Thursday, 17 December 2015


WOW, what a year! In 2015, so many incredible highs, which saw 485 Smiddy cyclists, triathletes and swimmers, participate in one of our 7 events. They not only rode/swum and run 157,297km, but also raised close to $1 million dollars for Mater Research.
To these amazing Smiddy participants, your families, supporters and donors, I would like to say to you: On behalf of the entire team at Smiling for Smiddy, you should feel incredibly proud of this achievement. Each year the Mater Foundation and Smiling for Smiddy events continually go from strength to strength, and this would not be possible without you amazing people entering our lives. We are humbled by your caring nature and your generosity and we truly recognise that without you we would not be saving lives through research. A heartfelt thank you to all involved.
Once again the team at Smiddy delivered another stellar year of events that tested you physically and mentally and you all delivered in a most altruistic manner.

·         The year began with the inaugural New Zealand 5 day 700kmSmiddy Challenge in March, where 24 riders rode through some of the most stunning scenery known to man and along the way raised an amazing sum of $89,545.We were extremely happy to share the last day with Maria and David Smiddy, who lived in Auckland and flew in to surprise the riders.
·          Then in April, the fourth edition of the 4 day 600km Noosa Smiddy and 38 riders enjoyed the company of the great Phil Anderson, who was the first Aussie and non-European cyclist to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour De France in 1981. Together they raised a grand total of $99,571.
·          Next was the sixth running of the tough 3 day 560km Midi Smiddy in May and a small piece of history unraveled, when for the first time in nine years of Smiddy events, I was forced out due to a slipped disc in my lower back. Ironically that same weekend was when we lost our beloved matriarch in Maria Smiddy to cancer. The 33 riders bravely fought on and finished one of the most emotional and saddest Smiddy events ever. Along the way raising a great amount of $44,765.
·         Now in July, while I was enjoying my 5 week honeymoon in Europe with my brand-spanking and sparkly new Wife in Alyssa Coe, the annual Warwick training weekend over 400km was taking place. 36 of the 50 registered Challenge riders that were doing the Challenge event in September stepped up to test their fitness, with most passing with flying colours.
·         A week before the Challenge event began and we were all back at UQ Aquatic Centre for the fourth running of the 10km Swim Challenge. 48 Smiddy swimmers slogged out 100X100m efforts over 3 hours and raised a fantastic amount of $23,848
·         Then the big one in September, the 10th anniversary running of the 8 day Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge from Brisbane to Townsville that attracted 57 riders and raised a staggering amount of $332,880. For the first time since 2006 the 3 original riders in myself, Ron Steel and Oliver Bodak were reunited for this event. I was extremely proud to complete my 10th consecutive ride to Townsville and can confidently say to you that I now know the way!

·         September, November and December were our triathlon months where 320 Smiddy triathletes raced and represented Smiddy at the Mooloolaba 70.3, Noosa Triathlon and the Busselton Ironman. Together an unbelievable amount of $352,047 was raised!

The New Smiddy Team
Nothing ever stays the same and each year the onward march of in and out Smiddy staff continues. Now this is never a bad thing; you see, while I miss the people that leave, new people bring with them new ideas and renewed passion, not to mention an untapped energy, that if fully unleashed, would make up for the Aussie budget deficit.

So in December 2014, when we lost the great Matt Marshall, who hung up his Smiddy boots to become a full-time Dad after a record breaking and passionate stellar year as the manager of Smiddy, we were on our own for a while. Then in Mid-March, Anna Tate, the most passionate lady I have ever met when it comes to throwing her life-force into her job, moved on to go back to University to complete her Masters. Smiddy was then down to Christian Killeen and myself. Then along came a breath of fresh air in rapid succession, I like to call them my March Smiddy Saviour Ladies!

Ø  First Wendy Muir graced us with her presence; Wendy had worked with the Mater Foundation already for over 3 years but in another team. It was after volunteering for a week of the Smiddy Melbourne to Brisbane Final leg Challenge that Smiddy won her heart and she put her hand up to be transferred to Smiddy. Her wish was granted in March 2015.
Ø   On that very same day Cherie Nicholas began as our new leader of Smiddy. A young lady that originated from New Zealand in 2006, a keen cyclist who has dabbled in a few triathlons. Cherie brings with her many years of experience in fundraising, with her last position being at RedKite. Most importantly, Cherie knew of Smiddy extensively before applying for the job and has come to live and breathe and add to the energy that Smiddy creates.
Ø  Just one week later one of the fittest ladies on this planet answered our call for a part time position at Smiddy. Krista Page completed her first Smiddy Challenge event in 2014 as a rider and again this year but this time working with Smiddy. Her passion was evident right from the start as she threw herself headfirst into Smiling for Smiddy. Her energy and beautiful friendly nature caught the attention of the powers that be at the Mater and in June Krista came onboard fulltime and we couldn’t have been happier.

So now Christian and I are no longer lonely and we both know how fortunate we are to be surrounded by 3 such lovely, hardworking and passionate females. Smiddy has always been in good shape no matter who we have had in the past, but our latest team, like I said before, bring with them renewed energy, passion and ideas that we welcome with open arms.

Maria Smiddy Lost But Definitely Not Forgotten!
Like any year being aboard the Smiddy freight train express, for every high there is always a low and 2015 was no different. Each year cancer continues to touch those that we love dearly. May 23 2015 was the day I got that dreaded phone call from David Smiddy, sharing the gut-wrenching and painful news, that his beloved wife Maria, had finally succumbed to her short battle against pancreatic cancer.

