Paul Rosser’s Munda Biddi ride
Lulled by the maps and website advertising the Munda Biddi as an easy trail for children with paved roads, bunny rabbits and rainbows- Paul and 2 of his mates discovered, 9 days, 4 bikes and 3 very sore backsides later, the trail provided plenty of adventure and hard riding, as well as surprisingly good scones with cream...read on!
We could all only afford a week off work and from families, so we decided we’d ride the trail in 9 days- Saturday –Sunday, planning our days around not the distance but by what pubs and cafes and warm dry beds were available. This was a great decision!
We left from Mundaring late October 2013, perfect time of the year . We tried to pack light, but with good first aid gear and emergency supplies, combined with emergency food and 5 litres of water, we ended up all carrying 20kg.
Our first night was in Jarrahdale. After 100kms, rolling into town was a great milestone and confirmed to us that this is not a recreational trail. It is an exciting track, with lots of single, tight winding sections, technical climbs and loose surfaces. If anyone has done the Dwellingup 100 then this is more technical and harder, and great fun.
The memories from that point to the finish are rather vague and jumbled. The first few days heading south are certainly the most aggressive, steeper and sharper climbs, rougher trails, more single track and less roads. Lots of time dilation, for every km completed the destination seemed further away.
The accommodation was superb. We stayed at pubs and B N B’s along the way. First night at the Jarrahdale Tavern for dinner was a great surprise. The treatment we received was brilliant. Our dietary requirements were not met by the menu however this was easily resolved by the manager who kindly rang her son and raided her home pantry. We were very grateful for the big plates of spaghetti bolognaise and cold beers that ensued. Nothing was too much trouble and the hours flew by.
Day Two: was the first day with tired bodies and less bounce, but this was also the start of the peagravel sections. My ride was massively improved by changing the bike setup by moving my saddle and H-Bars forward to improve control in the loose stuff. The day finished with a much needed swim in the lake.
At this stage we are slowly starting to work out each other’s personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Even knowing my mates for years there is lot to learn in this situation. There are no excuses on a ride like this. Reality becomes a very inflexible partner and tolerance the best medicine. Medicine man aka Scott, kept us well supplied with jokes, lotions and potions, and Rob, aka, The Bear- who pedaled like a machine and did not stop who greatest contribution was his wife support with our mid ride crisis, It proved a great team.
The terrain was amazing, never ending and constantly changing. There was never a dull moment. Regular trees across the trail add to the sense of adventure. Some can be ridden around with thin trails in the bush. Others are massive, tree trunks over 2 meters tall. Getting over them involved using the bike as a ladder to then “pass and parcel” everything over. We saw a great many animals on the trail. One long downhill became an amazing experience when we surprised a kangaroo that raced down the track in front of us and didn’t deviate. For over 5 mins we marveled as it hit 15m strides only just ahead of us. His speed barely varied from 42km/h and the experience was one of the trip highlights. We also saw numerous emu’s, lots of lizards and a few snakes, and heard a lot of unknown rustling in the bushes, probably anacondas and drop bears which I have been told are common in these remote spots!
Day Three: ended up in the Boyanup Bush and Bull. We had the best steak of the trip and were treated like VIP’s. I do however need to apologise for any other guests staying overnight as we might have been a little rowdy. Also worth mentioning are the great sandwiches available at 6am from the local Deli.
We snapped the top tube of one of the bikes Day Four: which was a huge problem. We McGyver’ed tension straps to hold the break together, re-packed the bike and hoped for the best until we made it to Nannup after 3 hours of nervous pedaling with the constant scream of tortured metal. No bike shops around meant a rescue call was made and we lost Medicine man for the next day.
Day Five: was efficient but very quiet, little laughter and lots of serious riding. Highlight of the day was reaching the midpoint of the trail then onto Mill Point, an almost deceased town which sports the greatest general store serving amazing scones and cream. Otherwise it proved to be one of the hardest days at 127km in +30degree heat. We finished up in Quinninup Caravan Park. The highlight was being pestered by the local emu who insisted in eating the flies off our backs and helping whilst tuning the bikes. By helping, I mean attacking my fingers whenever they were removed from my pockets.
Day Six: started with a great surprise with Medicine man returned with a brand new 650b loan bike from Giant and Georges Bike store in Willetton. This also included fresh supplies of magic potions and butt crème, a huge relief after trying to describe to a very young and innocent female pharmacist about my pressing requirement to remedy my brutalised backside. The day finished at another must-stay, Northcliffe tavern. By this stage the trail had started to open up and flatten out. Some of the longest and steepest climbs were to come but generally on fire roads.
Day Seven: was rather uneventful (I cannot remember much of it!) but Walpole gave us a sense of the approaching finish- completion was in reach! To attempt the trip in the opposite direction is an unpleasant thought as we found the track become easier and cooler moving south.
Day Eight: whilst generally flatter was looking to be the longest at around 160km. Our hopes were dashed in the early hours of the ride hitting some of the longest and steepest climbs coming one after another. Climbing 120meters in 1/2 a kilometer is ludicrous compared to hills around Perth. However events dramatically changed at 30km when came across a diversion on the trail due to burn offs resulting in a deviation to 80km. Rolling into Wind Rose in Denmark was another culinary highlight. A B&B hosted by a German couple tried to cripple us with massive amounts of food and homebrew which almost resulted in the ride stopping altogether!
Day Nine: started very slow with over-extended stomachs! It took almost an hour before we recovered from our culinary abuse and were able to crank up the pace on the last and flattest day. 4 hours flat and 80km we completed the ride. Rolling into Albany brought us to the official end. Even better were the free showers just around the corner and the White Russian Pub which perfectly completed our journey. An amazing experience and achievement which we will forever struggle to surpass.
Would we do it differently? Maybe. Whilst the toolkit and first aid kit was hardly used there was always the recognition we might need them. The chance to ride it again fully supported and riding pannier-less would be great as there is some amazing, tight single track to be had. For example, the section out of Pemberton was too hard to resist and involved some significant jumping and air time, with panniers! The section around Pile road and Honeymoon Pool was great and we stupidly missed the chance to swim.
Whilst no major incidents occurred (apart from the broken bike) we had numerous very close calls. Every day involved pulling sticks from spokes and dérailleurs including breaking and losing half my gears for the last 3 days. Branches across the track left us with a massive amount of scars on the legs, arm and necks. I also had an intervention with a vine at over 50km/h leaving a visually ugly bleeding scar around my neck. Lots of horse fly's, mozzies which can be avoided by riding faster than 14km/h. Flying ants were the worst as the air is dense with them and unavoidable, especially when they get stuck to your eye ball at speed!
The decision to stay and spend money in local towns was excellent. Everyone recognised the ride and appreciated the contribution the trail made to their lives and businesses. Every place went beyond expectation with food, accommodation and friendliness. Riding buddies will always be there. But riding hard behind a kangaroo and then sitting down to a great meal at the end of a long day was priceless. What’s next lads?!
(Couldn't resist putting this shot of Paul in)