This was a “while we’re there” type race. We were travelling to WA for IMWA, and 2 weeks later and just to the north was the iconic 6 Inch trail run, through the big forests between Dandalup and Dwellingup.
I’d taken the IM run a little easier in the hope of having some decent legs for this run – not that I wanted a fast race – just not a death march.
We were staying down at Peaceful Bay at the time, so the afternoon before I drove up to Dwellingup for registration and checkin. The race started particularly early the next day to ensure most folks finished before it got tooooooo hot.
The run traversed a section of the Munda Biddi trail. This is a mountain bike trail that runs from Perth to Albany – and is the bike equivalent of the Bibblemum walking trail.
Up at 2:30am, on the bus to the start, and off for race start at around 4:30am (I think). The route was a point to point, from Sth Dandalup to Dwellingup – and started with a long steep climb up the most significant (and yet almost easiest) hill of the day.
Once we plateaued, I was basically last (maybe 2 behind me – but I think they pulled out) but feeling fairly good, considering. There was a great mix of some lovely singletrack, with some wider sections and the odd section of road. The volunteers and spectators (where they could access) were scarce, but super friendly! There were vollies at key spots checking off your race number to make sure everyone was accounted for in this fairly remote area.
We traversed the groves of huge trees (Jarrah, Karri and Marri), climbed over the tops of the hills with enormous bansksia groves, dropped into tree fern lined gullies and creeks, and climbed again to the tops.
The surface was a tad tricky, with massive beds of pea gravel that meant on the uphills you took a slide back for every step forward. The downs still weren’t fantastic, as hiding in the gravel were larger rocks, just waiting to catch a knee or an ankle.
There was a drop bag at the half way point, and sadly, my legs were starting to feel a bit heavy. The fatigue from Ironman 2 weeks earlier was starting to make itself known.
The trails all merged in my head into a mosaic of hills and vegetation, broken by coming across a massive conveyer belt for the nearby mine – which you could hear for miles!
The next checkpoint was a “short” out and back off the main trail. Looked pretty innocent on the map…….. turned out it was characterised by a particularly nasty hill called the “Escalator” (down and up each way) that was ridiculously steep and unbelievably rutted, making it tricky to descend. Climbing out the other side was almost easier!
The waterpoint wasn’t too far from the top and in the photo, I look remarkably composed .
The checkpoint had run out of a lot of the goodies everyone was raving about – but they had plenty of red bull – so I sculled 2 cans, filled my water bottles and headed back out.
I was really starting to feel the previous IM, with fatigue in my legs – but my biggest pain was my feet. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure it was my shoes – my feet just weren’t used to walking so much in such thick soled shoes, so were fatiguing. Lesson learned! Do more walk training – fast walking.
I scraped in a bit under 8 hrs, in what was closer to 50km than the advertised 46km.
It was a great, but challenging event and I’m really glad I did it. The vegetation and views were fantastic, and the participants, supporters and race organisers really great.