Monday, 3 October 2016


Stats for the day by Brett Goebel
Distance: 224 kms
Ride Time: 9 hours 40 min
Ave Speed: 19.9 km/h
Max Speed: 91 km/h
Climbing: 1835 metres
Min Temp: 12 degrees
Max Temp: 22 degrees

Road Kill by Eric StayKov and Roger
Road kill counters took a day off thanks to the rain and not being able to see out of sodden eyes.

Jersey Recipients
Jerseys were handed out immediately following the huddle at UQ Aquatic Centre. Congratulations to Selina Green, Eric StayKov and Ross Pink. All three won for a variety of reasons. Selina has a beautiful heart and we all saw this when she donated to each riders fundraising page on Sunday night at Jondaryan. She also deserves this award for not hating us at Team Smiddy after we put her through her pet dislikes in dirt roads, mountains, wind and rain, but Selina does sunshine and downhills!

Eric at just 24 years of age and relatively new to cycling had his toughest day today and refused to give in. Eric is a beautiful kind and caring person and always so polite and was a poplar winner of the jersey.

As for Ross; well this guy is a machine at 65 years of age and while very quiet and reserved, he had the heart of a lion when it came to riding downhills on dirt. A perfect gentlemen, great fundraiser and a well deserved recipient.

So it's Sharky back now writing the final blog from our most epic of days. A big heartfelt thank you to my guest bloggers for the great work they did in getting their blogs finished in time to read out to the group each night after such long days in the saddle.

After the hot soothing bath that I had promised myself yesterday from the very first bone-drenching downpour into morning tea, I sat down last night thinking I have to write the last blog, no I wanted to write the last blog, needed to get that crazy day down in words, but with a belly full of food and warm cuddles from my beautiful 34 week pregnant Wife Alyssa, I promptly fell asleep. Hence why I am writing this morning at five-am.

Highest Fundraiser Awards - Maria Smiddy Rainbow Socks
A special mention and thank you to Stephen Richardson for his efforts in raising over $5,000 and taking out our highest fundraising award.

The highest team fundraising went to the team of Deanna, Lance, Selina, Steven and Alex for raising over $15,000 between them. All were awarded these incredibly special rainbow coloured cycling socks that are in honour and remembrance of our beautiful Maria Smiddy.

Smiddy Roll Out
Roll out yesterday was scheduled for six-am and guess what? We actually left at 5:56a.m. But hey, before you go getting too excited at our promptness, we only rolled to the front of the Jondaryan Woolshed sign for a group photo and the ringing of the cow bell by road crew legend, sporting his proudly broken arm from snow boarding a few days prior to this event, Brett Shipp. So photos were taken by the bubbly effervescent Brooke Rose and always Smiling and happy and hard working Nick Crilly, and as Shippy rang the bell, I glanced at my watch, and yes we were back on Smiddy punctual time and leaving by 6:10a.m.

Rain jackets? We Don't Need Em!
As we rolled I noticed just a few riders had rain jackets on. As it was still dry most of us opted to start without them. I made the cardinal sin of forgetting to put my rear mudguard on. What most of failed to comprehend is that a predicted weather warning of 90% chance of rain throughout the day meant that there was a 90% chance of getting soaked! That 10% left over is what 98% of us riders put our hedging bets on to.

Another fatal flaw that we overlooked was the fact that none of us knew in advance that another Smiddy first would occur on that fateful morning. You see, we broke the Smiddy world famous time-frame (roll out to morning tea) record, for being out there for four hours to cover the 85 kilometres into morning tea at Helidon. A lot can happen in four hours and by the time we arrived absolutely drenched to the bone, and resembling more a litter of drowned rats, to thunderous applause from our welcoming road crew, the stories began spilling from the riders lips.

Jondaryan to Helidon Snapshot
A quick snapshot of those four hours included our first dirt road within ten kilometres of the start. Tired minds had definitely not woken and battered bodies were just not ready for the vibrations to come. But as I already knew, Smiddy riders are a hardy lot and mentally that toughness switch was turned on and a much needed full-on-focus came into play. Which is what was needed to stay upright and safe.

The course was relatively flat for the first 40 kilometres right up until we got close to Toowoomba. Our elevation gain from 400 metres up to our highest point of just shy of 700 hurt and hurt a lot. The Murphy's Creek decent was our reward and it was there that a few of the guys sneaked into the 90's. Thankfully with dry roads. The regrouping at the bottom of the long 20 kilometre descent saw many happy faces and adrenaline fueled stories of pace-lining with their buddies in tow.

Our first shower occurred as we rolled out and after a few rollercoaster hills we made a left onto our third significant dirt road for the morning. The rain started in earnest and by the time we reached the tar road, bikes and bodies were all a bloody mess.

Helidon to Lowood Snapshot
Killer did a remarkable job keeping us off all the major roads throughout the entire four days, especially yesterday. This is only possible thanks to the extensive dirt roads that exist. It is pot luck as to the condition of these roads. Smiddy staff do a drive over the course a couple of months prior, but wind and rain can have a remarkable affect in such a small space of time.

The next section of dirt was ten kilometres in length and came upon us not long after morning tea. It is a road that the riders will remember for a very long time. Actually nightmares will be common in the coming weeks... In the dry it would have been fine, but wet it was an absolute nightmare. There was one climb so steep and mushy that all but a few riders were reduced to walking. I took a cracker of a photo of this climb and a picture tells a thousand words so check it out on my Facebook site. The descents on wet sloshy mud required full-on-focus-mode. As each rider finished that section at the regrouping point faces told the story of what they went through. Some were elated and relished the challenging conditions - sicko's! While others were glad to escape with theirs lives.

What I found amazing by the four days on the road was just how bloody talented all the riders were in technical conditions. Not one fall was recorded over the course of four days! Thinking back on the conditions, the road surfaces, the howling windy days, all the dirt and then yesterday the unrelenting rain, the guys and girls may come away from this a little mentally scarred and bodily bruised, but heck their skills on the bike now will be 25% better than when they started their Smiddy journey last Friday. Nice work guys, you are all dead set legends and the adventure you put yourself through can only ever be good for the heart and soul. Some suffering is required in life to truly appreciate just how lucky we are!

After that piece of dirt we were all happy to be back on terra-ferma and the rest of the ride into Lowood was going without a hitch until we stopped for a pee stop alongside an electric Fence. Of course no-one knew it was electric until Julie and Selina both touched it as they leaned their bikes up against it. When they told Eric, he just could not help himself, being the boy that he is, and touched it to see if they were joshing him or not. The returning jolt frizzled his hair and it went from jet black to white and he then believed the girls! Nice work mate.

Yet again, just like before morning tea, we were ten minutes out of Lowood and the Heavens opened and drenched us to the bone for the second time. Road crew were out in force to welcome us in, along with some love ones who were braving the elements to support their rider. Welcome back to the Richardson family and the Fraser family as well there to support Bruce. Once again riders were changing clothes in an attempt to stay warm and the lunch break was reduced to allow us to get back on the bikes and stay warm.

Lowood to Ipswich Snap Shot
Of course straight out of Lowood, with full bellies and cold bodies we were treated to Telecom Hill. A 150 metre elevation gain in just a couple of kilometres. It was brutal after everything the rider group had been through but somehow we all got up and down safely to the regrouping point, all in the now constant rain. More dirt awaited us and we safely got through another two sections to finally hit tar for the remainder of the trip back to Brisbane. One cruel element as we headed to our afternoon tea spot in Ipswich, was a wrong turn that required retracing our steps up a two kilometre stretch of road that we had just descended down. What's another two kilometres on an already long day. The rider group sucked it up without complaint and we got to Ipswich with the last ten minutes, as if on cue, into a heavy downpour and once again we were stoked to the bone!

Ipswich to Brisbane Snap Shot
After lots of loving from our gorgeous caring road crew we were on our way for the final leg into Brisbane. Light rain was with us the entire way and an absolute bonus was there were no more dirt roads. What we did have was short steep climbs for the remainder of the 40 kilometres back to our finishing point at UQ pool. Tired legs felt this for sure but each rider could smell the finish and everyone was determined to get there. From afternoon tea any rider that was in the van were out again and the peloton was felt complete. Even Liam gave up his warm air-conditioned road crew car to join us and snap some shots for his world class and award winning Smiddy documentaries! (Sharky appreciation award mate)

As if right on cue, with ten minutes remaining of the ride, the sky gave us one last hooray within 30 seconds we were again a sopping wet mess, but as Brad Richardson pointed out, the bikes were now clean!

