Monday, 5 June 2017

2017 Alice to Darwin Smiddy Challenge - Day 2


DAY 2 Ti Tree to Wauchope

Stats for the day by Ray Ray & Ron Ron
Distance:  200 kms
Ride Time: 6 hours and 54 minutes
Ave Speed:  28.8 km/h
Min Temp: zero degrees
Max Temp:  26 degrees

Written by Mark 'Sharky' Smoothy

Smiddy First And our First Test
Once again it was a brisk 3C degrees on roll out at 6.20 am. A few kilometres down the road, one of the riders informed me that it dropped to zero. Sunrise here is a little after 7 am. And so far we are being treated to some sensational sky painting by Mother Nature. 

Once the sun was up we could see the light cloud cover that kept the temperatures down until about the 80 kilometre mark. 

Today we had a Smiddy first with our morning tea at 90 kilometres being the longest section ever ridden in any Smiddy event to get to our first break. 

The course was mapped out to get us to Barrow Creek Telegraph Station, and as it turned out, the favourable conditions enabled us to get in as many kilometres as possible before the wind made its presence felt in the form of a sidewind, and eventually the gradual turning into a North Easterly direction, saw us battle into a full on headwind. 

The rider peloton quite simply performed as a well oiled machine. The ride leaders, and many other stronger riders, pitched in and helped, and got everyone into morning tea safe and sound. 

The Nightmare Conditions That Didn't Happen
After the riders devoured everything in sight, the Captain Kevvy five-minute whistle blew, and the peloton pushed into what we thought was going to be a nightmare remaining 110 kilometre stretch into Wauchope. 

Much to everyone's surprise, the conditions not only stabilised, but the on-the-right-side-of-the-nose-crosswinds, were favourable enough that the rider peloton was still averaging a good 30km/h. 

Business Class
While the 40 kilometre stint into lunch was short compared to morning tea, it was welcomed by all as the wind was definitely keeping us all honest. 

The clockwise rotation of the peloton meant that it was an armchair ride if you were on the lefthand side, and a bit of a controlled slogfest on the right. Each full rotation of the entire peloton was taking about 40 minutes, and the riders quickly learned that when in the Business Class lane, that, then was the best opportunity to eat, drink and have a quick stretch. 

Happy Road Crew
Lunch was at the 130 kilometre point at Taylor Creek Rest Area, basically a car park with a toilet and a few tables, just perfect for a travelling Smiddy Peloton. The road crew excelled as per usual and today treated us to wraps with fresh meat and salads. I think the road crew were a little glad that we had not so perfect conditions today. Wendy told me they were continually rushing yesterday to get to the next set up point and have everything prepared, prior to the peloton arriving.

UFO And Aliens Gets Some Of Us Excited
Afternoon tea I was super excited about due to the location at Wycliffe Well, home to a fair-dinkum-true-blue-Aussie sighting of a UFO. I love aliens! I was once abducted and taken to another world, where they gave me a bigger nose and really long white legs and made me so smart that I knew how to pronounce Toowoomba instead of T-Bar. Ever since then I have been a great fan. An even bigger fan is a lady that will be reading this blog and lives in Tasmania. She, along with all Tasmanians, were abducted at some stage or another. They are a friendly lot and it is why I forgive them for not being as clever as us Queenslanders have always been on the forefront of forward thinking thanks to not accepting daylight savings as the curtains will fade. 

Smiddy Road Crew Abduction
Anyway getting a bit off track here, but it can't be helped as it is the alien influence in my much advanced brain. Anyway someone even more excited than me, was a Smiddy road crew member in Brooke Falvey, who had clearly been abducted that afternoon. With 500 metres to finish into afternoon tea, she was spotted and was clearly not the Brooke we all knew. Her brain was clearly not adapting to the alien brain wave transfer. To Brooke's credit, her attempts to communicate with us was appreciated, but lost in the jumbled dance steps that resembled a chook that just had its head cut off. Her skin had turned green and she had antennas coming from her head. We rode past and tried not to stare at this poor creature. I am hoping that for the remainder of this Smiddy adventure they can still find some use for her; maybe as a fundraiser, the bike trailer can be turned into a cage and we can charge a sighting fee. She was a good lady and will be missed, poor Brooke!

Smiddy First - Photo In Front Of A Loo
So in another Smiddy first, after a great afternoon tea, the strangest photo I have ever been part of, took place where all the riders and Brooke the 'Queen Green Alien' posed in front of the caravan park toilet block, which was surely due to the alien influence directed at our photographers in Mia and Andrea. After this engaging photo shoot the rider peloton were on the road again to finish off the remaining 17 kilometres into our finish at Wauchope Devils Marbles Hotel. Our Garmin's read 199 kilometres and quite a few did a few laps of the car park to bring up the magical double century. 

Smiddy Huddle
Thank you to Karen Short, super triathlon coach, and Lesa Beasley, who is really quiet and shy, for taking on the honour of doing the day two Huddle. Thanks for sharing your reasons for joining the Smiddy Peloton.

Priscilla Award
Last year, I think... in the Challenge event up to Townsville, the Smiddy staff brought in an award called Priscilla. As voted by the stupidest act by anyone that day on the ride or by the road crew. I was gifted with it last night for killing Pageys, parents, but magically bringing them back to life by adding this one word, TRAVELLING, in yesterday's blog when I mentioned them. While I clearly did not enter into the spirit of the award today by dressing dismally in the supplied items, I am thinking tomorrow's winner may be a good role model. I think it should go to the male rider who did not want to get back on his bike to bring up his 200, electing instead to running around the campground in his cleats while holding his Garmin high in the air.

Our accommodation tonight is a mix of swags and van park rooms. The wind is still blowing but the stars are shining bright and the temperature seems a little warmer than at Alice Springs and Ti Tree. 

Blog Volunteers - Yipppeeeeee!
I asked for volunteers last night to write a blog , and I am happy to say that tomorrow Smiddy rider Mathew English will take on day three, while day four will be taken up by the Scottish/Irish double in Jimmy Donnelly and Michael Donnelly. Thanks lads, very much appreciated. I promise writing a blog after a 200 kilometre day is soooo easy! 

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