Mad Sunday is seen as a regular riders chance to get out and try the TT course. The rental company warned that maybe it may be better to ride the course at another time and not join the hordes of people going around but when I woke up this morning I just had to go for a lap. After a quick breakfast I was off with my dad in a car in tow.
Bray Hill is the start of the course and is eye opening at 30 mph let alone what ever the racers are doing it at. As this is regular city roads the area around the town of Douglas is restricted to 30 but as you turn to go across the island the speed limit slowly creeps up towards 50 mph. The course heads straight across the island before it turns North. It is after you turn north where you encounter the first sign that you will never see in North America, a white circle with a diagonal black line. This sign signifies the beginning of the unrestricted area…. meaning no speed limits! This area is between trees and stone fences and the occasional cottage with the only thing telling you to slow down is the occasional village and your own common sense, if you have any.
The course heads up to the very North of the island where you ride through one of the bigger villages called Ramsey. At this point you turn right and start heading south while climbing up over The Mountain. Some of the most famous videos have been taken of bikes heading over this area as it is the only place where bikes can be filmed from helicopters, which the racers tend to overtake. It is also turned into a one way road for the duration of the race weeks which means if you head out during Mad Sunday this is the place to watch out. With no restriction of speed and the knowledge that no one is coming the other way people go full out. As I made the turn at Ramsey and headed up the mountain it was sunny and people around seemed to quite smart riders but as we went further up that all went away and I was left alone traveling between 50 and 80 mph on a track I don’t know. One bike over took me as if I was standing still, I didn’t even see him, just felt him go by. The other thing about the mountain is that it can easily be wrapped in clouds and they are very unexpected. As I reached the top of the course I came around to the other side clouds so thick were waiting causing things to slow down a bit…. lack of visibility does that.
The rest of the course I couldn’t explain…. I would have needed to see more than a meter ahead for that.