Tuesday, 29 August 2017

2017 Townsville to Brisbane Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge - Day 2

Written by: Graeme Christiansen and Shaun Milburn

Last night we were treated to a fantastic BBQ cooked up by the awesome folks from Charters Towers Rotary. It was great to hear stories from these wonderful people about the good causes in the community that they support.

Ken Cooney shared his personal story as to why he is taking part this year—a very inspiring journey.

Entertainment was provided by David 'Stinky' Cooley with an eclectic set of stats—Stinky then proceeded to delegate further stat gathering to some able lieutenants—or is he just copping out?

The road kill stats were provided by perhaps the most enthusiastic road kill arbiters so far this ride, Ben and Jacque G, they even added a new category—a road train count! And why not, given they're the main cause of such carnage. As ever some fine Dad jokes were provided by the talented Shaun 'Stretch' Lever.

For going above and beyond in assisting the road crew Alex Griffith was awarded the prestigious 'Spirit' Jersey to be worn with pride on day 2.

Breakfast on Day 2 was provided by the terrific Rotarians including Bob Murray, Lyn, Brenda, Neil and Mr Steele. Bob and his partner Lyn  had the honour of ringing Kevvie's cow bell to start the Peloton rolling.

49 riders set off down the Gregory Highway in cool clear conditions, however… trepidation beset the peloton as they headed into a murky mist—a real pea souper with visibility cut—so we backed it off.

After that and for the rest of the day a cracking pace was set by the peloton, averaging 32 kms per hour for most of the 196 kilometres which was only interrupted at one stage by a confused Brahman bull who decided to “run with the herd” as he momentarily joined the Peloton and tried to start a breakaway group – alas he couldn’t keep up.

Temperatures warmed up to a high of 33C so we had to keep those hydration fluids up and hang out for those extra pee breaks, thanks Sharky.

Of course amazing support was provided by the fluro angels—the Smiddy road crew—who each and every day look after all of our needs from the famous Smiddy Saos, homebaked cakes and massages.  The road crew also keeps us safe by managing the traffic on the highway and without them we couldn’t do what we do!

We were lucky enough to have two boom boxes in operation today—a modern 90’s playlist provided by Michelle 'Wongy' Grey (MC Wongy!) and a list of old favorites provided by Boom Box James. Just choose a style and get on a wheel.

Thanks to Bob Talbot, an erstwhile trucker, who donated money on the road and another good bloke that pulled in and donated to the Smiddy cause.

The best part of the day is the words of congratulations, hugs and the Smiddy Huddle at the end of the day—this is when we celebrate another day done!  Thanks to Peyton Carey who shared his story at the huddle. We are all doing this ride for different reasons and it was wonderful to hear his story.

So another day done and time to get a good sleep all ready to do it all again tomorrow.

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