Losing Maria was like losing a Mum, she was a Mum to each and every Smiddy rider or triathlete that she came in contact with. The thing I missed most this year, amongst many other past ‘Maria Moments’ was her incredible hugs. Those hugs that picked you up when you were down, and those hugs that you shared the many moments of joy with, that only a Smiddy endurance event can garner. In a Maria embrace you felt her love. She was one of 'The Most' genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with and calling a good friend.

Back in 2006 I saw what my mate Adam Smiddy went through with his Melanoma. His strength and courage just blew me away. Never did he want anything but your friendship and positive outlook on life. With Maria I saw the exact same thing and I now fully understand where Adam got his strength from.

Maria often said to me at the completion of many Smiddy events. "Sharky don’t waste a single minute of your life and always tell those closest to you how much you love them." Of course this always came with a Maria embrace.

I know Maria thought the world of the Mater Foundation and of course everyone involved in our Smiling for Smiddy events. Just like David Smiddy, Maria was always in awe of how from one small event that attracted just 3 riders in 2006, to now, where thousands of individuals have participated and helped to raise close to $7 million dollars for research. David Smiddy, at the recent Noosa Triathlon turned to me and said with a cheeky but proud grin on his face;

"Why are all these people running around with my name on their shirts?" David of course was only joking, but I know that Smiddy events helped the Smiddy family through their darkest of days when they lost their son in 2006, and that same magic Smiddy spirit that encapsulates what all our events are about, is now helping David and the Smiddy family to stay strong and focused on the job at hand.
Maria wants us to continue, to keep forging paths ahead for those less fortunate. "Sharky" she said to me once during one of our heart to heart talks; "Never underestimate what you guys are doing for those that need it; without Smiddy events, without the Mater Foundation and without all those amazing Smiddy athletes that care enough to do something for those that need it, us cancer sufferers would lose all hope."

So with Maria and David's blessing, along with their permission for Smiddy events to continue for another year (by tradition I have always asked their permission on the final night of the Challenge ride in Townsville) and with the Mater Foundation’s backing and belief in us, Smiddy events will continue to provide hope for those that need it the most.

To everyone that has been involved with Smiling for Smiddy from 2006 right up to the present day, if you are reading this, you should be extremely proud of your actions. I know Maria thought the world of you, for she told me often. As for David Smiddy, well that cheeky grin isn’t going away anytime soon. His courage was mind-boggling this year after what he has been through losing Maria in May. To see David pull himself through one of the most painful Smiddy Challenge events, the first one without his wife by his side, is testament that this great man believes, with all his heart and soul, the long term research objectives through that the Mater and Smiddy are trying to achieve.

So on that note, on behalf of all the team at Smiling for Smiddy, please know that we were humbled by what you did for Smiddy across all our events in 2015. We hold you all in the highest esteem and welcome you back into the Smiddy peloton whenever you decide to join us again.

Before I go here is a snapshot of another exciting year ahead for Smiling for Smiddy and for everyone that makes the decision to come on board one of our events in 2016.

New Zealand Smiddy Challenge / March 14-18 / 700km
March kicks off with the return to New Zealand for the second running of the 5 day ride through the Southern Alps. There are still a few slots available for those still on the fence.

Noosa Smiddy Challenge / April 22-25 / 450km
The new and revamped Noosa Smiddy 4 day ride is attracting a lot of first time Smiddy riders thanks to changing the format of the ride to shorter days.

Smiddy 1Day Mountain Bike / May 14 / 75km
Our brand new one day Mountain Bike Challenge promises to be a great day out in Noosa Hinterland. One not to be missed if you are into mountain biking.

Adelaide to Uluru Smiddy Challenge / June 5 – 13 / 1,750km
My journey around Australia may be complete but luckily Australia has more to offer than riding around its outskirts. Up the Guts, as I call it, will be completed over a two year period when in 2016 we ride from Adelaide to Uluru (Ayres Rock), then in 2017 from Uluru to Darwin. This event has captured the imagination of former Smiddy riders and many new Smiddy riders. I’m pleased to say that this event has sold out with 60 confirmed riders.

Smiddy UQ Swim Challenge / August 21 / 10km
This swim has been going for 21 years now thanks to Smiddy longtime supporters at UQ Aquatic Centre, with the last 4 years under the Smiddy umbrella. We look forward to bringing another great Smiddy experience to our dedicated swimmers who wish to their bit for cancer research.

Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge Brisbane to Townsville/ August 27 – September 3 / 1,600km
2016 sees the 11th running of this very tough, but most popular of all our events, and the one that got the juggernaut Smiddy ball rolling back in 2006. Once again the event will be capped at 50 riders.

The New 4-Day Smiddy Challenge / September 30 – October 3 / 800km
The Midi has been one of our most popular shorter rides but after 6 years it needed to be freshened up. Already entries are looking good and we are confident of reaching our cap of 50 riders. New towns, new distances, new beginnings and ending but as always, the same incredibly rewarding Smiddy experience but over 4 days instead of 3.

Team Smiddy Noosa Triathlon / October 30 / 1.5km swim - 40km bike - 10km run
This year we had over 300 triathletes raise a staggering amount of $340,000 and along the way enjoyed an incredible day out experiencing the energy that is Noosa and Smiddy combined. For 2016 we are on our way to filling our allocated slots of 360 and aiming towards a $400,000 target.

