Monday, 12 March 2018

2018 Tassie Smiddy Challenge- Day 1

Written by: Mark "Sharky" Smoothy
Read by: Domonic Thompson, Macqaurie Team 

Daily Stats by Matt "Mad Dog" Muir

Distance:  145 km (Launceston to Bridport)
Riding Time: 5:34:12
Average Speed:   27.3 kmh
Maximum Speed: 68 kmh
Temperature Minimum: 7
Temperature Maximum: 22
Meters climbed: 1660
Wind Direction: No wind for most of the day and  tailwind in the afternoon.

Road Kill Count By Natalie and Serge
Two ute loads of roos, 52 and a half wombats, one big beach bag full of bones, enough possums to make an expensive pelt onesie and 17 birds of all descriptions.

Besides riding bikes, Smiddy riders love drinking beer, so what better place to hold our send-off function than at the Boags Brewery in the middle of Launceston. The road crew were introduced and we are indeed lucky to be in such fine company as these extraordinary human beings have gave up a week of their time to look after all the cyclists' needs.

Smiddy Traditions
A great night was had by all, and most importantly, was done and dusted by 7:30 pm. Everyone (excpet for Furious) seemed to have behave themselaved. 

The traditions of Smiling for Smiddy were introduced and told from the perspective by the following:

    Matt “is-this-a-stitch-up” Muir when he spoke of the “Hand of God”, as in a Smiddy helping hand on someone’s back when they are struggling.

    Captain “Keep-it-Short” Kevvy gave us a rundown of the tradition of ringing the cowbell each morning, which has been in the family for over 100 years. It replaced a dumb whistle that he used to use in the early years and the bell has rang across 50 Smiddy events since.

    Killer explained where the “Road Kill” count came from, thanks to past Smiddy rider, Andrew Schindler. He was quite bored riding 200 km a day in the 2008 Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge and started counting the dead animals on the side of the road on the way to Townsville.

Serge Semic and Natalie Goebel kindly stepped up to take on this esteemed role.

    Brooke Rose is from Canada (not America) and I love her because I never have to wear my hearing aids to hear her. She shared the tradition of how Saos became integrated with the Smiddy peloton at morning tea, thanks to the late, but beautiful warm-hearted Maria Smiddy. She would always go out of her way to spoil the riders and invented the famous Smiddy snack of  Saos with tomato, cheese and plenty of salt and pepper.

    Brendan “The Whipmeister” Whipps shared with the group how the guest speaker each night is one of our most important traditions, as each speaker shares their reason for riding. They speak from the heart and remind us how the ride began for Adam Smiddy and why we ride; to raise funds to find a cure, so our families do not have to suffer from cancer.

    Krista “Pagey” Page told of the tradition of the mateship/teamwork/spirit jersey awarded each night to a deserving rider or road crew member. Often they go above and beyond what is expected of themselves and wear that red jersey with pride.

   The Daily Stats came about in the early years, when only the very rich had a computer on their bikes. That person got sick of people asking what distance, what average, what, what what! So one night he got up, and read out the daily stats which has been a part of the game ever since.

    And finally, I shared the tradition of the daily blogs and how the Huddle came about. The blogs started in 2006 when just the three of us wove our weary arses up to Townsville and have been going ever since, for every single one of the nearly 60 Smiddy events held since then.

    The huddle was born after my emotional response to a training weekend from Brisbane to Gympie in 2008. We rode 472 km and I was so in awe of the riders that I wanted to share my admiration and respect, and alas, the huddle was born as a cross between a hug and  a cuddle. Since that weekend, we have had a huddle for every single Smiddy event. 

So with the dinner out of the way and the last of the riders arriving late on Sunday afternoon, all the bikes had been been built, shopping was done, trucks were packed and any last minute adjustments (hopefully) were made.

Lucky Scotty Gets To Share With Snoring/Farting/Burping/Sleep Talking Shark
Our stay last night was at the Best Western Hotel and I had the utmost pleasure of sharing the first night with Scott Gleeson of the Macquarie Bank lads. Not sure he felt the same way after sharing a night with the Shark? Anyway, Scotty only decided in December he was going to give this ride a crack. First training session was a river loop and the realization dawned that he needed to pull his finger out and get some miles in his legs, and quick. Scotty’s first ever charity ride and he, rightly so, was excited as chips, but also shitting them! Scotty, I hope your first night having to sleep in the same room as me has not put you off Smiddy events! Ha ha... For the record he killed it today and I can see a budding Challenge rider in that young lad.

Smiddy Getting Too Efficient
So to our first day on the road and the esteemed gentlemen and never cheeky, Mr David Smiddy, was given the cowbell ringing honour by Captain “no more short jokes please” Kevvy.  Roll out was scheduled for 7am and I am bitterly disappointed to say that we actual rolled out on time. What the hell is going on at Smiddy HQ these days? How can I pay out on you guys if you are going to be all efficient?

