Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.
We got off the ferry at Ryde (how appropriate you say) and met the group at the station cafe. We got off to a shaky start down the wooden pier, trying not to get thin tyres stuck between planks. I was pretty relieved when the couple in front got off and walked. I figured if they in their matching racing gear and clip shoes could walk it then it was fine for me too.
On to firm land and we all saddled up again. Round the corner and up a big bloody hill. They all took off like it was flat, except for racing couple who appeared to be cycling downhill. I found out later Lisa is some international biathalon champion. Great. Anyway that left me at the bottom, frantically trying to remember how to use my gears again. Bugger.
Anyway we finally lost most of them, as they cyled gaily off into the distance. "You.....go.....on......too......." I gasped at Steve. Luckily he told me get a grip and my lungs eventually started working again.
We cycled around to Cowes and had lunch there, watching the yachts sail in. It was a great atmosphere and I would have happily stayed eating burgers and drinking shandies but everyone else was keen to "get some miles in".
50km later we finally arrived at Freshwater, me legs burning and shaking a little bit, Steve carrying my backpack. The shame.
We had a lovey dinner at the hotel. Most of the group were younger and more than half were Aussies.
The next day thank goodness everyone left before we got on the road so we could take it at a pretty leisurely pace along the south side of the island. They were all doing an extra side trip to the Needles (gah) while I was trying to figure out if Smithy would notice if i hailed a cab back to the ferry. Unfortunately he was on to me and made my cycle in front.
We finally got back to the ferry after a short break for sugar laden food to get me up the last couple of hills. It was a lovely sight back to Portsmouth with the sails dotted out accross the channel.