We had a bit of a restless night as there were at least three heavy snorers in the cabin of ten people. Tennis also managed to slice up his sleeping mat and as a result, spent the night sleeping rough on plywood. Nonetheless, we woke up around 6:30am in pretty good spirits, refreshed from the brutal first day of pea gravel, climbing and goon.
We said goodbye to the Perth crew and Matt & Di, and cooked a few noodles with Ron for breakfast. He’s a real interesting chap…a retired Civil & Geotechnical Engineer who seems to have lived all over the world, and speaks about five languages. He only picked up cycling at the age of 65 and now he’s tackling the whole Munda Biddi.
We got away around 9:30am and knocked the first 10km off in under an hour, it was mainly downhill and the trail was nice. I managed to get my earphones caught in my back wheel and am now down to one bud.
Given its proximity to the main road, this section sadly seems to be used as a dump by some of the local idiots. It’s a real shame to see such beautiful bushland tarnished by white goods, mattresses and burnt out cars.
The nice hard-packed, downhill trail we rode on the first 10km turned out to be a bit of a tease…as the trail quickly returned to deep, loose pea gravel. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there were also sections of beach sand thrown in to further test your patience and balance.
These ‘bunkers’ were only about 100m long, but if you didn’t pick a good line, you were walking. It’s through these hard spots that the thoughts of “why am I doing this” start creeping in. But then you look around and remember where you are, and that you don’t have to go to work tomorrow, and your spirits start to lift.
We climbed out of the valley and onto firmer ground. On the way way up, we bumped into six blokes from Perth out for a 100km day ride in the hills. They convinced us we were riding with too high tyre pressure, so we lowered them. This turned out to be a big mistake. A few kms down the track, whilst on a steep rutted out descent, Tennis and I both managed major blow outs. By now the “why am I doing this” thoughts are front and centre.
We really thought these tubeless tyres were gonna be inpenetratable, but it seems like they really don’t like sideways bumps whilst carrying luggage.
A little dejected by the last few kms, we stopped for lunch in a local pea gravel borrow pit, then pressed on to Wungong Camp, where Shaun, Matt & Di had already arrived. This camp was similar to the last in layout, but was nestled on the side of a hill in a Jarrah forest….a really beautiful place.
We whipped up an afternoon snack which we called ‘Rider’s Stew’ (cup o’ soup with cous cous) and met this drifter who seemed to pop out from behind trees to lend some sage advice. He’s been riding round these hills for the last eight years, no permanent address. A real interesting chap – I wish I had a photo.
We spent the afternoon nattering away with our new gang, waiting for Ron to roll on which he did, just before dusk. Here’s a shot of Tennis watching a 75 year old man push his fully laden bike up a steep hill…