Sunday, 24 May 2015

2015 MIDI SMIDDY - WARWICK TO BRISBANE - DAY 3

Distance:217 km's
Average: 27.2 km/h
Climbing: 1791 metres
Descending: 2220 metres
Riding time: 7hr 57min
Temp Min: 3 degrees, our warmest start ever out of Warwick.
Temp Max: 24 degrees

The morning started perfectly with riders and road crew emerging from their swags to home made porridge and pancakes for breakfast. For most of the riders and road crew it was the first time sleeping in a swag and even though we slept indoors in the Warwick Redback AFL club rooms it was a great experience. Noise cancelling headphones are a great invention and my only complaint was the pillow but that can be easily fixed. The youngest member of the road crew, Jack Geeves, proved to be an expert swag roller-upper and not even Kevie could find a fault with his work.

Day 3 of the Midi Smiddy was meant to be another day of brutal head winds and freezing cold weather because Geevesy said so then he realised he was looking at the Gold Coast marine forecast. Thanks Geevesy! Instead the riders had a perfect day of riding with clear blue skies and the occasional breeze. At every stop they had to take another layer off as it got warmer and warmer. To quote Krista "the riders had a sprinkle of speedy" today as the road crew had to race to keep ahead of them and have the next food stop ready in time. There were plenty of smiles as they pulled in to more home bake and the famous Smiddy sandwiches.

The previous night we had celebrated Lydia's 18th birthday with cake, candles and a loud rendition of happy birthday. Today was Chris 'pretty boy' Holmes birthday but he had to make do with left over cake with with pink icing. Sorry Chris!

Midi Smiddy is Lucy Bird's first Smiddy event and the longest cycle she had ever attempted. Lucy proved to be strong and determined on the bike and equally with fundraising. By Saturday she had raised over $7,000 for cancer research and rode all 3 days regardless of how much it hurt. Lucy was awarded the very special Smiddy Spirit jersey and is one of the select few who wore this jersey home on the last day.

All the riders proved themselves to be true Smiddy family members by smiling through 2 tough days on the bike and supporting one another all the way. There are many potential Challenge riders in this peloton who feel ready to step up and take on the ultimate Smiddy event riding from Brisbane to Townsville. I believe they have qualified and are ready to do this incredible event so I look forward to seeing them there in 2016!

Day 3 finished with a wonderful welcome at UQ Aquatic centre with all the riders' family members turning up to see them arrive as well as many previous Smiddy riders. There were banners, flowers, champagne and tears for many and a great BBQ by the Lions Club. Sharky and his lovely wife Alyssa were there to welcome everyone home. The final huddle was huge with absolutely everyone joining in.

It was a wonderful end to 3 days of fun, friendship, head winds, long days on the bike, fantastic food and great times.

Sharky's temporary replacement is signing off and expect Sharky back for the Challenge event in September.

Cherie

Saturday, 23 May 2015

2015 MIDI SMIDDY - DAY 2 TOOWOOMBA TO WARWICK - DEDICATION TO MARIA SMIDDY

Distance:157km's
Average: 24.7km/h
Climbing: 1017 metres
Desending: 1207 metres
Riding time: 6:07:00
Temp Min: 7 degrees
Temp Max: 24 degrees
Wind: Plenty of it either in our face or on the nose


It was another brutal day on the bike with head winds, fog and more hills. This morning we received some news that affected many of the long term Smiddy riders. As a group we all wanted to be there for them and support each another through an especially tough day.

Today's blog is a bit different because we all want to share our Smiddy experiences and reach out to the Smiddy family. Today it's not one voice that counts but all of us as a group, as a family and as a bunch of mates.

Geevesy
For my time in the Smiddy family, since 2008, it’s just been about putting something back. We know that there are people that survive cancer now, that didn’t a decade ago. The $7 million in funds we’ve raised in the past nine years have contributed to that. Pure and simple, no arguments. On Midi-Smiddy this year, there are a bunch of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th timers…that’s the spirit of the Smiddy family. There’s a connection between those two things, pure and simple, no arguments.
I want our collective thoughts in this blog to reflect a message to David, that no matter how much pain he’s experiencing, that Adam and Maria’s legacy will live on, through the work we do and the ever increasing group pf people that subscribe to our need to make a difference.

Jack Geeves
I started out in the Smiddy family at the tender age of just 8 years old, when dad left for his first 8 day, the only part I knew was he was going to be gone for a week and he was going up. Now 8 years on, I’m still here and I know a lot more about what this ride is all about, I’ve watched it change from 15 mates heading up to Townsville on push bikes to 50 people riding around the countryside.
Now as I look across the room everybody head down staring at their phones contemplating why they’re here, thinking about the reasons they are here and what contribution they’ve made so far and what they can do in the future to keep this ride enduring long into the future and continue the great work that started when Mark rode up to Townville with a backpack and credit card.

Robbie (Right Brake) Lever
My reason for joining the Smiddy family was because I really admired how Sharky started the Smiddy ride in memory of Adam. I now want to acknowledge Maria and what she means to the Smiddy extended family. Over the past 10 years Sharky has been able to keep Adams memory alive and vibrant. I now want to do this for Maria’s memory and for David to know this.