For all our 2016 events we still have slots available except the Adelaide to Uluru ride. But we are already taking expressions of interest for those interested in riding up to Darwin in 2017. You will then get first option of gaining a start. 2016 promises to be a massive year once again and all the team at Smiddy look forward to riding with you then.

Any questions or queries please don’t hesitate to contact me at      

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Sunday, 6 September 2015


Day 8 highlights written by Stinky Dave aka David Colahan

Stats of the day by Dave “Stinky” Colahan

Elapsed time – 7:55
Moving time – 5:10
Average speed – 26.9 km/hr

Fastest Speed – 71.2 km/hr
Total distance- 139 km
Vertical gain – 500 m
Min temp - 17 degrees
Max temp – 31 degrees

Category Jerseys

Teamwork:  Ryan Chapman & Kevvy Enchelmaier 

Spirit:   Mark Quarrell, Jason Boyd & Kevvy Enchelmaier

Mateship:  Rowan Foster, Oliver Bodak, Ron Steel & Kevvy Enchelmaier 

Account of the day

After a great night’s sleep on the green, green grass of Charters Towers School of the Air, we were woken to the sound of sizzling bacon, sausages, eggs and ... PANCAKES, all put on by the Charters Towers Rotary Club, coordinated by long time Smiddy supporters John and Anne Clark.

There was a real buzz among the group as we knew that we only had one more ride to get to our destination.  The peloton looked extra classy this morning as we all made our way to the start in our brand new rainbow socks - another memento of our beautiful Maria. 

Killer reminded the group that we still had some riding to do and that the most important job we had today was to get the whole group safe and sound to our loved ones waiting for us in Townsville.

Ann Clark rang the bell and we were away, joined by some local riders for the first few kilometres out of Charters Towers.  Let’s just say that Killer’s talk didn’t kick in straight away.  As the enormity of what we had done dawned, there was lots of happy talk and celebration in the peloton for the first few kilometres, before we settled down to business.  We also had a very special guest in the peloton today, as Clair and James, aka Schneider Rider and Schlippery, finally escorted Big Jeff aka the Sandbagger in to Townsville – a journey he was so keen to complete two years ago.

There was a slight reverse tailwind early, but the peloton made good time to the first yellow room stop of the day, where we surprised our young physio, Blair with a small gift.  Blair has worked tirelessly for the last eight days making sure that many tired bodies were held together and out on the road.  On behalf of all the riders, thanks again Blair.

As the day progressed, the reverse tailwind picked up, but there was no way it would dampen the spirits of this group.  We rolled into morning tea and as is the norm on day 8, we were all over the magnificent spread of food like a plague of locusts – devouring anything in sight. It’s hard to believe that just seven days ago, we all (well most of us) stood patiently in line and queued up to get the delicious food lovingly prepared by the road crew.

Even though the road crew make delicious food, returning riders know that on day 8, it’s best to eat as little as possible at morning tea.  Why you may ask?  Because 47 km down the road is the most amazing lunch ever.
The ladies of the CWA at Woodstock lived up to their reputation, with another fine spread of cold meats, salads and amazing desserts.  Some Smiddy veterans upon arrival at the hall, refused to find a seat and conveniently staged a fake “conference” near the food table so that they could be first to enjoy the delicious spread.  Shame on you David Smiddy, Row, Rusty and Stinky!

After lunch, more kilometres, more reverse tailwinds before a visit to a Bottlemart hotel for a quick drink and photo.  Then four kilometres more, and we were rolling in to the Mercure Hotel cheered on by family, friends and loved ones.  There were spontaneous hugs between the riders and road crew as we celebrated all the achievements and emotions that come from 1600 km and 8 days on the long road from Brisbane to Townsville.

Even though this is my 5th Challenge the lessons I learn along the way are always the same.  The Challenge teaches you that love, perseverance, spirit, mateship and teamwork can help you achieve anything you set out to do. Sure the riders learn these lessons out on the road – but they apply to all of us and to everything we do in all of our lives.  I’m sure I’m a better person, better husband and better parent as a result of my Smiddy experiences – that’s why I keep coming back.

Tonight we celebrate with family, friends and loved ones.  Something we've also been so painfully reminded of this year is to hold on to those we love, and make every moment count.

I also learned this year that the snowmen smell like carrots.

Friday, 4 September 2015

2015 Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge—Day 7 Belyando Crossing to Charters Towers

Day 7 highlights written by—Sharky


To Roger Hawley, Tim Dalton, Brett Goebel and John Martin. To these four Smiddy lads that were all late withdrawals I dedicate this blog. Roger broke his ribs playing basketball; Tim's wife was diagnosed with breast cancer; Bretty has an issue with his heart; and poor John lost his father to cancer just last week. Our thoughts are with all of you and your families. Take care and please enjoy this blog.

Stats for the day

Distance—198 km
Average speed—28.7 km/hour
Elevation climbed—848 m
Riding time—7 hours 4 minutes
Min temp—12 degrees
Max temp—30 degrees
Climbing time—1 hour 25 minutes
Flat road riding time—4 hours 51 minutes
Downhill riding time—57 minutes
36 236 pedal strokes is the average for a Smiddy rider for the day.

