THE feat of completing the Bibbulmun Track in record time would be enough to satisfy most people, but for Jono Ride, there was barely time for the blisters to heal before setting off on his next adventure.
Ride reached the Bibbulmun Track’s southern terminus in Albany last Wednesday, just 16 days and 14 hours to the minute after setting out from the Kalamunda start-point.
In doing so, he is believed to have become the fastest person to complete the 1005km journey without assistance.
But setting the record was not what inspired Ride to tackle the long hike through the stunning south west of WA.
“I’m a qualified teacher and after not being in the classroom for nearly two years I had to submit an application to start teaching again,” he said.
“When they told me it would take 14 weeks until I could be posted at a school, I found myself significantly unemployed.”
Ride said a quick trip to visit some cousins planted the seed for tackling the Bibbulmun Track.
“I saw a marker for the track when I was driving in the South West and I just thought to myself, ‘I have no reason not to do it’,” he said.
“I was fit, it was the perfect time of year and I hadn’t seen my mate in Albany in a year or so.”
The mate he is referring to is partner in adventuring-crime Leroy Savage, who joined Ride on an epic cycling journey through South America last year (‘Leroy’s great escape’, 11 January).
Although Savage was at the far end of the journey waiting for Ride to arrive in Albany, he was egging him along no less than if they were walking the track together.
“Leroy was making a game out of watching where I was and trying to time meeting up with me on the track,” he said.
“I had my GPS tracker on me, so he could see where I was in real time.”
Despite help and encouragement being just a phone call away, Ride’s intention from the outset was to tackle the entire track without assistance.
“If you do a hike assisted you might as well just walk on a treadmill,” he said.
“When you’re unassisted you have to make sure your timing is perfect for hitting towns.
“If you don’t time it right and hit town too early before the shops open or too late and they’re closed, you’ll miss out on vital supplies.
“It makes it more of a challenge.”
For the last 85km from Denmark to Albany, Ride hot-footed it and walked for 14 hours straight.
“I did 95,000 steps and 14 hours of walking at pace,” he said.
“Doing 10 to 12 hours is pretty standard, but any more than that and you’re dead on your feet.
“You enter another world of pain and exhaustion.”
Having completed the trip that is recommended for six to eight weeks in little more than two, Ride and Savage were already packing their bags for another adventure just days after Ride arrived in Albany.
“We’re going on a secret mission to retrieve a rusted-out car in the desert,” Ride confided in The Weekender.
“I can’t say too much about it, but it’ll be a quick in-and-out adventure.
“Going on trips with Leroy is always good fun because we’ll inevitably get ourselves into a crazy situation but we’ll always get out of it.
“I’m always searching for the kind of fun where you push yourself, hurt yourself or get lost and end up looking back on it in a year or so and thinking, ‘that was some bloody good fun’.”