Monday, 27 March 2017

2017 New Zealand Smiddy Challenge - Day 3

Day 3 stats
160 km
28.8kph average speed
Time: 5 hours 32 minutes
Elevation: 767m
Temp: min 5C, max 20C

By Matthew Crook

Tekapo to Omarama (Hump Day)

After Day 1 being so nice, Day 2 really took the freshness out of the legs and the beds at Peppers were nice, while it was dark and cold outside. 

I know most of us were grateful for the 7.30 am cowbell, although we still managed to delay the ringing of it until 7.50am. Bisso was given the honours as he really has had a shocker start to the week, but is glad to be back among his adopted Smiddy family.

Did we mention it was cold?  Sitting around 4.5C and threatening rain most people learnt something from the day before and there were a lot more clothes in the peloton than in the day bags. Pagey was not so quick on the uptake wearing the short-fingered gloves, much to her discomfort.

The Whip let it slip that he double knicked before we pulled out … any chamois cream between the knicks, Whip? And for goodness sake next time, wash your hands! Speaking of butt cream, the estimates are that usage increased this morning by 50 per cent as application moved from a two finger to a three-finger scoop, where are things going to be on Day 5?

A few kms out of Tekapo we turned onto the canal roads which were fantastic, but the gravelly bits not so much.  Only a couple of flat tyres however and it was great to be off the busy roads and enjoying the Kiwi scenery.

Speaking of flat tyres, it turns out Phil Anderson is a better rider than a mechanic. And being a competitive guy who loves a race, he really wanted to get the flat he was changing fixed faster than resident mechanic Ben Hola who was working on the other flat. When pumping it up, all the time looking down the road to see where Ben was up to, he let the canister off while the tyre was over the rim for at least 6 inches. Ooopsy.

Ben 1 – Phil 0

After about 20kms we dropped down to Lake Pukaki which was our companion for the next 100kms or so to Mt Cook and back. How good was the last 55kms? It was all downhill, well apart from the uphill bits; with a tail wind, well apart from the headwind towards the end.

Onto lunch at Twizel! We dropped below Lake Pukaki (mentioned again just because we like the name) and then back onto the canals for most of the way to lunch at Twizel (also mentioned again just because we like the name).

Sami Jo was busier than a one-legged woman in an arse kicking competition at lunch as three long days really started to take its toll.  But it was nice to see the sun shining which made the last 30 kms to Omarama a less daunting finish to the day.

Our photographer Michael Fellows has clearly lost interest in the peloton, instead taking photos of tourists and the scenery as we rode past.

Also worthy of mention is our 1,2,3 yyyyyaaaaaaaahhhhh Chinese friend we met the day before in Tekapo seems to be stalking us as he pops up EVERYWHERE!

Today is also hump day which is significant because it is the day we find out if we have it in our legs to go the distance.  We go from ‘Holy cow! 3 more days to go’ to ‘A bit sad there is only 2 more days’ to go.

A few incidents occurred during the late afternoon including a stray water bottle dropped which became a missile bouncing through the peloton. It narrowly missed a few bikes, heads and torsos until it went under Whipsy’s wheel to be claimed as the first plastic Smiddy road kill.

Karl also showed his bike skills by bunny hopping six inches to the right in the peloton, we think he was really trying to impress the girls. And Rose certainly needed to go to the toilet after the semi-trailer coming towards us at a great rate of knots blew its horn and scared the sh*t out of her.

But the great thing about hump day is that it’s also the day the peloton really starts work together. 

Let’s hear it for all our miked up ride leader champions, Captain Killer leading from the front, Mad Dog and the Jack Russell nipping around the edges of the group as well as the Gun Slinger, Kirst the Wee Lass, Turn the Page, Princess Tail-Gunner and Hola for a Marshall in the arm chair… yay!! For keeping us all in line, together and moving. We could really see the group come together.

And last but not least our terrific road crew.

The final huddle was led by Michael and TJ who gave thanks to the road crew, told everyone how awesome they were and lead the cheers and Smiddy chant!  

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