Thursday, 8 June 2017

2017 Alice to Darwin Smiddy Challenge - Day 3

Stats for the day 
Distance: 191km
Ride time: 6 hours and 42 minutes 
Average speed: 28.5km/h
Max Speed: 42.4km/h (except Matthew English 130km/hr)
Elevation:  295m 
Min temp:  4C – whoever claimed it was 13C was bullshitting
Max temp:  26C

Written by Matt English

Last night we rolled into Devils Marbles Hotel where we were treated to an amazing BBQ dinner and cold beer thanks to Jess and the crew there. A couple of the guys were glad to have a chance to get upgraded to “business class” landing beds in cabins rather than another night in the swags – especially given what’s to come.  

Sharky once again treated us to another blog post – setting the standard rather high for the rest of us who have to follow – with his hilarious recount of Day 2 on the road. 

Brooksy picked up the Spirit jersey for being so jovial and trying to keep the peloton motivated throughout the day, and it worked! It was great to see him share a few words about his reasons for riding. We also heard from Chalkie Chooky, depending on who you are, who told us about his credit card ride from Brisbane to Mt Isa in honour of his mum Gloria and raising $7500 along the way. Kudos to you mate, you’re a champion and we’re proud to know you! 

In the mixed cabin, some of the ladies weren’t so happy with the business class upgrades given that a couple of snorers kept them from their beauty sleep. We also heard Sharky and Ron got up close and personal sharing the double bed in room number 69 oops sorry room 9. But I can vouch they were very discrete as I heard nothing above the thunderous snoring. 

On to the topic at hand – day 3.
Things got off to a good start when commander in chief, Brooke Rose, kicked in the swags of a couple of workmen she  thought were Smiddy riders having a sleep in. Perhaps it was payback for their late night antics while our riders tried to catch a few zzzz’s and she wanted to make a point not to mess with the Smiddy Peloton, but she should have taken Johnsy, also known as the Enforcer because if there’s ever any trouble and you want to sort out the bad guys, he’s the best mate to have by your side.
We rolled out under the stars at 6.15am, an improvement on the morning before, after Kevvy put us all on notice that we weren’t living up to Smiddy expectations, so we were all a little on edge and keen to pull our socks up during the day ahead.  Thanks to Jess from the pub for coming out to see us off and ring the cowbell. 

To start the day, I’d like to mention a few wardrobe malfunctions – Lesa was going for the Wauchope fashion stakes with her bicycle print leggings as a replacement for her bike knicks which were still in the laundry. They looked great - but they were quickly abandoned as they weren’t very functional, as most high fashions aren’t. 

Secondly, we had Yorkie – who I’ve nicknamed Ice Man because he’s always cool, calm and collected and is the perfect wing man for any Smiddy rider - before the sun came up he was trying to discard his Priscilla outfit, leaving it strewn along the highway in true Priscilla fashion, however he did make up for it by adorning some additional Priscilla elements and to be frank, he rocked that outfit and did real justice to the Priscilla legend. 

And after following Ice Man in the peloton today, I’ve got a confession to make - of all the guys on the Smiddy tour, he’s my main man crush. 

Then onto Devils Marbles… Although I would like to note (after all the fuss), we could have slept in for at least an extra 20 mins – but it was a truly spectacular sunrise, which we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives because of its rustic beauty and the fact it was shared in great company including our new mate Len who made a donation to the Smiddy cause and joined us for a group photo with the sun warming our faces.
Again Geoff Ney, now known as Hi Tech, came to the rescue showing us how to take panorama shots on the I Phone and share them on Airdrop, Facebook and any other program you could think of! And more impressive is have you seen his bike seat?

From sunrise it was back on to the highway as we continued north towards Stuart Memorial.
When we passed Bonney Creek – we spotted water which was pretty cool after seeing so many dry rivers and creeks. 

The road crew snuck in another sneaky surprise with the placement of an I love Smiddy t-shirt on an termite nest right before the McClaren Creek bridge before another sneaky one popped up just before Tennant Creek! 

We were a sight to behold in Tennant Creek and we noticed a crowd mingling around the pub, bank and Centrelink, but suddenly all eyes were upon us as we passed through town – I guess a few of them might have thought we were martians heading to the big smoke from Wycliffe Well. 

Just outside Tennant Creek at Sharky’s Rest Stop Flik earned the honour of becoming Dusty #4 (ouch!).
It was then on to our lunch stop, Lake Mary Anne, a beautiful oasis in the desert and again, the road crew did a fantastic job in preparing a beautiful lunch spread of meat and salad wraps. Priscilla had some competition in the beauty stakes when three peacocks – followed by a couple of prancing roosters – descended on the Smiddy lunch break. 

After a speedy stop at Three Ways, we continued north (surprise, surprise). Thankfully, the wind was beneath the peloton’s wings a today and helped us most of the way but when turning East the crosswind did prove challenging on occasions but everyone had a fantastic ride and overall we were blessed with perfect conditions and Day 3 can best be described as First Class Travel from Wachope to Stuart Memorial.
We also made a quick stop at Phillip Creek Station for afternoon tea, where a rogue camel toe made an appearance. And guys we do mean an ACTUAL camel toe.

Rumour has it that after the afternoon break, Sharky thought his water was a little more flavoursome and for a second thought it tasted pretty shitty – and his mind quickly flicked back to how he’d filled up his bottles on top of the chemical potty.

The last 28km from Phillip Creek Station was a smooth, steady ride into Stuart Memorial. I did drop my water bottle and David Lawrence – Dusty #1 – had to call on his speedy reflexes to duck and weave out the way! 

Thanks to David and Ian for sharing their reasons for riding as part of this afternoon’s huddle. It’s fantastic to hear why and how everyone came to be part of this great Smiddy team. 

I also loved the chance to be on the radio today and get an insight into how much effort, concentration and responsibility  goes in to directing and communicating with the Stuart Highway Traffic to keep us all safe. Awesome work to Kevvy, Stemmy, Brad and Ben, and Brooke R. 

As you go through life you exist in tribes. When you start at school you have a tribe of mates there, then uni or a job brings another tribe and then married and have kids and have another tribe – and that one is usually about your wife’s tribe – so I think a good thing that Smiddy does is, not only a great cause for cancer, but it also introduces you to a wide diversity of people that you wouldn’t necessary come across in your day-to-day tribe so it’s quite refreshing and inspiring and I am very fortunate to be considered part of the Smiddy team and to have met so many great mates.

I think it’s been really rewarding for everyone involved in the friendships that you develop along the journey – from the training rides through to real deal Alice to Darwin Day 3. 

And through this journey and mateship that we share, we are all challenging ourselves stepping out of our day to day comfort zones. Through my experience as one of the more elderly guys on the tour as you get older, most people’s comfort zone narrows because they want to make their lives more comfortable and predictable whereas those people like the Smiddy tribe who continually look to expand their comfort zones and keep challenging themselves, will forever stay young – and hopefully healthy! 

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