Monday, 4 September 2017

2017 Townsville to Brisbane Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge - Day 7

Written by: Allan Rielly and Ross Andrewartha

Distance: 234 kilometres
Ride Time: 11 hrs and 15 minutes
Ave Speed:  27.5 km/h
Elevation: 2357 m climbed
Min Temperature: 3C degrees
Max Temperature: 31C degrees

Tonight's blog post comes to you from the COBWEBS (Cranky Old Blokes With Expensive Bikes) Alan Rielly and Rossco Andrewartha, not to be confused with the old gents from the Muppet Show Mr Statler and Mr Waldof.

We found it quite interesting that the blog writing honour went to the oldest riders on the toughest day. Guess the organisers know there is life in the elder peloton statesmen and we can meet the blog deadline.

Dinner last night in Mundubbera was a fantastic BBQ and ice cream provided by the Rotary Club of Mundubbera and both were consumed in a record time. We think the Rotarians were a bit stunned by the ‘vultures’ and no doubt will be wiser for future Smiddy challenges passing through town!

The cool air rolled in and the big fire pit attracted the Smiddy crew and riders for the evening formalities. In true Smiddy fashion it started with a completely informal summary of the day’s events from everyone gathered around the fire.

The Priscilla Award was transferred from Sharky to Stemmy as a standout for his driving indiscretions (leaving the back door open on the car as he drove off from lunch!).

Our new statistician Geoff did his best Stinky Dave impersonation, including stripping down to his dodgy boxer shorts which was very fitting.

Accommodation for the night was split between the Three Rivers Tourist Park and the second best accommodation in town, the motel across the road.

Spirit jerseys were awarded to Copey and Kelly in recognition of their efforts. Brenton Cope shared his story of his many Smiddy adventures and Kelly despite her sore throat regaled us with her stories of how she got ‘started into the Smiddy family’ by cleaning and drying swags.

Jeff McKeon shared a heartfelt story of his mentor Al who filled the roll of his absent father when he grew up in Laidley. He talked about ‘life’s choices’ and left us with his words of wisdom. We are Smiddy and we are awesome. 

We received a very generous $1000 donation from the Three Rivers Tourist Park and the Munduberra Rotary Club also offered the catering proceeds as a donation.

Jenny and Bruce Fraser presented awards to Lofty of a pizza cutter for his sharp wit and to Sharky was given a small scale metal bike to match his boney bum.

We were greeted by another beautiful morning for the team and once again the local Rotarians stepped up to provide a great cooked breakfast. The event did not go without incident however as the porridge that was ordered especially by Doctor Koala had mysteriously disappeared. We all found out how much can a koala bear.

Fortunately the police were at hand and an investigation is underway. It does have the markings of a previous well documented stolen porridge/bear case where a certain Goldilocks was found guilty. Coincidentally , someone matching that description was sleeping at the Tourist Park that night. Let's just say, Brooke F will probably be taken in for questioning.

This morning's bell ringing honour went to President Mark of the Mundubera Rotary Club. And David Smiddy addressed the riders before we departed, reflecting on the first challenge when Sharky, Steeley and Ollie wore their backpacks the who way to Home Hill. In tribute to them, the riders wore their day packs to the first water break.

At Gayndah, we were introduced to another tradition dedicated to the women riders who were transformed into fairy mothers and sprouted wings.

We were given a dissertation on the art or climbing by James and he shared his best tips—stay calm; keep the bike vertical; and don’t waste energy. But he did not mention his other technique of shedding as much weight as possible—your kit for example.

At the next stop, the women riders each bestowed their wings on a male rider or road crew members and, for good or bad, I finally got my wings.

The 'save of the day' which we think should be a new award, goes to Copey who did a 90 degree flick of the back wheel on a 40 km/h downhill.

We planned to pick up on Ken’s delivery at Belyando for the whole blog but time was against us as we rode in on dark so here's a little sample. I was listening out for a catch line in the peloton, and must credit Scotty with the perfect phrase.

There was road kill on the outskirts of Goomeri
It was ginger and I think it was a stray
His end was quick and probably quite scary
But for us it was tough all f***ing day.

We also had three serious (not serious) police misdemeanors that are worthy of a mention. First there was the already mentioned the Great Porridge Heist and the early breakfast eaters stealing Dr K’s food.

The second incident is known as ‘The Great Water Bottle Bundy Doping Scandal’ which produced an immediate response from the QPS who were on the spot immediately. Thanks Jake! The culprit Berty was sprung at lunchtime, cuffed and incarcerated. Apparently he's still protesting his innocence.

The third incident was heard from the Police car as we passed, "Will the man in the white 4WD please PUT DOWN THE WALKING STICK".

Road crew's Andy also managed to solicit donations from innocent bystanders at the lunch and afternoon stops. Thank you to the generous supporters and Andy’s fundraising efforts.

The Dusty Club claimed some more members tonight and we've ranked them Bronze, Silver and Gold. The Bronze goes to Eric who shot off into the long grass screaming ‘Chain, Chain Chain’; Silver to Scotty Manning for a perfect sommersault into the oncoming traffic as part of his tango with Leanne; and the Gold goes to lovely Leanne who got a free ride to the finish and plenty of ‘TLC’ from the road crew.

As a side-story from the 'be careful what you wish for' category, Scotty told us he'd been talking to Mel and Leanne about how good it would be to get a ride in the police car. Lo & behold, just an hour later he was riding in Jake’s police car and playing with the siren and loudspeaker as he recovered from his spill.

Another big thank again for the hardworking road crew for their efforts throughout the day keeping riders safe, well-fed and hydrated and lots of huge hugs at the end of the day.

Highlights of the Huddle were Andrew Curthoy’s heartfelt acknowledgement for assistance from many ‘pushers’ and Liz Butler who sang a very personal rendition of a song that keeps her going when things get tough. Liz will be obliged to join the karaoke session in Belyando Crossing in her next challenge.

This is a special day for the women riders in the group. They are all incredible; so strong and determined and they are admired by all and were given three cheers by the group.

In closing, by Sharky’s own admission, today has been one of the toughest Smiddy rides he has ever done. We fully agree but know that we will eventually forget the current pain we are in and we will fondly remember the good memories of our big ride into Blackbutt which is now been officially renamed by the cyclists as 'Sorebutt'.

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