Christian Killer Killeen
Good friends of mine had done the ride in 2007 and I’d heard all the stories about the ride but also about Adams battle with cancer 12 months earlier although I’d never met Adam. The thought of riding 1600 kms over 8 days sounded like a great holiday for me.
But once I’d done the ride it triggered something in side of me. I knew that I had to do it again and do it for the right reasons. While I have been fortunate with cancer and my family this scares the hell out of me. For that reason I want to ‘Pay it forward’. I want to do something before cancer does affect my family.
Now each year I ride to pay it forward, but also because I know it makes me a better person. I come back with a renewed passion, and sense of inner peace. To have the chance to ride 8 days with so many people all sharing the passion and desire to make a difference.

Ronnie Steel
The first ride I did with Sharky after Adam died we got to Home Hill and Maria asked David to make a speech. He wouldn’t so Maria made the speech instead and she spoke about Sharky and Ollie. She said Ronnie had never met Adam but was there supporting Sharky. That was what Smiddy is all about – supporting mates. It bought me to tears.

Liesa Hogg
At 37 and a mother of two beautiful daughters 8 and 10 I have seen family members and friends battle cancer, young and older and this has made me think more and more about what if I get sick, what if my kids get sick, what if my daughters have kids and get sick and knew I had to do something to contribute and teach my kids to give, encourage others to give and put in the effort and get involved. They have watched me train and they will be at the finish line and they have learned some very valuable lessons, as have I.

Sean Lever
6 years into my Smiddy journey. Inspired by Sharky to get involved in Tri’s with Purpose. Inspired by the Smiddy story from the get go. Smiddy has brought my wife Robyn and I closer together and through our fund raising efforts each year has brought the Caloundra community together. They are inspired. MY Dads battle with Battle Cancer started 6 years ago, he inspires me each day the ride gets tough. Smdidy will be a part of family for as long as we are able.

Michael Brady
Today was a tough day, I feel tougher than yesterday, but I got to witness some amazing riders soldier through their own emotional battles to physically help other riders. This embodies the Smiddy spirit and something I’m proud to have been apart of for four years. If me punishing myself on a bike can help someone I don’t know, nor will I ever know how, with their treatment or care, then I’ll go out and ride again.
I have the utmost respect for my extended Smiddy family and am so proud to be part of this family.

Barry Hume
This is my second Smiddy event, my third is later this year. A challenging, thought provoking experience that reminds me of my great friends and family that have been taken too soon. Training and taking part often feels like a sporting event, but its deeper than that. David, my thoughts are with you and your family.

Lucy Bird
Why I did Smiddy:
The Smiddy family is amazing, Unique. I first signed up for this ride as a personal challenge, a physical one. Deep down I always knew it would change my life though. It no longer is a personal achievement, but a collective one. And that is life. Together, as a group, we can achieve huge things. Smiddy will continue to do huge things. For a long time. Thank you x

Paul Craig
Way I have started riding and fund raising money for smile for smiddy. My Mum passed away from cancer when I was 14 and I have lost three other family members to cancer.And when my work mate said he was riding for smiddy I asked him about it and I was hooked. I would love it that if one kid not to lost his Mum to cancer then it's the least I could do is ride some km and raise some money.
Barry Waters
Why I wanted to support and fundraise for Smiling for Smiddy? Assist the research team at Mater in curing Cancer. Why cancer? Throughout my many years in retail and within my own personal family I have supported many with their fight against this exhausting and terriable disease. Some with great success, others loosing their battle / fighting to stay with their loved ones.
3 words tie Smiddy to A.N.Z.A.C. with what I have enormous pride and admiration for.
Courage,
Endurance,
Mateship.

Chris Holmes
The reason I joined the Smiddy family 2 years ago on the Midi was to originally combine my love of cycling with a great charity and try and make a positive impact on the lives of others. I have not experienced the of cancer in my imediate family but have witnessed its devastating effects on my extended family as well as friends and colleagues. The comraderie and friends made on my first trip was a driving force for me signing up this year and for a future rides.

Louise De Costa
If the ride home tomorrow from Warrick to Brisbane is anything like today....I'm pulling a sickie!!
Today's ride from Toowoomba to Warrick was 160km of full on headwind with moments where we were given a reprieve only to turn a corner to the full on force of the wind. I actually enjoyed the first 100km. The last 60km for me called upon all the grit and sheer determination to finish. And yet again I knew my pain would end at our destination.

Today has been a very day sad for the Smiddy family. Maria Smiddy, the mother of Adam Smiddy, who was the young man of 26 years who died of an aggressive melanoma, that this foundation was set up to honour and help raise funds for cancer research died of Pancreatic cancer. My deepest condolences to Maria's family and friends.

It is for the Smiddy Family and all cancer suffers that we as individuals and as a group endure the pain that we do at different times during the ride. It is during those hard times when some of us have nothing left in the tank that we are surrounded by kind souls who are often as exhausted as we are who push you along the road. We are all here for each other.

We can't achieve what we do in life alone and it is especially true when a terrible disease like cancer strikes that we need the love and support of everyone around us.

