You are putty in my hands

You are putty in my hands

Sparked by Dave's new bike, we couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than planning an epic ride. Coordinating around work commitments, we set our sights on a Monday adventure, with the rest of us eagerly booking leave days.

“Ever tackled Putty Road?” Tim queried. “It's been on my cycling bucket list forever.”

After meticulous planning, we aimed for a super early start, aligning with train schedules and setting a do-or-die target to catch the Singleton train at 15:34. If everything fell into place, we'd be back at Central Station by 20:00.

Locked-in schedules always add a thrilling dimension to our cycling escapades, ensuring that this ride would be etched in our memories. Success would be an unforgettable triumph, and failure would burn in us forever. 

The Early Start: Embarking on a Pre-Dawn Journey 

The alarm clock shattered the silence. In the predawn darkness, our small crew gathered for today's escapade, promising stunning vistas, camaraderie, and the exhilaration of conquering Putty Road. Fueled by coffee and anticipation, we assembled in Windsor and watched the rain fall (and only fall on Windsor).

As dawn broke, and the rain eased, we set out on our bikes, ready to defy the norm of Monday morning traffic. 

The Putty Road Challenge 

Putty Road isn't your ordinary route. Winding through Wollemi and Yengo National Parks, it unveils a mesmerising series of twists and turns, surrounded by lush green landscapes. With each bend came a new vista, and the unknown of what was next and whether we would make the train on time, kept our spirits soaring. Cruising from Wilberforce, the rain stopped and the hum of our bikes harmonised with the sounds of nature. 

We reached half of the day’s climbing after riding 60kms and stopped for a break at Colo Heights. The servo self-advertising as a ‘restaurant’ didn’t fool us, but it did deliver on the bacon’n’egg roll James had been talking about for the last 10kms. The wait for food and coffee wasn’t in our plan, and all eyes stayed on the clock.  

There are few but enough locations for some refuelling on Putty Road. The next was at Grey Gum Cafe in another 60kms. Open only really for weekend motorbike trade, their weekend is Friday-Monday, which worked for us. We took only enough time for food and drink and a puncture repair. Grey Gum is a full bikie venue, which caters for more for leather than lycra.

Each descent seemed to stretch longer than each climb, providing tremendous freewheeling to gather speed to conquer the next rise. These rollers made the middle section of the ride unexpectedly fast. Though we were making good time, there was no room for relaxation, as we were acutely aware that any delay or mishap could jeopardise the train home.

Amusing creek names, crossing from one national park to the other, provided moments of levity. From descriptive names like Kangaroo Waterholes to Little Weeney Creek, each elicited a wry smile as we sped past.

Singleton Station: A Deadline Met and Memories Made

After covering 150km with no traffic lights and only a few passing cars, we arrived in Singleton just after 14:30. With ample time to spare, the sense of achievement was undeniable. Our celebration was to first hit the IGA and rummage for refreshments, before enjoying a drink at the pub next to the train station. It felt like we were leisurely passing time until the train arrived—a stark contrast to other long rides which are a race against the clock!

Completing the 175km 2200m “new to everyone” route was faster than expected, thanks to favourable Monday conditions and our small crew committed to brief breaks and riding together.

A Monday Well Spent

Everything went smoothly today—no hiccups. We had even managed to miss the torrential rain hitting Sydney all day. Though on the train back to Sydney, Swerlo, a little less optimistically, suggested that the train could still derail before reaching home. 

Tim had strapped on strength and determination for the ride today, powering through the day's humidity on the front with a constant smile on his face. Checking on him multiple times, all we witnessed was his love for Putty Road. “Unreal. Probably the best day riding I have ever had!” 

Dave's bike faced delays in customs, prompting him to tackle this adventure with his current bike, marking its final hurrah. Another ride will be in order to properly christen the new addition!

The numbers:

  • Distance 175km Climbing 2200^m
  • 3 trains
  • Riding time 06:25hrs Elapsed time 08:06hrs Total elapsed time (incl trains) 15:45hrs
  • 4 times James was spotted relaxing without shoes
  • 1 puncture
  • 1 near disaster with a trapped chain in the middle of nowhere