This year BTB decided to join the Kalamunda MTB Collective in their annual Margaret River Muster at the RAC Margaret River Nature Park (formerly Wharncliffe Mills). This is the first time in KMBC’s 5 year history of running the event that adaptive riders have taken part.
The adaptive component of the 3-day weekend was focused at intermediate and experienced riders, but still had rides suitable for all.
Break the Boundary Chair and Deputy Chair, Andrew and Chris, took off on Friday morning to the popular mountain bike destination. With a good run down, avoiding traffic, it wasn’t long before the dense forest opened up its arms to the fleet of bikes on-route.
Several burn-offs in surrounding areas meant that a stagnant haze of smog was shrouding the region, creating a mystical feel to the forest.
A safari tent was booked for the two which made life a lot easier – glamping. A powered site with water, a massive tent, bedding and basic linen solved all the problems of relying on others to help setup tents and bedding.
It didn’t take long to settle in, take a quick nap and head into the darkness with headlamps on to greet some of the early comers. A night ride took place with dinner at the local BrewHouse but the pair opted for a quiet BBQ on site.
Saturday morning welcomed everyone with a nippy and smoggy atmosphere, with the smell of a re-lit campfire and the echoing laughter of kids from around the campground. Breakfast, courtesy of KMBC, was on point. Down with bacon eggs on toast and washed back with a straight black coffee to kick start the morning.
The sun was creeping its way through the tall karri trees as the campsite started to come to life with everyone preparing for their selected morning rides.
While Chris was doing a last-minute bleed on his handcycle, Andrew was arranging the navigation for the trip down to Bornaup Forrest, approximately 30kms from the campgrounds.
Unlike the fast passed days of Cape-to-Cape MTB race, the roads were pleasant and allowed for time and space to soak up the surroundings.
Arriving at the meeting point, the guys hopped out and jumped onto their handcycles. A quick brief by local Paul Johnson who helped organise and guided the group and the 30-something collective disappeared into the sticks.
For Chris this was a first-time experience. For Andrew, a way to embrace and enjoy the forest which is overlooked during the hastiness of race conditions.
The ride split off at 2 points along the loop to cater for the handcycles and regrouped. The weather was heavenly and the dirt was fresh. The trails were a mix of limestone, rich dirt, sand and patches of gravel. From wide open fire roads to some tight shrubby single-trails, there was a bit of everything to keep everyone’s appetite quenched.
After a couple of hours the group packed up and made its way back to the campsite.
A quick break and some lunch before they were off again, this time into Compartment 10 for the Pugsley Cup (Formerly Goobers Cup). The great folks at KMBC changed the location of the Cup to highlight some of the great trail work happening in the new compartment and to make the race accessible for everyone.
A few weeks prior to the event, a challenge was put out to any of the non-disabled riders to take on the Pugsley Cup on a handcycle. A few people showed interest but only one was keen enough to jump on the saddle and take on the challenge against our seasoned handcyclists.
KMBC member and Perth resident, Ryan had about 30 minutes of preparation time – a brief crash-course on how to mountain bike on three wheels. Needless to say, as with most mountain bikers, the transition was relatively fast as Ryan gained confidence and one-ness with the trike.
One-by-one each rider took off with a flurry of dust trailing behind.
Two attempts were on offer to see who would rip up the fastest time, both between individual riders and teams KMBC – MRORCA. As the sun kept everyone crisp, the banter started to ripen!
Despite the e-bike puns being hurled at KMBC President the atmosphere was friendly and filled with camaraderie. Riders spared their time to help sweep behind each handcyclist in the event of a tumble – thanks Sven, Mike, Darren and Travis! They also help the longer wheel-based trikes navigate the switchback climbs up to the start time twice – no easy way up!
As the dust settled, so to did the sun and the remaining riders. Everything was loaded up while others continued their riding through the Margaret River Pines.
Heading back to the campgrounds on the roughened fire trails and dirt roads, everyone was ready to settle down with a warm shower and some horizontal laying. Riders slowly trickled back to the campgrounds and the quiet bush started to buzz with laughter and chatter. This could only mean one thing…
Camp fire – vino – a fully catered dinner thanks to KMBC – a raffle and presentations to decide who had the fastest feet on the pedals. Some kicked on through the night while others surrendered their sore bodies to sleep.
Sunday morning kicked off with a nippy 4 degrees, but the stiffened bodies were welcomed with a warm coffee and freshly cooked bacon and eggs sandwich – thanks to all the mighty chefs that helped cook and prep the breakie! Class-clown, Wade was making sure that the food was on-par 😉
Kids were making sure that the camp fire had plenty of attention to keep everyone warm!
A range of activities were kicking off including kids rides and rides for significant-others, while some decided to pack up and tear it up at near by trail networks.
Andrew and Chris kicked back and took their time packing up the car and trailer while Russ took the recumbent off-road handcycle for a spin around the campfire. We thought he went missing, but ended up taking the trike around to show off to his mates!
With the trailer and car packed, Andrew and Chris were out before lunchtime to beat the traffic and sun.
All-in-all the weekend was a great hit with everyone! We met many new members and hung out with familiar faces. The food was spot-on, the weather was exceptional, the trails were awesome, the camp grounds were accommodating and the facilities were great as always.
We learnt something new about the mountain bike community, albeit obvious: it brings out the individuality of people and brings them into one very open and sincere space.
The photos can only share so much of what was experienced, from happiness and comfort to fear and exhilaration. One thing we can’t express through photos or words is the struggles that people go through on a daily basis. Mountain biking keeps people honest, and with that people tend to open up about all kinds of issues such as depression, injury, loss and struggle – we were humbled to be a part of everything this event had to offer including these parts – the depth of peoples true resilience and character.