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Part 30
Cheering Drew

Mum rang Sunday evening, she was over the moon, she's been named for the Tour Feminin, which runs on part of the Tour de France course! And she got tenth in Saturdays race in Switzerland, she was a lot happier this week. I guess even Mum has her ups and downs. I told her all about what was happening with the exchange scheme and she suggested that we could take our exchangees to Germany for a few days! Now that would be cool.

I rang Rhod too and invited him to join the supporters club but he was still painting so had to decline.

All in all Sunday had been pretty good after a rocky start. A nice day out with my mates, Mr Peters news and mums upbeat phone call. For a change I slept well!

The Bank Holiday arrived unusually fine (it's a standing joke in Britain that Bank Holiday weather is always bad. It's not true but it sometimes seems like it!). Mum had suggested I go for a ride this morning, steady, just to loosen up so that's what I did, just up to Fanny's Grove, along to Cuckney and back home. Not far but I did feel better for it.

We collected the girls as planned; Jules elected to stay home as she had homework to finish. The drive to Sheffield didn't take long and we found our way to Norfolk Park where the racing was to take place quite easily. The car parking was a hive of activity and there were hundreds of riders and spectators all round the park. The races would be on the park perimeter road which being Sheffield means down one side and up the other and I mean up! Mum always thought it was strange that the hilliest city in the UK should have the most cycling clubs, nearly twenty.

The girls went for a walk while I got my bike checked and changed. I watched a couple of races before mine, some of the seniors had two forty lappers this afternoon, I was glad mine was only 20 laps and that was going to be hard going.

The girls found me just before I went to the start and to my surprise (and delight) I got a kiss from each of them. Well I was certainly gonna put up a good performance for them now! Unlike most schoolboy races where everyone is in the same race, this time there were sufficient riders for smaller age categories, 12-13, 14-15 and a separate event for the 16-year-olds. I had a realistic chance for a change!

The flag dropped and our race was off. The descent was way fast, our restricted gearing meant we were spinning out by halfway down and relying on gravity and technique to gain any further speed. Being one of the 'older' kids meant I had a bit more experience and from lap one it told. The climb back to the top was steep and twisty but we climbed it easily, a small group of us leaving the younger kids behind. The girls cheered me through and I saw some of the other spectators giving them funny looks!
The girls were Drew's own Cheerleading squad!

The next few laps were much the same, our small group gaining a little every lap. I watched my fellow riders as mum had taught me and decided that I might just be strong enough to make a go of it. The next couple of laps I put only enough effort in to stay with the group, which served two purposes, it conserved energy and the others would think I was struggling. Thanks mum! The ploy worked a treat; on the climb section of lap ten I made my effort and opened a small gap by the top. The girls were bouncing up and down with excitement as I crossed the line with my scant lead.

I could make best use of the circuit on the descent this time, not having to worry about the others in the group. I kept the pressure up a second time up the climb and when I checked over my shoulder near the top I had a good couple of hundred metres lead, enough to disappear from sight at some point of the circuit. I smiled at the girls as I passed them amid a cheering crowd. Well I guess the others must have given up as next time I checked, I couldn't see them at all, rather I was coming up to lap back markers.

I won't deny I was starting to tire, but I had sufficient lead to take the climb easier now. Seemingly too soon the bell went as I crossed the line so I dug into my reserves for a last time and just about caught a bunch of about ten backmarkers. This caused me a slight dilemma; lapped riders had to pull out so if I passed them they wouldn't have to do another lap. On the other hand, I knew from personal experience that they would prefer to go the distance. So I held off the back of the group up the climb and let them drop me a bit before the finish area.

I thrust an arm in the air as I crossed the line, the biggest grin on my face! Well dad didn't get a look in; the girls mobbed me big style. I could get used to this! The presentations took place before the start of the next race, so I didn't have long to wait.

"...And in first place after a very mature ride, Drew Bond, Notts. Velo!"

I climbed the podium and I don't know for sure but I think it was the Mayor of Sheffield presented the prizes. I saw dad taking some photos and the local paper too. I was made up I can tell you, my first win! All too soon though it was back to the showers and packing up.

"You were great Drew" Maddy enthused

"I didn't know you were that good" Ally allowed

"Well it is the first time I've ever won"

"He's too modest girls" dad put in, "he's won his category a few times now"

"Yeah but this is my first proper win Dad"

"And your mother will be proud of you when I call her later"

Drews first win!

"What are we doing now?"

"Well girls do you fancy watching some more sweaty racers for a while?"

"If Drew wants to" Bernie agreed

"Well perhaps just for a while then"

"Ok, then we'll go for a meal, how's that sound?"

"Brill dad"

"Great Mr Bond"

So the four of us set off around the circuit, I always find that the best way to see the racing, you get to see the riders more often if you walk toward the race too. As we walked I had to relive my own race, I wasn't exactly reticent and for once my audience was genuinely interested!

By the time we got back to the top of the circuit I'd had enough, I was knackered! So we sought out dad and we departed the park. Dad then surprised us by taking us around some back roads that eventually brought us to the Sheffield Arena and our destination. Mama's Italian restaurant was my favourite place to eat after Maddy's and my favourite was the tagliatelle!

"Ok kids, we'll eat and then catch a film okay?"

More than ok!

"Yes please Mr bond"

So we ate, (I had the tagliatelle) then got to watch American Pie 2 in the Full Monty screen which is the biggest permanent screen in Europe. It was awesome! And the film was good too!

What a day. We dropped the girls off and finally arrived home at nearly nine o'clock. After I made tea, dad rang mum to tell her the news.

"Hi Jen, I've got someone here itching to speak to you"

"Hi mum"

"Hi Drew, what's up?"

"You know I was racing in Sheffield today?"


"Well I won!"

"Oh well done Drew! I knew you had it in you. Tell me all about it"

So that's what I did for twenty minutes. I'm sure she didn't really want to listen in such detail but she did, making all the right noises and generally boosting me. Eventually my race was run and I said my goodbyes. It still wasn't easy having a long distance mum, but at least it was getting less traumatic.

"Time for bed Drew" dad pronounced, "school in the morning, and take those earrings out!"

I blushed deeply, I had forgotten all about them Saturday night and no one had said anything for two days!

"Yes dad, goodnight"

"Night Drew"

What a weekend! I guess more ups than downs overall but I could have done without the downs altogether!

Maddy Bell 21.04.03
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