Thursday, 22 March 2018

2018 Tassie Smiddy Challenge- Day 5

Orford to Hobart

Written by Mark ‘Sharky’ Smoothy

Blog Dedication

For two months now, someone very dear to me has been fighting the fight of her 85 year old life. To my Mum, I dedicate this blog to you. Not a minute of each day, over the past week, have I not been thinking of you. if I could harness the energy a Smiddy event generates and inject you with it, we would have you better within a day. I love you more than mere words could ever express.

Daily stats by Matty Muir Distance: 156 kilometresTime: 6 hours 10 minutesAverage speed: 25.2 km/hMaximum speed: 76 km/hMin temp: 5Max temp: 28Elevation: 2140 m

5 Day Totals
Distance: 724 kmRiding Time: 26 Hours 46 minutesClimbing: 8003 metres (more than the elevation of Mt Everest)

Road Kill Count By Natalie and Serge
1Visor, 1 Budgie,1 radio! 1 pair of sunnies, 1 tube, 1 dead car! 1 bollard, 1 turtle, 1 lizard.

Category Jerseys
Awarded to Stephen Russell of Russells and Brendan Whipps of Harcourts due to their recruiting prowess in encouraging other riders within their workplace and networks to be a part of Smiling for Smiddy. These two gentlemen have their heart in the right place and embody the Smiddy spirit and want to help us fund critical research.

Guest Speaker
Thank you Mark “Hollywood” Trayner for sharing with us your reasons for riding for Smiddy. Mark has lost many family members to cancer, including his father and stepfather and watched his mother go through a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis. He continues to ride for them, raise valuable funds, and bring an incredible group of mates along.

Summary of Today’s Ride
So onto our final day on the road and the rider peloton had in front of them a 156 km hilly day, with over 2000 meters of climbing with the highest point of the trip being 554 metres.

The mood within the peloton was of nervous anticipation, initially thanks to the course card showing we would be gradually climbing for the first 80 km, including a mammoth 9km climb at the 39km mark. Upon passing that 80km mental barrier, the graph suggested the hardest part of the day would be over thanks to the remaining 76 km descent getting us back down to sea level.

But would that be the case? Read on to find out.

This morning, Captain “Gnome” Kevvy chose Archie Tait for the final cowbell ringing of the Tassie Smiddy Challenge and we left the Eastcoaster Resort close on 7am.

That first 40 km section had all sorts of surprises, some short and steep sections that got up to 15% gradient, while a couple of the longer climbs were aptly named Break Me Neck and Bust My Balls Hill.

King and Queen of the Mountain
The main climb was actually at around about the 50 km point and a few of the guys decided to have a crack, oh, and one girl in Paula Fleming. Andrew Russell went very, very early and was left to dangle out front for a while, like a carrot before a horse. I decided to go along for the ride and see how long I lasted. It wasn’t long before Phil Hunter, Scott Carpenter, Phil Anderson and Paula pulled ahead, while the rest of the strong riders hung back to help push. A late charge came from Ricardo, who ended up crossing the top in equal first place with Scott Carpenter. Although the two Phil’s were there as well and possibly allowing them to win? Of course I had to find all this out later as I crested the top, due to getting dropped as I knew I would. Paula rode strong and crested First Lady and 5th overall. Awesome effort, Paula!

Let’s get our arses to Morning Tea
After a regrouping at the top, it was time for full sails up and take advantage of the great slight tailwind gifted to us. It was seriously cold all morning and while the climbed warmed you a little, most of us had little feelings in our extremities. Or was that just me because I am so skinny? Anyway, we kept moving along as quickly as the rider group would allow and just under 3 hours after we started this morning, we pulled into morning tea at the 76 km mark at Tunmack.

Now we were still at just over 400m of altitude, which does not sound much, but over here any altitude above a couple of hundred means cold. The wind was up and the riders quickly cooled down and a few needed space blankets to keep warm, while others, with straw hats and were as mad as Mad Dogs, sat in the front seat of the truck and beeped the horn in an attempt to stay warm.

One thing I know about long stages into morning tea, is that riders start feeling grumbles in their tummies around 60 km into any stage, while tiredness and leg soreness creeps up on you soon after. Combined with the cold, and the over 1200m of climbing to get to morning tea, let me assure you that everything and anything was devoured within ten minutes of jumping off the bikes. Actually nothing was safe, and seriously, you know riders are hungry when they start eyeing off the left over gluten free snacks after everything else has been devoured. Gluten free to some people is like drinking alcohol free beer. Why bother? Why why why?

The morning tea was kept short due to the cold and also to keep the peloton on time as family and friends would be meeting us at the end. Our next destination was lunch at the 111km mark in a little town called Campania. Everyone arrived in reasonably good shape and once again the food disappeared quicker than a dead roo's eyes being picked clean by a flock of circling scavenger birds. After some quick inspirational videos for some special people following our journey, we were once again on our way.

