We hurried back to our mobile changing room where Hannah had the curtains pulled and our uniforms all hung from the luggage rack.
“Gut, find your uniforms and get changed then come down to the front so Margot and myself can do your wigs and makeup.”
“Here you go Gab.” Pia enthused passing me a hanger.
Changing clothes on a coach is not exactly easy, especially when there are another dozen people trying to do the same. At least I already had my ‘base' layer on, some of the others were fighting with hose and leotards as well as skirts, jackets and boots.
Margot expertly troweled the makeup on then Hannah took over, first fixing our perücke then the hats. There not being a mirror, I had no idea what I looked like until I got off the bus and saw another of the Ahr Alles Stern Garde.
“You look great Gab.” I knew the voice but not the face.
“So do you, I think. I guess my makeup's the same as yours?”
Pia rolled her eyes, “of course!”
To say the makeup was heavy would be an understatement, but having said that it wasn't comical or overly theatrical but rather like a sort of western geisha look. A uniform pale beige base with carefully filled red lips, heavily lined eyes and subtle eye shadow and blush treatment. Overall the impression was of one of those expensive porcelain dolls. Other girls joined us after being finished; it was well weird seeing loads of almost identical Gardetanzerin, only variations in height and body shape broke the illusion. Not that there was much difference there either, I was on the shorter end of things but the tallest of us was not more than a couple of inches over my great stature.
Hannah followed the last girl off the bus.
“Gut! Everyone okay?” she didn't wait for any dissent, “lets go over to the warm up hall, we're on in thirty minutes.”
The Ahr Alles Stern Garde made their way to a large marquee where Hannah showed our ID to gain entry. Of course we weren't the only group inside, some made our uniforms look positively macho, others were less formal, even wearing trousers. It was all business, after all there might not be much in the way of money on offer but the kudos of a good placing – well you know what I mean.
We did a set of stretches and warm up exercises then ran through a couple of the more difficult layouts before Hannah called us together. Margot passed round drinks bottles with straws; at this point fixing makeup was not an option!
“Okay girls, that went well, we have five minutes, so good luck. Ooh I nearly forgot, you'd best put your gloves on now and remember, smile!”
She passed out a pair of white dress gloves to each of us.
‘ Ahr Alles Stern Garde, drei minuten' the PA boomed.
We shuffled our way to the holding area where our handlers made a last check that their toy soldiers were all perfect before we were called on stage.
I'm not going to take you through the routine; I don't even know what half the moves are called! We did get a good reception from the audience and I don't think we mucked up anywhere in the performance.
“Right girls, there's a couple of hours before we know if we've progressed so you need to stay in uniform till then. Meet back at the coach at twelve, you're free till then. Gaby you'd best come with me or we'll both be skinned by your Dad.”
“Glück Gab's!” Pia enthused.
“Thanks.” I waved back.
Back at the bus Hannah removed my hat and wig and I quickly changed back into my jeans and T.
“I'll ring your Dad as soon as I know if we've progressed, have a good race.” Hannah shooed me out towards the road where I spotted our car waiting.
“You look like an alien.” Bern giggled as I slid in beside her.
Oh sugar, I've still got the makeup on.
“I've got some remover in my bag.” Angela supplied.
Dad just shook his head as he pulled away from the dance venue.
We made our way to the other side of the town to where the race HQ was sited. It was turning into a bright warm day and I was now looking forward to the upcoming race.
I was soon cleaned up and changed into my skinsuit. My sports bra is pretty obvious under the tight lycra but its ability to disguise my chest seems to lessen at each wearing. The roads were already closed for the circuit so Ron and I joined the mixed group of riders circling around.
The circuit is a bit bigger than last weeks starting by the Basilica then joining the ring road up to the Kaiserthermen then right towards the river before turning back towards the Basilica. It's mostly fast tarmac except for a couple of hundred metres of cobbles in front of the Basilica. The circuit is about 1.5km round and we are scheduled for fifty laps, its basically flat so its gonna be fast.
It took a couple of laps to loosen up but we were both soon spinning round with a mixed group of seniors at a steady 30kph. I don't know whether I've mentioned it before but this type of racing is my favourite, the long road events are where you get fame and maybe fortune but these are fun - even if you are more prone to falling off like last week! We were called off the circuit; the action was about to start!
Well not our race of course, the kiddies races were first, under tens, twelve's then the under sixteen's. Strictly speaking I should be racing with the latter but my junior elite ranking at least gives them a chance and me some competition.
