(42.8km, 14.29kmh av, 508m up)
We are sitting in our motel room in Denmark, clean, warm and dry, eating chocolate, drinking coffee and listening to the rain pouring down outside. Did today really happen?
About a million years ago, but really only this morning, we woke to a 2 degree morning among the tall trees at Jinung Beigabup shelter. It was our last morning packing up from a shelter, and our second last day of riding the Munda Biddi. We are now so comfortable in our easy morning routine that it is a shame that our trip is almost finished. Kim gets the coffee going while I pack up our sleeping gear. The next hour is a leisurely breakfast, make lunches, wash up, filter some water, fill the water bottles, pack some more and then hope that the temperature has risen enough to brave taking off the multiple layers of overnight clothing and getting into cycling knicks. There is usually a lot of squealing and gasping at this point. Then we tangle with the many straps, buckles and clips that hold our gear onto the bikes, and we are ready to go. Although learning Kim’s strapping patterns initially seemed like a degree level undertaking, we have never had any problems with our loads shifting or anything falling off during our ride.
We left the shelter on a sharp little downhill single track, then whistled down a stretch of solid dirt road to rejoin the bitumen of Scotsdale Road after a few kilometres. The trail travelled on sandy roads and solid dirt roads passing paddocks and farms. We were enjoying the fine weather, although it was still very cool during the downhill runs. We stopped for our first break of the day as the clouds were looming and the wind was picking up. We sheltered against a stonewall entry to a farm driveway and ate our smoko watched intently by a herd of cows.
The trail was permanently diverted in 2015 and we were spared one of the main climbs we had anticipated for the day. Instead we were treated to a flatter run around a hill that opened to our first view of the coastline. We stopped to enjoy the view, sharing it with the resident cows, and could see the rain clouds again looming.
We cruised down to the beach, aided by a stiff tailwind. Seeing the ocean, we were immediately transformed from hard-core expeditioners to tommy-tourists, parking the bikes, grabbing our lunch bags, and heading for the sand. Greens Pool is another of those amazing WA beach spots we grew to love during our previous trip. Clear waters, fine white sand, great rock formations and raging surf in the distance. Pictures on the entry sign showed it teeming with people swimming, sunbaking and enjoying clear blue skies. We had it to ourselves, and the skies were heavy with dark gray clouds.
After lunch, we rode for a few kilometres along the coastline on dirt roads before joining a well groomed gravel path that tracked up and down along the low coastal dunes. The wildflowers were just starting to appear, giving this short section of the trail a picture postcard quality. In fact, I assume that this is where most of the publicity shots for the trail were taken, including those of the small children with trainer wheels and the non-athletic but very fresh-looking folk on cheap trashy bikes. I could think of few other places on the trail that those photos could be staged.
While it is a bit disappointing that we were early for the wildflowers, we would never have been able to complete a days ride if they were in full bloom. Kim has discovered macro settings on his camera and I suspect that he will come armed with dozens of memory cards for his camera on our next trip.
We continued along this pathway, watching the rain staring to come in from the ocean. Kim suggested a stop for raingear, but I was sure we were close to the next landmark on the map of Lights Beach. I had glimpsed a building from afar, and had visions of sitting under the shelter, watching the rain come across while Kim prepared my afternoon coffee. We reached Lights Beach within a few hundred metres, narrowly beating the rain clouds. To my disappointment, the building I had seen was a long drop loo. Kim gently advised me that lighting the fuel stove near it had explosive potential, and maybe we should keep riding. So I hopped around in the carpark trying to get my rain pants and jacket on yet again, and started riding towards Denmark.
The last 12km tracked along the highway as the rain started tumbling down. I switched into road cyclist mode and just kept pedaling. The rain predictably stopped, and I was quickly too hot again. Knowing that we were not far from town, I tried to ignore my personal tropical holiday, expecting that we would see our motel at any moment. Ultimately I gave in and had yet another emergency wardrobe stop. We hit town 500 metres later.
And so we have enjoyed a decadent afternoon of lounging around, eating and relaxing. A pub steak for tea and an early night. Tomorrow is our last ride day. Albany – here we come.