Family and friends turned out in the thousands, okay the hundreds, okay well would you believe about 50? Anyway with road crew and family the thunderous applause, under the cover of the pool balcony of course, would have been deafening to the ears, had our ears not already be deafened from the heaviest of downpours we experienced today. Anyway it was beautiful and very much appreciated by the riders. As the first riders rode through the tunnel of spectators into the pool, and got in trouble for riding on pool grounds, (naughty Smiddy riders) the feeling was of awe that we had completed it and a sigh of relief by Team Smiddy that everyone was back safe and sound.

After the usual hugs, handshakes and back-slaps, which our supporters were staying clear of for fear of getting soaked by wet bodies, the huddle was formed and all the usual suspects were thanked for their amazing contribution over the past four days. Road crew gifts were handed out and I had a brain-freeze and forgot Ashleigh's name as I called her up, typical of me at the end of a tough Smiddy tour, actually any Smiddy tour, heck they are all tough, just different tough!

And that was it, done and dusted, nearly $50,000 raised by these magnificent machines, these people that care enough to do their bit in the hope that their children will live long and prosperous lives.

As I write this, I am glad I am not on the bike today, my aging body is not happy, but there is a part of me that wants to still be riding, not for the workout, but because to be around Smiddy people is empowering. Collectively as a group it always amazes me of what we can achieve, and have achieved, in ten years of Smiddy events as we close in on the $8 million raised since I lost my mate back in 2006.

Adam would be so proud, he would have loved to do a Smiddy event, for he was just like all you guys; kind-hearted, caring, had a zest for life that was infectious and loved oozed out of him that made you want to be -have to be- his friend. Everyone that comes to Smiddy, whether as a rider, road crew, supporter, donors and sponsors, you all possess these beautiful attributes and I thank you for your involvement.

A Special Message to All Smiddy Riders
Lastly to all Smiddy riders but especially now to our inaugural 4 day Challenge riders, we all know this event, threw at you challenges that at times seemed insurmountable. But you all got through it in the end. The suffering ends at the end of every Smiddy event, but that suffering is what defines you as human beings. For the majority of our lives we live in plush conditions, to get out of that comfort zone I believe replenishes the soul. It makes us better people. In my mind -and I have a feeling you may feel the same if you get what I am talking about- the greatest gift you could ever give to a colleague, friend, or family member is the gift of Smiddy. Whether as a road crew member, rider, sponsor or donor. This is no marketing ploy to get you to help fill our events. This is emotional Shark speaking to you after sharing those four days with you. Positive energy is generated through our events, that energy is passed from person to person and over ten years hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by that energy. Keep it flowing you beautiful people. I love you all for having such big hearts and for allowing us the extreme pleasure of sharing with you a Smiddy experience.

Take care and I hope to ride with you all again at some time in the future.


Sunday, 2 October 2016


Stats for the day by Brett Goebel
69 windmills, 50 white horses - Windmills won!
Distance: 203.7 kms
Ride Time: 7 hours 30 min
Ave Speed: 19.9 km/h
Max Speed: 83 km/h
Climbing: 1234 metres
Min Temp: 8 degrees
Max Temp: 28 degrees

Guest Bloggers
Thank you to the Richardson Brothers and Alex for writing tonight's blog.

Road Kill by Eric StayKov and Roger
1 black crow, kangaroo, magpie, ufo, fox, lizard, fish in a tree, shag bird, 2 wallabies, echidna, ufo, 4-5 other kangaroos.

Guest Speaker
Tonight Lance Chamberlaine spoke of his journey to Smiddy from being overweight at 120 kg. The loss of close friends who lost their children to cancer, both under the age of 10.

Jersey Recipients
Lance was also awarded the category jersey tonight for stepping up within the peloton the past couple of days and helping out those riders that were struggling. His spirit, mateship and caring personality has been appreciated by riders and road crew alike.

Tonight a second jersey was handed out and this time it went to Ashleigh Muir, who is experiencing road crew duties for the very first time thanks to her mum Wendy. Ashleigh has been a real quiet achiever, just gets in and gets the job done with no fanfare, just like her Mum, and is a real role model for young girls out there looking to do something for any charity.

First of all, we all have our own battles that get us up those hills, but a big Thanks to lance, and the others who have spoken above about their tough times.

Day 3 started early once again with an amazing breakfast prepared by the road crew as all riders efficiently packed their bags, rolled their swags and stashed their goodies before tucking into the freshly cooked bacon and eggs. Everyone was prepared for the perfect 6 a.m. rollout until Double Dee realized she was missing her heart-rate monitor. In a tizz, she remembers she put it safely in the bottom of her swag, which was now safely packed in the bottom of the truck. Without even batting an eyelid, the amazing road crew went to work, located the swag, retrieved the heart rate strap, and Dee was ready to once again resume her position in the peloton.

We rolled out late thanks to Dee, but into an absolutely cracking day, albeit with negative temperatures that Stanthorpe is so famous for. There was no sign of the 30% climbs, 200m of dirt roads with moguls , or the 2000 km per hour winds as we climbed to 'The Summit', the highest railway station and postcode in Queensland, and maybe the world.

A special mention must go out to Bretty and Krista for their sparkling clean chains that blinded the road crew as they cruised passed the peloton smarting with their freshly ground coffee in hand. After a quick water stop, we commenced the remainder of our day descending from the top of the earth down another filthy dirt road. We were cruising along, wind in our hair, bunny hopping pot holes and throwing away any excess equipment (like saddle bags and drink bottles) hunting for that elusive dirt road strava segment when Selina tried her hardest to hit a kangaroo just to increase the road kill count. Despite her best efforts, it was Lance, the Yowie Wilddog who suffered on the dirt with a flat tire. This didn't phase our king of the mountain, as he seems to have made an instant recovery after his sojourn to find out "If a bear s&^*s in the woods". Yowie is now also claiming the title of time trial champion after his solo pursuit back onto the pack, however rumors has it that he may be consuming some 'peptides and other substances' that have previously been banned thanks to Lance Armstrong and a AFL football club that won't be mentioned.

It was under picturesque clear blue skies that we rolled the remainder of the 77km into and out of morning tea without a care in the world. Our perfect world came crashing down when we stopped for a water refill next to swap known by locals to breed blood thirsty dinner plate sized Mosquito’s. After some very very quick nature breaks it was the first and only time that riders were on their bikes and actually riding away before we were asked to just to escape these flesh eating monsters.

It should also be put on record that Geevse out of nowhere found his cycling kit, manhandled serge to steal his bike,, and was off at the front of the peloton to lead the group joyfully towards lunch.

On a day that Killer promised would to be all downhill, we ran into a few lumps with nasty crosswinds on our way to lunch, that felt like we were riding up the back of Coot-tha, with flat tires, on a city cycle bike. Such was the pain caused from all the torture inflicted by mother nature over the last 2 days, the sighting of the road crew at lunch after just 28 km since the mosquito infested water stop let out the creative vocabulary of a smiddy rider (who will remain unnamed) let rip with "Thank f$%& we are here". It was with 148 km under our legs at an average of 28 km per hour we all tucked into the hearty lunch prepared by the road crew.

After lunch, we were once again late to rollout because the resident skater boys (Serge and Liam) where doing tailflips and pulling 3 feet of air in the halfpipe across the road. Needless to say this was the least of our concerns, as we turned right and rode kilometers through Pittsworth before Siri realized that Geeves took a wrong turn despite his state of the art navigation system loaned from NASA.

Once we were back on track with at least 10 more superfluous kilometers on our saddle sores, we were again on our way downhill towards afternoon tea.

A further glorious 27 km downhill between lunch and afternoon tea were covered, with just enough time to refresh Eric's arms to allow him to notch up his 1000 push-ups for the day, because everyone knows that Sunday is beach muscle day at the gym right Eric?

The seesaw, swing and playground at the park got a bigger workout than everyone’s chamois cream for the next 10 mins as everyone’s inner child was on display. Before we knew it, we back on our bikes and counting down the last 30 km as we cruised to our final destination, Jondaryan Woolshed.