I checked my Garmin at lunch and we had climbed 1500m, which meant there was still another 700m of climbing between lunch and the finish.

Come on let’s get to Hobart - Love one’s await!
Our destination into the finish at Hobart was another 44km down the road, and with the ride leaders keeping all the riders switched on until the very end, they could finally relax when the ride successfully ended with everyone rolling in safe and sound.

Huddle by Killer
I asked Killer to take on the final huddle as I knew Tassie had been his baby, and over the past year had poured his heart and soul into this event. Over the past five days he is our leader on the road. Directing all the other ride leaders, constantly on the radio and the responsibility is enormous. Only when all the riders arrive safely does he breathe a sigh of relief and let his guard down.

It was great to see so many loves ones make the trip to Hobart to welcome us in at the finish at Cenotaph Waterfront. As in any Smiddy event emotions were running high with plenty of hugging, back slaps and high fives. The odd kiss was thrown in by Mr Whipps.

After the huddle we had time for a few group photos, some media obligations, and it was time to get all the bikes onto the trailer and transport all the riders to the Rydges Motel. Special thanks to our wonderful mechanic, Ben, who rigged up and tied down those precious bikes to our custom trailer. It was a very busy time for road crew and they were amazing and simply stepped up, as they do, when needed. 

By the time we reached the Motel, it was 4:30pm, and while trying to juggle too much luggage, bikes and bike bag, I tripped over backwards and landed on my bike, which made an almighty loud crash. Thank you Mr Smiddy for helping me up and to Kelly for getting me and my stuff to the room! Having just 90 minutes to do this blog before the dinner function tonight at Ball and Chain Grill Restaurant, I was in a rush to get the blog written and get all the words down. 

So I think I am there; it is now 6:15pm and I will leave you with a few observations from today below.

Sharky's Favourite Moments from Day 5

  • Last night, Johno was sharing with Chris Hertle and Carl Airey. Johno had mentioned that Chris was snoring so loudly that he put earplugs in and could STILL hear him. So out came the noise cancelling headphones, in addition to the earplugs. Johno could STILL hear him and couldn't sleep a wink. The only thing left was to smother himself with his own pillow and hope that he wouldn't suffocate himself overnight. Nice work, Chris!
  • Cookie got a hard time last night for his, um "technique", he uses when pushing people. Naturally today he fixed all his critics when each time he pushed someone, especially the ladies, he pulled out one of his thongs and used that so his hand didn't actually come into contact with that person's anatomy. Nice work, Cook Man!
  • Cookie again, 500m from finishing safe and sound, hit a bollard on the bike path we were travelling on. End result: one broken collarbone and plastic surgery needed on his hand. The tough bugger still finished the ride, participated in the many hugs and handshakes and was a part of the huddle. Only after that did he mention to the team that he may need to go to hospital to check his collarbone.
  • Killer at morning tea, just before roll out, warned the peloton of the dangerous 5km steep downhill dirt section coming up. We would approach it at speed and he suggested we would slow down to transition from the tar to the dirt. Well that a cracker of a section that was! I remember looking down at my speedo on the dirt doing 55km/h and Killer and Phil Anderson were pulling away from me. Everyone got through that section safe and sound; some with grins and others with grimaces and looks of relief!
  • Once again, Brooke surprised the peloton at lunch with a lovely reward of a Freddo Frog each. Thanks Brookey, much appreciated by us hungry, ravenous Smiddy animals.
  • On behalf of all the team at Smiling for Smiddy, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all the riders' loved ones, especially those present at tonight's final function, for allowing them to do this ride. Without your support and encouragement, Smiddy events would not be possible.
  • And lastly a quick message to all you riders that completed their very first Smiddy ride today. Go home and rest up for a week. The next time you ride with your local rider group, don't be surprised if you are at different levels of fitness compared to before the Tassie Smiddy Challenge. Smiddy events do that to you. Never at home will you ride at that sort of pace, climb that sort of altitude and ride that sort of distance, for five days straight. Enjoy your new found fitness and confidence and hang onto it like a Smiddy badge of honour-- you earned it!

And that’s a wrap, 6:30pm now and have I missed the last taxi to dinner? I am about to find out.

Hope you enjoyed these blogs as much as I enjoyed bringing them to you.

Big Sharky hug to all.


P.S. The final celebration dinner was an amazingly fun time with lots of speeches, an interview with Phil Anderson, road crew gifts handed out, and Maria Smiddy rainbow socks awarded to our three highest fundraisers in Brendan Whipps, Wayne Messer and Andrew Russell. The blog was read out by Tom Maxwell and Zane Williams added $10,000 towards our already bulging fundraising tally, which is now over $300,000. Thanks Zano. Legend!

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