Munda Biddi Day Eight – Collie to Nglang Boodja (50.6km, 825m up, 9.63kmh av)
On Day Eight, we woke to a clear but cold day, and entertained ourselves with the challenge of packing all of our gear, including our not quite dry clothes, our food parcel and our weeks shopping into our panniers in our tiny hotel room. The days ride was clearly broken into three parts, easy back to the turnoff into town, medium grade for the middle section, and a final tough 14km up to the hut. And it didn’t disappoint..
The first section flew by and we arrived back at the turnoff in record time. After smoko, we tackled the second medium-rated section with confidence. I got a bit less confident when the medium grade included sections too steep to ride up and down, and some switchbacks where Pokey showed a mind of his own, rearing up the front wheel and spinning me around the fully loaded back panniers.
The final section was simply tough, and I was definitely feeling tired. Halfway down a rough single track descent, we met a couple hiking the other way. They expressed amazement that we would try to ride a loaded bike on the track. At that point, I could only agree with them. The track levelled out along a river, then climbed across some rough rocky sections where Kim once again had to help me haul Pokey up and over tricky bits.
We then began the long climb up to the hut, which included steeper sections than my tired legs were ready for. I blindly followed Kim’s line whenever I could, including his very wobbly line through a deep mud puddle. He called a warning, but not before Pokey had once again protested, and thrown me off in the mud. It seemed a long ride from there to the shelter, where I peeled off my muddy clothes and skulked off with my billy of water to clean up. Another cold night had us putting the tent up inside the shelter. The new blanket was a success, and by wearing every article of clothing I had with me, I managed a comfortable night.
Day Nine – Nglang Boodja to Donnybrook (48.9km, 640m up, 13.21kmh av)
After our latest ever start, we continued our tough uphill climb for another 1.5km before a great descent on old fire roads. Most of the morning was spent on fire roads, with some small sections of single track, including one through a wildflower walking track. We were waved down by a group of older people walking, who wanted to share with us their experience of riding the trail years ago. We passed some green farming land, populated with fats cows, goats and sheep.
We stopped for lunch at Crooked Brook, which was busy with groups enjoying Fathers Day. The afternoon’s riding again included stretches of dirt roads, as well as a long stint on the bitumen. With rain threatening, we pulled into a motel in Donnybrook, happy to find a washing machine and warm room before our planned long day tomorrow.