In total, we averaged 27 km per hour over 203 km on an absolute ripsnorter of a day, a stark contrast to the ridiculous 2 days that we previously rode. A huge congratulation goes out to all riders and road crew for an epic day, but especially to those who have just completed their longest rides ever. Sweet dreams Smiddy riders, one day to go.

Saturday, 1 October 2016


Stats for the day by Brett Goebel
Distance: 113 kms
Ride Time: 5 hours 40 min
Ave Speed: 19.9 km/h
Max Speed: 73 km/h
Climbing: 1945 metres
Min Temp: 12 degrees
Max Temp: 26 degrees

Guest Bloggers
Today's blog brought to you by the MBCC LADSS (Lance, Alex, Dea, Steve & Sel). We're honoured to have the opportunity to contribute to Sharky's blog, a Smiddy institution, and we hope we can uphold the tradition with tall tales and stories from the road.

Road Kill by Roger and Now Eric StayKov
Cat x2, Possum, bandicoot x2, Green tree Snake, Sparrow thanks Alex, Budgie,
Upside down turtle, Black snake, Echidna x2, Sheep, Bags of bones
Unidentified smells x3 (megaburn?)

Guest Speaker
Tonight we were treated to two speakers in Rob O'Hanlon and Gabrielle Jones. Rob joined up initially due to a mate but then his buddy pulled out but he decided to continue. Rob has lost friends and family to cancer as well. Gabrielle touched on that she came to Smiddy thanks to a fellow Smiddy rider in Mick Farrag, and that it was good to do something for two close friends she has lost to cancer in the past.

Jersey Recipient
Tonight went to Alex Lewis for being one of the happiest and positive riders in the peloton. Also because he has skinnier calves than Sharky.

Day 2 kicked off with warmer temps than expected, clear skies, bowls of bacon and the beginning of what were to become gale force winds... We suspect these may have been curtesy of the dutch oven in Lance's swag. Some were well rested, others a little worse for wear after spending the night trying to make a sleeping bag from their Smiddy arm warmers - hope you've found the sleeping bag stash for tonight Rob!

We rolled out to the tolling of Kevvie's 500 year old cow bell rung by our awesome host Tony from the Woodenbong Hotel. There was an unconfirmed world first Smiddy roll-out of only 5 minute post schedule, the only point today we were anywhere near on time!!

We quickly met our first climb of the day and Lance proved that wild dogs do crap in the woods. So, if anyone is wondering whether bears really sh*t in the woods... Just ask Lance. P.S. Big thanks to Lead car for the most expensive baby wipes ever!!

Today was a day of dropped chains, rough roads, dodgy bridges and water bottle recovery missions! Dea (the road racer not the crit racer) was fantasising about being a tour rider and threw three bottles just so her team car could deliver the sticky bottle back to her. Meanwhile... Poor old Lance Armstong had to retrieve his own from Kevvie's door.

We started out the day thinking the potholes were big and the road rough. and then we found the bridges! It's unconfirmed, but the holes in those bridges were big enough to swallow bike & rider whole... Has anyone done a headcount yet?? #Note to Eric... Add missing rider number to road kill tally...

Loose teeth and missing filling abounded, we've got some physios... Do we have a dentist??

Morning tea arrived not a moment too soon, after two big climbs, and we can safely say everyone was very glad to see the yellow shirts of our awesome road crew as we rolled round the corner into Legume. There was however, not a lentil in sight or a bar without nuts; but rather more delicious home baking and massages for those who were feeling the k's. Bruce was introduced to the cyclists best friend, evil inflictor of pain, the foam roller in preparation for what lay ahead.

We all know it's a long standing Smiddy tradition to add a bit of gravel into the ride, but today took things to a whole new level, with 160km of gravel, aptly named Lunatic Road. Well, the sign said 16 but this is NSW and they do get things wrong... Not to mention, at least one turtle was noted to have met his maker along this stretch, rumour has it he was riding a bike at the time of his passing.

The first section of our gravel journey followed standard bunch riding etiquette with calls of 'hole left', 'hole right', 'hole centre' albeit with some rather high pitched voiced from the guys, this quickly deteriorated into calls of 'holes left, right, middle, holy sh*t!! Lunch boxes were battered but there were some fantastic bike skills on display as people slid and bumped their way across the corrugated gravel - the bigger the lunch box the harder the fall. Serge loved the gravel so much he pulled up a pew and settled in for the night. It took much encouragement to get us all on the road for the final roll in to lunch.

Lunch was such a welcome sight that an unapproved breaking of ranks occurred when Rocket heard the bell and hit the gas, however, gas prevailed and Wild Dog 'exploded' for the second time today taking line honours!! Serge was so relieved we'd made it he went straight from his bike into the foetal position, not surprising after the 5000km/hr headwind along the 1000km stretch of gravel! An expert eye may have noticed the Smiddy Generals in a top secret conference and soon the one who drew the short straw (not that we're comment on the size of Killer's straw - there was enough lunch box discussion yesterday!) started the all important discussion of rider safety and whether to cut the day short due to the 10000 km/hr winds... Safety first! Speaking of safety first, the lunch break saw many trips to reapply Chamois cream before the all important call was made to cut the day a little short and roll directly into Stanthorpe after lunch; is anyone else regretting that second sandwich...?.

Everyone was relieved with the downhill roll into Stanthorpe, Strava averages were up with KOM's all round and a properly sealed road gave lunch boxes a much needed rest!

We finished the day in the traditional way with hugs all round and a Smiddy huddle. However, we note the huddle was short and sweet and many of our number were soon safely ensconced in front of the footy grand final... Hang on... Was that why we cut the day short...?

There was wine, ciders and beer all round but one face was notably missing... Eric, fresh from his sleep-in this morning, disappointed with not doing the full 1000kms, and weighed down with the responsibility of being road kill monitor for the day was noted to be bonding with the clothesline doing countless chin-ups... When we wandered past on our blogging mission he was noted to be counting 1001, 1002, 1003 ... And it's so unlike a Smiddy rider to exaggerate things!

We hope we have done the blog justice and you've enjoyed our recollections of the day - tall tales or not - we look forward to tomorrow's 2200km ride, with more gales force headwinds and hope it's downhill all the way.

Friday, 30 September 2016


Stats for the day by Brett Goebel
Distance: 199 kms
Ride Time: 8 hours 8 min
Ave Speed: 24.8 km/h
Max Speed: 71 km/h
Climbing: 2275 metres
Min Temp: 16 degrees
Max Temp: 26degrees

Road Kill by Roger
1 bag of bones, 1 Turtle, 2 dead magpies, Steve Richo Richmond got hit by a magpie, but it's not on Strava so it didn't happen and Diesels Garmin.

Guest Speaker
Julie Andrews tonight shared with us her Smiddy story and how the loss of her Brother in 2004 and her Godmother this year affected her and made her passionate about helping Smiddy and the Mater search for a cure.

Category Jersey
Was won by Julie Andrews for being so selfless and putting herself in the van at times today so as not to hold the peloton up. Also for her passion for fundraising and for just being a beautiful lady who wants to help where she can.

Welcome to the first blog for the inaugural 4 Day Smiddy Challenge. This new ride on paper looked to be a cracker of a course. As I sit and write this at 5:30pm in the small town of Woodenbong, which is located close to the QLD/NSW border, with a cruel 199 kilometres in my legs, I can ascertain that day one lived up to the reputation bestowed on this event on paper.

With not one word of exaggeration, it's just not in my nature, we were treated to climbs so steep that nose bleeds were a common occurrence, headwinds so strong that the top section of Mt Lindsay was blown over our heads and landed with a thud in the paddock that had 16 cows in it - true story, dirt roads so rough that holes swallowed half the peloton before the other half even noticed, and I kid you not, tar roads and wooden bridges that rattled our bikes and bodies so hard that fillings were dispensed from riders teeth and bikes were reduced to just the frames as the wheels packed it in and rolled off into the paddocks.

I was the last to arrive into Woodenbong after the final long arduous 72 kilometre climb to finish off a bloody tough day in the saddle. Okay it may have been 7.2 kilometres but it felt like 72, so I'm calling it 72. Anyway I arrive and there are bodies and bikes spread out across the lawn, collapsed bodies on the steps that lead up to the pub entrance and a spattering of schooners soothing parched lips. I quickly joined them as I wanted to be part of the definitive Smiddy portrait, and besides that I noticed Liam was doing video shoots of the group and I wanted to be part of the movie action and grab my two seconds of fame. After ten minutes, warm bodies started to cool down and a movement was started by one rider and the rest of us lambs followed, to be engulfed by the warmth inside the comfy country pub.

