27 April 2022
Written by: Mark 'Sharky' Smoothy
CHALLENGE IN THE TROPICS
These words, as always, are dedicated to the memory of our mate Adam Smiddy. To his Father, David Smiddy, a huge welcome mate to Smiddy event number 71. Tomorrow the entourage of 47 / 5 day riders and the all important 25 volunteer road crew members will commence the second running of the Challenge in The Tropics event. A further 11 / 3 day riders will join the two pelotons on Saturday. The course will be a familiar return to what was tackled last year in the Far North Qld Challenge. Held over a 5 day period and just over 600 kilometres of riding with close to 7000 metres of climbing.
FORGING AHEAD - THE SMIDDY SPIRIT WEATHERS THE YEARS
The loss of someone very close to you can do one of two things, crush your spirit or make you even stronger for the journey ahead. Thankfully the Smiddy momentum chose the path of going forward. 2006 it all began with the loss of an extraordinary unselfish human being by the name of Adam Smiddy. Who would have thought, that 16 years on, Smiddy events are not only still forging ahead, but have weathered two years of Covid and still attracting incredibly good people like everyone assembled tonight in this room. Without you guys and your supporters, sponsors, donors, work colleagues and your extremely important family, the research money for Mater Research would have dried up long ago from Smiddy events. Already, without one kilometre being cycled, you have all earned the right to hold your heads high and be proud of your efforts. 3 or 5 days on the bike is your just reward.
OLD AND NEW BUT ALL FOR THE SAME CAUSE
Writing the blog today and casting my eye over the start list I'm in awe of so many returning old school Smiddy riders and road crew that return year after year after year. They know what's ahead and while there's some suffering in the way of heat, humidity, hills, crappy roads, sore bodies and the smell of road kill, both on the side of the ride and within the peloton, most of the time can only be described as incredibly enriching and good for the soul.
For some this will be their first Smiddy event, whether as a road crew member or a rider they are guaranteed of an experience that will leave them wanting for more of this beautiful Smiddy magic. Being surrounded by like-minded positive people for an entire week has an affect that lasts for weeks on your return to the real world.
Back in 2006 when that first Smiddy event to Townsville was run the ripple effect from that one ride continues to this very day. That year 3 riders completed the task at hand because of the following things: they took care of each other because of their attributes of mateship, teamwork and spirit. Nothing has changed since in 70 Smiddy events. We have just gotten bigger, we are raising more money for research, pretty sure it's closing in on 13 million dollars raised, and all because of those 3 vitally important attributes that shine from each person present and past.
Adam's Incredible Spirit Lives on
If Adam was here today, he would be sitting there, just like all you guys are, big smile on his face, ready to tackle the challenge ahead. That young man just loved to ride his bike, but you know what? He loved people more. If he was down to his last $5 dollars, he would hand it over to you. Of course after borrowing it from his Dad. He was the first to put up his hand to help someone. His smile was infectious, his heart was big and warm, you felt privileged to be his friend.
So a huge welcome to everyone involved in this event. If you are doing it for someone that you have lost in your life, someone you loved so much that it hurts like the earth has opened up and swallowed you. Please know they live on in your memories. Along with Adam, they would be so incredibly proud of you and your incredible good will. Just as the team at Mater and Smiling for Smiddy are!