When the alarm goes off, I always think that I only set it moments before, and wonder where I lost those weekend lie ins with the Sunday papers.
This year the 4 am awakening has occurred in Cheshire, Houston, and this morning in East Anglia for 'The flat out in the Fens' sportive.
I was joined by my Best friend Colin, his 14 year old Nephew Matthew, and two of his friends, Mark and Chris, the later two being triathletes.
We eventually elected for the shortest distance of 77 miles on account of Colin's concern about his lack of training and that he could not find an appropriate seat. He wanted something that was sprung like a sofa, but the only thing that cycle shop could offer were details of local furniture shops.I was volunteered to provide a wind break for him and set off pulling our mini pace line. It was a task I took on with much enthusiasm. Our line grew as quickly as a queue to a 'Take that' concert, and soon our multi coloured, wheeled, snake was scorching around the fens - flat out as advertised.
Colin was glued to my rear wheel and at our first drink station he was able to tell me how many hairs I had on each leg. Cheekily he also stated that because of my width, and the subsequent draft that it created, he only had to pedal one revolution to ten of mine and was also able to read 'War and Peace.
We completed the first 30 miles in fractionally over 90 mins.
The rest of the trip was not so progressive, it was interrupted by punctures (Chris and Mark) and fatigue (Colin). On the plus side there was some amazing riding by young Matthew.
At one of our puncture stops Colin was trying to devise new methods of cycling faster.
The best idea he could come up with was 'having bigger wheels'.
Like a 'Penny farthing' but with two big wheels, he even adapted an inner tube to illustrate his inspiration. His demonstration was not convincing and fell as flat as the tyre he was attempting to repair. The consensus of opinion was that he should just get fit !!!!
We eventually completed the distance in 4 and a half hours.............a very creditable performance considering our time spent with inner tubes and tyre levers. I must admit I loved the ride and the exhilaration at being able to sustain a high tempo for so long. I think next year I will try and get my new cycling buddies to take on the 115 miles.
Special thanks must go to 'Kilo to Go' its my second ride with them this year and they get a massive thumbs up for hosting such well organised rides.
Our motley crew will meet again next month for London to Cambridge at which point Colin may choose to leave his armchair. He has promised us some team shirts 'The racing Snakes' a description of our slim athletic appearance. Whose he kidding.
This week I have broken 3,000 miles for the year and riding is now a total joy.
This is also the name of The Simpsons Fictional home so in virtual reality world I could bump into Homer.
Springfield has other notable links it is also the birth place of William Marsh Rice the founder of Rice University in Houston.
Next week I move into Connecticut and New York state following my Journey South.