Now I am so excited about what happened next that I have skipped the entire day out on the road as I can't wait to share with you this most exciting news. Okay for those of you out there reading this that want a road report this is for you. Exciting news to come very soon. Can you wait?

We had egg and bacon rolls thanks to UQ pool and Andy Loney and Jeannie and her awesome soon to be husband, who's name I can't remember and Jeannie is going to be reading this and will kill me when I go back to work next week and Michelle Herlaar. Thanks heaps awesome human beings! We got to have two team photos, one without Alex King and one with Alex King... I'll let him explain where he was... Captain Kev gave Andy Loney the honour to ring his infamous cow bell that has been in the family for over 2000 years, or was that 100? Anyway we dodged the thunderstorms that hit the entire world overnight and once again, in true Smiddy tradition, we rolled out right on time at 5:45a.m for our stated 5:30a.m start. Our small and elite, 20 strong peloton of Smiddy 4 day trail blazers sprinted out of the University car park at the same pace as day one of the Tour De France. Heart rates soared, lactic acid hit leaden legs immediately and the first crack of the day happened by an unnamed rider in the first kilometre. But don't worry we got the pace under control after the first 142 kilometres and all will be good when half the peloton can't get out of their swags tomorrow morning.

81 kilometres was covered in quick smart time and a great average of over 27 kilometres an hour. Our morning tea stop at the Beaudesert Race Track was devoured in record time as 19 of the 20 riders fell face first into the food. The 20th rider missed out as there was just no face falling room left. From there we hit the first 250 kmp/h headwind as we made our way to our lunchtime stop at Running Creek at the 128 kilometre mark. Now the team at Smiddy are delightfully wicked some time and in this case they planned a lunch stop just before the climb up to Lions Head. 72% gradient climb, combined with belly full of food, end result; there was as much spew on the roads from the riders as there was cow shit on the roads from - yes you guessed it, the cows... Nice work team Smiddy. Love your work.

A regroup at the top, a few photos taken and baby wipes handed out freely to clean what was left of lunch off the riders jerseys. Team Smiddy plan for everything so nice touch with the baby wipes guys. The descent down after climbing to the height of Everest was disappointing as it went down for 500 metres and then continued to climb. Finally when we got to the descent it was so rough that dental and bikes did what I have already touched on above.

Getting to afternoon tea was an adventure in itself, again more roads that made the Paris/Roboix race in Europe look like a walk in the park and that headwind increased to 275 kmp/h. It was at this point that the Mt Lindsay thing happened. A huge thank you to the trouble that the road crew went to in putting on this afternoon tea for us. They decided that us riders MUST have shade, so the pop up tent was erected and 8 of the 12 road crew were given 30 seconds shifts, two on each corner, to hold the bloody thing down. The road crew not holding it down were free to do other important things like sit on each corner of the tarp that was put out for the riders day bags. With dedicated road crew like this I can't wait to see what lies ahead for the next three days.

So finally back on the bikes, 30 kilometres to go to get to Woodenbong and our ever faithful headwind is now messing up our hair at 300 kmp/h. Then that 72 kilometre climb and me coming in last with Brucey Baby Frazer and Stephen Richo Richardson pipping me on the line. Man it was close!

So there you have it, are you happy now? Can I tell you my most exciting news now please? Okay for the first time in 11 years of Smiddy events we had our huddle inside the pub around the pool table. Now how Australian is that. My only mistake was giving the honour of taking the first day huddle to Roger Hawley and Bretty Goebel. Half an hour later they were still telling their life story and the riders and road crew arms were cramped into permanent hugging position. Which is not a bad thing if you like hugs.

All in all we had a most amazing day, a tough one for sure, but that is Smiddy, it would not be a Smiddy event if the word tough did not come into it. Sure a few of the riders had to jump into the van, but hey it was always a short stay and they live to ride another day. From what I saw today I can honestly say each and every rider put their heart and soul into completing today's stage and you could not ask for more that that.

A special mention to the Richardson family, all six of them, which included two really cute little boys with tiny Smiddy shirts on them, who followed the peloton for the entire day. Thanks heaps for your support, not just for Brad and Stephen but they were rooting for all of us out there as they continued to pop up in the most obscure locations.
Road crew were once again bloody ridiculously awesome and I loved that at afternoon tea they had to move camp due to stirring up a bull ants nest thanks to Brooke doing burn outs in the hire van!

Tomorrow we have some special guest bloggers and all will be revealed tomorrow. I can say this though, they are world class and can actual write sensible stuff, unlike yours truly.

Take care.


Saturday, 3 September 2016


Stats for the day by Brocky Yates and Brett Shipp
Distance: 139 kms
Ride Time: 4hrs 21
Ave Speed: 32km/h
Max Speed: 85 km/h
Climbing: 576 metres
Min Temp: 20 degrees
Max Temp: 28 degrees

Blog Dedication to Adam and Maria Smiddy - See below

This final blog I would like to dedicate to my mate Adam Smiddy, gone now for ten years but still very much alive within my heart and soul. Also to his dear Mum Maria Smiddy, who is back in Adam's arms as of May last year. Two people from the one family; a small family of four, the most special of all families, the Smiddy family, four beautiful humans cut in half by a disease we are desperate to eradicate. I miss Adam and Maria each and every day, and through these wonderful Smiddy events we are keeping their memories alive.

Blog Reading
Thank you Anthony 'Richo' Richardson for reading out today's blog. Quite a few times Richo has thanked me throughout the past seven days for starting this ride and that he was honoured to be part of it. I know that he had a bad fall off his bike not so long ago. So to come back into a moving peloton for eight days, bringing with him a cold, he has done extremely well and earned this honour.

Anne Clarke Rings The Cow Bell
The final ringing of Kevvy's 100 year old infamous family cow bell was rung by our host in Anne Clarke. Anne was extremely close to Maria Smiddy and I know she was absolutely delighted and honoured to send the riders on their way with this beautiful tradition.

Prior to roll out the last big pack up of all the trucks and vehicles began. With the rain last night starting in the early hours of this cloudy morning, the dry swag scenario we were hoping for did not eventuate. What this means is all the swags now need to be taken off the truck in Townsville and dried out in the afternoon sun in the car park of the Mercure Resort.

I am back in the car until the first leg to morning tea at Reid River at 76 kilometres. The rider group have just stopped for a water/toilet stop at 48 kilometres by the side of National Highway A6. Conditions are perfect being overcast, 20 degrees and a gentle tailwind pushing them steadily forward.

Morning Tea Festivities
Getting to morning tea is always a treat for the riders, for the road crew have a massive purge of anything edible left in the ladies food truck. It is the last time the road crew feed the riders as lunch is provided by the lovely ladies of CWA at Woodstock. All the old hands know not to stuff themselves at morning tea, for the feed at Woodstock is a gastronomical delight, and many a rider has walked out of there two kilograms heavier over the many years they have been looking after us.

It's All About Habo
At morning tea I asked Brooke if she could organise a photo of all us ugly blokes that have grown the beard for this ride, which she did. Then tonight, lined up in the same order another photo but once the shave down is complete. The change is remarkable and it takes years off a riders appearance, well for me it does, as for Habo, he is always going to look like an old man! Oh and while on the subject of Habo; apparently he did catch Ken and Damien in the sprint last night. When the blog was read out in Charters Towers by David Smiddy and he didn't get a mention he was seething, spitting chips, cranky as Larry, silly as Jilly, so I hope this amends some of that unhappiness old mate - even if you did still lose to Damien! Ha. Ha!

Feelings Of Joy And Sadness
Even though I am not in the peloton at the moment I know exactly how the majority of them are feeling right now. Sad/happy. It is a weird feeling as you are extremely proud and pleased to have got to this final day and you do not want it to end. But then you want it to end, so that the soreness goes away and you get to reunite with your family and friends.

Afterwards there is a sense of fulfillment but also of emptiness. You long to be with your blood family, but at the same time your heart and soul wants to be with your Smiddy family.

A mild feeling of depression can be felt at this stage and it does pass in time, but I always suggest that the rider or road crew set themselves another immediate goal. Whether that be another Smiddy event, or another goal that you wish to reach for.

