As you can imagine with six teen girls on the prowl for ‘just the right' outfit things were going to get pretty um ugly! I'm not sure the fair city of Mainz had ever seen anything like my friends shopping before, they are animals!
“What about Gab's?” Steff mentioned as Pia paid for her outfit in Coats an Ats.
“What about me?”
“Well we've all got tackled up.” She pointed out.
“I never said I was doing it.”
“Oh Gabs, you've got to!” Con whined.
“I let you talk me into the shoes.”
“And you don't have anything that matches.” Anna almost crowed.
“I could wear my wedding shoes and Mums suit.”
“You so could not!” Nena stated.
“Because…” Nena started.
“Because I saw the perfect outfit for you in Jaeger ® earlier, goes with the new shoes and everything.” Pia informed me.
“Jaeger ® ! I'm not made of money!”
“Don't think of it as an expense Gab, it's an investment.” Brid stated.
“Guys!” I complained as I was just about dragged out of the shop and through the precinct to the slightly austere Jaeger ® premises.
“It's a lot of money.” I complained for the umpteenth time.
“It's only one fifty, you get student discount.” Anna repeated the mantra the others had been using for fifteen minutes.
“Try it with the shoes Gabs.” Steff suggested.
“Alright.” I allowed.
“Here.” Con already had the stilts in her hand.
What can I say? A skirt suit with my Biker's looks, well pretty naff if truth were told. With my skyscraper heels it not only had me seeing eye to eye with Anna but I guess it did look rather good, quite adult and not that I want to encourage the idea, a bit sexy. I never said that right?
“Mein gott, we've spawned a monster.” Nena noted stepping back to take a look.
“I tried to warn you.”
“There is no way you are leaving the shop without that Gaby Bond.” Anna stated.
“But it's a hundred and fifty of my hard earned euros!” I moaned again.
“Girls?” Pia motioned for the others to join her in a huddle.
What are they plotting now?
“Right, it's decided, you pay ninety, we'll each put in ten after all none of have spent close to this.” Pia told me.
“You can thank us later, now we need to shake a leg.” Steff opined.
And so ten minutes later I was ninety bucks lighter of pocket and toting a rather large black carrier bag back towards the Bahnhof.
“What time's our train?” Con asked.
“Er, quarter past I think.” Brid supplied.
“Sugar, its five past now!” Anna advised.
How we made it onto the Rheinland Express I'll never know but we did and we settled down for the long trip back to the Ahrtal.
“What time do you call this?” Dad asked with an edge to his voice.
I was tempted to be factual but common sense over ruled that instinct.
“You bet it's late, why didn't you ring?”
“Roni and Angela are in with your mother.
“Sugar, I forgot they were coming.” I admitted.
“One day, one day.” Dad muttered.
Of course the reason why the Grönberg's were at Chez Bond was to do with bikes, the racing of them and more specifically the Pfälzerwald Grand Prix series down at Kaiserslautern. Whilst the rest of our junior squad weren't coming this week, the senior ladies team are riding which of course includes a pretty much on form Mum.
“Gott, I hope the new bus is quicker than this thing.” Roni opined.
“It's not that bad.” Dad offered from the front.
“Not that good.” I mentioned soto voce.
To be perfectly honest it was only talk of a new bus for us that had spawned these complaints to our usual steed.
“So we seeing a repeat of Bremen then?” Dad tried to break the negative vibes.
“Well I hope there's not so much chasing today.” I admitted.
“What she said.” Roni added.
We arrived just after ten, the ladies with Mum would get here later as their event follows the juniors and we have several hours riding ahead of us. As this isn't part of the national series I don't get to wear the target jersey so just maybe I can take things a little easier today.
“No team orders today,” Dad told us, “it's a tough circuit, and lots of bends so be careful okay.”
“Uh huh.” I agreed.
“Feed at the end of the first lap, now have a good ride both of you.”
We joined the rest of the field to wait for the start, a much smaller field than last week with many more familiar faces. Eventually we were waved off and started on about 120km of ‘fun'. The field was not only smaller but less capable too so the pair of us became part of a small core of about ten forcing the pace at the front whilst the rest hung on to our shirt tails.
The lap proper started at Hochspeyer where the railway joined us on our ride along the valley. The road was wide and the climb easy allowing pretty much all the field to stay together until we reached the turn at Frankenstein – yup you heard right, as in the monster!
Within metres the road became steeper and twistier which quickly started to splinter the field. The pair of us weren't really pressed, comfortably climbing in the front group to the top before starting the very twisty descent to the next turn. It was a nasty almost hairpin which had several of our number overshooting.
