Tuesday, 25 July 2017

2017 Warwick Training Weekend - Day 2

Minus temperatures greeted the riders as we pushed off for our 6.30am start for the 206km adventure back to Brisbane. 

A big thank you to Captain Kevvy for bestowing on me the immense honour of ringing the cow bell, which signifies the start of each and every Smiddy ride that we do, whether a dedicated training weekend or an event itself. 

It is just one of many Smiddy traditions that we abide by without question. Kevvy started this tradition in 2007 and it has stood the test of time. The bell has been in his family for over 100 years and Kevvy lost his Dad to cancer and it was his father’s bell, so it is pretty darn special and bloody special to be asked to ring it. In 12 years of Smiddy events I have been asked once prior to this occasion. So thank you old mate, much appreciated for sure.

The roll out of the Smiddy peloton saw the temperature start at zero degrees and, combined with the windchill factor, the Garmin reading of minus 3 degrees suggested that was the reason that none of us could feel our feet or hands. But like any early morning start from Warwick, once the sun poked its head above the horizon an hour later, some warmth began its slow movement back into very appreciative fingers and toes.

By the time we reached morning tea with nearly 80 kilometres done and dusted, everyone was back to just their Smiddy kits and no other additional layers were needed, except for a few wind jackets. The decent back down Heiffer Creek Road was a go-at-your-own-pace session, and I can testify going downhill with a bunch of pumped up and competitive Smiddy riders hurts just as much as climbing up it the previous day.

Once again the road crew treated us to a visual and gastronomic feast fit for the royal family, and as Smiddy family are indeed royal, we upheld our end of the bargain and scoffed everything down like scolded pigs. Not very royal behaviour but no scrap of food remained and the road crew were pleased.

Our next stop was at Rosewood for lunch, a further 70km closer to Brisbane. All the riders got over the nasty rollers leading into Laidley, and then were successful in negotiating the Grandchester Range. It was a tough little section that one; at times struggling to get above 10 kilometres an hour on some of those steeper pitches, while other sections, thanks to being slightly downhill and with an assisted wind up our crackers, cruising along at 54km/h!

Getting to Rosewood meant we had over 350km in our legs thus far for the two days, the affect this has on your appetite has to be seen to be believed. Thankfully once again road crew prepared enough food for hundreds, which was the perfect amount for the 40 famished riders. 

The final section back into Brisbane saw us have a short break in Wacol, and it was here where we recorded a short video message to send to Phil Anderson, our Smiddy mate who crashed out and ended up in hospital in Victoria. If you are reading this mate we wish you a speedy recovery and hope you liked the special message.
I said goodbye to the team here and made a beeline for home, which was just around the corner. My lovely wife Alyssa gave me the weekend off to do the ride, which under normal circumstances is no problem at all, but then Estelle got sick on Saturday and then Alyssa’s back went on her on Sunday, so both my girls were very pleased to see me home a little earlier than expected. Once again, thank you to the team for allowing me the luxury of leaving early and apologies to the riders for not being there for the final huddle.

I hear that Claire Schneider had the honour of taking the huddle, and she is so tuned into the Smiddy spirit, after being with us for the past four years, that I know she would have done a magnificent heartfelt job of it.

Lastly a quick message to the riders and road crew from the weekend. How fortunate I felt to ride with such a fine group of people. You all did so amazingly well and I can’t think of a better group of individuals to share my final Smiddy Challenge with once the event begins its first ever journey back to Brisbane from Townsville on August 28. 

Keep up the great work you are all doing with your training and especially your fundraising.

Oh and to all the girls taking on Girls Got Heart ride in three weeks time, all the very best of luck to you all and thank you for sharing a Smiddy experience with us over the Warwick weekend.

Take care and a big hug to all.


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