Wednesday, 14 June 2017

2017 Alice to Darwin Smiddy Challenge - Day 7

Written by Hannah Lewis-Dalby and Georgia Dudley 

Day 6 ended with an evening by the campfire with Marksie and his tales of culinary exploits. We  sampled delights such as buffalo sausage and wild barra - not forgetting the delicious lemon wattle damper bread. 

After a bit of fire side billy swinging (Go Georgie!) everyone retreated to their swags to warm up safe in the knowledge that the next day brought with it a bit of a later start.  

As day 7 began Team Smiddy loaded up on several rounds of calorie laden bacon and eggs as fuel for the very big ride ahead. Soon after there was many a sighting of smiddy kit wandering aimlessly around the Shady Lane campsite in search of bicycles. The traditional somewhat fashionably late roll out had the pleasure of daylight given the 7am start. We were sent on our merry way by Marksie but only after a bit of good old fashioned cow bell rivalry between him and Captain Kevvy.

Black cockatoos led the way on the road to Katherine Gorge and it was a special day for the peloton as we were joined by lead car driver Rob! Rob had decided that the view of the open road was not as desirable as the view from the pack – watching the buns of steel – and we’re not just talking about Ron!

A mere 23km of undulations led us to Krista’s magical mystery tour of the car park before we located the boat ramp. Mr Smiddy was seen being kind enough to provide some overhead protection for Debs from the noisy, pooping bat population. Talking about Mr Smiddy, did anyone see him on the cruise today? We hear he attempted to photo bomb various tourist photos…..?

We boarded the boat and Alan the tour guide gave us a run down of the history of the area whilst we gently cruised through the gorges.  The savage freshwater crocodiles looked on from the rocks assessing the tastiest Smiddy prey, whilst the Smiddy team in return assessed whether each croc was wallet sized or large enough for a handbag.

At the end of a relaxing 2 hour cruise it was time to redon the lycra and hit the road again. Any concerns about the drop in average speed for the trip were put to bed with a cracking pace on the return journey. We hear Tiny Queen of the Desert Dancer was in a rush to hit the town of Katherine with his flamboyant pink flowing locks.

After six days of Smiddy record breaking speeds, the peloton was brought to a grounding halt by the NT police who decided we were all having far too much fun on our bikes and restricted us to some four wheeled transport. Along came Geoff and his bus to the rescue (although he may have come to regret that decision later!).

Competition was tight for the prized spots on the bike racks for those precious about their bikes – but soon bikes and riders were locked and loaded after a delicious lunch – THANK YOU ROAD CREW! We then hit the highly dangerous multi-lane, smooth surfaced, traffic less highway. There were a few groans as some sensitive areas adjusted to the unusual sensation of cushioned seats – although not quite cushioned enough for everyone with Lesa resorting to sitting on an ice pack. 

By day 7 habits are now well ingrained and the calls of truck up, slowing and pedal, pedal, pedal helped Geoff along, thankfully without the need for Yorkie and Shaun to help push us up any of the hills.

Photos on facebook may suggest a restful journey as some weary riders got some shut eye – however after a stop at the 303 Bar the party bus took off and it was full steam ahead on the karaoke express. Flic will share the play list for everyone else on Tinder – no sorry we mean Spotify!

After travelling at 80 km/h for the afternoon, we arrived in camp a couple of hours later than we had done when travelling by bike – but the huge achievement of the 50 km day was still celebrated in full Smiddy traditional style with a huddle led by Tony Roma. With one day left to ride from the middle to the top of Australia there are clear signs the team are beginning to let their hair down – if this afternoon was anything to go by, watch out Darwin!

Today’s blog was brought to you by some Sydney girls who a year ago would never have dreamed of calling themselves cyclists and doubted that they were up to the challenge. The support of the Smiddy family both in words of encouragement and the Smiddy hand of god on the back have helped us come one day away from completing a huge achievement. We want everyone reading this blog who is wondering if they could do this too – then yes you can! And if our experience is anything to go by, you won’t regret it for a second!

Thank you J

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