Over the next twenty minutes it was all go, no simple slip dress on, go and wait, oh no. For a trio travelling light the girls seemed to have a huge amount of stuff with them, not just clean, dry under things, Con and Pia had full outfits and they all had more cosmetics than I own – well okay maybe not that much – but plenty anyhow.
“Sit still.” Pia ordered.
“Is this really necessary? I mean, we're only getting some pizza.” I pointed out.
“Gaby Bond, wash your mouth out!” Con came back.
“What do you think guys?” Pia asked of my other ‘friends'.
“More eyeliner definitely.” Steff opined.
“Sit still girl, I don't want to poke your eye out.” Pia stated.
Given that choice I submitted to my tormentor's ministrations with ill humour.
“Perfect!” Con beamed.
“I better not look like a clown.”
“Not unless they've started looking like sex goddesses.” Steff cackled.
Just what I need – not.
“Shouldn't we be outside?”
“Don't be such a worry bum Gab.” Con told me.
“Well I'm ready.” Pia announced.
“Me too if her ladyship is sorted.” Steff added.
“Lets go then.” P enthused.
‘I tell you, they called her ‘your Ladyship', it has to be her.”
‘I'm sure I heard one of them say her name was Gabriella von Strechau.'
‘See, it has to be her.'
‘Lets see where they go.'
For their part the lads didn't mention our tardiness when we finally joined them ten minutes after the agreed time.
“Sorry guys,” Pia offered, “Gabs.” She rolled her eyes.
“No problem eh chaps?” Max told us.
“No indeedy.” Ralf enthused as he failed to make eye contact with anyone.
“You um look nice Gab.” Max put in.
“Ay er thanks.”
“Madam would look good in a beet sack.” Steff proffered.
“I was only saying.”
“Er, you wanna go?” Max enquired.
And so the seven of us started the walk into Remagen for the promised victuals.
What's there to say? We made our way to the ‘Napolina', a combination of restaurant and takeaway in typical German fashion. You can't really eat pizza on the hoof – not and stay clean so we took a couple of tables outside to first wait for then consume our cheese covered cardboard. Now I just want to point out here, this was not a date, not even close, it was food all right.
“I'd best get this.” I mentioned as my handy chirped from my bag. “Er hi Dad, wassup?”
“Where are you?”
“Remagen, just going for the Express now I think.”
“You want a lift? I'm just coming to collect the Grönbergs.”
“There's like seven of us?” I pointed out.
“I've got the bus.” He pointed out.
“I'll ask,” I covered the phone, “Dad's coming down to pick up Roni, do we want a lift back up?”
“I'll take the Express Gabs, it'll be easier.” Pia stated.
“We'll take the Zug too.” Max added.
“I'll grab a lift if it's ok.”
“Me too please.” Con and Steff requested.
“Just three Dad.”
“Okay, thirty minutes.”
It wasn't far from the food purveyor to the Bahnhof, all of five minutes walk and as Roni's train would come in on gleis Zwei and the Express uses Drei we all headed to the middle platform, to wait for the respective trains. The Rheinland Express came in first and Roni and Angela soon emerged.
“We didn't expect to see you here.” Roni noted.
“Me and the guys have been at the lido all day.”
“You've certainly caught the sun, all of you.” Angela mentioned.
The Ahr Express was now in and loading.
“See you guys Monday, Glück for tomorrow Gabs.”
“Thanks and for the pizza too Max.” I replied.
“No sweat, ciao!”
“Bye ladies.” Rolf added.
“Bye guys.” Con offered, “talk tomorrow P.”
‘I said she wouldn't get on the down train.'
‘So she lives up the valley somewhere.'
‘Ut uh, look they're going back down with that girl with the bike.'
“Dad'll be here in a few.”
“So where are you guys racing tomorrow?” Con asked as we settled on the station steps to await our transport.
“Bad Honigen?” Roni queried.