For me, I know I get to do it all over again in four weeks time when the Half Smiddy Challenge begins, so those feelings are not as strong these days. That was not always the case when in the first five years of Smiddy rides we had just the one event. So reach out guys to a mate and sign up for something to get those senses tingling.

Woodstock to The Mercure
As I write this I am back in my room at the Mercure and the 11th edition of this emotional roller coaster of a ride has finished safely as we achieved our goal of riding from Brisbane to Townsville over eight days. The lunch at Woodstock went down as suspected and we all pushed off a few kilos heavier. A few family members of the riders turned up here and shared lunch with the crew. The rain held off and the kind tailwind remained. We had one stop at our Bottlemart sponsor hotel, The Sun, for a quick celebratory drink.

Just as a side note, when I joined the peloton at morning tea, until we rolled into the Mercure at 2:15pm was a 95 kilometre stretch. And get this, partly due to the great conditions, but also because this group of riders were so strong by this stage of the game, that section of pave the average speed was 34.8 km/h for 95 kilometres! Bloody impressive stuff. It was also great to see that every rider did the entire distance today.

After the Bottlemart drinks we got a sponsor photo and rode the short distance to the Mercure, where we were greeted by family and friends. There was plenty of hug and congratulations going on for a good 15 minutes, before I surprised the group with a Chuddle. Not long after 95% of the riders and crew ended up in the pool. Belly flops and 'bombies' were of course the order of the day.

Getting in early meant family time for those riders whose love ones flew in, drinks by the bar for others, an afternoon kip for the weary, and the truck, and Smiddy cars, repacked for their journey back to Brisbane.

Ten Moments Throughout The Past Eight Days I Am Grateful For
Each night our guest speaker and their reasons for being part of this journey. I take my hat off to you and thank you for being so brave to show your emotions through your heartfelt words spoken each night. David Smiddy's talk last night on Adam I will never forget.

The past four days Mother Nature ramped up the heat and and wind. Each day the riders responded. Each day I was in awe of this amazingly strong bunch of riders. How lucky we are at Smiddy and the Mater Foundation to have these guys and girls join the rapidly expanding Smiddy family.

Smiddy riders, if they complain about anything on the ride, it is normally body aches and pains. So the biggest complaint I heard amongst riders for this trip was of a sore butt. Which reminded me of a story from the 2008 edition when Haylee Lewis, super strong rider but was suffering from an incredibly painful butt, asked me back then; "Sharky is it possible to die from a sore butt?" While it was funny at the time I am happy to say; "to this day we have yet to lose a rider to this ailment."

Smiddy traditions. Original ones and new. I cannot explain in enough words how important this is to me. Mess with any single one of our traditions and it would cut me like a knife. I thanked the riders and road crew for this last night at Charters and would like to thank them again through this blog for their understanding and for respecting these traditions.

Our road crew and especially David Smiddy, for each year allowing this event to continue. We, the riders, are in awe of your sacrifice to give up 8 days of your time each September and we are indeed extremely grateful.

Every year the local communities step up and nothing is ever too much. Their kindness and incredible generosity is amazing. Our billets at Biloela, Clermont and Blackwater we will never forget. This event would not be possible without this never-ending support each year. Thank you!

The bonding between the Smiddy riders is a joy to behold. Complete strangers becoming like blood brothers warms my heart to no end. 32 riders who would do anything for their fellow rider. I am indeed fortunate to being able to call you my friends and thank you for taking up this immense challenge. Hold your head high when you tell people you are a Smiddy rider, as it is the highest compliment anyone can give you!

Every once in a while, on the completion of a special Smiddy event, I throw in a Chuddle. A Chuddle is my combination of a Huddle and a Cuddle. David Smiddy is always in the centre, while everyone else creates a tight circle around him, and while it may all look a little silly to outsiders, I love it for the energy it creates. This energy is my gift -our gift- to David, which I know helps to get him through those tough times ahead until the next Smiling for Smiddy event.

I know the lads love the go-at-your-own-pace sections throughout the eight days of riding. The final one of the entire tour was down the range coming out of Charters Towers at the 80 kilometre mark. With a tailwind the lead group saw speeds of 85 km/h plus and we all arrived at the bottom breathless and exhilarated from the effort.

And finally, but in no way any less important than any of the other nine points above, thank you to all the love one's and supporters of their chosen Smiddy rider. For without you and your kind donations and support there would be no money coming in for cancer research.

Thanks everyone for your ongoing support over the past eight days. I am going to give you a well deserved rest from reading this blog, but only for one month, as that is when the four day Half Smiddy Challenge begins. We still have places available if anyone out there got motivated through these blogs.

Take care all.


History of Townsville

Traditional Landowners
Traditional owners and custodians, the Bindal and Wulgurukaba People are the first people to have lived in the Townsville region.
When Europeans first arrived in Townsville, they presumed that no one occupied or owned the land because there were no boundaries, marked by farms or fences. However the Bindal and Wulgurukaba Peoples had been living here for many, many generations. Archaeological sites near Townsville have been dated over 10,000 years old.

The Bindal People
The Bindal people call the country “Thul Garrie Waja”. An important symbol for the Bindal people is the shooting star. They believe that wherever the star fell, or the the direction the star fell meant there was either danger coming or someone from that direction was in need of help or in danger.

The Wulgurukaba People
The Wulgurukaba people call their country “Gurrumbilbarra” Wulgurukaba means “canoe people”. An important symbol of the Wulgurukaba people is the carpet Snake. Wulgurukabas creation story tells the story of the creation snake that comes down from the Herbert River, went out to sea creating the Hichinbrook Channel and down to Palm and Magnetic Islands. His body broke up leaving parts along the coast. The tail of the snake is at Halifax Bay, his body is at Palm Island, While his head rests at Arcadia, Magnetic Island.

In 1819, botanist, Alan Cunningham and Captain Phillip Parker King were the first Europeans to record a landing in Cleveland Bay. They collected botanical specimens to take back to England.

In 1846, James Morrill was one of 14 crew members on board the barque, the Peruvian which was shipwrecked on the Great Barrier Reef. Cast ashore near Cape Bowling Green 42 days after the wreck, he was the first European to inhabit the area for an extended period of time.

In 1864, John Melton Black, then in partnership of Robert Towns, despatched Andrew Ball, Mark Watt Reid from Woodstock Station (south west of Townsville) to search for a coastal site where a suitable port could be established. Ball's party reached the mouth of Ross Creek in April 1864 and they set up camp below the rocky spur of Melton Hill (near the present Customs House on the Strand). After further exploration of the surrounding area, Ball returned to Woodstock Station and reported the discovery of a site for a settlement.

The first party of settlers, led by WA Ross, arrived at Cleveland Bay from Woodstock Station on the 5th November. Andrew Ball helped establish the settlement that would become Townsville.

During 1865, the first road to the hinterland was opened. This provided pastoral properties in the hinterland with direct access to the Port.

The first sale of allotments on Cleveland Bay was held at Bowen on the 31st July. James Morrill was permitted to select and purchase an allotment at an upset price.

Cleveland Bay was declared a Port of Entry on the 23rd September 1865

In 1876 Harry Butler and his family came to Picnic Bay and became the first permanent white settlers on Magnetic Island.

In 1876 the Anglican Diocese of North Queensland was founded and the census listed the population as consisting of 1148 females and 1527 males.

In 1876 the North Queensland Pastoral and Agricultural Association was formed. The first show was held in 1876 at the Botanical Gardens Reserve. The industrial and horticultural exhibits were displayed in the old Supreme Court building on Melton Hill which was then the School of Arts.

In 1878 construction began on Townsville's first prison. The prison was situated in North Ward and was superseded by a new prison at Stewarts Creek (now Stuart Creek) in 1891. The original prison's administration block is now used by the Central State School and parts of the prison wall can still be seen in the grounds of the school.

A major fire destroyed a number of commercial premises between Stokes and Denham Street in 1877. A second fire in 1878 damaged the Town Council offices, with a large number of Council records lost.

In 1879 the Thuringowa Divisional Board was created. The board covered an area of approximately 3219 square kilometres. The area included Ross Island, Hermit Park, Magnetic Island, extended to Crystal Creek to the north; to the Burdekin River in the south; and to the top of the range near Mingela.

