Sunday 7.00am: I wish I got a bit more sleep. Make a coffee, check the weather forecast, shower and suit up. Gear was prepared last night so I just slip into it and adjust the armour around my knees. Mrs K is still asleep so I kiss her forehead gently, tell her I love her and I'll see her for dinner... My mind clicks gently into first. 8.05am: Forgot to oil the chain last night! A quick squirt of lube and then she fires up with a low, menacing "GRRrrrrrrrrrrrr" Lock up while she warms up, helmet and gloves on. Throw the leg over, sidestand up and toe her into first with a satisfying "clunk". In my mind, I've just changed up to second. 8.15am: After fuelling up we ease onto the freeway on the way to the meet point, cruising along happily at "about" the speed limit. It's not cold, but I relish the chill of the morning air through my helmet vents. The rising sun on my back is starting to feel warm. The machine is in sixth gear. I'm still in second in my mind, and the wind noise in my new helmet is annoying me a little bit. 9.10am: I'm 10 minutes late to the meet, and everyone's standing around waiting for me. Looks like we have about 8 bikes but several groups are meeting here and I'm confused. I'm really happy to see one old mate, but disappointed not to see a couple I'd expected... After shaking hands and renewing old friendships, we start our engines and roll onto the road. I've "instructed" the group I'll be taking it easy and they should pass me at will. Mind into third: Now we're riding... 9.40am: After passing, then being passed by another group, I'm letting them lead but not letting them forget I'm there. This section of the route is easy, and although it's still early I've fallen into a nice rhythm. Only one, or maybe two of my group have kept up. I don't care... (I don't realise it now, but one of my group is being chased by the group I'm chasing!) I have to concentrate now; I'm in fourth... 9.45am: I'm relaxed and enjoying the ride; the wind in my new helmet is noisy but I'm not hearing it. I crest the hill onto my favourite straight, pin the throttle to the stop and plant my chin on the tank; from here I can see the road ahead and my speedo, but nothing else. I watch with glee as we climb through 200, 205, 206... I feel like a god. I hear a high-pitched screaming, and at 208 I'm passed by a Hayabusa as if I'm standing still. I'm awed but not shocked, and realise I'm in the groove today myself. Fifth gear, in my mind... 10.30am: First stop for coffee and bacon and egg rolls. I need the fuel. Realise that the fast guy on the motard is part of my group. This is gonna be fun... Tell some stories, take some photos - there are plenty of nice bikes here today... Maintain fifth gear through the stop. 11.30am: After leaving the stop, three of us haul arse through the most technical section of this ride. We are seriously quick and I make mistakes. I learn quickly and correct at the next corner. I'm keeping up and could probably even pass the Gixxer. I have enough time to check my speed after the "advisory" signs, and note we're doubling them and then some through the corners. I know it's of no importance and is just a number - I'm feeling the road in all it's bumpy goodness... I'm in sixth, and I've forgotten everything else - I have become one with the machine, and although the world around me is chaotic, I am at peace. 3.30pm: Where the hell did the last few hours go? I turn for home full of endorphins and confidence, and all of a sudden I'm late, and there are some nasty-looking clouds on the horizon?! 4.00pm: I forgo the fun road home for the freeway. I carve it up because it looks like rain and I'm not carrying wets. I'm still flying and get home in record time, still buzzing. Everyone thinks I'm some kind of maniac, I can tell. But they don't realise I'm still in sixth gear in my mind, and I feel like I could ride through them in my sleep... Monday I wake up tired. Very, very tired... But I'm still pumping from yesterday's ride. That's why.