Gaby Title.jpg
Part 32
Ride in the Hills

Friday. Of course the only subject of conversation amongst those involved was exchange students. But there was more to this Friday, well I thought so anyway! It's only two weeks 'till half term and Germany and... well I can't think of anything else right now.

The day passed without any drama and as I have a race Saturday, I agreed to meet up with the others on Sunday for a bit of surfing and emailing.

"Come on Drew, shake a leg!"

"Coming Dad"

I pulled the door shut and got into the camper.

"I know the race isn't till tea time but I would prefer not to have to race up the road"

"Yes dad"

Today's event is a ten at Tadcaster just outside York, about an hour and a half away. Before she left, mum found time to plan the first half of my season and as you might have noticed she was making sure I got some variety which in turn often means travelling further afield than a lot of people do.

We were going the more 'scenic' way north, avoiding the motorways so dad took us past Doncaster and headed us towards Selby. The roads in this area are straight and flat so dad was relaxed as we drove along.

"How are you doing Drew?"


Dad is not exactly Mr Sensitivity although he's a thoroughly nice bloke so his question threw me a bit.

"Well you know, with your mum away I thought I ought to ask"

"Er fine dad"

"Well you know you can talk to me if you want"


"Anyway, I thought I'd just mention it. How did your 'modelling' go the other week? Juliette has been a bit cagey when I asked her"

Nightmare, nightmare!

"Er fine"

"Come on now, what did you have to do?"

Well I didn't really want to tell him the total truth so I settled on a slightly abridged and non-committal answer.

"Well I had to pretend to be a new pupil"

"I know that much, your mum told me. So what did you do?"

"Well I just went to a few classes and the photographer sort of followed me around."

I'm sure dad knew I wasn't coming clean.

"Did you enjoy doing it?"

"I guess it was ok"

"Do it again?"

"Erm I'm not sure"

Then he dropped the bombshell!

"Look Drew I know you had to dress as a girl so stop hedging round it"

My face must have been a picture!

"Look son, whilst I was a bit shocked when your mum told me, and wasn't real happy about it, the fact that you agreed to do it says a lot. I meant what I said, you can talk to me anytime"

So here was dad telling me he knew about Gaby and not making a fuss over it.

"Now you can tell me the truth, did you enjoy doing it? Jules said you were excellent"

No dodging this time!

"Well I guess it was fun fooling the rest of the school"

"And Maddy's mum? you stayed over after all"

"How did you know?"

"I got it from Carol, Mrs Peters. She rang me to let me know what was happening."

So I had been 'betrayed' twice! Sheesh! Well I guess it was only to dad.

"Well yeah it started out with me and Mad trying to pass me off as a girl but Aunt Carol saw through it"

"Aunt Carol?"

"Yeah well, that's what she told me to call her when I was dressed up."

"I look forward to seeing some of the pictures of my youngest daughter"

Dad was starting to freak me.

"Look dad, it was fun for a couple of days but that's it. I'm not doing it anymore. I am a boy and I intend to keep it that way!"

"Whoa, whoa. Calm down. I wasn't implying anything. I don't want another daughter either, I couldn't afford it!"

He finished the sentence jokingly.

"Come on lighten up, we're nearly at Tadcaster"

I hadn't noticed much of the drive, pre-occupied by dad's words.

Well I have to admit to being a bit distracted as I warmed up. Dad had opened a whole can of worms, would I do it again? Nah! Even for money? Well it would depend... get a grip, no regardless!


My reverie was broken as I was called to the line.

"Drew Bond?"


"I'll give you thirty then fifteen seconds then countdown"


The pusher gripped my seat post and I eased onto the saddle and clipped my left foot in.

"Ok" the pusher asked



I concentrated on my breathing as mum had taught me.


I started my computer running.

"Five, four" the pusher rocked me back and forth,

"Three, two, one, go!"

And I was off, sprinting away to get momentum then quickly into my tuck. The course was a gradual climb over the first four miles then after a loop over the carriageways a long downhill run in. downhill in this case means not uphill as it is mostly nearer to flat than any real gradient! I concentrated hard and kept a steady cadence over the outward leg. Wow! Just over twelve minutes to the turn.

I tried to up the pace for the return, but number fifteen still passed me! My legs were spinning like windmills as I tried to take advantage of the passing traffic. I could see the start area, just under a mile to go all on a long left-hand bend! Finally as my legs were really starting to complain, the finish hove into site. I glanced at the computer, 24.50, wow! The last quarter mile seemed to take forever as the lactic acid started to take hold but eventually I reached the line and slapped the stop button. 25.59! With the fifteen seconds off that gave me 25.44, a new personal by three seconds.

As there was over a mile to ride back to the HQ I took up my thoughts of Gaby again as I warmed down. If the inducement was right could I really turn it down? I mean it's not as though I really liked dressing as a girl, it was a mercenary thing. Christmas was just a costume event, the whole Easter dance thing was a lost bet and the modelling, well that was for money. So there you are, good reasons for each dressing episode!

"Well done son, 25.43!"

"Wow that's better than I made it!"

