“CLEAN HIS CHAMOIS FROM THE INVOLUNTARY DEPOSITS LEFT AS A RESULT OF THE EMU SCARE...”
DAY ONE - 27th January 2018
121km / 1,331m Elevation
What happens when you gather five avid adventurers, load all of their bikes onto the trailer, throw them in the back of your VW Multivan and set off for a weekend of exploration two hours South East of Perth? You have a bloody good time…
The destination for this month’s ‘Weekend Adventure’ was Collie and its picturesque surrounds.
A little different to last month’s Toodyay Adventure, this month the start point for Day 1 was 200km south of Perth in the seaside town of Bunbury. Having just picked up my custom 8 bike trailer, (which will be for hire throughout Perth shortly,) I was keen to put it to good use and so the Collie Adventure presented the perfect opportunity.
Departing from one of Perth’s Cycling Hot Spots ‘The Raffles Hotel…’, (For those who don’t know, The Raffles have a lycra ban…so no…we didn’t have coffee there!) we hit the road early Saturday morning. A quick stop for coffee and cake at ‘The Crooked Carrot’ part way into the drive had us arriving in Bunbury soon after.
A quick transformation into Lycra and we were ready to hit the road. Bunbury didn’t provide us with the warmest of welcomes…we had a number of ‘registration paying citizens’ advising us that we should also be ‘paying registration’ and should be riding in single file. Here’s hoping they will one day learn the road rules.
Before long and we were in the country, enjoying the spectacular South West as we rolled turns towards our lunch stop in Harvey. Like any good ride, we filled up on Bakery tucker before tackling the infamous Harvey Dam Climb. A long and steady climb winding in and amongst the trees and around the dam itself provided the perfect backdrop for the following hours of riding.
The tarmac soon turned to gravel, and for the next 40km we found ourselves tapping along on incredibly quiet, but well-kept gravel roads. Hat’s off to Frank, who was an absolute demon on the gravel. Frank’s experience on the mountain bike had him descending like a man possessed!
All was running smoothly until Zac punctured, and then punctured again and then just for good luck, punctured a third time! Having followed the pack list closely, Zac was sorted and used three of his four tubes. No one was game to say out aloud (in fear of jinxing one another) but I know for sure that I was thinking that puncture four could only have been minutes away. Fortunately, I was wrong.
After a hot afternoon on the pedals and a decent stint of gravel, our talk of Powerade and Coke turned to talk of ice cold beers. Luckily the Federal Hotel in Collie, (our accommodation for the night) did not disappoint and the first sip provided that welcome refreshment that the lads had been craving all afternoon.
Beers turned into dinner but not without humour. Paul, a great bloke, Indian Pacific Wheel Race Starter for 2018 and all round funny bastard, won the prize for the ‘most interesting footwear.’ A pair of gold and ‘salmon’ coloured loafers matched Paul’s outfit for the night fantastically. Paul let on to me later in the night that these were the shoes he had worn to his wedding, so I’m certainly eager to see the wedding photos and the ‘matching suit,’ if such a beast exists.
Ready for bed but still yearning for food, the boys decided a quick trip to McDonalds was in order. John, aka ‘Terminator,’ was eager for a burger but admittedly had a violent case of ‘the guilt’s’ post meal. It’s lucky that our second day of riding had more than its fair share of difficult elevation and so luckily for John, in this instance, he was safe ;)
DAY TWO – 28th January 2018
95km / 908m Elevation
We woke on Day 2 to beautiful blue skies and rumbling bellies. Nothing a trip to the Bakery for a fresh pie and coffee can’t fix.
A minor detour had us exploring the famous ‘Black Diamond Lake,’ an old Coal Mine that has since been filled with water and now acts as a tourist destination luring visitors from far and wide. Upon arriving, the sapphire blue water highlighted just why. With a limestone base, the water appears iridescent blue and juxtaposed against white limestone, creates the perfect backdrop for a weekend away relaxing at the lake.
With kilometres to ride and climbs to tackle, we had a quick look around the lake before setting off South in search of gravel and the infamous ‘River Road Climb.’
15km out of town we were back on the orange gold (gravel.) The vegetation of Day Two differed greatly from Day One and we found ourselves deep within a pine plantation that reminded us of being deep within the Canadian wilderness. The terrain was fantastic and the pine provided brilliant cover from the sun.
Frank had a close call with an emu on one of the longer descents and then missed our next turnoff. My guess is that he kept travelling up the road and away from the other lads so that he could clean his chamois from the involuntary deposits left as a result of the ‘Emu Scare!’
The Wellington Dam Kiosk provided a great refuel point prior to our descent along the Wellington Dam river banks towards ‘River Road.’
River Road is a prick of a climb even when the legs are feeling good. After a few too many shandies the night before, I’m the first to put my hand up and say that I was struggling just a little. With the Nullabor km still in my legs, and not quite enough recovery, I was happy to let the boys dance off up the hills and drag my sorry ass to the top of the climb alone.
At the top of the River Road and with a tough 3km climb in the legs, we were all eager to descend into the Ferguson valley and back towards Bunbury for Lunch.
The final kilometres were some of the most spectacular as we wound our way through the multiple Ferguson Valley farm stays and back to the Collie foothills. A final gravel sector had us arriving back in Bunbury in time for a hearty kebab and good post ride banter.
The drive home was far quieter than the drive down with, all but two of the boys nodding off for a nap. Funny man Paul, who I’ve decided to nickname ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ provided entertainment even whilst asleep.
As I dropped the boys home, on our way back through Perth, I recall thinking to myself how lucky I am to be able to take riders off on Adventures and call this work.
Life is good, and this weekend just highlighted what cycling is all about. Good times with good mates, both new and old.