Final day of the Mawson. Extremely happy to see the end in sight, despite secretly wishing I had time to jump keep going endlessly on on this Bike Packing adventure.
Previous research was pointing to a proper mountain bike section between Wilpena Pound and Blinman, this fired me up massively and legs felt as new the moment the dirt road turned into a double track and single track. I was in paradise, surrounded by the Wilpena Pound rock formations, not even the light drizzle took the fun away from the awesome riding happening at that point. I wished it could last forever, despite the technical aspect and the constant up and down. Due to the nature of the now bumpier tracks, faster speeds and more mountain biking type of riding, I had my only mechanical problem of the whole trip. One of my extra water bottle carriers weld gave up on me. Not a huge deal with the end of the Mawson in sight. After another 20kms or so, the single track widened into a dirt road constantly pointing up, the last big hill of the Mawson, one that would get me ever so closer to Blinman, the last town on the Mawson Trail. Rain intensified and the more exposed tracks kept on pointing up. By the time I joined the paved road that would deliver me to Blinman, a sense of accomplishment took over my tired legs and wet spirit, I had done it, Mawson Trail was done. The next 16kms riding on road flew by, as pure nostalgia took over and I reminisced on the previous days riding, all the big efforts needed to get me to this point and how good and free it made me feel. As I stopped by the Blinman Sports Club for the mandatory photo finish, a car stopped by and a girl shouted “Hey, you made it! Good job!”, little did she know exactly what I’ve just accomplished in the last 9 days. The grin in my face was impossible to erase. After a warm meal in Blinman, I jumped on the bike again, this time riding to Parachilna, where the only weekly bus that connects this remote part of Australia with Adelaide would pick me up the next day. Thinking the worst was behind me and now only a downhill separated me from a warm meal and a good night sleep, I started descending one of the most brutal dirt roads I’d ever been. These last 40kms felt like an eternity and I was 100% sure that something on the bike was going to give up and break before getting to Parachilna. After a conservative ride down the Flinders Ranges and a sluggish TT, I arrived at Parachilna with some daylight in reserve. It was now time to put my feet up and have a good rest.
Thank you Mawson Trail, you definitely did not make it any easy for me and that only made me appreciate having completed it more.