I've no idea what time I dropped off and to be honest I was still feeling quite maudlin when I thumped the stop button on my alarm a little after six Monday morning. With the sun streaming in through a gap in the curtains there was no reason not to go training and a good ride would work wonders in sorting my head out. I wasn't the first up this morning though, by the sounds of it, Uncle John was getting ready for work downstairs.
"Morning Unc," I half yawned.
I prefer coffee first thing but when in Rome.
"Training this morning?" he asked as he made my brew.
"Yeah, I need to get a few miles in this week or they'll think I'm a right plonker at BC."
"Well be careful eh."
"I will." I agreed between mouthfuls of tea.
Unlike yesterday's twiddle around the lanes, this morning I wanted to get in a proper session so I set off with a 75cl bottle and an energy bar, enough to tackle a good couple of hours in the saddle. I headed down to Mansfield before picking up the Newark road not that I intended going that far.
Once I cleared the traffic-light riddled stretch to Rainworth I settled into a more even, mile-eating cadence. Over the Ollerton road then a fast drop to Kirklington before the nasty little climb onto the wold. I almost missed my turn as the road once again headed downhill, spotting the sign for Winkburn at the last minute.
Mum used to like these largely traffic free lanes criss-crossing the wolds between Ollerton and Newark. It's not a big area but there are some reasonably testing uphill bits with just enough twiddly bits to prevent insane boredom. Up over the first rise, the first real indication of the wind direction became apparent then after dropping through the village its potential to make things uncomfortable was more than hinted at on the drag up towards Maplebeck.
I took a long swig from my bidon over the summit before dropping through the village onto the slightly more main road along to Eakring. Overall it's a climb but most of the height gain is in the last mile up into the village, the other few miles losing as much as they climb. The wind didn't make it any easier, I was thankful for the bit of shelter as I rode through the village.
The Wellow road past the windmill was the one I took, more open, rolling road but at least the wind wasn't directly in my face. Mum used to say the same stuff every time we went through Wellow, the tallest Maypole in the country blah de blah, whatever , Mum. Today when I reached it though it was like finding an old friend, I kind of missed Mum's narrative.
The main road was full of commute r traffic but I was only on it for a short way before I took the Rufford road. It's pretty flat across to the country park so I took the opportunity to snaffle my energy bar before the last headwind blighted leg home. There was a short bit of A road before I lost the traffic again, turning for Clipstone to avoid Edwinstowe's one-way system.
What a slog and when it turned more into the wind just before my turn I cursed my choice of route. The climb up Bradmer*, whilst hardly a mountain, was plenty tough enough this morning. At least it's basically all downhill from here so after emptying my bottle I let fly down into Warsop, managing to set off the speed camera with 35mph .
Just past Bernie's road I cut through the estate to come out near the school before looping over the river into Church Warsop. It felt strange riding past the old house, not our car on the drive; I guess the red Micra is Hel's mum's car. My computer was showing just under 55km when I arrived back at the Peters, a little under two hours after my departure.
“Breakfast?” Aunt Carol enquired as I pushed the kitchen door open.
Despite the energy bar I was ready for more, a nice cup of coffee and a raisin Danish, hmm.
“Cereal? Toast? Or I can do some scrambled egg?”
No pastry then.
“Scrambled egg, please.”
“Right, you go get showered and dressed then, oh and can you give your cousin a nudge.”
Once upstairs I knocked on Mad's door.
“Mad? You awake?”
I listened at the door but there was no reply.
“Mad, it's gone nine, time to get up.”
I thought I heard a heavy sigh. What the heck, I'm not standing out here all morning; I pushed the door open and poked my head around the edge.
“Mad it's – oh shit!”
My exit was far quicker than my entrance; I took refuge in the bathroom, locking the door behind me. Shit, shit, shit! I so did not need to see that. I won't go into detail but I'm sure you'll get the idea if I say she was lying naked on her bed playing with herself, lost in some other place. Talk about embarrassing, and I did knock.
I pulled my sweaty togs off, the cuffs of my tracky were drenched, my bib shorts rimed with salt and my mitts a sodden lump – yuck. Usually in my post race shower I go over my ride in my head but this morning my thoughts were hijacked by images of my cousin doing whatever it was. I'm not quite sure what my feelings are, shock maybe, surprise certainly ; it's not like I don't know girls do that stuff, my friends back home are certainly not shy discussing it , but to see Mad at it…
“You done Gab? I need a wee.”