Every dollar that is raised for cancer research may be the dollar that offers a cure or supportive services to you or your loved ones.

Tonight our hearts go out to David Smiddy, his family and his dearest friends. Tomorrow David no matter what Mother Nature delivers us we will ride with both Adam and Maria on our hearts.

Brock Yates
Today was an inspirational day in the Midi Smiddy peloton. The unfortunate news of Mrs Smiddys passing bought out the best in the group. Jarod Covey shepparded his Smiddy flock all day ensuring no one was left behind.
I worked with Adam at the PA for a short time and I only met Maria once. They were great people and left an impression on me. A lasting impression. An impression that has inspired me and my family to be a Smiddy family. RIP Maria and Adam.

Keith Hungerford
I lost a good friend in high school and a grandfather to cancer and have seen friends suffer through treatments for the disease. Smiddy means great mates getting out there working hard and doing something awesome for society and fighting against a common foe.

Anthony Woodbury
My Smiddy adventure started out as just a good reason to go for a ride, I would get a day off work by riding for a good cause. I have lost some family friends to cancer and couldn’t think of a better reason to go for a ride. But since I attended the orientation night and the first training ride, being part of Smiling for Smiddy has become more than just going for a ride, seeing how the riders and road crew look after each other is awesome and I feel very privaliged to part of such an amazing and genuine group and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

Kevvy
Today was a difficult day out on the road for our cyclists, because of the wind. However due to the conditions quite a number of the riders sought refuge in the sag wagon. This gave me a chance to reflect on my past nine years of involvement with Smiddy events and I was able to share with them the experiences that I’ve spent with Maria and David. My thoughts and prayers are with David and the extended family.

Melissa Crossman
Every person in the Smiddy peloton comes from a place called Super Amazing Awesomeland. We each have our own reasons for being here but out on the road in the worst possible conditions the spirit and camaraderie come together to produce something awesome. These are the people that keep these rides going and keep me coming back. I wish this could be bottled and hand delivered to every cancer sufferer and their loved ones to help get them through. But even better than this is that the net result of partaking in a Smiddy ride is contributing to a future where cancer doesn't exist and who wouldn't want to experience that!

Friday, 22 May 2015

2015 MIDI SMIDDY - DAY 1 BRISBANE TO TOOWOOMBA

Stats for the day:
Distance:195.5km
Avr Speed: 22.1kph
Total time: 11hrs 20min
Riding time: 8hrs 52min
Max speed: 62km
Metres climbed: 2200
Calories burned: 5230
Road kill - 2x Roos/Wallabies, 2 x birds (pheasant and a hawk), 2 x bag of bones, 2 x foxes, 2 x rabbits, 1 x stuffed toy (not the Shark), 1 x sparrow.

Shark out / Cherie in!
In 10 years of Smiddy Sharky has never missed a single ride. This years Midi Smiddy is the first time he has stayed in Brisbane and I know he is devastated. But under Doctors and his Physios orders Sharky had to make the horrible decision to stay behind.

That leaves me, the new member of the team to tell it like it is and write Sharky's blog. Well here goes....

Headwinds Battle type of day
Sharky would have many words to describe day 1 of Midi Smiddy but I only have one - Brutal! As a member of the road crew today I watched in awe as the Smiddy peloton tackled a brutal headwind for most of the 194km from Brisbane to Toowoomba. It was relentless and as Lucy described there were no downhills today only a constant battle to keep moving forward. In true Smiddy spirit they worked together and stayed focused to survive a day that will never be forgotten.

Road crew shortcuts
But enough about the riders as the road crew have a few stories to tell as well. Officially we did not get lost but because of a city girl navigator (me) we did have to make 6 u turns between lunch and afternoon tea. However we did get to see a lot more of the beautiful country side than I'm sure any other Midi road crew have. It is stunning scenery!

UQ send off and a mysterious tale of blood
We started the morning with a fantastic BBQ breakfast at UQ kindly hosted by Jae and his team. There was a small mishap when a certain rider cut his finger on the BBQ and needed the first aid kit. How he cut his finger when he wasn't cooking and all he had to do was tell the cook if he wanted bacon with his eggs is a mystery.

Stuffed Shark!
We didn't have Sharky the man with us today but we did have Shark the cuddly one instead who got to ride with Kevie all day. Cuddly Shark came out at afternoon tea to spur the riders on for the final 19km and big, very big climb to Toowoomba. It must have worked because all the riders except 2 set out to finish the day and push through to the very end. I haven't heard from Kevie how the climb went but I'm sure they all gave it everything they had.

Final words by Cherie
Their reward at the end was a freezing cold Toowoomba welcome made more inviting by hot soup cooked up by the wonderful Wendy.

A special mention to Lydia, our youngest rider, who finished her longest ride today

Request from the riders - I must mention Alyssa and how beautiful she is! There you go Sharky.

The weather forecast for tomorrow - cold and windy. Yah.

Thank you to the riders, road crew and all the supporters of this years Midi Smiddy. Wishing you a speedy recovery Sharky! This blogging business is a lot harder than it looks.

Signing off from Toowoomba.

