Last Sunday was the first testing ride of the year, the Isle of Wight Randonnee. This is a great event run every year by the Wayfarers CTC on the island. Free to enter, and you can show your support by donating to the various schools who provide refreshments at various checkpoints around the island.
You can start at any of the checkpoints and are given a check card which you get stamped on your route round.
I started at Yarmouth at about 8:30am after a beans on toast brekkie at the Jireh Guest house where I stayed the night before. (check them out if you are on the Island, a family run very friendly B&B, Gary and Jan are excellent hosts and the cream teas are the business).
The 1st part of the route was very quiet, as most people start in East Cowes. I followed a recumbent cyclist along for the first 8 miles or so playing games on the hills. I go up them quicker on a normal bike but he would come thundering past on the downhills. The weather was perfect, not too hot with blue skies and a bit of high cloud. There are no flat bits on the Isle of Wight, you are either going up or down a hill and some of them are steep. I got round the course in 4 hours 40 mins, 10 mins faster then last time including puffing my way up Niton Hill, chasing a cyclist to the top. I almost got him before the top and was about to congratulate myself but then noticed he had ridden up ahead of me with one leg !!.
Video of the event sums it all up.