Road kill count

Today's road kill count was a contest between the riders Zinky and Horse, and Lesley Ray and her gang. The idea was to see if the data from the two expert teams matched up. They clearly did not and both groups contested they were in the right. But you can be the judge.

Road kill count by Michael Zinc and Luke Horsfield:

36 Kangaroos
2 Cows
3 Pigs
14 Birds
6 Emus
1 Crocodile
27 bad smells

Road kill quantitative data collected by deputy road kill counter (Lesley), the assistant to the deputy (Nigel) and the assistant of the assistant road kill counter (Sammi-Jo):

83 Kangaroos
1 Lizard
3 dead cars
175 bag of bones
17 unidentified messes
2 Pigs
1 Piglet
19 fresh meat
18 Birds
3 Dingoes
2 Cows
4 Bust rats
0 bad smells as they were in air conditioned cars!
Lastly—Nigel claims he saw sardines in Sardine Creek

Jokes by Sean Lever

Each night Sean has gotten up and told some really funny jokes, short and sweet and hilarious. I actually never heard any of the punch lines, not much of the start either. Nor the middle bit to be honest, but so that I would fit in, I laughed long and hard when everyone else did so they surely must have been funny. Nice work 'Lofty Yak' (new nickname).

Category Jersey's  

Spirit Jersey: Paul DeMann—who doubted his ability to finish this event, yet here it is at Day 7 and he has not missed a single solitary kilometre. My Auntie Marie presented that jersey along with my brother Terry, as they have formed a very close friendship with this great man.

Team Jersey: Krista Page—tonight I broke with Smiddy tradition where we never award jerseys to staff, but Krista deserved it due to her ability to step up and deliver even though she was not at 100% health wise.

Mateship Jersey: Nic Wollett—a delightfully friendly and polite, respectable young man who would give you the shirt off his back and pay your mortgage off if you asked! I also gave Nic his first Smiddy nickname of 'Razorback' due to three wild boars checking out the bad smells coming from his swag at 3 am in Belyando Crossing.

Sharky's poem

Immediately following the jersey presentations I read out a short poem that I wrote for all the riders and road crew. I did it because I wanted to explain how I truly feel about their incredible involvement in this Smiddy Challenge event. Through my poem and writing I can get the mesasge through so much more clearly and meaningfully. I have added it at the end of this blog if you care to read it.

Guest speakers

Cameron Schembri—a rider during the day and then acts as a physio for hours into the evening—spoke of the long association of the Allsports Clinic involvement with Smiddy and Mater Foundation. He finished with some great advice to the riders as to how to recover and protect your immune system the weeks after this ultimate endurance event.

Peter 'Angus' Barnett also spoke about his journey as a cancer survivor after having prostate cancer.

Road crew song  

Our extraordinary and talented road crew kept coming up with new songs to entertain the riders, either on the road or at night time functions. Tonight they performed yet again and immediately after the five lady riders sang their very own version of what it's like to be a cycling girl in a male dominated Smiddy peloton, written by the clever Jenny Penfold. The cheers were enormous for both groups, but we think the girls won the sing off.

The days' wrap-up

The peloton were on a high after a great relaxing night at the infamous Belyando Crossing. Our roll out was scheduled for 6.30 am and I was ready on time at 6.35 am! Thankfully the extracurricular activities last night slowed a few riders down even slower than me, so I was actually made to look good. Our newest road crew member Nigel Harris was given the honour of ringing the delightfully sounding cow bell that has been in Kevvy's family for more than 100 years to get the peloton into the job of hand of another 200 km day.

Fast forward 10 hours ...
I am now going to skip straight to the finish at the School of Distance Education, where the Principal of the school—John Clarke and his lovely wife Anne—joined us for a very emotional huddle as we rolled into Charters Towers at 4.30 pm. Now Chris Sydes is a good man to have on your side and he gratefully accepted the role of guest huddle speaker. Jason Boyd was meant to be Chris's sidekick, and while he wanted to talk he asked if I could tell his story for him as he did not think he could hold it together. Jason was very close to his mother and her loss just a few short months ago to cancer hit this quiet, kindhearted young man hard. I explained to Boydey that his Smiddy family were here for him and that we all cared and loved him dearly. Everyone gave Boydey a rousing cheer as we all respected his courage to ride this far in memory of his dear mother. Seven days on the road, living 24/7 in each others pockets, does this to a group, and it is one of the things we are extremely proud of at Smiddy HQ. Sydesy meanwhile did a stellar job in leading the huddle with the road crew, rider and Smiddy Chant, and he has indicated he is on board long term and eager to help out in any way possible. A good man that Sydesy!

Of course, as per usual, I stuffed up when speaking in the huddle. It's not a matter of if, but when these moment will arise for me. So I did the intro with John and Anne to the riders and road crew, and I explained that they had been friends with Maria Smiddy for many decades. David Smiddy then pointed out that he also was friends with them for several decades! A great night was had by all with excellent blog reading by Rusty and Ray, with the plea by Russ for the riders and road crew to check out the new kids Smiddy book that tells the Adam Smiddy story from 2006 to present day. A huge thank you to Smiddy rider and supporter Kate Warren from Tasmania and her student Charlotte Phillips, who put together this project and took two years of faith and passion to see it through to its completion. Copies can be ordered through any of the members of Team Smiddy if you are keen to support.