Cherie.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

2015 MIDI SMIDDY - SIX YEARS AND COUNTING!


The Midi is upon us
If you are reading this then it can only mean one thing... Another Smiddy event must be imminent? And that event would be the sixth running of the annual Midi Smiddy. A journey where the riders and road crew will leave the UQ Aquatic Centre tomorrow morning at 6am and end up in Toowoomba, some 200 lumpy kilometres away. Then on Saturday a leisurely ride through some lovely country towns such as Pittsworth and Allora to get to Warwick some 165 kilometres away. After a night of sleeping beneath the stars in swags the peloton will ride back to Brisbane, an impressive 220 kilmetres. All up a grueling 585 kilometres of riding in just three days, and all in the name of raising funds for research at the Mater.

Shark is out!
Now this will be my only blog for this journey as I am handing over the blog responsibility to our new Smiddy leader in Cherie Nicolas. Cherie joined the team a few months ago and is already making a positive impact on the team and the events and we are very proud to welcome Cherie into the Smiddy and Mater families. You see, for this Shark, I am to miss my very first event in ten years of Smiddy events due to an injury that has me watching from the sidelines. Last weekend an old disc injury that I have in my lower back flared up, and not only can I not ride a bike, but I am unable to sit, so I cant even join in as a road crew member. I am gutted, but going against the Physio's advice suggests that to even try would be just plain stupid. Stupid I am good at! But with age does come the occasional wisp of rationality. If I'm good now I get to play later...

I know Cherie will do a great job delivering to our faithful readers of this blog the happenings of the next three days on the road. So please make Cherie feel welcome and from me a heartfelt thank you for your many years of support in following the Smiddy journey through my words.

Riders and road crew
To the riders and road crew I will so miss your incredible company and wish you all the very best for what I know will be a most rewarding Smiddy experience that will stay with you for many years to come. My thoughts go out to each and every one of the riders but you are on your own when it comes time to ascend that bloody Flagstone Creek climb up to Toowoomba after 190 kilometres!

To the Smiddy family
My thoughts go out to the entire Smiddy family, who are fighting their own epic battle as we speak. I love the Smiddy family more than mere words can ever express and their battle now just strengthens my desire within to continue what Smiddy and the Mater do best; raise funds and awareness and inspire ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things.

Take care.

Sharky

Sunday, 26 April 2015

2015 NOOSA SMIDDY - DAY 4 COFFEE AND DIRT!

Noosa-Cooran-Noosa

Stats for the day by Stinky Dave
Distance:128 km's
Average: 24.2 km/h
Max Speed: 69 km/h
Climbing: 1645 metres
Riding time: 5:16:45
Temp Min: 14 degrees
Temp Max: 24 degrees

Third year and a brand new last day
This year's Noosa Smiddy day-four ride was a totally new affair. For the past two years we have let the riders loose to go at their own pace over the official Noosa Century course. But thanks to a change of date by the organisers we were free to go and design our own epic finish to what has been one of the most memorable and pleasing experiences for this event. Killer came up with another cracker of a course that included stupid amounts of climbing, treacherous descents, rough and smooth roads to boot, scenic views nearly -and I stress nearly- as beautiful as my new Wife Alyssa! And the crowning glory of the day was the epic dirt section at the end of the ride that all the riders either loved or hated with a passion. I could not have been happier!

Cooran and coffee here we come
One thing that we know will help riders forgive us for punishing them day in and day out for multiple days, is if we throw in a day that involves coffee. Not the instant type but the real thing. Well today they got just that, and I can nearly guarantee you that not one person in the peloton had visited this quaint little village outside of Noosa called Cooran. The one exception to that rule is our course designer and reconnaissance man in Mr Killer; who does actually have a real name of Christian Killeen, but Killer is so much more exciting and makes you think twice about crossing him. Anyway the one and only Clooney's cafe in the town were pre-warned that 40 thirsty riders would be descending upon their cafeteria at 8:15am this Sunday morning. Now every morning we have traditionally left 'right on time', by leaving late by exactly 15 minutes! This mornings roll out (sent on our way by our youngest official road crew person ever in 13 year old Georgia Buick) was no different as our 6am start saw us leave at 6:15. Ironically the only place were we were not late, but exactly 15 minutes early, was Cooran, for yes you guessed it, our one and only designated coffee stop! There is a message here but I will leave that for you to decipher...

A huge thank you to the owner Chris and her two staff Vicki and Foebe for coming in early to help keep up with the demand for coffees, muffins, brownies and gluten free mudcake.

Mount Pomona Climb
Now prior to getting to Cooran, first the peloton had some fun going up and over the Pomona climb. Traditionally used in the Noosa Century ride and a great one to race your mates up. Boasting rights trophy was the prize for first to the top, and there was a healthy bunch of testosterone laden males keen to win it. Oh and to be able to say, "I beat Phil Anderson". The only issue with this is that Phil, now a healthy fit and trim 57 year old, refuses to slow down. The front pack riding with Phil, consisted of about 15 riders and as each crest came on the three-kilometre climb, it continued to dwindle in numbers. Until there was only one; the great, the one and only, the awesome, the amazing and the bloody stubborn mongrel that still knows how to put the youngest of riders in their place. He was the first Australian to wear the Yellow jersey in the Tour De France way back when Captain Kev was still in nappies. That year was 1981 and that man was Phil "Skippy" Anderson. I could not have been happier! The wind at the top was amazing and on the descent you needed to hold on, enjoy the mountainous views and stay upright until the shelter of the trees below once again protected you from the rebellious winds.

