So there we were, the three of us - Mr B, the Middle of the Darling Daughters and me - waiting at the finish line for our Massi to finish his cycle ride through the country.
If, that is, you can call a 75 mile, off-road route from London to Brighton in aid of the British Heart Foundation a "cycle ride through the country."
until about 3.30 p.m. we had been able to track his progress via his Ipod linked to the M of the DD's phone. Then, 15 miles from the finish, he advised us, by text, that he was running out of battery. A long media blackout followed.
This reminded me of the homeward journey of Apollo 13 all those years ago when the returning space-craft entered the earth's atmosphere and we (and the rest of the world) waited with bated breath for a sign or a sound that the brave space heroes had emerged
It was a long wait, there on Hove Lawns, with the sun going down and a chill in the air. But watching and cheering all those heroes and heroines crossing the finish line was both great
fun and truly inspiring. I am thinking of the cyclists riding two-to-a-bike and towing behind them the second bike with a punctured tyre. It was for all the world like Rolf Harris's "Two Little Boys" brought up to date - "Did you think I would
leave you crying when there's room on my bike for two...."
There was the Mottley Crew, in their blue and white shirts, crossing the line together; and a few show-offs doing what I believe are called
"wheelies" as they hurtled towards the finish. There were couples holding hands in cycling solidarity as they approached the line and a chap in a red dress with black spots (why?) And then, there was our Massi, with a beaming smile and triumphant
arm lifted aloft as he saw we three waving and cheering him home. We were SO proud of him.
Later at our house, when he had showered and eaten, he told us the story of his worst moment along the
route. His head was banging, his heart and lungs felt fit to bursting - and he wanted nothing more than to give up the challenge. Just at that moment, a woman cycled past him wearing a British Heart Foundation tee-shirt. On the back,
the race motto: "Have fun, keep fit, save lives."
So he did.