Five amazing highlights from today

1. The breakfast the road crew started preparing at 4.30 am in Belyando Crossing was dedicated to Maria and her poached eggs that she delivered each year only here at Belyando. We were also gifted with muffins, cereal, fruit and bread, and as a mother of all surprises our adopted Smiddy volunteer Cathy and Michael had prepared mouth watering porridge. Thank you amazing road crew.

2. Rolling into morning tea to discover no rider day bags present! Whoops ... they were located in a car heading for Cairns! With not enough time to get them back to the morning tea break it was decided the riders would have to go without their butt cream until lunch. How tough are Smiddy riders!

3. Seeing the team bond over the last seven days has been beautiful to behold. Today we were closer than two flies eyeballing each other, or two fleas wrestling, or finally two ants balancing on each other's backs. Now I know that may come across as weird, but truly that's how close we are!

4. Mateship comes in many forms and I have seen so much of it over the past week amongst the riders and the road crew. Today I experienced it when we had a handicap A, B and C grade 15 km 'go at your own pace session'. C was off first, followed a minute later by B—of which I was a part of—and A a minute after B. In ten years of contesting this session, I have never come close. Today Ron Steel, Oliver Bodak and Mick Young carried me to within spitting distance of the line and gifted me with the win by passing C early and holding A by a scant few seconds. I don't care about that win but I care of why they did it. What a way to cap off an amazing 10 years of Smiddy Challenge events. Each and every rider and road crew congratulated me like I'd won the Tour De France. They were genuinely happy for me and that meant more to me than all the diamonds in the world. Well maybe not all of them, I could hold onto just a few ...

5. The afternoon tea break was at Policeman's Creek at the 163 km point, where of course there was no water but lots of dusty dirt and dirt that was dusty. It was here that a totally random incident occured. The road crew were absolutely smothered by the riders in love and hugs and thank you's and handshakes and the odd small unintentional pinch of the bottom! Cheeky ... We have no idea how or why this happened but thankfully after much bouncing around and immaturity—mainly by my brother Terry—life settled back down to the customary shovel as much food they mouths as possible in the shortest amount of time.

That's it from me—it's now 1.15 am and Kevvy is getting up and rousing me every half hour for not being in bed and asleep. Thank you for all your support and if anyone wishes to help me reach my $5000 goal I sure would be mighty appreciative of a late donation for this my tenth Smiddy Challenge. Thank you and good night.

You can click here to make a donation to my page.


Sharky's poem for Challenge riders and road crew

Friends tend to shape how you lead your life
In my teens a few caused me to get into a fair amount of strife

But in my 20s I discovered friends in sport
Genuine people I am happy to report

Who influenced me in a positive way
Friends for life, here to stay.

In my 30s and 40s my number of friends grew
Some trusted and true by many of them new

Early in my 40s I said goodbye to a mate
Who changed my life forever and left me in a state

I think you all know the Adam Smiddy story
A young man destined for greatness and for glory

A life cut tragically short
Smiling for Smiddy legacy ensures his name will never abort.

Since Adam passed away
Even more friends have come my way

These friends are special I know
Showing that they care, their hearts on show

All of you here tonight 
Giving me the perfect opportunity to recite

I hope it is plain to see
You all mean the world to me

From the depths of my heart
I am grateful, my life, you are a part.

2015 Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge—Day 6 Clermont to Belyando Crossing

Day 6 highlights written byRay Smith & Russell Conway

Stats of the day by Dave 'Stinky' Colahan:

Moving time—9 hours or there about
Average speed—25 km/hr or there about
Total distance—176 km
Vertical gain—644 m
Min temp—14 degrees
Max temp—32 degrees

Road kill count by Michael zinc 7 Deputy Luke Horsfield:

116 Kangaroos
76 bag of bones
1 Emu
2 Pigs
8 Birds
1 Black-headed python

**Note: a second Deputy has been hired for tomorrow which is road crew member Lesley Ray.

Category Jersey's

Spirit Jersey: Anna Tate—awarded for her efforts in organising school visits, and her amazing energy and hugs.

Team Jersey: Damien Peall—awarded for being a team player and as Sharky put it "damn helpful". 

Mateship Jersey: Sammi Jo—awarded for years of commitment and ensuring that no one goes untreated when in need of a massage.

After a most welcomed sleep in, the riders were greeted to a balmy 14 degree morning for a 7.30 am roll out. With a great turn out by the ever supportive community of Clermont, Geevesy called an important meeting to announce they had upgraded Captain Kevvy's support vehicle to cater for his small man syndrome. Right on cue a huge shiny Kenworth prime mover rounded the corner and Captain Kevvy immediately grew two feet. After the driver helped him into the cabin, Kevvy played with his gear stick and blew his air horns and the riders commenced the day. The honour of ringing the cow bell this morning was given to Jackie Martin. Our thoughts were conveyed to the Martin family as previous Smiddy rider—John Martin—lost his father last week.

Conditions this morning started out perfect with a gentle tail wind, then 10 km before we reached our destination at Belyando Crossing, there was an intermittent cross wind that at times reminded us of the tough afternoon the previous day. With the carrot of a 'go at your own pace session' in the afternoon, the riders didn't seem to mind digging a little deeper when required.

