"Hey Drew, do you fancy going to another Con?"
"Dunno, when is it?"
"Three weeks? That's cutting things a bit fine Mad."
"Well I wasn't gonna go but its the last chance to go with you."
How does she do that? Make me feel guilty
"I'll have to check, I might have a race."
"Oh ok." she sounded a bit despondent at that.
"I'll check with Mum when I get home okay"
The idea of going to another con was tantalizing, they are good fun, and you get to meet some cool people, it really was great meeting JK Rowling last year - even if I was dressed as Hermione! But I guess that's what cons are about, a chance to dress up in costumes and that just for the heck of it. And lets face it; Mad's already had me dressed up in some pretty weird stuff over the last year.
I left Mad at the end of her road and plodded the last bit to Bond Acres. The car was on the drive when I turned into our road so Mum should be in.
"Hello? Anyone in?"
The door had been locked which means Mum is either in the bath or out. I headed into the kitchen to score some milk and found a note on the table.
‘Put the oven on around five and do some veggies - I should be home around 5.30 - gone for a ride. Mum.'
Well that explains that then.
"I'm home!" Goth girl announced as she banged into the house.
"Mums out." I called back.
"Oh right." she replied looking round the door as she kicked off her shoes.
I still can't get used to my sis with black hair - it just looks, I dunno, wrong.
"There's something in the oven for tea but we need to do some veggies."
"Don't cut yourself peeling the spuds then." and with that she took off upstairs.
Bummer, I've got caught again! Hmm it's only four twenty, plenty of time to watch some of Under Arrest .
“Drew? You got the taters on?” Jules enquired through my door.
“There's loads of time, Mum'll be ages yet.”
“No she won't, its quarter past five.”
Sugar! This anime is flippin dangerous, sucking you in with great funny stories. I hit the pause button and leapt for the door in one action nearly bowling Morticia over as I exited my room.
“Watch it squib!”
‘Bum if Mum gets home and dinners not ready my chances of going to the con are about zilch!'
I skidded into the kitchen to find it slightly steamy with a saucepan of spuds gently bubbling away and some veggies doing their best to melt in the steamer.
“Jules!” I moaned.
“Angel? Life saver?”
“Yeah whatever, you coulda said.”
“You never gave me a chance.”
Well I guess that's true, I did sort of go into turbo mode there in my panic.
“So what've you two been up to?” Mum enquired some forty-five minutes later.
“Just the usual” Jules allowed.
“Er nothing much. Muum?”
“Well you no in three weeks?”
“Well I know we're moving the week after.”
“Glad you remembered, you need to start packing, both of you.”
“Yeah well er Mad wants to go to a Con thingy that weekend. I've checked and I'm not racing!” a hint of desperation in my voice.
“You mean you want to go?”
“If he gets to go there I can go to the Battle of the Bands.”
Mum was now under attack on two fronts, it would be all or nothing.
“One at a time. Right Drew, where is this Con thing and how are you getting there?”
“I think Uncle John is taking us, I think its in Lincoln.”
“Well you'd best find out the details hadn't you?”
“Thanks Mum!” I enthused giving her a hug.
“Now Ms Clapton, what's with this band fight thing?”
“…So if you come round tomorrow after school we can start on the cossies.”
“I can't tomorrow, it's the ten and I really want to ride this week. Can't you start on your own?”
“I guess so – but no complaining.”
“Well no stupid Chobits costumes then, promise?”
The phone went quiet for a bit before Mad replied.
“Okay, no Chobits.”
One small victory.
“I'd best go, I've gotta finish my English essay.”
“Okay, see ya in the morning.”
I put the phone down – Mad had promised we wouldn't do Chobits again, hadn't she? Given the time scale we can't do anything too complicated so maybe it'll be something simple – hey I could go as Ken from Under Arrest*, nah I'd end up as Aoi** with my luck!
It might be May but that hasn't stopped it raining today, in fact its hardly stopped all day. I clicked into my pedals and pushed off for Cuckney. God I hate riding in the wet – it's not the wet per se but everything that goes with it, the cold spray on your feet, the traffic is louder and everyone is miserable. I was soon onto the Worksop road and I made an effort to spin a low gear up the drag out of Warsop. I'm sure you know by now but its not far over to Cuckney and I was signing on barely fifteen minutes after leaving home.
“Not many tonight.”
“Weather prob'ly put a few off.” John noted.
“Looks like it might be quite quick tho, the wind's dying down some.”