There Will Be No Running Over Of Mr Smiddy
Before David rang the bell, he informed the riders that he would indeed, be all over the place cheering us on, and if we could kindly refrain from running him over, that it would be met with much appreciation. I’m happy to report, that there were a few close calls, mainly from Smiddy throwing himself in front of all the beautiful girls on this tour. But all managed to avoid this great reserved and very shy man!

A Sky Worth Missing Some Sleep For
Roll out temperature was a balmy 12 degrees and not a hint of wind in sight. Very Un-Tasmanian like. The public holiday here meant that there was barely a sole on the roads, and just speaking to your fellow rider until we cleared the town limits seemed as loud as a hailstorm on a old tin roof. The sunrise was magnificent, with enough clouds in the sky to help present a spectacle to behold the eye. I think it was our gifted (and very fit middle aged gentlemen) Carl Airey, that turned to me and commented that he was glad to be on this ride as otherwise he would have been still asleep and would have missed the mesmerizing skyline. Great appreciation of Mother Nature by Carl there. And what a thrill for Carl to have his young teenage son, Lachlan, along as a rider. Lachlan’s had a tough day out there today and ended up doing some time in the van. We know he will regroup and show us the stern stuff we know this young man possesses.

Beaconsfield Beckons and Temperatures Plummit
The first climb of the day was not far out of town and was a go-at-your-own-pace expression session. A strong group of about 15 riders were keen to show their early form, while the danger men and women in the group held back for the finish into morning tea at Beaconsfield. Why, you ask? Because they wanted to be the first rider to sample the delicious Saos made by our incredible road crew! Not sure who got there first, but by the time I arrived, it was a feeding frenzy that would have put a thousand Piranhas to shame.
It was one of those typical Tassie days where the cloud cover kept the temperatures right down up until after lunchtime, when the sun made a welcome peak through the clouds. Our stay in Beaconsfield was brief but it sure brought back some memories from when those two miners, Todd Russell and Brant Webb, were brought to the surface after two weeks underground back in April of 2006.

Beaconsfield to Bay of Fires and Free Wine Tasting
A Smiddy first today with wine tasting during a ride, only ever done in the past after a ride. Although, there were clear instructions stating that the consumption could be no more than 16 glasses of red and 3 of white, per person. All behaved except for Mr Millard, who has the constitution of 12 grown men, so he got away with it. That 50 km section into lunch, was absolutely gorgeous with its meandering roads, plush paddocks, happy cattle and the occasional German Shepherd to keep us all amused. Time passed by quickly due to the never ending twists and turns and it was a darn fine day to be in the Smiddy peloton.

Bay of Fires to Barnbougles
The final run into the finish at Barnbougles, for our 145 km day, was more of the same beautiful quiet country roads. There were minimal flat roads and seemed as though there was always another climb to face. The peloton performed brilliantly on their first day, with teamwork really coming out early as many of the stronger riders stepped up early to help push a few of the riders struggling with either the pace or the constant climbing.

A few bullet points to finish with:

  • Thank you to the Harcourts Lads Whippsy and Freibes for taking on the huddle today
  • A huge congratulations to those six riders who completed their longest ever ride today and were applauded accordingly (and deservedly so)
  • Whippsy, congrats on taking out the first puncture of the tour after that dirt section near Batman Bridge. Ben Hola, thank you mate for fixing it so fast as we had no spares for a disc wheel!
  • The final 4 km Team Time Trial was won by some team that was way faster than me
  •  Well done Rebecca Phillips for allowing the strong lads to help you out today. You did an awesome job and will get stronger as each day passes.
  • A big welcome to Phil Anderson, who joined us for the huddle today and will ride the remaining four days with us. Phil has been involved with Smiddy since 2009 and we are honoured to have him on board for this event.
  • Another welcome to Wayne Messer, joining us tonight for dinner and will be riding the remaining four days with us as well. Wayne is one of our highest fundraisers and apart from being one of the strongest riders I know, is a downright gentlemen of the sport.
  •  Taity, Whippsy, Matty, Cookey, Ricardo, and many others, thank you for helping out those riders in need. The team spirit is alive and cooking at Smiddy so early on. You all rock.
  •  Another Smiddy first today in the father and son category of riders, with three of you getting into the Smiddy history books. The Swarbrick duo of Ian and Jayden, the Russells in Furious and Tim and as mentioned above, the Airey lads in Carl and Lachlan.
  • Congratulations to today’s Jersey recipient in Archie Tait, presented by Krista Page and Killer, for all the pushing he did today and for all the behind the scenes work he has done for Smiddy over the past year. His kindness, integrity and commitment to Smiddy (and his fellow riders) makes him the epitome of the spirit jersey.
  •  To our esteemed guest speakers in Natalie and Brett Goebel, thank you for sharing your story of your doing this ride in honour of father, who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. Brett, thank you for sharing Michael's story with us as well, your dear friend who passed away from cancer at 44 years of age. A reminder as to why we keep riding each and every day. 

See you all tomorrow.


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