The riding this morning wasn't much to talk about, but as the extremely wise Cameron 'Habo' Habermann was overheard explaining to a fellow rider, "It sure beats working hey mate". In fact, I've decided that Habo is so wise I've started calling him the Beareded Yoda. Habo and I connected in the first few days over a conversation about the unsung heroes of Smiling for Smiddy. The Smiddy riders are often heralded for their efforts, but without the support of family, friends and workmates, most of us wouldn't even make the start line. Our colleagues cover for us whilst we take time off work to ride. Our friends join us for those extra kilometres so we can prepare for the mammoth task of riding so far, and our families keep the home fires burning, doing the extra miles themselves managing all that's involved with domestic life. On top of this, all of them help us reach our fundraising commitments. It's these people we need to constantly acknowledge as the 'extended Smiddy family', as without them the riders simply wouldn't be 'the riders'.

About the only unusual goings on for the morning were the frequent solo toilet stops by James 'Schlipery' Schneider. On at least three occasions Schlipery darted off the front of the peloton, gaining sufficient distance so he could relieve himself before the rest of the riders caught up. Questions quickly started to flow from the group as to why he needed so many trips to the 'yellow room'. The consensus seemed to be that Schlipery drank a few extra beers at the Clermont function and was merely getting rid of excess fluid. The most likely explanation was he was hosting a 'bush tic', and was frequently stopping to ensure it hadn't found a forest in which to multiply.

The road crew once again provided a delicious feast for morning tea and given the remoteness of today's lunch stop, did an amazing job of creating an oasis in the desert. Lunchtime also saw the road crew grow with the addition of a trainee who apparently had been trying for years to get a spot to help further his career within his current organisation. Nigel—who had CEO of Mater Foundation on his application—was so eager to volunteer he flew to Emerald and paid Lesley Ray in mixed lollies to pick him up and drive him to our lunch destination. To his credit, Nigel very quickly offered to roll up his sleeves and get stuck in. The well-oiled machine that is the 2015 Smiddy Challenge road crew seemed reluctant to alter any of their systems and let the new kid get involved, but I'm sure if Nigel continues to show his enthusiasm his new team will soften and welcome him with open arms.

In 2006, Sharky, Ron and Ollie made the inaugural journey from Brisbane to Townsville carrying everything they needed for the trip on their backs. If you've spent any time at all with Ollie then you'd already know this. As a tribute to the original three pioneers the riders were asked to carry their day bags until the next stop at afternoon tea. Some of the riders found their day bags somewhat heavier after a few of the lads thought it'd be funny to fill their mate's day bags with rocks.

Much of today's talk was about the afternoon 'go at your own pace session'. At the final roadside stop for the day, the riders were given the choice of three groups in which to ride with. Depending on who you talk to, you'll get a different account of how the 15 km hit out unfolded. Regardless of what happened it's only the first rider across the line that counts. In the first group our two resident pros Damo and Ken went head-to-head, with Ken taking the win by a tyre's width. Naomi was the first female rider to cross the line after making a big contribution within the second group.

Our destination today—Belyando Crossing—is a favourite for many of the riders as it's the first night we get to spend the evening by ourselves. After six days on the road it gives us the opportunity to relax with friends old and new. Mandy and the team at Belyando put on a super feed before the night's official proceedings started. Mandy also featured in tonight's speeches and her honesty and openness had the crowd in stitches.

The evening started with a few cracking jokes from Sean 'Lofty' Lever. We then got to know a little about the new trainee Nigel. Like an episode from Undercover Boss gone wrong, it was revealed that Nigel was actually Nigel Harris, CEO of Mater Foundation, and that the only way he could get face-to-face time with his incredibly hard working staff was to leave the luxury of his air-conditioned digs and make his way to outback Queensland. Our resident DJ Tony conducted a mock on-air interview with Nigel, with Tony asking the tough questions about his true commitment to the Smiling for Smiddy cause. Nigel came up smelling roses and I think his role in the road crew will be secure for some time.

The riders that shared their stories tonight were Jason Sams, Brad Hartmann and Chris Geeves. It's often hard for people to share something so personal, but it's really appreciated by everyone and is a big part of the journey for all.

Beylando Crossing was one of Maria Smiddy's favourite stops on the Challenge, so we took a moment to reflect on how dearly she is missed this year, and the affect she has had on all who were lucky enough to score one of her amazing hugs.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

2015 Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge—Day 5 Blackwater to Clermont

Day 5 highlights written byZane, Ian and Jayden

Stats of the day read by Dave “Stinky” Colahan supplied by Habo

Elapsed time – 11 hours 4 minutes
Moving time – 7 hours 20 minutes
Average speed – 26 km per hour

Fastest Speed – 55 km per hour
Total distance – 190.5km
Vertical gain – 764 m
Min temp – 16 degrees
Max temp – 35 degrees

Road Kill Count by Michael Zinc:

1 Cat
2 Echidnas
13 Kangaroos
4 Bad smells
8 Bags of bones

Category Jerseys

Spirit Jersey: Jennifer Penfold, for her determination and hard work on the bike.

Team Jersey: Terry Smoothy, for his support of Sharky over the years and involvement as Smiddy Road crew.

Mateship Jersey: Malcolm Frizzel, for his noted mateship with fellow rider Boydy

Guest Community Function Speakers-

Tonight, riders Ross West and Mark Quarrel spoke about their reasons for joining the Smiddy Peloton. Ross spoke of his long friendship with Sharky and despite Sharky’s annual pestering for him to join the Smiddy Family he had finally succumbed to Sharky’s wife Alyssa’s plea. Mark lost a close family friend and the realisation that his friend’s infant daughter would grow up not knowing her father inspired Mark to try and do something to help fight the battle.

