“Come on Gab, we'll be late!”
“It wasn't me who had too much coffee.”
I was knackered to tell you the truth; it was nearly ten o'clock by the time I got home last night. Dad met me at Düsseldorf International just after seven but then we got caught up in a load of traffic at Köln that cost us nearly an hour.
“Connie!” I moaned as I tried to power the old Schauff up to cruising speed.
“So Bernie, she is the dark haired girl yes?”
“No that's Helen, the tall one with sort of reddy brown hair.”
“Its not so much of a surprise to me, it is always in the Zeitung how there are so many Jung mutter in England.”
It was said without rancour, more a statement of fact. It didn't make things any different, she was my friend whether she was a statistic or not.
“Yeah well, I don't think she exactly planned it.”
Connie just shrugged and kept pedalling.
“Ah so you grace us with your presence Fräulein Bond!”
How many times have I told Herr Viessner I'm not a girl? But it's useless to argue with him.
“Yes sir.” I sighed as Steffi sniggered beside me.
“So as you are our resident expert can you please give me a sentence that includes the past participle of eating.”
I had to think about it for a moment, “after we had eaten, my friends went home.”
“Thank you Drew, now class can you see the sentence structure she used?”
The rest of the lesson went on in a similar vein; at least I didn't get picked on again.
“So your friend, she will have the child?” Pia enquired at lunchtime.
“I dunno, I guess so.”
“In the circumstances I think I would not.” Anna offered.
“But if it is her religion, I think she hasn't the choice.” Steffi noted.
“What's religion got to do with getting preggers?” I enquired.
“Sometimes you are so naive Gaby!” Connie sighed.
“Religion has a lot to do with things, for example Catholics will not use die Verhütungsmittel and abortion also is against their beliefs.” Nena told us.
“I think it is less so now.” Bridg put in.
“Is Bernadette a Catholic Drew?” Connie asked.
“Dunno, never really asked about stuff like that.
“Her name is typical for a Catholic.” Steffi pointed out.
Maybe I should ask her when I mail her tonight or would that be like intrusive? I must admit that religion wasn't something that really came up in our lives. I guess a few kids went to church but to be honest I was still a bit hazy about the differences between C of E, Methodists and Catholics, don't they all sing the same hymns and stuff? I think some of my relations are a bit more into the whole church thing but our family would I guess be called non-practising C of E. By that I mean we rarely go to a church service but both Jules and me have been baptised. It hadn't really occurred to me that which church you went to could affect stuff like having kids.
“Hi Mum, where are you? It's a really crackly line.”
“At the top of the Kitzbüheler Horn, we've come up to the restaurant tonight, its damn cold up here.”
“I never could understand the training camp thing.”
“Its for team building kiddo.”
“Sounds more like a party with a bit of skiing thrown in.”
“We were out on the bikes today. Anyway, how was Manchester?”
“Okay I guess, we did a lot of track work.”
“Well that was the point of the weekend.”
“I guess, I just prefer the road.”
“So it was just okay?”
“Well what? Spit it out.”
“You know Dick?”
“Haslam? The track coach?”
“Yeah, well anyway we had a bit of a chat.”
“I'm on with Drew Tina, medium please , sorry luv they're just ordering dinner, go on what did Dick have to say?”
“Well it seemed all a bit politicky, he said that some people didn't like that I am on the squad, I know Simon Armitage doesn't. Well anyway he said that there's like this secret plan to put BC on a standing with like Australia and France and that.”
“Caro mentioned something like that when we had a chat the other week.” Mum noted.
“Well anyway, I think Dick has lost it coz he reckons they want me to win the Tour – as if!”
“Why not kiddo? Your old Ma managed it and I'm gonna give it another shot this year.”
“But what? Drew you really are a chip off the old block, you certainly have all the makings of a first class rider, I know I don't really say much but I'm really proud of what you've achieved. Now if Dick says they're grooming you for bigger things I know its not just motherly pride.”
“Yeah but the Tour, you have to be like mega good.”
“And you aren't? Don't put yourself down so. Go with the flow, if you're not happy we can talk things through, it sounds like it's not just me that'll be earning a living racing bikes! Coming Maria! Look Drew, I have to go, we can talk more when I get back next week ok, tschuss!”
How comes I get to go to Manchester and Mum gets to go to Kitzbühel skiing?
