Tales from the Trail - Unsupported, in 4 days, 7 hours and 46 minutes

My love for the Munda Biddi all started back in late 2016 when I took my first overnight cycling trip ever, on the Trail from Jarrahdale to Dandalup and back, as a pre- End to End test ride. I was on my second hand hard-tail mountain bike that a friend had picked up for me for about $100, with a rack and panniers – that bike was heavy! I probably picked one of the toughest sections to start with. I then completed an End to End of the trail in the winter of 2017, mostly solo, and having the luxury of time took 24 cycling days to do it!

Fast forward to October 2020, when I completed the entire Trail in four and a third days as part of the inaugural Munda Biddi Ultra. In between those two End to End extremes - one slow and one fast - I have ridden the Munda Biddi Trail another three times in sections. My partner Mack and I rode the Trail at all times of the year – during the heat of summer with the boggy pea gravel and sand, and in winter during heavy downpours, thunderstorms and hail. We started riding the Munda Biddi on hard-tail mountain bikes (I did get a better bike than the $100 one) but then we acquired Giant ToughRoad gravel bikes, bikepacking bags and gear.

My introduction to ultra-endurance cycling came last year when Armadale Cycling Group buddies told me about the 1600km on-road Great Southern Ultra Challenge in Nov 2019. I signed up and started going on 200+ km rides, then managed to complete the ride in 4 days and 4 hours.

I just loved the entire experience and was already looking forward to the next. The Munda Biddi Ultra was announced soon after – perfect timing! Originally set for April, the Munda Biddi Ultra unfortunately had to be postponed a few times due to the coronavirus. Finally, the time for the event came around after almost a year of building up to it. Well, what a mega challenge, as well as another amazing ultra-experience!

My knee, which I never had issues with before, became quite painful, so for a few days I took painkillers to be able to push on. I tested the limits of sleep-deprivation and only sleeping for a grand total of 8 hours over the 4 nights. A few times I had a nap in my bivvy bag by the trail as I was feeling like I would drop off to sleep while cycling! The nights were bitterly cold, sometimes only a few degrees above zero.

I rode from Collie to Mundaring over the last day and night (and the next morning), surviving on brief naps here and there when I felt like I would fall asleep otherwise. Running into the others on the Trail was enjoyable as usual – the suffering you are going through is shared!

When I arrived at the northern terminus I was so elated, I had cycled the Trail in 4 days, 7 hours and 46 minutes. Four other guys finished before me including Callum Henderson, the organiser of the Munda Biddi Ultra, who broke the record for the fastest Munda Biddi End to End – his time was 3 days and 16 hours. Since then another cyclist, Craig Wiggins, has smashed Callum’s record with a blistering time of 2 days and 17 hours!

I’m already looking forward to the Munda Biddi Ultra 2021.In the meantime, myself and Mack will still be getting out and enjoying our favourite Trail as much as we can, perhaps “taking it easy” and riding only 120-150km per day!

Sacha Dowell

Editor's note: since this article was written, Sacha has gone onto clock the overall fastest time in the Mount Magnet 1400 ultra-endurance event, the Munda Biddi training certainly paid off!