Account of the day

Day 5 of the challenge is often the sheep in wolves clothing the climbing is long behind us and the distances are all under 200 km, so today should be a piece of cake… however, this wasn't the case.

We were dropped at the Village on Blain by our Blackwater Billets for a full buffet spread which any 5-star resort would be proud of. On mornings like this we feel guilty when we say goodbye to our billets after their warm hospitality we rarely get time to sit down and have a good chat, but rest assured we do appreciate their amazing support and generosity. Mick Farragio upheld the Smiddy tradition of kicking off the day with a double choc ice-cream cone.

We rolled out from the Blackwater PCYC 20 minutes late at 6:20 with a balmy 16 degrees on the thermometer. The morning bell to get the peloton underway was rung by long-time Smiddy Supporter Lynlea O’Neill. As the group departed Blackwater, spirits were high after a warm bed, good feed, overcast conditions and slight tail wind at our backs. Our first stop of the day was at Comet where lead vehicle driver Kevin Stemm and his navigator Mia had a disagreement about how far away he had parked from the peloton. It was also at this stop where Sharky and Habo took a selfie yelling in jubilation as the flash went off, with Habo then telling Sharky you can’t actually hear anything in a photo. Sharky appeared a little upset by this news. After a short stop we rolled on again with Emerald in our sights only to make an unexpected stop when rider Claire Schneider came down—thankfully she had no injuries and would later return to the peloton after morning tea. After a quick discussion about the importance of looking after your mates and fellow riders we then pedalled on to Emerald where we visited the Denison State School and we were welcomed by the students in a fence line guard of honour. After enlightening the children with our sun safe message we were treated to morning tea provided by former Smiddy rider Errol Rosenblatt’s wife.

With stomachs full we then made the right hand turn towards our next destination Clermont. We still had 110 km to travel and the headwind was making its presence well and truly known. The peloton battled these headwinds for the next 50 km before rolling into Capella for a well-earned lunch. The teamwork shown exemplified the Smiddy spirit as we soldiered on towards Clermont. The next 55km weren’t hell but it was certainly the address next door, with comments such as ‘I think I just lost my soul on the road’ due to intensifying headwinds and heat. With 10 km to go the peloton stopped for a quick afternoon tea and we were on our way again. With the finish line in sight Smiddy Train 2015 ignored Stinky Dave’s instruction to take it easy and light work was made of the final kilometres.

Arriving into Clermont an hour behind schedule at 4.30pm we were greeted by a large crowd of supporters. The supporters included students from Saint Joseph’s and Clermont State Schools who embraced Smiddy crazy sock day and managed to raise $140 and $250 respectively. To the riders’ delight we rolled into the back of the Commercial Hotel where we were met by hot food and cold beers. A big thanks to Roger and Mari Lyons of the Commercial Hotel for their continued support. Once our stomachs were full and thirsts quenched the Smiddy huddle was formed with Aunty Marie leading the huddle on her Birthday (happy birthday Marie) with rider Glen taking on the all-important duty of the Smiddy chant.

The nightly function at the Clermont community hall saw riders and billets enjoy a great dinner provided by Morne, Dawid and Anna from Glencor. Riders were surprised with messages of support from loved ones being displayed in a slideshow presented. Another Slideshow recapping the first 10 years of the Smiddy Challenge highlighted how Sharky’s adventure has now become something so much more. The slideshow demonstrated that Smiddy is more than just a charity organisation—it is a close knit family that only those who have been a part of can understand. A special mention must also go to Jackie Martin for her tireless work and dedication to Smiddy. Finally in breaking news road kill consultant Booba Aka Mick Young is taking industrial action for his unfair dismissal. By the final day of the challenge Road Kill Deputy Luke may have to add Zincy to the list if Booba is not reinstated and a public apology made. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

2015 Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge—Day 4 Biloela to Blackwater

Day 4 highlights written by – the 2015 road crew

Stats of the day by Dave “Stinky” Colahan
Elapsed time – 11:26
Moving time – 8:36
Average speed – 28 km
Fastest Speed- 63 km
Total distance-  239.6 km
Vertical gain – 1057m
Min temp - 2
Max temp – 30

Road Kill Count by Michael Zinc:
  • 23 Bag of Bones
  • 31 Kangaroos
  • 6 Birds
  • 1 Frog
  • 1 Cane Toad
  • 5 Rabbits
  • 1 Pelican
  • 1 Polar bear
  • 1 bloody red smear
  • 1 chicken (in the form of a Red Rooster box)
  • 30 bad smells – some animal some animalistic humans
Category Jerseys

Spirit Jersey: Chris Sydes

Team Jersey: Cameron Schembri and Blair Milne

Mateship Jersey: Ray Smith

Guest Community Function Speakers
Claire and James Schneider and Oliver Bodak 

Account of the day

Stinky Dave wanted the inside scope on what really happens on road crew because, while at the Thangool dinner when Lesley and Kelly were talking about their really bad skinny flat white experience in Monto and their really good bacon and egg burgers, his interest was piqued. He deduced from this that road crew just swan around all day. Stinky Dave, this insight into a day in the life of road crew is for you … and your 53 mates.
The day for road crew typically starts about an hour and a half before roll out but the crew were excited to have a sleep in to 4.45 this morning, thanks to our wonderful hosts providing breakfast.

