After last weekend I made sure I'd got all my kit today so when I emerged from the changing rooms it was in cargo shorts and a team top as we were gonna spend the afternoon watching the ladies race – they get to do three laps.
"Come on Mum" I shouted in encouragement.
"Up up up!" Dad joined in.
It's not often that I get a chance to see Mum and the girls race, with our respective calendars it's rare to even be in the same region!
The ladies peleton grunted past. The cream Apollinaris jerseys prominent at the front.
"You want to catch them on the col?" Dad asked.
"Sure" Roni agreed.
I was still smarting from the drubbing she gave me in our race, angry with myself for not taking her threat more seriously.
"Yeah." I added.
We clambered back into the bus and Dad soon had us going widdershins around the course. It only took a few minutes to get up to the top where we slotted into a gap amongst the already gathered race fans. We made our way the final few metres to the Stillerhut to await the women's race's first visit to the ‘mountain'.
“I didn't expect there to be crowds like this.” I noted as unlike the junior race with a handful of vocal but generally related watchers there had to be a couple of hundred race fans lining the road now.
“It might not be category A but several big teams are here.” Dad advised.
“There's a big following for women's racing you know Drew.” Roni pointed out.
“I know but…”
“But what?” Roni was getting indignant now, “it's only women. Is that what you were going to say? In case you hadn't noticed your mother is famous the world over, more famous than nearly all the male pro peleton!”
“Roni love, calm down.” Angela soothed.
“Well she was asking for it, she's just miffed that I whupped her today.”
“I'm so not!”
“Children!” Dad almost bellowed.
We fell silent.
“Right, you are showing yourselves and the team up, I've a mind to suspend you both.”
“Dave?” Angela put in.
“Sorry Ang, but if they are going to act like kinder that's how I'll treat them.”
“But Dad…” I started.
“But nothing. You've been brewing since the finish and Roni, I thought you were more mature than to rub Drew's face in the result.”
“Sorry Herr Bond.” She mumbled.
“And Drew, you need to learn some humility, Tali will be team leader in Stuttgart next week.”
“Right, shake.” He instructed.
Well it wasn't exactly enthusiastic but we were both still smarting a little.
“Me too Drew.”
“They're coming.” Angela announced.
Our attention moved from our spat to the race. Compared to the relatively sedate ascent we made, the women's race was much more intense. The crowd were pretty vocal and we joined the cheering as we spotted ‘our' riders in the thick of it, Mum neatly tucked in and looking comfortable enough.
“Go Jen!” Dad shouted.
In less than a minute they were all past our vantage point, it'd be about an hour or so before they'd be here again.
“Food?” Angela enquired, “There's strudel for dessert.”
“Now that sounds like an excellent idea, I'll give you a hand.” Dad volunteered.
“Sorry Drew, you've lost team captain because of me.” Roni mentioned.
“No Ron, Dad's right, I've been getting to be a proper prima donna.”
“I know Gret thinks you were a bit selfish last week.”
I have to admit that I just relied on the others doing what I said, not giving any thought to how they felt about throwing away their chances for yours truly.
“I guess I should apologise to everyone.”
“Friends.” I agreed.
“So, tell me about Munich…”
The next time the race came round there was quite a change, Erika Boonen and Mum were both in the break of about six riders and at about thirty seconds Maria, Tina and Anja were doing a fair job of blocking the pursuit. We all of course shouted ourselves hoarse and me and Ron's dispute, whilst not forgotten, was put behind us.
“If we move down the hill a bit we can watch them past and get to the finish.” Dad suggested.
“Let's do it.” I enthused.
By the time the race reached us again the lead group had grown by a couple but our riders were still there. The others were still making their presence known but unlike me chasing Roni down in my pursuit of victory at all costs, they were working hard to stop pursuit of the leaders.
As soon as the race was gone we dashed for our bus and Dad drove maybe a little quicker than sensible along a lane that took us almost to the finish area. Even so we only just got to the finish area before the lead car's flashing lights hove into view.
Talk about competitive, the sprinters swung from one curb to the other and from our position it was impossible to tell how it was going. Not that it stopped us screaming in support! Then they were on top of us, past and across the line, in mere seconds.
“I couldn't see.” Roni observed.
The rest of the race swept in with less urgency a minute or so later.
Well maybe the Bond family has been cursed today, Mum took second as well, a girl from Cube – Opel took the premier slot by half a wheel. A bit disappointing but you can't win every time out.
