Thursday, 20 September 2012

Make The Days Count - RIDERODRIDE Interview

So a bit of a detour from our normal running related coverage, this week we have local athlete sub 5 hour half ironman and Ultra Runner Rodney Enkelmann in for an interview.

1. Rod - thanks for the catch up. Congratulations on your second place at the CQPhysio Group Spring Classic! I touched on it last week in the blog, you have just come back from Smiling for Smiddy. What is it?

Smiling for Smiddy is a charity set up in honour of Adam Smiddy. Adam passed away from an aggressive cancer in 2006, aged just 26. Adam and his good friend Mark “Sharky’ Smoothy loved to ride and often talked about doing a credit card ride , just going for a ride for a few days with nothing more then a credit card and catching a bus home. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to fulfil the dream together. Soon after Adam’s passing in 2006 Mark and 2 other mates rode from Brisbane to Townsville (1600kms) as a tribute to his late mate – and the Smiddy challenge was born. There is a number of rides now conducted throughout the year with the main ride being the 8 day, 1600km ride from Brisbane to Townsville. Since the charity has been set up more then $3million has been raised for cancer research. You can still donate to my page at or in general at
2. So you rode 1600km in 8days from Brisbane to Townsville, some basic runner to rider questions:

a. What did you eat through the day?

Breakfast was fairly simple, cereal, toast or fruit. As you know, I am very partial (blatant advertising) to an Icebreak so I made sure I snuck one in pre departure as well. The road crew were fantastic and the morning tea spread was an assortment of fruit, homemade slices, biscuits etc but the favourite of us all was the classic Sao with tomato and cheese. Lunch was a sandwich consisting of cold meat and coleslaw and again fruit. A lot of riders also made themselves additional sandwiches consisting of peanut butter, nutella and banana (remember it is fuel – not really food). I couldn’t bring myself to give this a go though. And coke, can’t forget the softdrink. Afternoon tea consisted of fruit and slices and powerade. Dinner was always a lot of carbs, potato bakes pasta’s etc. I watched what I ate as I didn’t want to be in discomfort on the bike so I really didn’t eat much more then I would at home. Some boys were having thirds and dessert!
b. Did you pick up any injuries?

I wouldn’t really say any injuries. My ITB tightened up by day 3 and by lunchtime day 4 I was struggling to put pressure on my pedals with my right leg. We had a masseuse travelling with us and she was an angel. A quick massage at lunch, some magic spray and I was good to go. Seriously though, it would take until morning tea everyday for it to warm up and then be a dull pain for the rest of the day. I have had 2 massages since the ride and my ITB is still a little tight – guess that is what 8 days of constant pedalling will do to you – but, I am alive and have the opportunity to live everyday so I have got nothing to complain about!
c. How did you train for the event?

To be honest, I didn’t train specifically for the event. I registered for the event back in November last year so kind of figured I would have plenty of miles on the bike come September. Then I had my accident in January, which saw me off the bike until April. By May I was starting to get a little concerned about ‘bike’ time, but I was training hard for Cairns 70.3 in June so thought I would be okay. After Cairns was the Yeppoon 70.3 mid August, leaving about 10 days post the event to recover and be fresh for the ride. I felt awesome in Cairns, and backed it up with a good outing at Yeppoon. Sometime between the 2 I thought I would have no issue with overall fitness, but was a little worried about not having enough bike fitness. After Yeppoon I had an easy 10 days and thought I would pick up my bike fitness on the ride.
d. Did your bum get sore?

It is impossible for your butt not to!!! It was funny watching all the riders move around on their seats every day trying to find that 1 spot where it didn’t hurt. I must say that on day 2 I finally relented and tried ‘butt’ cream for the first time and it is a god send! Cyclists will know what I am talking about.

3. What was the highlight?

Impossible to pick just 1. Everyday brought new challenges, achievements and highlights. The entire journey was a highlight. Very special people from all walks of life doing something about cancer. And could you get a better way to see the greatest state in Australia? It is amazing how much more you can take in on a pushbike! Tuesday’s morning tea stop was extra special for me personally though. My beautiful girl Sonya brought Jakeb, Connor and Mason out to Dululu to ‘steal’ 20 minutes with me. As soon as I turned the corner and saw them there I cried, such was the emotional high we were on daily. Reaching Townsville ranks pretty highly too, realising that we have ridden 1600km in just 8 days – I still don’t think it has sunk in and having Sonya there to meet me was extra special.

Wives certainly are understanding!!! Sonya deserves a medal for putting up with your crazy events!

4. You have 3 awesome son’s what was it like leaving them behind?

As we all do, I travel for work frequently so I was able to treat the first couple of days like a normal work trip. But after day 1 of the ride I really started to miss them. I think it was the combination of the physical effort we were putting in and listening to the stories shared at the dinner functions by those touched by cancer that made us all appreciate what we have. Riding off after morning tea Tuesday broke my heart. I found strength in the knowledge that what we were doing was for a great cause, and from my fellow riders. That, and with each day that passes I was closer to getting home!

5. 8 solid days on the bike, did you have any light bulb moments?
A number! As I mentioned in the prelude, every morning that I wake up is a blessing. Every time I have the opportunity to run with you, or the awesome Rocky Road Runners crew, or ride my bike or simply lay in bed with my family I am truly lucky. The ride has changed my perspective on life – ‘ not count the days, make the days count!’. 

6. You are a normally pretty quiet person, how was it with 49 strangers?

Ha! It was a little different. I didn’t realise how introverted I am until on day 7 Rowman got excited when I spoke to him as I passed. Then on day 8 Sharky nearly fell off his bike when I did the same!!

7. Would you do it again? If so what would you do differently?

In a heartbeat! It is truly amazing to be part of something like the Smiddy challenge. What Mark has set up is inspiring. It is amazing what you learn about yourself by completing something that isn’t just about you. What I would do different is take a friend with me...keen?

Yeah - just bought a road bike - training started today 40km :( 1600km seems a long way off!!

8. You have had a massive year with 2 ultras, two Ironman 70.3 and the smile for smiddy, what is next....?

Next major event for me is a 50km ultra in December. Beyond that is my first full ironman at Cairns next June.

9. Who is the big unit in the photos?

Scott Fraser. The biggest bloke on the trip (as you can see by the photo) but every day he saddled up and rode until he couldn’t anymore! He managed to ride just under 1000 k’s for the trip, including the entire last day!!! A massive effort for someone his size.

10. Anything you wanted to add? 

As I am telling you this I am getting emotional, such is the impact that the ride has had on me. Too often we take life for granted, when everything just becomes ‘too tough’. I have a new found respect for just being able to get out of bed in the morning, to have the opportunity to ride/run/swim or to do whatever it is that your passion is. Adam doesn’t get that opportunity. On the Monday after the ride I went for a run from the motel to the Strand (Townsville) return – because I could, and I swear I was grinning like a Cheshire cat. I loved it, every minute of it (and yes I was still hurting from the ride). What I did take note of that day was the pained look on other faces as I passed them, like it was a chore to be out enjoying the morning air! Every morning that we wake is a blessing people!!!

Great words Rod!!!!

"Do not Count the Days - Make the Days Count"



  1. One thing I've observed watching Rodney its his actions the do the talking for him. Just a maniac athlete! You can't fake being an athlete at that level. Another local guy creating a path for others to follow.

  2. Well done Rod.You've inspired me. I'd be tempted to give it a crack next year