20 March 2023
Written by: Mark 'Sharky' Smoothy
Welcome to the intro blog for our fourth incursion into Tassie since our first event here in 2013. This years Challenge Tasmania is our biggest yet with 72 riders and enough amazing road crew to make sure you are looked after appropriately. Like Krista loves to shout from the top of her lungs, WE LOVE YOU ROAD CREW! And you will as they do an extraordinary job.
Over the next 5 days you will cover 694 kilometres and 7831 metres of climbing. Along the way you will be treated to some stunning scenic sites that will take in the areas of Launceston, Devonport, the Tamara Valley, Swansea and then into our finish at Hobart.
You guys rock!
While tonight, over the pre-ride dinner, we celebrate each other's company and the successful coming together of Smiddy event number 70, I think it would be appropriate to think about the people that helped and enabled each and everyone of us to be here tonight. Of course I'm talking about your family and supporters. Without them none of this would be possible. You all know what I'm talking about but was I pushing the friendship getting Alyssa and Estelle up at 4am to drive me to the airport today?
You are appreciated
The team at the Mater Smiling for Smiddy recognise the sacrifices that each and everyone of you have made to be here. This is the facts: Not only have you all had to train your butts off, take time off work, fundraise and balance your family commitments, but you have paid an entry fee to offset the costs involved in running this event, meaning more funds going back into research, and on top of that paid your own airfares and brought bikes worth many of thousands of dollars. Including road crew, there's 100 very special people assembled in this room. Take a little time to commend yourself as you all truly deserve it.
Who are you riding for?
Spare a moment to remind yourselves your reasons for riding when the going gets tough, as those special people will help you get through those times when you are suffering on the bike.
This event my dear Mum will be foremost in my thoughts as we lost her last year. Also Dad, who turns 90 this year and as we speak is battling the dreaded Covid. He's a tough bugger and all the family are positive that he will beat this yet again. Of course, as always, I'll again be riding in memory of my mate Adam Smiddy and his beautiful Mother Maria as well as my Aunty Marie, all lost to the dreaded disease of cancer.
As founder of Smiling for Smiddy, and I know that David Smiddy and all the team at the Mater Foundation will mirror these words, I just wanted to finish by expressing my sincere gratitude to each and everyone of you for coming on board this Smiddy event. Whether it’s your first or tenth Smiddy event, the fact that you are here is what is important. For without you guys caring enough to look outside your own personal sporting goals, and look inside the Smiddy and Mater cause, we would not have raised over 14 million dollars for research since 2006.
Special Human Beings
Smiddy events, right from the start, have attracted people, such as assembled in this room tonight, that care more of others than themselves. So please when the going gets tough out there, and it will, lean on your mates for support, keep digging deep into that reserve of courage that we all possess, for it takes events like these to realize it’s in all of us. And most of all remember the people you are going to help for years to come. All because you had the guts to do something about it for just three or five days of discomfort in this Tassie Challenge.
To help us support cancer research at Mater please donate today at https://fundraise.mater.org.au/event/challenge-tasmania