Becks and Call
"Where is everyone?" Dave enquired when he and Josh returned to the lounge area.
"The girls dragged Drew off upstairs," Dieter supplied, “is everything alright?”
"Looks like I'm driving back home tonight, my offspring hasn't got any riding kit, left it at home."
"At least have a coffee before you go Dave."
"Yeah, I suppose you're right."
"I'll go check that the girls are oh-kay Mr B, I like didn't mean to upset anyone out there."
"Just check eh, don't make a fuss."
"You okay now Drew?" Tali asked the still sniffing micro Bond.
"I guess so but what am I gonna do for kit tomorrow?"
"There's an old helmet in our boot you can use." Gret offered.
"I've got my skinsuit so if I wear that you can wear my road kit." Ron suggested.
"What about shoes though, these are all I've got." I indicated the flats on my feet.
"Hang on a minute, what size?" Tali queried.
Gret went to see who was at the door.
"Sorry hen, like, I just wanted to check on Drew like, make sure she's okay like."
"Ta da!" Tali flourished a pair of slightly battered race shoes. "My old shoes, I thought they were still in my bag, oh hi Josh."
"Er hi Tali, anyway so is youse okay Drew?"
"I've been better."
"Your da told me like about, you know."
"We still mates?"
"Way aye, like most people thought ya were a poofta or a girl anyhow, to me you're the little kid who whupped me at the Nationals."
"And the divi's." I added.
"That an' all. Look I best get back down before yer da goes to fetch your kit like."
"Herr Bond is going all the way back to Bonn?" Gret exclaimed.
"We've already sorted the Kapitan out." Ron told the Geordie.
"We'd best stop him."
"I'll go tell him." Josh was already on his way.
“Mr B, hang on a mo like.” Josh called after Dave who was actually just going to fetch his phone.
“Drew okay?” Dave asked, a note of panic in his voice.
“Aye an' you don't need to goo fetch Drew's kit like, the girls have kitted him oot like.”
“I never thought to ask.” Dave noted.
“So are we getting pizza or what?” Drew's singsong voice enquired.
“Come here kiddo.” Dave grinned as his offspring joined him for a quick hug.
“Sorry I mucked up Dad.”
“Well I guess I'm partly to blame, rushing you out of the house earlier.”
“Yeah well it was me who insisted on going to Bonn earlier.”
“I did over react a bit.”
“Before one of you admits to invading Iraq are we going for pizza or what?” Dieter interrupted.
The Becks Jüngere Bremen Grand Prix was the first time all five youngsters lined up in the same team and the first time they all featured on a start card since the Lüneberg Heide Jüngere Grand Prix over at Celle.
As they lined up for the start in Bremen's main square Drew felt a little odd in his borrowed kit. After trying on Ron's jersey and bibs they all decided that her skinsuit would be a better fit for Drew's smaller figure. Dave actually had a spare helmet in the Saab and an old pair of track mitts was discovered in the glove compartment so with Tali supplying the footwear Drew was fully kitted out. Of course, he'd had to borrow a sports bra too, Gret had a spare luckily and he had on his Dad's Rudy's – not that it was looking too bright at the moment.
Being a premier series event sponsored by Bremen's best-known brewery they were currently going through all the introduction stuff.
“We're up next.” Greta hissed to her teammates.
“Joy.” Drew allowed.
“Nächste ist Team Apollinaris!”
We shuffled forward to the guy doing the intros.
“So here we have Joshua Waugh, Veronike Grönberg, Greta Luchow, Thalia Schmidt and the current series leader Drew Bond. We always see some exciting racing from these ladies so look out for them, Team Apollinaris!”
There was a brief cheer from the small crowd and with a bit of a wave we made way for the next team.
“Here,” Dad instructed.
I handed off my steed to Josh and went to see what he wanted.
“Here, put this on.” He handed me a bundle.
“What is it?”
“Your series leader jersey, they should have given it to you at the sign on.”
I shook it out, “make me a target or what!” I noted looking at the sky blue jersey with a tricolour sash of the German flag.
“Hurry up, I need to move your number.”
There was one thing; the added layer was welcome given the chill breeze that was sweeping the square!
Essentially today's 150 kilometres was a trip down the Weser to Bremerhaven where we cross the river to return back to finish in the same square we now waited in for the start.