The first bridge from Flinders Street to Ross Island (now South Townsville) was completed but subsequently dismantled as prior to its opening

In 1866, Robert Towns, entrepreneur and businessman agreed to provide financial assistance to the new settlement. Although he only visited Townsville briefly, the settlement was named Townsville in his honour. Towns died in 1873. A memorial to him is located at the top of Castle Hill.
Townsville was declared a municipality in February 1866, with John Melton Black elected first Mayor of the new municipality.

It was also the year the first steamship arrived in the port.
A boiling down works was established at Hermit Park, sugar plantations were established at Hyde Park and Hermit Park, and a cotton plantation was established at Railway Estate.

The first newspaper, the Cleveland Bay Herald, was distributed on the 3rd March 1866 and in the same year, the West End Cemetery was established. It operated as Townsville's General Cemetery until 1902.

By 1868, Townsville was the major port and service centre for the Cape River, Gilbert, Ravenswood, Etheridge and Charters Towers goldfields. The pastoral industry extended further to the west, and the sugar industry expanded in coastal towns both north and south of Townsville. By the end of 1867, Townsville’s population was approximately 300 people.

In 1869 the National School opened in North Ward. It was located near the Leichhardt Street and Eyre Street roundabout.

In 1873 increased maritime activities prompted an attempt to develop the western side of Ross Creek seawards along the line of the present breakwater. When the attempt failed the Government stepped in to improve existing harbour facilities.

The first mail steamer arrived via Torres Strait.

In 1873 James Burns set up a mercantile business in Townsville. When he went into partnership with Robert Philp the manager of his Townsville operations in 1877 the business became Burns Philp and Company.

From 1868 to 1872, Townsville's population grew to around 2000 people.
1876 - 1879

In 1876 Harry Butler and his family came to Picnic Bay and became the first permanent white settlers on Magnetic Island.
In 1876 the Anglican Diocese of North Queensland was founded and the census listed the population as consisting of 1148 females and 1527 males.

In 1876 the North Queensland Pastoral and Agricultural Association was formed. The first show was held in 1876 at the Botanical Gardens Reserve. The industrial and horticultural exhibits were displayed in the old Supreme Court building on Melton Hill which was then the School of Arts.

In 1878 construction began on Townsville's first prison. The prison was situated in North Ward and was superseded by a new prison at Stewarts Creek (now Stuart Creek) in 1891. The original prison's administration block is now used by the Central State School and parts of the prison wall can still be seen in the grounds of the school.

A major fire destroyed a number of commercial premises between Stokes and Denham Street in 1877. A second fire in 1878 damaged the Town Council offices, with a large number of Council records lost.

In 1879 the Thuringowa Divisional Board was created. The board covered an area of approximately 3219 square kilometres. The area included Ross Island, Hermit Park, Magnetic Island, extended to Crystal Creek to the north; to the Burdekin River in the south; and to the top of the range near Mingela.

The first bridge from Flinders Street to Ross Island (now South Townsville) was completed but subsequently dismantled as prior to its opening major flaws in the mechanisms of the drawbridge winches were discovered.

Friday, 2 September 2016


Stats for the day by Brocky Yates and Brett Shipp
Distance: 197 km's
Ride Time: 7:13:35
Ave Speed: 27.35 km/h
Max Speed: 48.20
Climbing: 1068 metres
Min Temp: 14 degrees
Max Temp: 36.8 degrees

Blog Dedication
Auntie Marie Barker, Olivia Sawarde - See Below

My most favouritest Auntie Marie turns 67 today, which is a happy occasion for the Smoothy family. Marie at this point in time, is facing a health crises in her life, and out of respect to her I will not say any more. I know she'll be reading this, and I want her to know how much we all love her beautiful bravery and for being the most upbeat positive lady we have ever come across.

Olivia is a young lady who no-one in the Smiddy family will know or has heard of except for Mr Smiddy and myself. You see we had morning tea with a fellow Smiddy rider in Paul Dawson a week ago. His best friend in Freddy Sawarde, who he has been buddies with since their school days and are now in their early 50's, just lost his beautiful young 18 year-old daughter last Friday. Olivia's funeral is today and I know Paul and Freddy and their families are grieving deeply. Our thoughts are with Paul, Freddy and Marie today.

Blog Reading Dedication By Mr Smiddy
Blog reading tonight was done by David Smiddy. Last year he and my Auntie Marie teamed up to read out the blog. He said that he wanted to dedicate this blog reading to Auntie Marie, who he respects immensely and knows she is not well and sends all his love.

Words Of Adam By Mr Smiddy
I asked David if he would speak some words about his Son Adam on this 10th anniversary year of Adam passing away. The beautiful man thought long and hard but finally agreed to do it tonight in Charters Towers. His heartfelt words about Adam touched every single person in the room and the tears flowed freely. Our hearts went out to the big man. We are all in awe of David's strength and bravery for what he does each and every year by coming onboard these Smiddy events which continually open wounds that are still trying to heal.

Beautiful Words By Mel Speare
Thank you Mel for getting up tonight and speaking about your Smiddy life since 2012. The story of your Mum beating cancer, your husband fighting it as we speak and all the Smiddy events you have participated in over the years, along with the money raised you should feel so very proud of your involvement.

Brooke Rose - Canadian Rum and Dry Please
Tonight's proceedings was run by last nights extremely popular blog reader in Brooke Rose. This lovely Canadian, with the booming voice that I do not need to wear my hearing aids for -bless her voice box- and did such a great job last night that Killer asked her if she would take on tonight. Of course she said yes because that is what Brooke does, says yes and then smashes everything she does with her incredible, vibrant and contagious energy. Thank you Brooke.

Aliens Again At Belyando
Our stay at Belyando Crossing is always a short affair but a memorable one. A few more lasting memories were added to the gene pool last night, although for those riders that stayed up past midnight their memories were erased due to Aliens visiting the camp site. It must have been the Aliens as what else would erase memories?

Mandy Rings The Bell
Roll out for the group was 6:45 on another glorious morning that infused you with a great-to-be- alive type of emotion. Our host at Belyando has always been Mandy and her partner Hog. While Hog is no longer with us due to passing away in 2010 to cancer, Mandy is still very much involved. After a group photo with Mandy and the two Hog Cup winners from yesterday in Ken and Robyn, Kevvy invited Mandy to ring the cow bell.

The Man Who Actually Does Not Stink
So the cow bell was rung, and as I was sitting out the mornings stage, I stood there clapping along with all the road crew sending the riders on their way. I then realized I was meant to be in the lead car with Mel and Shayne as they drove off into the distance. The good thing to come out of this was I got to jump in the car with Stinky Dave. So for the morning I get to share what it's like hanging with the man who has the most unappealing nickname in the entire Smiddy family. I often wondered how Stinky got his nickname and I have never once asked as I am scared of the answer. Thankfully at this very moment his smell is not offensive and we are getting along fine.

Ramblings From Belyando To Morning Tea At Capsize Creek
The road out here is dead quiet, especially at seven in the morning. Stinky and I were chatting and and he said he expected it to be a quiet start to the day. Well it was for the first hour then the action began. First up Andrew Hancox punctured, a quick change of a front wheel and a minute later he was back on the road trying to stay with the 'Kenny Freight Train Express' ride back to the peloton. After the first wee and hydration stop Julia joined us in the car, unable to keep up with the peloton. We pushed off and not long after, Bruce Frazer was out, as the hills and crosswinds made their presence felt. Bruce is still trying to get over a persistent flu and sounded terrible as he was hacking up flem in the back seat of the car. Within ten minutes, with a smile upon his face, he kept repeating the same word over and over again, Cherie, Cherie, Cherie as he drifted off to sleep. See my Facebook page to see Bruce asleep. Exciting stuff!

Not five minutes later Dr Koala was out as the fatigue of the ride continually catches up with him and is made worse once the climbs begin and the winds picks up. Stinky each time gets out and puts the bike on the trailer attached to his car. This time Dr Koala got into Kevvy's car while Stinky picked up his bike. Just five minutes later and Stephen Townsend was out suffering fatigue from a Smiddy tour that is excruciating in good conditions and murder when the weather turns bad. All in all they are doing an exceptional job and time in any of the cars is not defeat, it is smart, as they get to fight another day by being smart and listening to their bodies. Last exciting thing before morning tea was when a flasher was standing by the side of the road hidden behind an umbrella. He popped out from behind the umbrella and surprised the rider group, who thankfully remained upright as they realised it was Mr Smiddy, the immature one in David and not Allan. Thankfully David had clothes on when he revealed his intentions.