Once again the community of Biloela displayed their generosity by providing warm beds for around 70 people, who for the most part they don’t know. Not only do our wonderful hosts open their homes and their pantries; they get up early in the morning ferrying us all to Don and Di Morris’ old shop for a warm farewell. As is tradition, the strains of the lone bagpiper playing Scotland the Brave sent the cyclists off on yet another gruelling 240 km day to Blackwater.

Road crew thanks most sincerely Don and Di Morris, Dave from Foodworks and Tony from Biloela laundromat for again helping us to take care of the cyclists. We truly couldn’t do this without them.

Now back to the inside scoop …

Day 4 nearly started with disaster when Wendy, Glen and Kay headed off from Don and Di’s.  Wendy noticed a cool breeze coming through the car and a light on to suggest that a door was open. Glen and Kay convinced Wendy that all was well until Glen looked out the back to notice the hatch back door was fully opened. Ever looking after the riders the road crew drove back to make sure nothing had fallen out.

And to further prove what goes into looking after all of the cyclists, long term hosts Noel and Bronwyn shared with road crew that they did a complete sweep of the house to ensure that Sharky had not left anything behind, declaring that they have chased the Smiddy vehicles many times before.

The riders left with Stemmy, Mia, Captain Kev and Lesley while the remaining road crew stopped for the obligatory skinny flat whites and sausage rolls at the bakery.

Kay and Kelly left first to do yesterday’s laundry and get yesterday’s Blog and photos back to the Mater Foundation’s fundraising communications team.

While the dryers are spinning at the laundromat, the rest of the crew are making their way to the first stop to prepare morning tea. Okay, so today it was leftover Home Baking from Thangool State School but wasn’t it beautifully arranged on the platters. Come to think of it we are wondering if we can find schools to do this all the way from St Lucia to Townsville. To be fair, this isn’t standard, mornings are usually spent chopping, cutting, slicing, dicing, spreading, wrapping, arranging and plating up various culinary delights under the watchful eye of Chief Food Stylist Bec.

The highlight of morning tea every year for both riders and road crew is meeting Kevvy’s mum and dad, Gladys and Noel Duthie. Gladys in her late 80s and Noel 94, this year gave Kevvy a donation of $350, $250 which is from their savings and $100 from the local card game. They also gave the riders a box of oranges and grapefruit, saving the road crew yet another shopping trip.

Stemmy our trusty lead vehicle crew member thought he would give riders something else for them to do at morning tea when the lead vehicle was bogged as he pulled over to the side of the road to let another vehicle pass and they helped him out.

The riders set off from morning tea and the crew pack up the left over cake and head off for the lunch stop.
Hearing ‘rider down’ is something that all road crew fear and just before lunch exactly that happened when we discovered that half the Tasmanian contingent (one rider) had gone down. Luckily no-one was seriously hurt although a bike will never recover … at least not on this trip. Ollie, if you wanted to ride with David Smiddy in the Taj Mahal all you really needed to do was ask.

Being on road crew can be a waiting game at times and as the crew wait to prepare lunch, entertainment is required.  The Smiddy Assassin, Sammi Jo provided massages to road crew members and Marie entertained the group when she suddenly declared, the older she gets the closer her bladder gets to her eyes.

In the meantime Peter and Bec Knight took on the role of Smiddy Angels placing balloons and signs at the half way mark for riders.

Today’s lunch menu was corned beef and salad wraps and the crew decided it was time to start a new Smiddy road crew tradition – an annual Challenge wrap off.  Two teams of three formed for a practice run of a race to make the most wraps in the shortest time. The official competition is tomorrow.

After lunch David, Kay, Glen, Lesley, Kelly and new road crew member Ollie, head to Blackwater to unpack riders’ bags and laundry. Glen, Lesley and Ollie shot some hoops in the PCYC and it is declared (by Lesley) that she still has it going on.

Another afternoon tea, another fall and oops, there goes the other half of Tasmania wiped out! Tim Smith, we heard you might have been showing off!

We think this is a pretty good road crew but you know, no Smiddy Road Crew is ever going to be complete without our Maria. We’ve felt her presence; we’ve heard her laughter; and we’ve thought about her every day. Huddles are that bit harder but we know that she would be very happy knowing how we’re looking after our 2015 Smiling for Smiddy cyclists.

And now, to honour Maria, here’s Bec with the catering stats:

  • 1200 Saos
  • 240 eggs
  • 300 litres soft drink
  • 15kg lollies
  • 60 loaves bread and wraps
  • 160 tomatoes
  • 500 packet chips
  • 4 kg peanut butter
  • 20 watermelons
  • 500 bottles Powerade
  • 8 kg grated cheese
  • Plus lots of healthy greens and home baking.

Special acknowledgements for the Blackwater community:

Lynlea O’Neill and Don Forbes (Village on Blain) for looking after us all; Scott Evans and the Blackwater  Mine Workers Club for providing dinner; and all our wonderful hosts.
Day 4 ended with another great meal and good company and the road crew still talking about Glen’s version of Little Things from the night before.  

We hope that gives you an insight into a day in the life of the road crew. If you think we swan around all day, we’ll take that as a compliment. We’re happy looking like beautiful, graceful swans, but know that under the water the legs are going madly, looking after our wonderful cyclists.