Cooran to Noosa
Getting back to Noosa from Cooran saw many more climbs being negotiated and still many new untraveled roads for the peloton. Killer had excelled and the rolling nature of the course was truly exceptional in that it was Challenging but rewarding at the same time with its constant whoop-arse descents. While the riders were tested, and I am sure at times cursing, I could not help but recall the offer they were given by Cherie and Killer just prior to roll out of a shorter option of 85 kilometres. Not one person put up their hand and from that time on they accepted their fate regardless of what the course threw at them.

The Dougy Chuddle
It was at the 85 kilometre point of the ride that our old mate Doug had an emotional break down. On very little training he came into the event determined to do the entire ride under his own steam and not once accepting a push up any of the constant climbs each day. The little fella, with the biggest of hearts, pushed and pushed, his body willing, but his mind eventually cracked. Scotty came over to me at the break and told me Doug was in a bad way and could we gee him up somehow. "Bloody oaf mate, leave it with me," was my reply. The rider group was called over and Doug was placed in the middle, we surrounded him with our road crew and then the riders encased him in the great Smiddy hug that I coined 'The Chuddle' (combination of a huddle and a cuddle) back in 2011 when we introduced it for the Challenge that year.

We then chanted Dougy's name as we rose and fell in rhythm, until a crescendo was reached and Dougy felt the love of all present. I know it sounds kind of corny, but after four hard days of riding the riders and road crew just do it without question. The bond that is formed by day three of the ride is something pretty special. Nothing that is asked of the group is considered crazy, and if it helps a fellow rider than it is absolutely worth the silliness or effort required. Of course Doug was embarrassed but I know it meant the world to him. As there was a lot more climbing to come Doug quietly hopped into the car with Kevvy and sat out the next 20 kilometres. He rejoined us for the remaining ten kilometres a most rejuvenated man. The peloton was complete with Doug in it and we could not have been happier.

The final huddle
Kevvy and Geevsey were given the honour of taking the huddle thanks to their selfless efforts to look after us out on the road. Emotions were at their usual all time high for the end of yet another most successful and emotional Smiddy event. The group that came together were mostly strangers on day one, but best of buddies by the end of the tour. As always, it is hard saying goodbye to people that you become so close to over such a short period of time. But I just tell myself that the lure of another Smiddy event will eventually pull them back into the fold and I will get to ride with them again.

Thank you to each and every rider and road crew and their families, donors and supporters for making this such a successful event. We are in awe of your support of Smiddy and the Mater Foundation and forever in your debt.

You now have a month of grace before I will share with you more tales of Smiddy heroes when the three-day Midi Smiddy begins.

Until then take care.

Cheers.

Sharky.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

2015 NOOSA SMIDDY - DAY 3 And The Mapleton Grind

Noosa-Montville-Noosa

Statistics for the day: By Stinky

Distance: 136 kilometres
Ave speed: 23.6km/h
Max Speed: 90 km/h
Elevation climbed: 2067 metres
Ride time: 5:43:00
Min temp: 12 degrees
Max temp: 33.9 degrees

Early Roll Out For Anzac Service
The early start of 5:30am was mandatory as we had a Anzac Day service to attend at Mapleton at 9am, 61 kilometres away and on top of a very large and pain inflicting mountain. So after Captain Kev gave Kristine the honour of ringing the cow bell for her efforts over the past three days, and for the second morning running, waking our non-cycling RACV guests, we once again left right on time at 5:45! Now let me tell you today's first 50 kilometre section of riding was one that you dream of happening and when it does you cannot quite believe your luck. The road service was smooth, Geevsey and Andy took us on a beautiful additional roundabout tour of Noosa, traffic was very light, the air had a nice crisp, dewy taste, that we were fortunate enough to breathe into our lungs, and the Noosa skyline presented us with a subdued orange and golden pink as the sun began to make a most welcome appearance, The icing on the cake was the 40 magnificent golden warriors astride their trusty steads in perfect formation and floating through this nirvana of a morning as would a peloton of seasoned pro's that have raced together for a decade. Yes it was a very special morning indeed and we were on our way to pay our respects to the great Anzacs that gave us the freedom we enjoy today.

The climb up to Mapleton - A not so easy affair...
So after a seven-am bladder bursting yellow room stop at the 34 kilometre point at Endiandra Park, where we woke up our second group of people sleeping peacefully in their cars and camper vans, it was time to take on the Mapleton Range climb of 12 kilometres. As far as climbs goes, it is kind to the riders in the sense that after each hard climbing section, it gives you a little recovery section in-between. The last kilometre is the business end of the agreement as it kicks up to a 14% gradient and the mountain takes immense delight in the fact that it sucks the marrow out of your bones, replaces the blood racing through your legs with concrete, and the air in your lungs feel as if they are laced with asbestos! That glorious morning I was boasting about before, was replaced with a brutal sun that seemingly enjoyed physically melting your muscles before your eyes.