It was a bit like the Brohltal with a steam railway running alongside but the narrow gorge and castle ruins above leant a more sinister feel to things. The sun was doing its best to break through but we were surrounded by trees which kept us in the shade most of the way up the climb. No one seemed too keen on any heroics just yet; a situation that I was pretty sure would change as we approached the forty K point.
“Uh huh.” Roni agreed.
“Still a way to the top from what Dad said.”
“Yeah, what do you reckon?”
“Give it five then a stir?”
Our plan set, we allowed ourselves to be dragged up the climb, our group gradually shedding the less able. We reached the third corner of the triangular course and someone decided to have a go, which upped the pace for a minute or two and further stretched the elastic. Things were all square again before our kick off point; I nodded to my teammate who winked in reply.
The road started to steepen, as it did so Roni took a flier on the outside, I let the others see her move before I took the kerb side route to the front with my own effort. Now our companions were confused, not sure which wheel to follow and a little reticent in case they picked the wrong one. The tarmac bucked up and round to the left before cresting the summit where Roni swung off leaving several confused riders at the front. I waited until I was level then pulled the same manoeuvre, mind games. None of them were sure what to do; the pair of us sat in the group as we started the descent amongst a now confused peleton.
With a two hundred metres drop to the feed the descent was fast but still no one seemed keen to do much. There was a feed station warning, I checked out who was with us, nineteen all told, Roni the only girl but several others regulars on the cup circuit.
“Come on Drew.
Musettes grabbed everyone took the opportunity to unload through Hochspeyer then a couple of lads decided to turn up the juice on the fast road back to Shelley's monster.
This time when we made the turn the effort was more concerted and we lost a couple before we started the descent to turn two. Once clear of the corner the attacks came thick and fast but none got more than a few metres before being reeled in by the relatively fresh little peleton.
Having already tried our competitor's determination on lap one we were as keen as anyone to bring back all the attackers, I felt sure that a concerted attack would succeed. As we entered Elmstein halfway up the valley I passed Ron an energy bar.
She grinned in anticipation.
The others seemed keen to wait for someone else, well that'd be me.
I made my move, I was soon trailed by eight others including Ron, I kept the pressure on for a full half kilometre before sitting up. This lot seemed happier to contribute and we soon had a bit of a train going. Timing would be everything here, we both rotated as normal for a couple of turns then on the third rotation as I took over Roni went up the down side at speed which was enough to sow some confusion.
The tactic worked and she was clear and making ground before our colleagues realised that she was serious. Now I'm hardly going to chase my own team down am I which left six hulking lads with me as drag anchor chasing after fifty kilos of determined girl. She gradually increased her lead around the bends but already it was clear there were several who weren't so committed to the chase. Given I was in a holding pattern at the back I took the chance to get some liquid on board as my effort wasn't far ahead.
Ron now had nearly a hundred metres on my group of chasers, riding as determined as ever. I recognised the approach to turn three, sooner than I thought but I was ready. Its pretty natural to ease off on the turns so I used this to my advantage, sprinting out of the saddle into the tight corner leaving the others in something of a quandary.
I ended up out at the white line which I then used for a guide as I kept my head down to make some space. Up ahead Roni was starting to flag and I made good inroads on the first steeper bit of climb. However those behind were built less suitably for going uphill which meant that the net effect was that whilst I was gaining on Ron we were both moving away from the chase. From the top it's mostly fast downhill so we need as much advantage as possible to stay away.
The steepest bit was only just ahead, I dug a bit deeper and continued my gains over the leader. Somewhere around the bends she turned the tables so that she was still a good fifty in front over the summit – she'll wait for me. Except she didn't! Maybe I've misjudged her determination.
There's not enough of me to get much gravity assistance so all I could do was pedal as hard as I could, using all the road on the bends but frustratingly not gaining more than the odd metre. On a longer straight I risked a quick look behind, four or five riders were chasing me in turn at some hundred metres distance.
Determination was etched into Ron's riding and after the 60kph plus descent she was still thrashing the pedals round when we re entered Hochspeyer for the third time. A swing left onto the Kaiserslautern road and I dug deep to try to close the gap.
This was no repeat of Bremen for me though, Roni was smooth and although I just had the speed edge it wouldn't be enough to take her. Behind me they hadn't given up hope and a quick glance put the chasers at about fifty metres with two K to go, no easing up for me.
Then we were there, I saw Roni punch the air then I was over the line too, the chasers overtaking me as I slowed after the line – close.
“Yes!” Roni was jumping and her hug nearly had us both on the floor as I started to over balance in my cleats.
“One, two.” I agreed – well it wasn't quite the result I wanted, but if I don't get the win I want someone on the team to get it.
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 27.05.11 © 2011