“Your Mum okay?” Dad enquired.
“I guess, they're eating dinner at the top of some mountain.”
“Sounds like one of Maria's ideas.”
“What're we eating?”
“Chops okay with you?”
“I'll do it in a minute, oh you haven't forgotten it's the track league at Radstadion Köln tomorrow night, i'll pick you up from school or we'll never get there on time.“
I got an email from Bernie, apparently she has to go to court next week to do with the arson stuff. Apparently her social worker wants to prosecute her boyfriend, something about sex with a miner which is like pretty weird, especially as Meden pit closed yonks ago! I sent a reply but i chickened out of mentioning religion, i mean what do you say, 'i hear that if you're a Catholic you have to have the baby', maybe she'll just tell me?
„CRACK“ the starters pistol sounded loudly in the evening air.
I pushed down hard on the pedals and started my first event of the night, one that i already have some form with, the pursuit. the Albert-Richter-Bahn is a wooden track like Manchester although its not fully enclosed and at 250m meant my 3000m pursuit would be over 12 laps. I was soon into my stride and settled into my tuck position, i actually felt like i was riding fast, no doubt as a result of some position tweaking at the weekend.
There was no fancy screen here instead Dad walked backwards and forwards from my station to denote if I was up or down. The pursuit is hard, ride flat out for five minutes against your opponent on the opposite side of the track. British cyclists have a good record in the event down the years including several Olympic gold's and world championship wins. I suppose it could be something to do with our tradition of time trialling but although the distance is short, the effort is out of proportion to riding say a ten.
After five laps Dad indicated I was up on my rival and from there onward I turned up the power gaining time each lap. With two laps to go I started to tire but was chivvied into a final effort by the sight of a bike at the other end of the back straight. I'd never catch him but the little crowd cheered me home to a victory on the line of nearly ten seconds.
Unlike road riding, at the track, whilst some people specialise most have a go at everything, my next event was the junior Devil. It's like only ten laps but after lap three the last rider, the devil, gets pulled out each lap then there's a big sprint from the survivors for the line. It can be a bit cut and thrust but if you get your tactics right it can be fun.
I stayed near the back out of trouble and just made sure I got in front of at least one rider each lap. Simple to say but no one wants to be last in line so I had a series of mini sprints to stay in contention. The final sprint didn't go my way, a big lad in ESV Köln colours got over the line first but I was only a half wheel down.
My last event of the evening was the points race. Rather than separate events for each category everyone was on the track together, Elites, Seniors all the way down to Juniors. It was all really exciting mixing it with the older riders, I even managed to gain a lap on the back of a ‘train', Dick's picking on me at the weekend really got some results! I managed to get back towards the front for the final sprint and was dead chuffed to score fourth place. Well cool!
“Well kiddo,” Dad started as we negotiated our way out of Köln, “I reckon you could win the series if you score well on the last night.”
“If.” I emphasised.
“You picked up a lot of points tonight, the points race was very impressive.”
“I have just come back from a weekend of training at Manchester.” I pointed out.
“And you can build on that.”
“Yeah.” I wasn't so convinced.
“So run this by me again Connie.”
“There's a Goth party at Martin's tonight so we're meeting at Anna's to get ready.”
“Following you so far.” I took another sip of coffee.
“You need to bring black tights and a dark skirt.”
“I'm hearing you, why?”
“Well duh! I just said, Anna's gonna lend us some stuff but we need to take some ourselves.”
“And just why would I be wearing a Rock and Strumpfhose?”
“But ‘everyone' knows you're the Königin you have to wear a skirt.”
The logic was definitely flawed but much as I hate to admit it I could sorta see her point. All the girls would be wearing dresses or skirts an all that, I was known to be a girl, ergo I would be expected to be dressed as a girl. It was kinda logical, stupid but logical.
I sighed deeply, “Do I have to go?”
“Don't you dare wimp out on us Mr Bond!”
“What time?” I slumped back in my seat, defeated by logic.
It had been billed as an anti Valentines party and I had agreed to join the others when we got back from Berlin. To be honest I'd forgotten about it until Con mentioned it was today, ten minutes ago. And there was me thinking we would be going to the cinema this afternoon, nope its dress up time at Anna's up the hill in Esch!
Maddy Bell 28.11.08 © 2008
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