Our King and Queen
A few riders chose to take the Kevvy express to the top due to exhaustion or just wanting to keep Kevvy company, which I thought was very thoughtful of them as it stops Kev sulking for the day thinking that no-one loves him. First to the top and taking out the King of the Mountain competition, which no one knew was even on, was David Wadsworth, a worthy winner and so pleased with his victory that he announced at the top he was leaving his job and becoming a professional cyclist. True story.... In our esteemed Queen of the Mountain competition the new day rider lady in the peloton, Alicia Newman, showed the other girls, and quite a few of the lads, that fresh legs truly do rule! Congratulations to our worthy winners, trophies may be collected, at your own expense, at any trophy shop in the state. A huge congratulations to all that took on and conquered the climb, which was the majority of the riders. Our ever supportive road crew were at the top welcoming everyone in with much enthusiasm.

Big Birds Can Fly and Handsome Mark story
I would like to point out how enjoyable it was to see the big blokes at 100kg plus, naturally built for climbing, complete this mother of a hill. Well done Wendell, Big Bird from Sesame Street, Mr Sealy Dyer and our heaviest of heavy weights in Paul Spezza! A special mention to my best looking buddy in Mark Craig, who had a minor fall halfway up the climb and bent his rear derailleur. Our mechanic Calum took one look at it and said you are out! Mark begged him to bend it out regardless of whether it snapped, which, going against everything a good mechanic believes in, forced it it out with his hands and got Mark back on the road. Mark just did not want to do any van time and realized his dream of making it to the top. Nice work Mark and quick thinking Calum.

The 100 year Anzac Service at Mapleton
The Anzac Service started on time at nine-am and finished an hour later. A huge thank you to the riders and road crew for their patience and for attending this very important 100 year service of the Gallipoli landing where tens of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders lost their lives. For one proud Smiddy Father, Hugh Morrison, it was an extra special day to attend this service. Hugh's 14 year old Son Will, was gifted with the chance to sing in the choir at Gallipoli on this extremely important day. Congratulations Hugh and no doubt an experience that will long resonate with Will for years to come.

Razor Back descent relegated
Usually we descend down the infamous Razor Back descent; a dangerous hair raising descent that lives up to its name. But this year Killer took us down the safer and much more enjoyable Palmwoods descent. Which was still a great kickarse edge of your pants descent. It was at the top where we had our safety brief that Dig In Dougy now owes Rob Buick a lottery ticket for literally saving his life. Rob noticed a noise coming from Doug's rear wheel and got Calum to check it out before the descent. When Calum removed the rear wheel the actual nut that holds the cluster to the wheel just fell off. Doug was relegated to the van and his dreams of beating Phil Anderson down the descent were over. Much to Phil's relief! I believe Doug was going to have a few words to say to the shop that serviced his bike, which was definitely not AvantiPlus or Calum would have been crucified! Anyway most importantly, all the riders got down safely and the excitement at the bottom was tantalizingly effervescent!

More climbs and more descents keep the riders from falling asleep on their bikes
The run into lunch at Muller Park near Bli Bli had its fair share of ups and downs. Just when the rider group were thinking the climbs were over, the Kill Man had plenty more up his sleeve with some amazingly sharp pitches up to 14 and 16% gradient. One of the dead straight roller coaster type descents we did had us touching just shy of 90 km/h. It was delightfully-pants-filling excitement and always the grins were ear to ear, especially on the fearless birds in the flock, who's names need not be known, but even now, as I cast my eyes around the room, as this blog is being read out, I see the joy and delight in those mentioned riders eyes.

Goodbye old mate Chris
After another exemplary gastronomic delight for lunch by the most popular road crew on this Noosa Smiddy event, we said goodbye to Smiddy rider Chris Lincoln, who had to return to Brisbane due to his young fella taking a tumble and hitting his head. Thanks for the great camaraderie Chris and taking out the most improved rider award after coming into this event with your longest ride being just 58 kilometres and on a borrowed bike because you do not own one. Also we are all thinking of you and hope that your Son is okay.

Bli Bli to Noosa and the madness of impatient drivers
What is it about holding up a driver and taking less than a minute out of their day, that causes them so much stress towards cyclists? Surely they can comprehend that with a front and rear vehicle that has flashing lights, event signage and 40 cyclists in-between, that something is actually going on? Sitting in the lead car after lunch and writing up my blog I witnessed first hand the abuse of several motorists towards, not only the riders, but to our drivers. Kev and Geevsey are amazing, as are our riders, they just cop it on the chin and never retaliate. I could not have been prouder. If only those drivers knew that these magnificent Smiddy people will be instrumental in actually saving, if not them directly, but one of their family members or a close friend, from cancer one day. My hope is that they would be deeply embarrassed for their abusive nature towards these beautiful caring individuals.

