Bernie the Bolt
"Good day?" Mum enquired.
"So so, I got an extension on my history essay, Mart reminded me to write to Bernie and I came last in the boob cup but got extra points for presentation."
"Its a long story." I sighed.
"Sounds familiar, so what size?"
"Don't you uhm me, what size are you now?"
"What's that in English?"
"Thirty two I think."
"You've lost a bit of weight." Mum stated.
"Only a couple of kilos."
"Well I guess you're eating plenty. So you coming out with the girls tonight?"
"Out? As in party?"
"No out as in training, we postponed today's session as it was so warm."
"Tell me about it." I sighed.
"I wish your father would change the car for a left hooker." Mum mumbled as she struggled to get out onto the bypass.
" It's a good car, I like it."
"But it's not really suited to over here is it, it's not like we go home with it."
"Guess not." I allowed.
"Sure, it's not one of those mad sessions is it?"
"Not sure I know what you mean,” she said with a less than straight face.
What have I let myself in for now?
It was still not four when we got home, Dad was sat on the deck with a pile of paperwork and a glass of something that looked interesting.
"Hi , guys."
"Gabs is coming tonight, her bike ready?" Mum enquired as we walked round to where Bond senior was sat.
"I'll check the tyres, what time are you out?"
"Meeting at the Bahnhof at six."
"I suppose you want feeding then?"
"Might be an idea luvver!" Mum agreed in a corny West Country accent.
I left them to it; even with eating I've still got an hour to fill.
A lot has happened this week not all good. Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first, Helen's in hospital at the moment, some madman stabbed her while she was out running on Sunday. Its pretty serious, she's been in a coma all week but by the time you get this she should be getting better. Mad has been in pieces all week, I've not been much better and the attacker is still out there.
Besides that there hasn't been much happening, I won the big race on Sunday which was well good, I won the sprint but mostly 'cos the other kid ran out of steam. Ron sends her best btw.
The other breaking news is that I'm going to Japan in September! How cool is that? Mum and the team are doing some races and Dad and me are going as support but we get to look around some too.
How is junior? Not long now I guess, you got any news on the parole thing? I'll be coming over the week after school breaks up, that's like the beginning of July - we have two whole months off. I think Dad and Jules are coming too for the first week before I join the BC squad so hopefully I'll get to visit.
Martin sends his love! Of course the girls do too but I think it's only Mart who wants to get in your knickers!
"Drew, tea's ready!" Mum called up to my nest.
Where was I, oh right,
Any way, that's about it for now, I'll write again next week hopefully with better news.
Bye for now
I hit print and headed downstairs.
"Thought you'd be changed." Dad observed.
"Writing to Bern, telling her about Helen."
The light meal consisted of schnitzel, salad and half a baked tater.
"You okay with that?" Dad asked.
"You guys riding down?"
"Might be a good idea, get this un warmed up, a lift back afterwards would be nice." Mum suggested.
"Give us a bell later then."
I made short work of the food and rushed upstairs to get ready.
"You looking forward to the summer?" Mum enquired as we took a leisurely ride down to Bad Neunahr.
"Only sort of? I wish this sort of thing had been in place when I was your age. I woulda thought you'd be bouncing off the walls in expectation."
"I am looking forward to it but it's a long time to be away from home, everyone else will at least have family in the same country!"
"I must admit I never looked at it that way kiddo." Mum admitted.
"Its not just that, the others on the squad will have at least raced against each other if not as a team just in the natural run of things, I feel a bit of a fraud just dropping in for the summer."
"Drew Bond , I'm ashamed of you for even thinking such a thing! You have every bit as much right to be on the squad, every bit. Your palmares even just for this season is impressive, you've podiumed pretty much every outing, you are leading the junior series against lads up to two years older than you. It's not a clean sheet, no one could ever realistically hope for that but it's damned impressive."
"You know BC's long term aim, to bring home the bacon across all disciplines, a Tour win even, they are not in the habit of wasting money on also rans. You didn't hear this from me but you are right up there in the frame for that backing. Never, ever doubt your abilities, I make a passable living doing what I enjoy, you my girl , are slated for higher things."
I was a bit taken aback by Mum's outburst and just rode alongside in mute amazement. Me? Picked out as a tour hope for when? Five, six, seven years time?
"Drew, you came!" Tina called out as we rolled onto the station forecourt where the rest of the squad - Maria, Anja and Erika were already assembled.
I waved in response as we negotiated the cobbles up to them. “Heya.”
“George not here yet?” Mum enquired.
“Petra rang, the car has a flat, they'll be about ten minutes.” Maria informed us.
“And here I am raring to go.” Mum grinned.
I gravitated towards the team's younger riders; Mum and Maria can be so boring!
“So , Drew, you whooped anyone we know yet?” Tina enquired with a grin.
“George told us about the Dreilander on Sunday.” Erika offered.
“I don't want too many races like that.” I admitted.
“Ja, I've ridden that event two years since,” Erika told us, “it rained then too, I spent the day in a very wet peloton .”
“Your Mama says you are going to England for the summer?” Anja mentioned.
“Yeah, I'll miss everyone here.”
“Jen says you'll be at the Worlds.” Tina suggested.
“If I get picked, there's like twenty riders on the youth road squad and I think we get four rides.”
“Pah! How could they leave you from the team?” Erika asked.
“Well it would be nice.” I admitted.
Of course Mum will be a shoe in for the Women's road race and possibly the TT, the ladies being more successful than the GB juniors they get more starters.
The rumble of tyres over the cobbles announced the boss's arrival.
“Sorry we're late ladies, we all raring to go?” George enquired.
“As if.” Maria noted.
“Same as the schedule for earlier then, bit of practice for Antwerp so we'll keep it flat okay?”
Everyone nodded and I wondered what I'd let myself in for.
“ Let's do it.” Boss man instructed, by the time he was back in the car the girls and I were clipped in and feeding out onto the tarmac.
We paired off, I drew Tina, as soon as we got onto the main road and were soon at a good cruising speed heading down to Sinzig out past the bottling plant and under the autobahn. A rotation was started and I found myself part of a close knit group exchanging views on everything you get bikies talking about as well as stuff more usually found in the changing rooms of H&M ® !
Through Sinzig and onto the Rhein road southwards towards Brohl, we kept an even pace, thirty to thirty five, with George occasionally coming alongside to make some comment or give some instruction.
“Fartlek!” he shouted after we passed the old Brohltal railway.
“You what?” I asked my partner.
“Sit behind and watch, you'll get the idea.” Tina instructed me.
We singled out, me second behind Tina. The pace hadn't changed then suddenly Anja came sprinting past and kept going, she was barely off the front when Erika followed suit. Ah, I think I get it. Mum went next, Maria, myself then Tina, each sprinting to the front before easing off. When we were back together we started a repeat, a process that we completed twice more before we reached the waterfront of Andernach.
If it was designed to simulate a chase it worked pretty well and I mused that this is exactly the type of training I generally miss out on. Everyone spent the short traverse of the town getting their wind back before reassembling into our pairings. Once we had cleared the traffic lights we returned to a steady rotation at a pace that was a tad high for conversation but slow enough to not be puffing.
We were soon negotiating Koblenz then it was over the river to start the northwards leg back towards the Ahrtal. Once out of Niederberg George pushed our pace until we were rotating at full race speed towards Neuweid into a slight headwind, the ever-present upstream breeze. I was comfortably holding my own until Mum took a flier – where the heck did that speed come from? This wasn't more of the ‘Fartlek' stuff; this was full on simulated racing.
Well she's not getting away with that!
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 30.09.2011