(71.5km, 13.43kmh av, 578m up)
Day 10 and lots of new records for us. Our longest distance and fastest average ride speed. It was also the best trail surface we have encountered, and the warmest day. For the first time this trip, the arm and leg warmers were peeled off, along with the bootie covers and gilet. I felt almost undressed riding along – and experienced the consequences as my legs and arms were no longer protected from the scratchy WA shrubbery that grew across much of the trail. Kim and I compared bruises and scratches from our last several days that were unveiled for the first time. So far, I think I am winning.
We left Donnybrook and made good time along the forestry roads towards Jarrahwood. The trail shifted off the roads several times and followed some single track that would be perfectly at home in any mountain bike park. We rated it a green standard, made more blueish by our panniers and load. We followed some wide and relatively flat dirt roads through pine forests, alternating with narrow tracks.
The terrain was flatter than any previous day with all the hills quite rideable, apart from one that was laced with deep pits of sand and pea-gravel. So much for my aim of having a day with both feet remaining firmly on the peddles. We encountered lots of sandy stretches, and the vegetation was more akin to a beachside with lots of scraggy banksias.
We arrived in Jarrahwood in time for a late lunch. The shelter is in a park in the middle of the small settlement, and made for a comfortable lunch stop, but not a particularly appealing overnight stop. We finished our lunch and were ready to leave as three cyclists arrived who were heading north. They were the first people we had seen since leaving Donnybrook. Jason, who we had shared a shelter with two nights previously, arrived soon afterwards to spend the night.
We headed off with high hopes for the final stretch of the day. Jarrahwood to Nannup is definitely our most enjoyable section of the ride so far. It follows a 26km stretch along the Sidings Rail Trail, which has the wonderful grading of rail travel on a narrow track. After a few kilometres of very easy undulations, it was a long steady uphill, where we were still able to travel at around 10kmh. The last 6km of the day was a truly awesome downhill towards Nannup, where we easily averaged 20kmh. After days of steady plodding along, it felt like we were flying.
To celebrate our achievements we booked ourselves into Nannup pub, installed ourselves at the bar, and now feel we are truly on holidays.