“So we'll see you Saturday Angela.” Dad confirmed, the Grönberg 's were being taken back home by Petra, the team masseuse so were travelling back on the team bus which meant Mum could come with me and Dad straight home.
“So kiddo, looks like we both got second best eh?” Mum mentioned as we headed out of Kaiserslautern.
“Yeah,” I sighed, “I made a bit of a tit of myself as well.” I admitted.
“Well sometimes we can all get a bit full of ourselves.”
“But you don't.”
“But I have done kiddo, I have done.” Mum admitted.
“What happened?” I pressed.
“Well I was an ass, if things didn't go my way, I'd have a right tantrum.”
“So like what happened?”
“Your Gran stopped my pocket money.”
“So alright I was only seven but I did learn a valuable lesson, that is that every action has a re-action, I lost my pocket money, you got demoted.”
“Gab, you have remembered the trip to Bonn tomorrow?” Anna asked.
“It's tomorrow ?”
“That's why I rang, everyone's gonna wear the stuff we got yesterday.”
“For a school trip?”
“What better time.”
“Okay I guess, but I'm bringing some flats too.”
“Wimp. So how'd it go today?”
Frau Thesing raised a brow when I arrived at the Bäckerei next day.
“So what's this all about girls?”
“Gabs inspired us at the wedding last week.” Pia advised.
“Well you all look very nice, not sure about the shoes.”
“Mama!” Connie moaned.
Half an hour later the seven of us strutted along the platform at Ahrweiler/Silverberg station.
“Hot or what!”
Why did I agree to this?
“Good morning ladies.” Frau Dürst greeted us.
“Interesting choice of outfits?”
“We didn't want to give people the impression that Silverberg Gymnasium was scruffy.” Brid suggested.
“Well I'm sure they will appreciate the sentiment.”
She left to talk to Claudia Pfeffer shaking her head.
“Geez Gab, you gonna dress like Sophia all the time now?” Max queried joining our group in his more casual outfit.
“It's a one off.” I told him.
“Well you all look hot to trot!”
“Thank you for that observation, I feel like a right prawn.”
Our school trip was to the Humanities Museum in Bonn, just a short walk from the Hauptbahnhof. There were about fifty of us, all of the humanities students in our year. Any other time you wouldn't have given our party a second look but with seven of us in smart suits, heels and rather more attention to hair and makeup than usual, well you can guess we drew attention.
The main reason for the visit today was to see an exhibition on the ascent of Man to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Neanderthal discoveries up near where Roni lives in Mettmann. Of course there is much more to see in the museum, we were split into groups starting our visit in different locations to avoid too much congestion. The ‘posh' birds got lumbered with Max and his sidekicks Freddy and Ralf who were having trouble keeping their eyes in their heads.
The exhibition was pretty interesting, Dad'll like this. It took us from the earliest hominids discovered in Africa's Rift Valley all the way to the German discoveries a century ago and on to modern man, us. It explored how we migrated around the globe, developed the ability to communicate, early art and belief systems – I can see how Dad gets off on this stuff!
We took a break to eat lunch then we got to explore the other exhibits before reconvening in a lecture theatre for a seminar given by some guy from the museum. I had to slip off my heels, my feet were on fire! I wasn't the only one, to a woman the rest of the Ahr Angels were massaging sore tootsies during the discussion. Then it was time to head back to the Ahr.
“You seen this Drew?” Anna waved a bit of paper at him as they exited the toilets at the station.
“Dunno, what is it, hold it still I can't read it flapping about.”
“There's a big RPG and Manga convention at Köln Messe next month.”
She passed the flyer across the table to him.
“Looks cool huh?”
“Gis a chance.”
It certainly looked like somewhere to visit; four huge halls full of gaming, costuming and a fair bit more besides.
“When is it?”
“It says on the back.”
Flipping the paper over the details were printed in gothic letters.
“July 15th and 16th .”
“You fancy going?”
“I've probably got a race.” I sighed.
“You ride those bikes too much.”
“If you want success…”
“Yeah, you said before.”
“Still it would be nice and I am away most of the summer.”
I'm looking forward to that, a whole month with the GB development squad culminating in a trip to the World Champs in Denmark, although I'm riding the junior events every week I'll be doing the under 16's in Copenhagen.
“I'll check with Dad later, I might manage to scrounge a weekend off, what about the others?”
“I'm sure they'll all want to go.”
‘Die Nächste Zug am Gleis drei ist die funfzehn hundert service nach Bonn, Remagen, Koblenz….”
“Shitza, that's ours!”
We grabbed our bags and legged it for our train.
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 28.05.11 © 2011