At morning tea an impromptu huddle was formed by all the riders and crew. Kenny Woods Grandma was to be buried this morning and due to getting phone reception he also received news that a close friend of his had passed away yesterday. He was very distraught and thanked the group for our support. Ken once again rode on and will use the next stage to help him with his grief.

Morning Tea To Lunch at Campase
Captain Kev relegated me back to the lead car for this next leg. He warned me that Stinky lived up to his nickname from 10 a.m. and as I was a mate he did not want me to go through what lay ahead. Thanks Kevvy. And thank you Stinky for allowing me to share the life and times of a rear, rear car driver. I enjoyed it immensely.

The run into lunch at 122 kilometres is along mostly flat roads with those annoyingly 1 to 2 percent gradient slow gradual climbs that linger for kilometres at a time. The riders are riding into the same wind as yesterday off the right nose and the temperature is gradually climbing into the mid 30's. It is a tough stretch into lunch. And for that reason I find myself getting very closely acquainted with Dr Koala, who is sitting in the middle of the back seat, while Cherie, who is on photographic duty today, fills the other seat. With Mel and Shayne in the front seat we have a full car and they just informed me that Stinky is not lonely as well thanks to the fine company of Stephen, Julia and Bruce.

Lunch to Afternoon Tea at Policeman Creek
This stage is always a welcome one due to the road surface improving and the trees denser to block out a little of the annoying wind. It was along this stretch that the strangest thing happened when a random non-Smiddy rider rode past the peloton absolutely stark naked. As he disappeared into the distance he stood up to sprint faster and the whole peloton spewed in unison.

The riders have broken the camels back by the time they roll into afternoon tea. You can literally smell Charters Towers from there and the small surge of adrenaline felt, is partly for that reason, but also attributed to the final sprint of the tour coming up just 15 kilometres out from Charters. This hotly contested extravaganza was called off at the last moment because the riders had battled a headwind for most of the day and the ride leaders were concerned with the group safety.

Peloton Plug
Today I joined the riders from lunchtime onwards to Charters Towers. The wind was up and it was pretty well on the nose. Now normally if the wind is that strong a six man peloton form at the front and those six strong man take the brunt of the wind for the entire peloton. Not today as a rolling peloton ensured that saw each and every rider do their turn in front for just a few seconds at a time. Your turn came around incredible quick and the pace was hard but manageable. I kept waiting for the call to 'slow down' or 'ease up', but it never came. Man these guys and girls are so incredibly strong and they should all be very proud of what they have achieved not just today but over the past seven days.

Thank you to the few riders that needed to pull out and join either Kevvy, Stinky or Mel and Shayne in their respective vehicles. You guys took one for the team and allowed everyone to finish into Charters Towers well before nightfall. I know it is gut wrenching watching from the car but your selfless acts are truly appreciated by all.

The Sprint That Wasn't On But Happened Anyway
This is the first time in nine years that this has happened, but thanks to Kenny and Damien, who decided that the tradition could not be totally wiped, they launched an attack with three kilometres to go. All the players in the peloton responded, but being caught out unaware, we had no hope of latching on to this Dynamic Duo, although Ben Hola and Scott Manning went close. Damien got it in the end and I have a feeling his good mate Kenny may have gifted it to him. Nice work guys.

Huddle By Peter, John, Dick, Shane, Fred, Or Was It Brock?
The huddle this afternoon was taken by Brocky Yates. I picked Brocky because all week we have been playing this game where we both pretended to forget each other's name and each rotation we would call each other by another name. We literally went through the entire alphabet and Brock ended up by winning this very mature game as I was disqualified when I started calling him girl names. Anyway mate you earned it not just for that reason but for all the amazing work you have put in for Smiddy over many, many years. Four Midi Smiddy events and two or three Challenge events. Not to mention all the fundraising and recruitment you do in the background.

Rotary - John and Anne Clarke
Once again our hosts tonight were John and Anne Clarke, who are volunteers at Charters Towers Rotary and their team in Wilma Gibson President Of Rotary and fellow Rotarians in Nev Steel, Theresa Thomspson, Robyn Donovan, Tom Dempster and friends of Rotary in Leslie Elliot, Brenda Elliot and Maz Howman.

Each year this amazing group of individuals cook up a storm, both for dinner and then breakfast the next day for the entire team at no expense to us. Thank you to all, we are are very much appreciative. John is also the principal at The School Of Distance Education and it is where we spend the night each year. The grass here is so green and lush and like sleeping on the plushest carpet made by man.

A big welcome to the three school children here tonight helping out from Charters Towers Interact Club. Which is a training ground for young people to eventually enter Rotary.

Category Jerseys Recipients - Robyn Lever
I have saved this until tonight to present Robyn Lever with her special jersey as I really wanted her to wear it on the final day. She exemplifies the Smiddy spirit so perfectly. So modest and patient and caring and understanding and never demanding. Has fundraised for Smiddy, along with Sean, since 2010. Surely one of the nicest purest ladies we have ever had on tour. Congratulations Robyn.

Andy Loney
And finally this next jersey goes to a man who has been there for us since his first Smiddy event as a volunteer back in 2010. Has been involved in at least ten Smiddy events or training weekends. Has does amazing amounts of fundraising, manages to score significant items that we then get to auction off. Is one of the most calming influences in the road crew. Is extremely respectful, quiet and a human being that deserves some recognition for what he does. So tonight he got some in the way of this Teamwork, Mateship and Spirit jersey. Congratulations Andy Loney.



History Of Charters Towers

Charters Towers, the town they call ‘The World' was born to the sound of thunder and flashes of lightning.

Hugh Mosman, George Clarke, John Fraser and horseboy Jupiter had been prospecting away to the south of what is now Charters Towers when their horses scattered during a fierce thunderstorm.

It was while searching for the horses next morning that the first Towers gold was discovered. The discovery point was just near the modern day intersection of Mosman Street, Rainbow Road and Black Jack Road and was at the end of the year 1871 or the very beginning of 1872.

The party returned to Ravenswood to register their find which they named Charters Towers.
Charters: for W.S.E.M. Charters, the Gold Commissioner - the big man from the Cape (Charters was said to be about 6'6" tall and weighed some 20 stone).

Towers: because of the conical shaped hills in the vicinity of the discovery.

A rush of ‘fortune seeking men' quickly followed and a small settlement named Millchester formed on the water at Gladstone Creek. By the end of 1872 some 3000 souls inhabited the new field. The alluvial men left early on for the Palmer River discoveries but the hard rock miners remained, seeking the gold in the deep veins underground. Charters Towers rather than Millchester soon became the main settlement.

The goldfield did not reach its peak of gold production until 1899. During the period 1872-1899 the place changed from a rough settlement with bark and calico buildings to a thriving City of some 25,000 inhabitants.

The City, by that time, had properly formed streets, some wonderful houses and many grand public buildings lining the two main streets. A plentiful supply of water for domestic and other purposes was pumped to the town from a Weir in the Burdekin River about 9 miles to the north. Underground electricity was also supplied to parts of the main town area.

Literally 100s of shafts were sunk during the lifetime of the field and the ore raised was processed through many large Treatment Batteries. It is estimated that 6,000,000 ounces of gold was won in the first 40 to 50 years of the life of the Towers.

All religions were strongly represented on the field and in 1890 the miners could quench their thirst in no less than 65 hotels registered on the field.
Sports, music and the arts all had fantastic followings. It was said that everything you might desire could be had in the Towers. There was no reason to travel elsewhere for anything. This is why the town became known affectionately as ‘The World'.

The decline of mining following World War I saw the population shrink and the town become the supply centre or hub of the Dalrymple Shire as well as the educational centre for students from all over North Queensland

Thursday, 1 September 2016


Stats for the day by Brocky Yates and Brett Shipp
Distance: 176 km's
Ride Time: 6:36:00
Ave Speed: 27.1 km/h
Max Speed: 56km/h
Climbing: 861 metres
Min Temp: 12 degrees
Max Temp: 36.4 degrees

Blog Dedication
Brad Hartmann, Geoff Honey and Justin Jelonkovich are all Smiddy riders. They have all passed away in the last year. Everyone involved with Smiddy have been rocked to the core with these tragic occurrences. Therefore today's blog is dedicated to these three fine gentlemen.

