Munda Biddi – Day 12 – Karta Burnu to Quinninup
(67.2km, 12.27kmh av, 901m up)
The wind roared all night around our shelter, accompanied by scuds of torrential rain. We were dry and cosy in our tent inside the shelter, and congratulated ourselves on not being out riding or camping in the horrible wet and cold.
Our joy was short-lived. The weather had not fully cleared by morning, although we were treated to a few patches of blue sky to tempt us out of our raingear. We packed up slowly, trying to gauge what to wear, knowing that our ride started with a challenging uphill for several kilometres. Ultimately we opted for the full raingear, and I even dug out the plastic bags that Kim had fashioned into bootie liners during our first days on the trail. We left the shelter just as the sun was making another effort. Kim lasted five minutes before stopping to peel off his gear. I struggled on for half an hour before over-heating and ditching the rain pants and jacket.
With 66km to ride, it was our third big day in a row. We were pleased to see mostly easy sections marked on the map and no desperate climbing. However we were growing wary of expecting any part of the ride to be without its challenges.
Our map promised an easy 24km morning into Manjimup, with the last eight kilometres on the Heritage Rail Trail. With rain still scudding through, we had several stops for wardrobe changes that slowed our progress. The trail followed a maze of old and new logging roads, abandoned rail lines and bush tracks, with sections of new single track cut through the bush to make the connections. It was undulating country, and we enjoyed many downhill runs and relatively easy climbs.
After a lunch stop in Manjimup, we realised that we still had 44km to our overnight stop in Quinninup. The rain was again threatening, and the temperature was hovering between 5 and 7 degrees. We rejoined the pathways and roads through the forestry areas, hoping to beat the oncoming rain. True to form, Munda Biddi failed to find many flat areas. With so much recent rain, the forestry roads were soft and slippery turning some descents into a battle to stay upright.
By mid afternoon the rain had started, and we rode our final two hours in the cold and wind. To keep our spirits up, we played “guess the temperature” (mostly below 6 degrees) and “guess how much climbing we will do today”. For an easy flat day, our guesses of 800 metres (Kim) and 850 metres (Gayle) were both wrong. It was 901 metres.The rain was still pouring when we arrived in Quinninup, and the locals were quick to direct us to the local caravan park to find some inside accommodation to get warm and dry. We were directed to run-down cottage that sat at the end of a row of more dilapidated cottages bearing “danger” bunting. Our cabin was very basic, but more importantly, was dry. It was our last big day until a final run to the finish on Day 21. Tomorrow we head for our second resupply point at Pemberton, with dreams of a relatively short and easy ride.
Munda Biddi Day 13 – Quinninup to Pemberton
(39.3km, 11.45kmh av, 605metres up)
Its been a lovely day of mostly sunshine, and less cold than many previous days. Our idea of good weather is now relative, and even though the arms and leg warmers and gilet stayed on all day, it felt positively balmy weather.
We were in good form today, anticipating a shorter ride and an early stopover in Pemberton. We had this planned as a rest day stop, but have rearranged our schedule. In hindsight, an extra few days in the schedule would have been much better to allow for weather or just a day off. We have decided to keep going each day, splitting our one full rest day to shorten a few of the long days that were on the original plan. We have learned that 50km of this style of riding is a pretty reasonable day, and that cumulative fatigue is an issue to contend with.
A 40km day felt like a luxury, and we were hopeful that the mostly easy markings on the map didn’t really hide too many tricky bits. We have long since given up hoping for flat riding. Our morning pack-up was made more challenging by the attendance of the caravan park’s resident emu. It took a liking to Kim’s fingers, which increased the difficulty for him of fastening all the straps on his panniers and rolls.
It was a lovely roll out of Quinninup, again following forestry roads connected by loads of great single track. The track became wet and boggy in many sections, and at times was flowing with water from yesterday’s heavy rain. I rode them nervously, still hesitant about a repeat puddle diving performance. We passed some beautiful green paddocks with dams brimming full of water, and very fat contented cows grazing. Our track passed through Greater Dordagup National Park, before again traversing forestry plots. There were quite a few fallen trees across the path, with several requiring a two person lift of the bikes.
We stopped for lunch about 10km before Pemberton, enjoying the opportunity for a leisurely cook-up and coffee in the sunshine. We felt like we were in a remote location, sitting on a log beside a forestry track with nothing else to do -apart from our daily routine of eat, pack, ride, eat, unpack, sleep.
It was exciting to approach Pemberton with memories of our visit earlier in the year fresh in our minds. I had found and walked parts of the track leading out of town, promising myself that next visit I would be riding the Munda Biddi. Kim recalled swimming in the open pond that doubled as the town’s swimming pool while training for the Rottnest Channel Swim.
We arrived in Pemberton at mid afternoon, and it was a luxury to get all of our “rest day” tasks done before sun down. After washing, showering and spreading our gear all over our cabin, we wandered into town to collect our food parcel from the Information Centre and do our shopping. We noted the Munda Biddi signposts along the way, giving us fair warning that our ride tomorrow will start with a stiff uphill. Kim reassured me that it wouldn’t be quite that bad. After all, we had to start with a detour downhill to the bakery, that he just happened to remember sold great pies.
With all of our tasks done, it was definitely time to devote ourselves to some serious eating and drinking, ready for the ride tomorrow to Northcliffe and hoping that the forecast of showers is wrong .