"If we can have the girls to the front please!" the commissar requested.
That is just so sexist, but nearly every race did the same, start the girls at the front, makes it look good I guess.
"Come on fraulein, you too." this latter was directed at me as I hadn't moved from the second row. There's no point in arguing so with a sigh from me and sniggers from some of the other riders I eased up next to Roni in the front row. I gave her a look; she was suppressing a giggle too.
The starter went through the usual spiel then we waited for the flag to drop and we were off.
We clattered over the cobbles as we clipped in making the task all the harder, various curses were being uttered around me as people barked shins or otherwise failed to clip in first time, luckily I got it on the second attempt and I noted that Roni, the jammy cow got it connected first time. Still having started at the front, we were clear of some of the mayhem in the bunch behind us and we were able to take the first corner without interference.
Onto the back straight, well I'll call it that anyhow, we were soon up to race speed and in a few more metres we found ourselves within the main bunch of likely candidates. Both of us slid back a few spots as we headed for the Kaiserthermen, the road wasn't closed as such, we had one lane and the other traffic the outer up to the underpass where we swung right around the Roman baths. Then it was a sharp right back towards the Basilica we rejoined the cobbles just before the road narrowed towards the start finish line.
It was faster across the setts this time, perversely that makes it more comfortable, and we quickly rejoined the tarmac to start lap two. The pattern was set, and I for one was glad that there weren't any wannabe hero's yet. Roni has improved no end this year and she was comfortably sat nearby in the bunch of around twenty we found ourselves in.
Not that we had anytime for sightseeing, there was a fair bit of tooing and frowing going on.
"What are those girls doing up here?" I overheard one youth mutter to his pal.
They were both in Radsport Kaiserslauten strip, I'm pretty sure our paths haven't crossed before.
"The blondes quite cute tho', we'll shell them out in a lap or two." his mate mentioned before they moved out of hearing.
I looked around, the only girl I could see was Roni and she's not blonde so who... the cheeky sods! Just because I've got long hair, well I'll show the conceited Saars! I rotated back next to Roni.
"Those two in the green and white called me a girl!" I huffed.
"Not a good move."
"I mean I know I've got long hair but really..."
"Well it is in a braid and your hands don't exactly look manly.” she pointed out.
A quick glance at my forgotten nails confirmed that point.
"So what's the programme oh wundermadchen?"
"Stay close, I'll think of something and let you know."
By now we had completed a further lap and the pace had started to rise a bit. I ran through some scenarios in my mind, Dad had suggested some options earlier but they all entailed a fairly cautious approach. With my raised ire I wanted to do something now. Sure enough the increased pace started to have an effect and our group lost a few chancers over the next couple of laps. Still no one seemed confident enough to give it a shot off the front although we were running more line a stern than abreast now.
Hmm I know! I found Roni again and mumbled the plan.
"Ok, its worth a shot." she agreed.
I concentrated my efforts on getting into position next to the offensive pair.
"This is cool eh, I never thought I'd be in the bunch this long, I'm Gaby by the way.
"Er Günther, its quite quick."
"Yeah, me and Roni are usually out of the bunch before now." I cooed. "What's your friends name?"
I brushed an imaginary hair from my face, "maybe we can like meet after?"
"Links!" the shout went up.
“I'm sure we've got a lot in common.” I persisted further distracting him.
“Ah, em, gotta go.” He spluttered finally getting his hormone-riddled brain into gear.
“Wait for me Liebchen!” I cried as he belatedly reacted to Roni's attack.
I giggled to myself as I followed in the wake, so far so good.
Roni was really having a go; the elastic holding our group together was beginning to fail long before the chasers got onto Roni. The pressure was still on but sat behind the bulk of Günther I was well protected and comfortable. I held my place until we once again approached the cobbles then made my own move.
“See you at the finish Liebhaber.” I gave a girly wave as I slipped past and put down the gas pedal.
I quickly moved forward so that by the time we turned onto the back straight I was up with Roni who had slipped back after being caught.
“So far so good.” I panted.
Roni just let her tongue hang out, her eyes revealing a hidden grin.
I kept the pressure up and now with Roni in tow proceeded to close the gap to the front riders, amongst them Markus.
“Eh?” he looked about.
“Your mate needs a bit of help.”
“Günther, I think he has something to ask you.”
His attention was gone as he scanned around for his team mate, enough that he wasn't paying full attention as we hit the cobbles, well its not my fault if he can't control his bike is it?
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 29.09.09 © 2009