"Your mum will be chuffed"

"Can we ring her later"

"'Fraid not, she's in Spain this week but she said she'd try to call"

By his tone it was clear that dad was both disappointed for me and sad himself. Mum's absence was affecting him too, something I hadn't thought about before.

No prize this week except my PB, if I keep chipping away at this rate I might get a 24 by the end of the year! We stopped at a Little Chuff for tea where dad dropped his second bomb shell of the day.

"We're going to Ladybower tomorrow with the bikes"

"But dad, I was going to meet the guys" I almost whined

"They can come too" he offered

"I guess I can ask them"

"We'll ride round the reservoirs and have lunch at Slippery Stones ok?"


When we got home, right after my shower I rang the guys to tell them of the change of plan. To my surprise it was Rhod who cried off, the three girls were quite keen on the idea.

For those of you who don't know (I guess there might be one or two of you!), Ladybower and the Derwent Dams is where they practised for the Dambuster raids in the Second World War. These days it's a popular spot for walkers and mountain bikers, sitting as it does in the south Pennine hills just outside Sheffield. I really enjoy the circuit and we often swim in the river at the top of the Howden reservoir, at Slippery Stones.

Sunday arrived with uncharacteristic blue skies prompting Jules to grab our swimsuits just before we left. We collected the others and their mounts soon after nine and headed for Sheffield. Being Sunday the traffic was pretty light and we talked about the student exchange and stuff. The Veedub wheezed a bit as we climbed out of Sheffield then barely ten miles later we dropped down to the Ladybower. Dad decided to park at Fairholmes, there's toilets and stuff there and it potentially shortens the circuit by a few miles. By the time we left the camper it was getting on toward eleven.

We joined the throng of day-trippers but our little group soon outstripped the walkers and a lot of the bike riders would clearly not get to the top of the dams. I wasn't trying to race along but on the first climb I pulled away from the others. I didn't realise this until I heard Maddy shouting to me.

"Drew! Wait up!"

I pulled up to wait for her.

"Sorry I just got carried away"

"That's alright, your dad said for us to keep going, we'll meet up at the top"


I got my old Klein back into motion and adjusted my pace to match Mad.

"It's pretty cool out here huh?" Mad suggested

"Yeah, it's one of my favourite places"

"Pity it's so far"

"Well it's only thirty miles"

"Yeah but you can't exactly ride here can you?"

"I have done with mum, but I know what you mean"

We cut the conversation as we made the next climb; Maddy was well out of breath at the top.

"Mad can I ask you something?"

"Huh, huh, what?" she wheezed

"Well I guess it's about Gaby"

"What about her?"

I wasn't sure where this was going but I ploughed on.

"Well what do you think of her?" the syntax (big word!) didn't seem right.


"You know..."

"Well I guess I like her"

"More than Drew?"

"No! well differently. It's like, well, you're my friend, we do stuff, have fun but you're a boy, there's stuff we can't talk about or share."

"Uh huh" I nodded

"Well Gaby is like a girlfriend. You know like Ally and Bernie. We can talk about clothes and stuff and have loads of fun, there's no barriers you know?"

"I think I get it. Even though you know she's me, you can relate to her better"

"That's it Drew. But why the sudden interest? I thought you said you wouldn't get dressed up again"

"I did, and I still mean it but you acted different toward me when I had the boobs and I needed to know why."

"Well don't get me wrong Drew and I know it's a bit odd but I'm going to miss her"

"I guess I will too"

So there it was. I have just admitted to my best friend that I will miss dressing up as a girl! And I didn't even intend having this conversation, this is just too weird!

We reached the bridge at Slippery Stones and sat on the riverbank to wait for the others. They weren't far behind us and soon we were camped a bit further upstream by the swimming hole.

The open moors and the bleating of sheep always seem to act as a relaxant and the six of us ate lunch each lost in their own thoughts.

Jules broke the spell.

"come on guys, get your suits on, last one in's a wuss!"

She chucked my kit at me and I found a nook to change in. But shite! This wasn't my trunks, it's, oh no.

"Jules you didn't get my trunks"


"No you didn't, look"


I hoisted Gaby's regulation school costume for all to see.

"I'm not wearing this!"

"Who's to know?"

"No one but I'm not wearing it!"

"Oh come on, it is yours after all"

"Come on Drew" Bernie shouted

Well I guess no one's gonna see me up here. I pulled the suit on, gathered my clothes and went to join the others.


"Yes Dad"

"Did you wear that for the photo's?"

"Er yeah, I had like all the bits and stuff to fill it out"

"Yes well, er, um take care in the water"

He was obviously taken aback at my appearance. I just beat Ally to the pool and I joined the others in the icy mountain waters. Well we larked around in the water for over an hour, I soon forgot what I was wearing, after all the others were all wearing one-piece suits too.

"Come on kids, time to go" dads voice carried from where he had lain asleep for most of the afternoon.

The ride back to Fairholmes is mostly down hill without the undulations of the road. The nearer to the centre we got, the more people were evident and we were soon dodging pedestrians, dogs and day hire bike riders. What a brill day!

Maddy Bell 21.05.03
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The images used above have been selected from various sources. If you hold the copyright to any image and wish it removed contact me. Thanks to everyone involved in Cosplay, particularly Anime Turnpike.