Great Scott, takes the huddle
Anyway after a cracker of a course, the best of the Smiddy Noosa tour, we all arrived back to the RACV safe and sound and into the embrace of the huddle. Scott McGeever, surrounded by his family of two boys, daughter and his Wife Amanda, was kind enough to take take the huddle. Scott was on this ride because of his mate Rob Buick asking him to ride. He acknowledged how grateful he was to be part of his first Smiddy experience and having the support of his beautiful family.

A few additional moments from today

Due to the disqualification of Pretty Man/Boy and Quiet Nice Guy Allan McMurtie, due to crossing the double white lines, I am pleased to announce that Phillip Good actually took out the first KOM up Garmin Hill, just ten kilometres into the day. And as his name is Phil, he is now officially dubbed the third Skippy in the peloton after Pete 'Skippy' Hammond and Phil 'Skippy' Anderson. Getting a bit crowded... Nice work also to our new Smiddy leader in Cherie Nicolas, who was riding her very first Smiddy day and took out the Queen of Garmin Hill in the process.

Gytey's feeling have been hurt with the shock realisation that he does indeed have small guns. But today a miraculous human growth hormone drug induced change occurred overnight. After the Anzac ceremony his guns had increased tenfold and he seemed a lot happier, although a bit groggy as he may have overdosed.

Alicia Newman and Cherie Nicolas were the new girls in the peloton today and their presence increased the girl numbers to an outstanding six participants. A big welcome to you both and well done on completing day three of the Noosa Smiddy.

Welcome back Neil, Pete and Dominic, who sat out yesterday but made a welcome return today to the peloton. Good to have you lads back.

Shane Walsh left us yesterday and I wondered all day if it was my Fat Barsted crack in yesterday's blog. If you are reading this mate I just want you to know that you are a fat Barsted!

Andrea and Nigel are three days in and have surpassed all their own and the groups expectations by completing all three days of this tour. Considering they only signed up for the 80km a day option they have done extremely well and tomorrow, no doubt, we'll see more of the same.

Pretty Man/Boy was on his best behavior today, either that or he managed to avoid my prying eyes all day as I have nothing to rag him about in today's blog. Although he still managed to get a mention. Blog hoggerer!

Annalie Houston is a dietician by trade and it was she that came up with the food that we eat directly after a ride. All in the name of a quick recovery for the next day's ride. Thank you Annalie and good to see you in such good shape this year.

Simon Chambers thank you for being so enthusiastic each year, three years of Smiddy Noosa events, over your idea to hold a Smiddy Mountain bike event in New Guinea, where you live. Don't give up on us old mate!

A huge shout out of gratitude to our fast thinking and hard working mechanic. This tour Calum has been kept extremely busy as a multitude of problems keep occurring with riders bikes. If only we can get them all on a Scott or an Avanti bike from the crew at AvantiPlus The Valley! Now if that's not a shameless plug for a sponsor then I don't know what is!

David and Brook Wadsworth, thank you for sharing with the group tonight your amazing story of your time with Adam Smiddy. I only wish Maria and David Smiddy could have been here to hear you speak so highly about their Son.

Riding out of lunch Mike Stubber organised the road crew to stand in line and high five each and every rider as they left for their final leg into Noosa. Nice touch guys and duly appreciated by the riders.

Tonight Phil, the real Phil Anderson, got up and spoke about the life of a retired cyclist and in front of the Smiddy crew promised to come back for next year's Noosa Smiddy. Thank you Phil. You are a true gentleman and very humble and we are deeply appreciative of your support of Smiddy events.

And finally I would like to thank myself, Jim Coward, for standing up and reading out Sharky's blog! I tried to say no but Sharky would not take no for an answer!

And that's it for my day three blog. With one day remaining of this great ride I look forward to sharing some more stories of the amazing people that make each and every Smiddy ride what it is... Memorable and a life-affirming experience.

Cheers.

Sharky.

PS Love you Sister Kim!

Friday, 24 April 2015

2015 NOOSA SMIDDY - A DAY OF AWARDS - DAY 2

Noosa-Gympie-Noosa

Statistics for the day:

Distance: 156 km's
Ave speed: 24 km/h
Max Speed: 87km/h
Elevation climbed: 1566 metres
Ride time: 6:30:00
Min temp: 12 degrees
Max temp: 28 degrees

Roll out was scheduled for a 6am start and we left right on time at 6:15! Mike Dyer was given the honour of ringing the cow bell and he proceeded to wake up the entire complex to ensure that our non cycling guests hated cyclists even more. Meanwhile Phil Anderson commented to me that in the Southern States, Victoria in particular, the state where Phil is from, they like to roll out at 8:30 or even 9am. He thinks Queenslander's are kind of a little weird with our early starts. But as I pointed out, if we start early, it means more socialising
and a few more shandies in the afternoon, or maybe even an afternoon kip or a swim down at the beach. Anyway all were happy and life is good, as after all, it is a Friday and none of the peloton were at work.

The magically weather continues
Just like yesterday the peloton rolled out in picture perfect conditions. All that was required were cycling knicks and a jersey and anyone that wore wind jackets had removed them well before morning tea, which was at the 60km point of the ride in Dagun; an old historic town with the road crew setting up at the closed down Dagun tourist railway line.