Geez, how do I face her? I gathered up my sweaty kit and stuffed it in the laundry bin; Aunt C did say she was doing washing today didn't she? I tugged the bathrobe a bit tighter around me and opened the door.
“Thanks Gab, I'm bursting.” Mad pushed past me allowing me to escape to the spare room.
Well I think my best plan is to say nothing unless she does.
“Thought you'd fallen down the plug hole.” Aunt C grinned when I reached the kitchen again.
“Only joking , Drew, here you go,” she plonked a plate piled high with scrambled egg on toast in front of me, “there's tea in the pot. Is that daughter of mine up yet?”
“Yeah, sorry to be a nuisance but is there any chance of a cup of coffee?”
“It'll have to be instant?”
“That's ok, I'm just used to it, no one drinks tea in the morning at home.”
“Well eat up, nothing worse than cold scrambled eggs.”
I was halfway through the mound of food before my cousin bounced into the kitchen.
I waved my fork in greeting, as my mouth was full.
“I thought you two were meeting the girls at ten?”
“Change of plan, Manda's giving us a lift, she's picking us up at ten past.”
“You still need to shake a leg it's nearly ten to.”
“Hel's mum of course.”
Well I didn't know, with a shrug I continued feeding my face.
“You going like that, Gab?”
“That was the plan.” I managed between mouthfuls.
“Hmm,” she grunted.
If she thinks I'm changing she's got another think coming.
BEEP, BEEP .
Our lift announced its arrival.
“What time are you back?”
“Not sure Mum, I'll ring later.”
“Say hi to Mand for me, have a good day and don't get into any trouble.”
Trouble? What has Mad been up to?
The red Micra I saw earlier was waiting at the curb when we finally got out of the door.
“Morning Mad, hi Drew.” Helen greeted us.
“Morning Hel, Mrs Joyce.” Mad returned.
“Hi,” I offered in turn.
“Get in then girls.”
It only being a two door that meant Helen getting out first before me and Mad could scramble into the back.
“Mum says hi.” Mad mentioned once we were seated.
“So what are you planning on doing today girls?” Mrs J enquired.
“Just the usual Mum,” Helen supplied, “do the shops I guess.”
“Reacquaint Gabs with the delights of Nottingham,” Mad added.
By now we were turning into Ally's estate, she was stood on her corner waiting for us. Now a Micra is not a big car so even given that neither Mad nor me are very big, with Ally as well it was a bit of a squeeze. Once we were settled, I was perched in the middle; we set off for the county seat.
Of course with four females in the car it was soon abuzz with conversation, I had to tell them about Don Con after Mad let it slip I won the top prize. I gave the edited version without mentioning Aisha or James, if Mad wants people to know about that she can tell them.
“Did you see James then?” Al asked as we threaded through the traffic in Mansfield.
“Might of,” Mad admitted.
“Geez Drew, you'd think she was in lurv,” Hel mentioned from the front.
“Lust,” Ally giggled.
Mad made shushing signs, indicating she didn't want Mrs Joyce to hear more.
“So Drew, you looking forward to the summer?” said parent posed.
“Sort of, I'm not really sure what to expect.”
“From what I've been hearing, you're following in your mum's wheel prints.”
“Hey Gab, you could ride the ten tomorrow then everyone can see you race, ” Mad suggested.
Actually Mad, that's not such a bad idea.
“Yeah that's a great idea , Mad,” Hel noted, “go on Drew.”
“I guess I could.”
“We can get Chrissie and the others to come,” Al enthused.
“Captain of the Foresters dummy,” Mad told me.
“Didn't know there was one?”
“I told you at Christmas.”
“A lot was going on.” I'm sure I would have remembered if she had said.
We parked at the Radford Park + Ride, next to where they hold the Goose Fair and waited for a city bound tram.
“Right girls, back here for three, I need to go to Ikea® on the way home.” Manda instructed.
“Yes Mum,” Helen agreed.
There's usually a catch with any lift .
The tram rattled to a halt and the waiting throng surged onboard. Seats are at a premium on Nottingham's cattle movers so we commandeered the space between a pair of doors. I'm glad it wasn't far into the centre, considering how new the trams are they lurch about like a drunken sailor.
“Three o'clock, ” Mrs J reminded as we left her in the main square.
“We'll be there, ” Ally replied as the doors closed leaving us on the platform.
“So, what're we doing?” I enquired.
“Toilets in Marks, ” Mad stated.
* Bradmer Hill, at100m the local high point
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 13.05.12