Captain Kev and His New Lead Vehicle
Roll out today was for 7:30a.m. Our luck with the weather was holding as we pushed off with our lead vehicle being local Clermont business man Lochy Burnett and one of his enormous prime movers. Captain Kev was the co-driver of course and Stinky Dave became a human step, while someone else gave Kev a good shove to actually get the little fella into the truck. This has become a custom to get the riders out of town and in the process having some fun thanks to Lochy's generosity each year.

Mother Nature Has Been Kind
Today's course is the ultimate day to be on a bike and I was not going to miss a second of it as I decided to ride the entire day. It is now 5:45 in the afternoon and I am tapping away madly to get this blog done in time for the usual nighttime Smiddy festivities. As Youngy said to me, just keep it short and sweet, so that is my goal.

The road to the morning tea stop was simply perfect; great road surfaces that roll out as far as the eye can see. The beautiful Australian outback scenery is simply stunning due to the amount of rain they have had out here. For so many years, at this time of the year, when we have travelled through, it has resembled a dust bowl. So it is just so awesome to see the country in the shape that it is in right now. To see pockets of water, dams that are full and reservoirs glistening in the sunlight is good for the soul and I feel really happy for the locals out here that have been doing it tough for so many years. The only downside to this news is that the road kill count was nearly non-existent, due, I think, to the fact that there is no need for the animals to graze close to the road where they know the foliage is always greener.

A Quick Wrap Up From Morning Tea To Lunch
At morning tea the road crew put on another awesome display of food. This trip, so much food has been donated in nearly every town we have stayed in. I get the feeling that by the time the tour ends we are going to be left with an enormous amount of food, so riders eat up!

The predicted wind kicked in early and was with us all day on the right side of the nose. In other words a cross-wind. Thankfully it wasn't stupid strong and the peloton was still able to average a good speed of some 27 kmp/h. The temperature creeped up to our hottest day since we began in Brisbane and my Garmin said it peaked at 36.6 degrees. Water and Electrolyte the rider group went through by the bucketful.

The group once again rode well together into lunch, the calls were constant, the pace consistent and the crop-dusting went to a whole new level today! I don't know what Habo and Youngy ate last night but whatever it was it died in their guts and tried to get out all day.

Lunch was at a mound of dirt called Laurel Hills. The usual shenanigans took place with past riders sneaking heavy rocks into other rider day bags. This is the place where a group photo is taken with all riders and road crew on top of that dirt mound and where David Smiddy informs the group that they are to carry their day bags to the next stop. He does this tradition to remind the riders what the first three riders went through in 2006 doing the ride unsupported. Not one rider opted to not carry their bag. Beautiful!

The Hog Cup
We have always finished with an A, B and C graded sprint into Belyando Crossing. A few years ago we started to call it the Hog Cup, as the owner of this road house lost his battle with cancer. His name was Hog. Now a perpetual trophy sits in the road house and each year the winning male and female names are added to the trophy. Today in a close sprint with Damien, Shippy, and Habo, Ken Woods took out his second win of this tour. Robyn Lever of course won once again because she is a bloody legend and no-one can beat her! Nice work again Robyn. One day you will have to let us in on your secret...

Huddle By Allan Smiddy
Thank you Allan for taking the huddle this fine afternoon. I was meant to ask Allan earlier today if he would not mind taking the huddle and as I was having so much fun riding with my friends I totally forgot. As the huddle was forming I asked Allan and he stepped up brilliantly. He talked about how few people in Australia have the name Smiddy, 12 he said in Queensland. But after six days on the road he admitted that he now sees the Smiddy family numbering in the hundreds. He was, of course, referring to the extended Smiddy family of riders, road crew, donors, sponsors, supporters etc.

Fun Times With Lofty and Robyn
Lofty and Peter Hickey tonight run the nighttime proceedings and as expected, delivered was a hilarious cycling quiz affair that had us all in stitches of laughter. The great thing with Belyando Crossing is that it gets back to just us, the road crew and the riders. There is no phone coverage, swags are our accommodation, spirits are high and alcohol is consumed to help celebrate six successful days on the road. It truly is a special place and some of the most memorable Smiddy social moments of the entire tour have happened right here at Belyando Crossing.

Jersey Recipients - Shayne Ritchings and Scott Manning - Allan Smiddy
Shayne for breaking his hand and still fronting up for road crew duties and doing it all with a smile. Scott has been battling with an injury since early in the tour but refuses to give in or get in the van. Both lads are great friends and worked extremely hard to raise up over $12,000.

Allan Smiddy took ten years to finally get permission from his work to get a week off at this time of the year. He had to use some of his long service and give work two years notice. Allan is very popular with the riders and road crew, he works hard and is such a likable and friendly gentleman. Being the younger Brother of David the resemblance is definitely there and like David has a heart of gold.

Guest Speakers
Tonight we heard from Serge and Sydsey. Serge spoke of his reasons for doing this ride and the battle that his Wife Emma is facing as she fights a stage four terminal Melanoma. Chris Sydes spoke of suicide prevention and depression and offered any rider any help they may need now or in the future.

Road Kill by Rambo
Ian stepped up to deliver road kill tonight as Serge and and Sydsey needs a breather.
As there was not much out there he decided to count mature things like dead cars, old shoes and the occasional roo. Thanks Rambo for having some fun with it and entertaining us tonight.

Conversations in the peloton
To finish this blog tonight I just wanted to pass on to you some of the conversations I had with the riders and road crew today, which helped to pass the time. Warning... Immaturity about to commence.

Krista Page - We spoke about a giant mound that was covered by grass, which was quite obviously a giant human being that passed away 2000 years ago and had a huge belly due to eating all the trees.

Sean Lever - Taught me a joke, I practiced on other riders. He overheard me and was not pleased. This apprentice has his work cut out for him before Alyssa pops out a little person for me to practice my Dad jokes on.

Robyn Lever - Asked me what was my most favourite place to stay in the entire world. I told her it was her home as she lets me eat her secret stash of Manuka Honey that not even her husband is allowed to touch.

Dr Koala - Said to me he was honoured to be given the chance to experience this event. This was said as he was dehydrated, delirious from the heat and wobbling all over the road.

Brett Shipp - Said that he thought just maybe I did not love him as I had never shared a Homestay family with him and I. I assured him I did and that he could set up his swag in my room tonight.

Chris Sydes - Offered to carry the rock that was placed in my day bag. Nice one mate.

Serge Simic - Today when everyone took off their day bags Serge decided to ride the rest of the day with it on. Why Serge? I said... "Because it's actually quite comfortable and sits nicely on my back", he replied. Okay I thought and rode on to the next person.

Scott Manning - I would say Blah, Blah, Blah, Scott would reply Yackety Yak, and I would respond Etc, Etc Etc. This happened every rotation for the entire day. Very deep and meaningful are Scotty and I.

Mick Young - "Sharky, we better start thinking what rider day bags we are going to put rocks in at lunchtime."

Sammi Jo - "Sharky please don't tell anyone but please, please, please can I nominate Allan Smiddy for a jersey?" Your secret is safe with me...

Brooke Rose - "Sharky, please keep this to yourself but I just wanted to tell you first that I am going to sign up to ride this event next year." That's awesome and my lips are sealed...

Cameron Habermann - "Hey Sharky, bleep, can I Bleep, Bleep, Bleep you when we get off the bikes as I am feeling Bleep Bleep and need some Bleeping." I replied No!

Andrew Hancox: "Sharky thank you allowing me the privilege of doing this ride and for speaking last night." My heart went out to this guy, wow, what a lovely thing to say when really the privilege is all ours!

Ian Mallyon - Wow was this guy happy today. On every rotation Ian said this; "Sharky this ride is awesome, I am loving today, thank you so much!" I said to Ian, "Was yesterday awesome?" He replied, we don't need to discuss yesterday!"

Brett Shipp - "Clearly excited by being in the lead bunch to the line at the Hog Cup. "Sharky I went too soon."

John Martin - John was doing it tough going into morning tea. "John do you need a rest in the van?" "Bleep off, no bleeping way, never going to get in the bleeping van!" I decided then was the best time to go for a wee.



Belyando Crossing History

Located 220km south of Charters Towers on the A7 (Gregory Developmental Road). The roadhouse is located at Belyando Crossing and offers a shady picnic area to customers passing through. Fish for redclaw in the local creeks. Camp the night and marvel at the stars. Visit the historic grave site. Nearby Lake Buchanan is a large, flat salt lake.