“I wish they'd get on with it.” Tali moaned.
“We shoulda been away by now.” I agreed.
I dunno whether I mentioned this before but during the race we use English – I'm sure some of the other riders understand it but there's enough don't that our tactics are a little more private and of course with Josh on board he can understand it.
“Here we go ladies.” Josh noted as some dignitary waved a flag to set us on our way.
Bremen Altstadt is essentially on an island so the first thing was to follow the old wall line past an impressive windmill then over the moat and into the cities northern suburbs. At the city boundary we got the green flag and the larger than usual field turned up the pace. After a year of racing in Germany I now recognised a lot of the team strips and more than a few of the riders.
The five of us took up station near the head of the field as we rolled along between the river and autobahn. The action might well be early on today, perversely the small bits of hill are all in the first half of today's ride so things will hot up soon enough.
The bridge over the Wumme after about ten k was where Dad had suggested we start being vigilant and as we entered Burglesum the first tentative attack went off the front. The consensus seemed to be to let the two lads from the fairly local Radteam Hude und Berne dangle for a while.
I spotted Hans from the other week at the Heide event and exchanged nods. Of course while Roni and I have been gallivanting around the Ruhr and Rhein the others have been doing a few events across northern Germany with a lot of this field – there aren't many riders who can afford to stray too far from home turf.
By the way I was being watched my prediction regarding the leaders jersey was coming true so we might have to tweak our plans a bit.
“Cap'n.” Josh grinned.
“If anything halfway serious goes you two cover ok.”
Roni gave me a wink, “ I like your thinking.”
“Tal, Gret, we'll try to control the bunch if there is a move.”
“'Kay.” Talia agreed.
The weather, whilst overcast, looked like it might just stay dry at least for a while. The catch of course is the stiff breeze that is chasing the clouds above us out towards the coast. We dipped under the motorway and out of the town.
With the wind on our right shoulder the pace quickened and the escapees remained dangling some fifty metres ahead for a couple of kilometres before sitting up. It was tempting to do a flier but all I'd be doing was wasting energy so I held station with the others as we entered the slightly rolling Lange Heide.
“Up!” went the shout and my cohorts were already out of the saddle to mark the move.
It hurt to see that some pretty handy riders were with the move but a plan is a plan only as long as you stick to it. So I watched as about twenty riders left the peleton and much as it hurt I joined the girls in a false chase to control the remainder of the bunch.
Although the road rose and dipped its pretty darn straight so the lead group remained in sight that encouraged a few to try to cross the gap. With the distance between the main bunch and the break at about thirty seconds it was time to make sure they made no more ground.
“You okay?” I asked my colleagues.
“Fine.” Tali agreed.
“We holding here?” Gret enquired.
I checked out our fellow travellers, maybe eighty strong they can do the heavy work for us later.
“Yeah, we should rotate apart for a bit but stay top twenty.”
Up ahead the smaller group included all the other top ten riders, it appeared very much as though Drew had missed the big move of the day – yeah there were a couple of Apollinaris jerseys up there but Hans wasn't alone in thinking they'd got the drop on the little super girl this time. They were riding piano and moving at a good fifty k pace as they headed towards the northernmost point at Loxstedt.
“The feed is after the next town.” Tali supplied.
“Make sure we get the bottles,” I urged, “it's going to be dry riding back with this wind.”
The single prime of the day was in Loxstedt and it was agonising to not be contesting it but patience is the key today. Our train swept through the little town and back under the twenty-seven. Shortly after we turned left for our first significant change in direction for well over an hour. The pace dropped quite rapidly, which was just as well as we approached the feed area.
I spotted Sonja and Angela ahead and manoeuvred myself to grab my musette. I really ought to practice this bit of race craft; I nearly dropped my bag as it swung across in front of me! Around me others were making harder work than me of it and I grimaced at the sound of a collision close behind.
Transferring the contents to my pockets was easier said than done though.
“I'll do it Drew.” Tal told me.
“Cheers, Gret okay?”
“Yeah she's just behind.”
“The river is coming up, can't see the bridge though.”
“Dumbo, it's a tunnel!”
Now that's a new one!
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 13.05.11 © 2011