Martin Malins writes…
This is one of my favourite rides; a challenging but lovely route around the IoW. It is free to enter and every year nearly 1500 riders take advantage of Wayfarer CTC’s hospitality. Paul Harris and I shared a car down to Portsmouth where we were able to park for free about 1km from the ferry terminal. We also had a 2 for 1 offer on the ferry so the whole day coast us just a tenner each.
We were trying to get the 0800 car ferry in order to experience the popular mass start but just missed it; although the next ferry was just as crowded and after filling the car deck with bikes we got a coffee and cake and sat out on deck to enjoy the views across the Solent and of the Spinaker Tower on the 45 minute crossing.
As soon as the doors went down on the slipway we were off in a massive peleton to register and pick up our cards at Wooton. The successful formula of the ride requires you to get the card stamped at each of 7 checkpoints; you may start from any point and thus the ride is less crowded than many mass participation events (many families were doing the 55 km event which used half the circuit). There really is something for everything on this ride with riders on everything from old MTB’s to full on TT machines, and many clubs were out in force.
Catering was well organised at each end of the island by schools which also acted as the controls with many willing parent volunteers. Each year the ride changes direction and this year (my 4th) it used the harder anticlockwise route; with the stiff climbs out of Freshwater and Blackgang on the south of the Island. Paul and I finished the route in 5 1/2 hours. A great event; here’s to a bigger EGCC contingent in 2008.
Martin & Paul’s pics from event
(image courtesy Wayfarer CTC)