“Hönningen,” I corrected, “we've got a circuit around the Westerwald.”
The new bus pulled up at the kerb and we collected our stuff up.
“Hi girls.” Dad greeted us, getting down from the cab.
“Evening Dave.” Angela returned.
“Get the door Drew.”
I slid the side door open and while Dad put Ron's bike in the back the rest of us loaded ourselves inside.
“We all comfy?” Dad enquired.
“Yup.” I noted after checking everyone was sat.
The bus chuckled back into life and we started the shortish ride back up to Dernau. The shadows were starting to lengthen and the heat of the day was fast turning to a slight chill, enough that I found myself giving an involuntary shiver from time to time. Despite its head start of nearly ten minutes the Express was only just leaving Dernau station when we reached that point. Steff was staying over with Con so we dropped them at the bakery before driving the short distance on to Schloss Bond.
“So was that the mysterious Max at the station?” Roni asked as she helped me mash some tea.
“He's a bit of a dish.”
“If you say so.”
“Oh come on Gab, you have to admit that he's quite good looking.”
“In his dreams.”
“Next you'll tell me you aren't all dressed up to impress him.”
“For someone who's not interested you sure make a lot of effort.”
“It was Pia, she'd have me married and up the duff with Max junior next week if she could.”
“Is that possible?”
“What, getting married?”
“You getting pregnant?”
“Ron, I'm a boy.” I pointed out.
“Not from where I'm stood.”
“Whatever, there is just no way that I'm interested in boys and Max in particular.”
“She says now.”
“Well bring those biscuits through.”
“You two riding to the start?” Dad enquired over breakfast.
“Could do.” I allowed, it was more of an instruction than a question.
“We'll follow later, we can always pick you up if you're running late.”
“'Kay, come on Ron, we best get a move on.”
We were on the road just after nine, it's not a hard ride and to be honest we could both do with a leg stretch before the climbs of the Westerwald. Down past Ahrweiler and Bad Neunahr then through Sinzig and onto the Rhein road. Through Bad Breisig and then down to the ferry across to Rheinbrohl. We had to wait for the vessel to return from the far bank during which time Dad and Angela caught up to us. From loading to landing is barely ten minutes and it was only about a kilometre to the race HQ in Bad Hönningen.
This isn't a Jüngere League event; I think I mentioned that before so the Rond Mittelrhein attracts a wider range of abilities, much like the other week when Ron won. Its also not so long as some of our recent races, so we can maybe make a bit more of a race of it without having to worry about running out of steam.
‘Welcome to the seventh Rond Mittelrhein Jüngere Grand Prix sponsored once again by Sparkasse Neuwied. The weather forecast looks good so hopefully we are in for an exciting race. Today's field includes the cream of Rhein Pfalz junior talent, watch out for number 46, Kai Schmidt from Sporting Koblenz, 53, Tomas Torweg from Mainz Endspurt and of course numbers 78 and 79, the girls from Apollinaris, Veronike Grönberg and Drew Bond who are both currently top three in the National series.'
The MC thankfully wasn't going through the whole field; hey did he just say I was a girl?
‘If we could have the madchen to the front please.'
Hey I'll take any advantage they give me. We shuffled through to the front row; to be honest there were only three other girls besides Roni so me sneaking forward wasn't really cheating.
‘We are neutral until we join the main road, so riders; please respect that until you get the green flag. Okay we start in ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, GO!'
And without further ado we were off. We had about half a kilometre to the start proper, ample time for everyone to get clipped in and comfortable. The field was relatively small, eighty-five I think, and looking around we'd lose most of that number on the first climb out of Linz. Its not that I mean to be mean but clearly a good number of the starters were enthusiastic but ‘less' talented.
We swung onto the main road and almost immediately one of the lesser lights made a break for freedom, flippin' ‘eck, lets get warmed up! The move was almost certain to fail in short order but for now I let the enthusiastic of the peleton do the chasing.
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 09.06.11 © 2011