2023 Challenge Tasmania

Day 2 Blog—22 March 2023

Day 2 Blog - 22 March 2023

Devonport to Launceston

Daily Stats

Distance: 139 km
Average Speed: 23.5 kph
Climbing: 1903 metres
Moving Time: 5:56
Temperature: Min 8 / Max 21

The riders were awoken today to the gentle patter of rain on the roof this morning, waking the majority of riders a little earlier than planned in the wee hours of the morning. A quick check of the trusty radar revealing showers had all but passed over, but some key decisions had to be made on what was to be worn for the cool and damp conditions.   

Red Peloton had the honours of rolling out first for day 2 and bang on time at 7am the cow bell was rung to see them off, with the Blue Peloton following in the prescribed 10 minutes later.  Despite Krista encouraging a tidy exit from our lodgings, the tail of the Blue Peloton went slightly adrift,  managing to join the rest of the group after a frantic couple of extra kilometres.


After the freezing conditions on day one, the damp start meant rain jackets and booties were the order of the day, however many riders regretted their wardrobe choices early on.  Our first water stop of the day was a welcome respite before the climb started at a road lay by. The road crew had come prepared, and a ‘pop-up’ ladies toilet magically appeared for the more shy ladies.  Thank-you to Shaz and The Prof for procuring!  We love road crew!

This was the day of the highest climbing metres, so we all expected a hard slog before we got to morning tea at around 80km.  Travelling the hills on lichen covered roads was a new experience for many of us.  The traffic was heavy at times, however the mood was light as truckies and cars alike were  respectful and welcoming.  

The road kill was prolific with a variety of species once again, and our first sighting of a ‘fox’ in Tasmania.  The Taswegians were quick to refute the claims, as apparently there are no foxes in Tasmania.  Unfortunately, the first Tasmanian Devil we saw was also an addition to the road kill tally. 

After some steady climbing throught the first 60 kms the reward of a long fast downhill was to much for some not to indulge.  The long descent down to Beauty Point saw a top speed of the day by Rhys from Blue Peloton at 85km/hr, and an added bonus for a few of the lead riders knocking off the KOM of a local cycling legend, Richie Porte, being pipped by three Smiddy riders. Well done also to those members of the Blue Peloton who may have cruised passed the Red Peloton tail at some point on the descent.

After the excitement of the descent, both Pelotons enjoyed the calm of the Tamar River at Beauty Point for morning tea at Maria’s Cafe.  The lure of the coffee shop across the road was too much for some, with Hollywood (Red Peloton) missing his cue for departure and having to finish the day with the Blue Peloton. Much to the delight of those in Red but not so much for those in Blue.He was quickly returned to Blue at days end.  

We were all excited to be getting closer to Launceston and Cataract Gorge for lunch, with our cycle along the banks of the Tamar, described as a ‘good run’ and Smithers (the local) recommendation for a beer at the pub on the corner along the way.  Our elation turned to dismay, when we navigated the corner and saw the climb ahead of us to Cataract Gorge, with Killer earning his nickname once again.  With 'pinches like this the views better be good!

But we were not disappointed, lunch was amazing as always, in the beautiful surroundings of the Gorge, overlooking the pool and the basin.  The local bird life were keen for any leftovers from lunch, before Team Smiddy came together for the huddle, where our dulcet tones echoed around the still Gorge, with the cry of ‘Smiddy Smiddy Smiddy’ for the finale of day 2. 

The climb out of the gorge was completed with dignity and then we navigated the hills and traffic of Launceston to reach our abode for the next two nights, the Mercure at Launceston.  Dinner at Du Cane Brewery was delicious, and our guest speaker for the evening was Professor Brian Gabrielli, a researcher of 40 years who joined the Mater Foundation and for at least five years, as been part of the Smiddy Family.  Brian reminded us of why we ride, and that while inroads had been made into cancer research, there is so much more we need to know.  Thank-you Prof for your dedication to research into finding a cure for cancer.  

All riders are looking forward to a slightly shorter ride tomorrow as we welcome our three-day riders into the peloton.  

From the Toowoomba Smiddy Riders 2023, Lesley, Jason & Sarah.