This summer we have done a few longer rides to get us ready. Our favourite is from Hartlepool - Greatham - Cowpen Bewley - Billingham - Wolviston - Castle Eden - Hartlepool.
When we did it a few weeks ago we did it a bit too quickly and the pub at Castle Eden had not opened when we arrived, so we had to do a little detour: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1518156.
for that. There is no way we will keep up with folks on lightweight road bikes though!
It was so hot that we had to stop at the pub for a well deserved glass of something nice!