an average of 15 per day
Total distance 1544.9 km
Time 47 hours 58 mins 47 secs
233280 pedals turned x 35 riders is 8 164 800 pedal strokes
Total average speed 30.123
Power 138 watts
195kw hrs generated enough to run a household for 15 days
122213 wheel revolutions