Today's ever changing course
So the entire route today was mapped out to include as many hills as possible; more up than down, more steep than not and if there was a dirt road then we were riding it! Did not matter if that said dirt road had a climb of 16% gradient in it and tyre slippage ensured. Did not matter that we were on road bikes and traveling up and down roads that the early settlers used back in the 1800 hundreds. All that mattered was that we kept moving forward and with a smile - for some a grimace- on our faces and enjoyed the fact that it was indeed, still a Friday and we were not at work! Thanks to the Kill Man for coming up with a course today that definitely had a Paris-Roubaix feel to it.

Kin Kin here we come come for some lunch lunch
From morning tea to lunch was more of the same, with quite a few sections of go-at-your-own pace. It was on these sections that some kamikaze antics by riders with no talent took on the likes of the great Row Man, The Cross Man and the Pretty Man, with the outcome always going to be the Man Club 1,2,3 and said unnamed riders drifting back to the safety of the peloton. Road crew once again chose a great place to set up for lunch at the local sports oval at Kin Kin. With 109 kilometres in our legs and close to 2000 metres of climbing, lunch was always going to be a welcome stop. It was here that I jumped in the front vehicle and began this blog. Actually I am a little annoyed, as Geevsey keeps hitting all the bumps and making it hard for me to type up this report. Talk about no respect for his esteemed passenger!

Goodbye Kin Kin, Hello Noosa.
From lunch to Noosa was a further 46 kilometres, the camels back had been broken and the rider group, as Geevsey calls them over the two-way radio, were riding well and enjoying the downhill run into Noosa. I popped out and rejoined the group for the remaining 15 kilometres into the RACV resort, which we rolled into at 2:30pm and Mr 'Late Start' Anderson could now see the proof in the pudding at our reasons for an early start. Thank you to Christine and James Ramsay for taking on the honour of leading the Smiddy huddle. Christine spoke about being an oncology nurse and witnessing suffering each and every day that pales into significance any bad day that us as riders may go through on the bike. While James spoke about the research side of his job and confirmed that his many years in the research lab had indeed brought about many positive early warning tests that where saving lives right now as we speak.

Today is award day and the following riders won these very deserving awards:

Jos Lablache won the last person ready in the morning award.

Geevsey won the roundabout in Noosa award, for taking the group for a lap around one of them before we were even out of Noosa as he decided which way to go.

Pretty Boy won the first rider leader to crack award, when at morning tea he had to get his sore poor little calf attended to with some pretty Sammi-Jo pink strapping tape.

Kristine Ramsay definitely won the most guts and determination not to get in the van award. The pace is clearly too fast for Kristine but she refuses to give in and we all admire her incredible efforts and stubborness.

Her husband James wins the husband who pushes his Wife up the most hills award. Always by her side he has been an amazingly supportive hand husband.

Gytey wins the 'first in the car with Kevvy' award, blaming mechanical failure, but seriously, I think he was still sulking about finding out the truth yesterday that he has puny guns...

Jos and myself were a tie for second in the vaning award when both of us vaned it from lunch.

The name Michael win the most popular name on the Noosa Smiddy award with four Michaels having to share the glory. David was a close second with three and Mark a close third with two. Although I should point out that the two Mark's are without doubt more handsome than any Michael and David and that accounts for extra points so the two Mark's are the winner. Sorry Michael's...

Michael Cooper takes out the most chuffed and happy to be asked to wear a rider radio award. Dom was beside himself with excitement and he never tired of telling anyone that would listen how happy he was to be asked. But seriously thank you Michael, you did an awesome job.

Rowan Foster takes out the award for smashing the most rider's brave or silly enough to take him on in the multiple sprint and mountain top finishes today. Row is like a dog with a rag doll that refuses to let go.

Rowan Foster again, this time taking out the "I am only here for one and half days and leaving the group to return to Brisbane after smashing all his mates into oblivion" award. While we we will miss our good friend none will miss his legendary and painful smash fests.

Our road crew took out the best road crew on the Noosa Smiddy award. They won this by a clear margin.

Road crew again and this time Wendy and Alana win the most time spent cooking to feed 50 famished riders and their families award. Truly legendary effort of a cooking experience that began at 7:30 this morning and wasn't completed until we began eating it at seven tonight.

Shane Walsh was a popular winner in the best wheel to sit on while going downhill as I am a fat barsted award! One to be proud of for sure old mate...

And last but not least, Peter Dyer and Neil Southwell took out the; "I hear there is dirt involved in today's route, so let's not ride and sleep in and go to the beach and have a nice breakfast and lunch and not raise a sweat" award. They won this convincingly!

A great night was had by all when we did all our usual antics but this time inside the road crew unit, which luckily at the RACV are immensely huge. Thank you to Gavin Herholdt for reading out tonight's blog. For Kim Bertwhistle for delivering a great talk about her reasons for wanting to do this ride, which included her love for her Mother, who passed away recently from Melanoma and for her love of God and wanting to help out those who are less fortunate.

That's me for the night and it is now time for bed and to bottle up some energy for the famous Mapleton climb in the morning followed by an Anzac Service at 9am.

Take care.

Sharky

Hi to my Sister Kay, Love you!