2021 FNQ Smiddy Challenge

Day 2 Blog—3 May 2021

Cape Tribulation to Port Douglas

Stats for the Day:

Distance ridden: 114 kms

Average Speed:  25.1 kph

Elapsed Time:     5:42 

Riding time:        4:31

Metres climbed:  704 m

Temerature:   Min 19 / Max 31 

Blog by: Rowan Foster & David Smiddy

We’re pleased to be writing this blog together today. With some 15 years together across Smiddy rides we’ve never been teamed to write a recap of the day’s stage. David recounts the last time he was assigned blog writing duties in 2012 with Maria Smiddy and the road crew, however he exited stage left because he thought it was more important to be socialising with the riders. Suffice to say it didn’t end well for David that night when Maria caught up with him. I’m pleased to say he stayed the course on this one, determined to make amends.

Night one ended in stellar style, a great night had by all after a brilliant first day’s riding. Ferntree Rainforest Lodge put on a great show with live music and a cracking feed. Nicole shared her reason for riding this Smiddy Challenge, in support of her niece who lost her partner to melanoma aged just 3X. Well done Nicole, you are doing an amazing job. Brendan Flanagan was awarded the ‘Spirit’ Jersey for his long-held commitment, leadership and passion across Mater Smiling for Smiddy events. Brendan is a great bloke and has raised some serious dollars through his participation and fundraising.

Some celebrated Brendan’s jersey win a little too enthusiastically, with Mark ‘Hollywood’ Traynor the only person requiring medic attention this morning with a heavy dose of Panadol. At breakfast, there were mumblings from Stephen Russell’s roommates about the decibel levels from his snoring, with paint peeling from the walls. Having shared a room with his offspring Tim and Hayley, they have not inherited their father’s talents.

As a high value sponsor and donor we are now lobbying for Stephen to be assigned his own room for the remainder of the tour.

As the sun rose on day two, the riders were buoyed by the prospect of the shortest stage on tour – a mere 113 kilometre trip from Cape Tribulation to Port Douglas. Mohammed was given the honour of ringing the cow bell for peloton one and Mel Speare did the honours for peloton two. The day started with picturesque river crossings under a rainforest canopy. Charles, aka “Chuck”, was inspired by the landscape, seemingly thinking he was in a Great Northern Beer ad, smacking his lips at the prospect of a frothy at day’s end.

Before long the riders were headed up a couple of sharp climbs, including the return ascent back atop Mount Alexandra Lookout. Brendan Flanagan’s category jersey inspired him to the fastest time on the Strava segment. David assures me peloton two’s climbing ability far outranks peloton one. This is based on no statistical evidence whatsoever, more so his “gut feel” driving behind countless pelotons.

Kudos to the determination of those that don’t acknowledge themselves as fans of the ascent, keeping the pedals turning. A shout out to Janet Curran, a long time Smiddy supporter and rider from Townsville. Janet was a close friend, and colleague, of Maria Smiddy and we are so delighted to have her back in the peloton on this trip with husband John in lead vehicle.

Professor Brian Gabrielli is constantly being put on his pedestal for the great work he does leading Mater’s world leading research into melanoma, ensuring Smiddy funds have the greatest impact. Unfortunately, a man of such incredible intelligence sometimes lets slip in other parts of life. By the first stop it was revealed Brian had left his notoriously thick wallet behind at Ferntree Lodge – some happy road crew were sent back to retrieve it. He doubled down at morning tea when he pulled his room key his back pocket and innocently asked “were we meant to return these?”.

Those two efforts earned him a new moniker, Professor Obvious. As a result Jamie Forster was able to sneak under the radar, with many not aware he left his laundry behind.


Day two heralded a few early comments about fatigue in the legs. I tried to convey some advice I received from the great Phil ‘Skippy’ Anderson over a decade a go on his first Smiddy ride. He told me “no one should be in the big chain ring” – that one should maintain a high cadence to look after the legs. Muscular Skeletal expert Sam Woods has taken this advice very seriously and can be regularly found spinning at 100+RPM. Sam is now “Captain Cadence” in peloton one. The same can’t be said for Mick Young, who after 14 years in the Smiddy peloton, has never recorded a cadence above 40RPM. It may explain why he cracked his crankset on day one and had Ryan strip Killer’s bike to replace it at the end of today’s stage.

As riders enjoyed another ferry crossing of the Daintree River, the reality of a reverse tailwind came apparent. As beneficiaries of a great tailwind on day one it was clear the return trip south wouldn’t be so kind.

Peloton one knuckled down as a tightknit unit working seamlessly and supporting one another into morning tea. The same can’t be said for peloton two. They were given the green light for “every man and woman for themselves” and a small breakaway group smashed themselves over the 10kms into Daintree Village. The Spirit jersey must have been made of heavy polyester judging by the saturation of sweat Brendan presented in at morning tea. The road crew have arranged for twice daily laundry for the great man.

At morning tea, there were whispers of a wee vehicle accident with a Smiddy great. Captain Kev has been fining riders at a whim for making mistakes on tour with regards to sun safety and other minor offences. It’s fair to say Kevvy could be issued a fairly hefty fine for reversing the Smiddy ute into a pole and giving it a little bodywork. Peloton 2 were told nothing of the incident such is Kev’s ability to quietly cover up his own misdemeanours.

The stretch after morning tea was a challenging time for both pelotons as the reverse tailwind picked up. With more traffic on the road, both pelotons were forced into single file at times to ensure road rage was kept to a minimum. DSS Cope did a stellar job in his police escort vehicle keeping the riders safe. Thanks so much Copey for taking time away from home to look after the team.

During these tough times on the road the Smiddy spirit shines through with riders looking out for one another. There were some stellar efforts from the likes of Kirsteen Masson and Stinky Dave, leading from the front. Wongy also deserves a call out for her care for other riders, effortlessly gliding through the peloton to help others. It may have been the excitement from riding through Wonga Beach, her riding strength seemingly going up another level.

A left turn off Captain Cook Highway and the riders had the sniff of day’s end; a wonderful lunch was enjoyed seaside in Port Douglas. We can’t thank the road crew enough for all they do to look after each and every rider out there. It was a wonderful location for the day’s huddle with Stephen Russell and Brendan Flanagan acknowledging the road crew and riders respectively.

A short pedal back to Oaks Resort and day two was done. Tomorrow shapes as our biggest day on the pedals, as we climb into the Tablelands. The riders are naturally resting up with protein shakes and massages, treating their bodies as a temple.