“Yeah,” I agreed checking the sky out. The rain was now barely more than a few spits and spots and the clouds were clearly breaking up although it was still on the chill side of cool. “ How long before you go up?”
“Ten minutes so you can have a bit of a warm up.”
I found my number in the pile, number ten – usually a good start number in open events but in this fish ‘n chipper pretty meaningless as it just meant I was the tenth to sign on! I pinned the fluorescent square to the bum of my skinsuit and checked it would stay put by simulating my racing position – anyone passing must've thought there was something wrong with me! At least I had the foresight to oil up at home tonight so I was ready to go – well I would be after the ride up to the start!
By the time I got to the start John was seeing number two off. I waited on the footpath till five was on the line before losing my race cape and tracky top, brrrr it's not warm. Still the rain has stopped and the wind is dropping even if the roads are still wet.
“Take care at the turn.” John instructed as I rolled to the line.
“Yep.” I agreed, my mind already focused on the next twenty-five minutes. I checked my computer was primed and took a few deep breaths.
Ken, tonight's pusher, grabbed my steed and I clipped in, backpedaling to get into start position.
“Car coming up as you start, have a good un.” Ken instructed.
“Ten…five,” Ken started rocking me, “four, three, two, one, go!” and with a hefty shove I was on my way.
The car gave me a wide berth as I settled into position and I was on my way. Kerchunk, chunk – up the gears in quick succession, the comp was soon reading over thirty, well nearer to forty as I dropped through the village but a lot of that was scrubbed off by the slight incline up to the finish area. That said the wind was on my left shoulder which means that it'll be on my back up to the turn – kewl!
I was steadily reeling someone in by the time I passed the nursery entrance and a quick look at the clock showed eight minutes gone. It seemed to drag up through the trees then as I joined the long straight the wind sort of gave me a kick in the behind. Kerchunk! Top gear and its spinning nicely! It seemed like no time at all later that I was climbing up to the turn hard on the wheels of number eight and I could see nine not too much further away, I guess the tailwind was helping everyone tonight.
A quick check on the computer as I exited the stupid Worksop island had me on sixteen thirty – jeez I've got to get back in under ten minutes and there's a headwind, isn't there? I realised as I hit the ski ramp that the wind had dropped completely. Hmm well maybe its just possible then. Clunk, back into top and concentrate. By the Hodthorpe turn I was past eight and nine and cooking on gas! Eighteen ten, is that seven ahead? Concentrate kiddo.
‘Dare I look at the little screen again? No it'll put you off.' I told myself as I motored towards the last bend after passing starter number three. The road was starting to dry off but not enough to prevent a few splashes from passing traffic. Good there's the finish, one last effort Drew. The red mist started to rise as I made the last climb then there was John. “TEN!”
I stopped pedaling and for the first time realised that there was a significant wind on my back, huh? How can that be? It was a tailwind going out – whatever. By the time I got back to the ‘car park' John was only waiting for two riders.
“Nice one Bond” Ken called across the road.
I retrieved my kit from John's car and quickly pulled on my tights and tracky top, it‘s still chilly even if the rain has stopped! In truth I forgot to stop the computer at the finish but I reckon I've done a 24, maybe even a short one.
“Well done Drew, I think you got the best of it tonight.” John clapped his arm about my shoulders.
“What did I do?”
“Twenty three twenty, you're quickest tonight.”
Kewl, twenty-three – hang on, “did you say 23.20?”
“Yup, new personal eh?”
“Wha hey! That's nearly twenty seconds off what I did at Lincoln the other week.”
“You coming out to Tuxford next week?”
“Tuxford? I didn't think that was until August?”
“Our club one is but Retford Wheelers have invited us over as they ride here so often – theirs is on Thursday night.”
“Can Mad ride?”
“Your cousin? Don't see why not, she's a paid up member and I'm sure if your Mum wanted to there'd not be a problem.”
“Brill! I'll see if we can go.”
“Take care going home.”
“See you next week”
I made my farewells and headed home. There's one advantage to being quickest – you only need to remember one result! 23.20 – that's nineteen seconds off my old PB! Hmm I wonder what Mad has done for the con? I'll ring her when I get home.
* Full title ‘You're Under Arrest' – a Japanese Anime series which runs to @ 50 episodes, a film and several specials.
** Pronounced Aye-oy, Aoi is a male character who dresses and lives as a woman.
Maddy Bell 12.11.07 © 2007
Back to Chapter 5.9 On to Chapter 5.11 Back to The Library