I was vaguely aware of a car parking nearby as Mand and I had our short exchange.
“Come on you two, Caroline will have my guts for garters if you get colds.”
“Gran? Guess what?”
“Invented the steam engine I think.”
“I had nearly seventy coming down to the finish.”
“Miles an hour?”
“Kilometres,” I supplied, “it'd have to be some hill to do seventy miles an hour.”
Mand shook her head, “Think I'd wimp well before that.”
I slipped my tracky top on before dismounting; apparently Gran had recovered our stuff from the grumpy timekeeper's car where we'd left it. It wasn't hot but the day had the makings of something quite warm, my bra felt revolting now with sweat slowly trickling down my back.
"Yeuk." I allowed plucking at the offending garment through my skinsuit.
"Yeah, not nice," Mand agreed.
"Let's get you two home and showered," Gran suggested. "Your bikes'll go in the back."
"Thanks Mrs Peters, I don't think I could ride anywhere for a bit," Mand agreed.
Gran's only got a Polo so getting two bikes in required a wheel drop and some juggling but we managed it eventually.
"We ready then?"
"Numbers," Mand gasped.
"Oops, we haven't got our times either."
"Go on then, I'll wait here," Gran told us.
It wasn't hard to work out where the results were, a collection of riders and supporters of various shapes, sizes, genders and ages were gathered around the timekeeper's Mondeo.
"What are they looking at?" Mand hissed into my ear as we approached.
"Probably me," I allowed out of the corner of my mouth.
"Well done girls," bike shop Phil offered as we arrived, breaking that train of thought.
"Lots of PB's this morning," he observed relieving me of the numbers.
"You?" I questioned.
"Me? No, I'm too old for all this, I was marshalling down at the turn."
"It's not the flattest course is it?" Mand observed.
"I'd prefer to call it sporting," he chuckled.
“Hey Phil, we reckon that's a course record, Wardy won't be pleased.” One of the other riders called over.
“Yeah, doesn't like playing second fiddle,” Phil replied.
“Who's Wardy?” Mand enquired.
“Dick Ward local fast man, between you and me a bit of a poseur. ” Phil whispered the last, “He was off in front of you Gaby, number twenty.”
“He was well up on me at the turn,” I observed.
“I made it twenty seconds,” Phil told us.
“He must've done a fifty six something.”
“Fifty nine,” Phil confirmed, “hey Mick, the girls'd like to see the board.”
“Sure here you go.” Mick passed over a clipboard, “Nice riding girls.”
“So what'd I do?” Mand enquired, “number seventeen.”
Phil ran his finger down the list, “De Vreen, Catford, one eleven.”
“Neat, a new PB!”
My inbuilt calculator was close to meltdown, I caught Mand for four minutes so that's fifty-seven eleven, kewl.
“Looks like you were a bit out Gab,” Mand noted.
“Only a few.”
“More than a few.”
“Twenty seconds isn't much.”
“Nearer a minute.”
“You said you'd done fifty seven thirty yeah?”
“Yeah,” I agreed.
Phil had a silly look on his face.
“Well I reckon you are forty seven seconds out.”
“No way, if I'd only done fifty eight I wouldn't've caught you.”
“Who said anything about fifty eight? Try fifty six dumbo.”
“Get on with ya.”
“Fifty six forty seven says here,” Phil confirmed.
“Let's see that.”
I checked down number twenty, Ward 56.59, twenty-one, Bond 56.47, flippin' ‘eck!
My reaction got a few chuckles from the gallery. There were only two others under the hour and a short 0 put Mand's time as sixth on the morning too, not bad for a bit of fun eh?
“Thanks for letting us ride,” Mand offered a few minutes later after Phil scribbled our times on a bit of paper for us.
“Remember us to your Mum Gaby.”
“Will do, we'd best get off, Gran's waiting, bye.”
“Think you made a bit of an impression Gab” Manda told me as we walked back to the car.
“I wasn't trying to.”
“Which endears you to them even more girl.”
“Everything okay girls?” Gran asked when we climbed into the Polo a moment or two later.
“Gaby won and I got a PB,” Mand supplied.
“Must've been my cheering.” Gran chortled, “Fancy going out to celebrate?”
“Sure, we need to change though.”
“Plenty of time, it's only just turned half nine.” Gran stuck the car in gear and we lurched off towards Burland.
“So where are we going?” I enquired a little over an hour later.
“You'll see,” Gran smiled.
“I still don't see why I had to wear a dress,” I complained.
“Give over complaining Gab, why you'd want to dress like a slob instead I can't see.” Mand noted.
“I like my combats,” I huffed.
“We are going out to eat Drew,” Gran pointed out.
Gran took us through the lanes to Bunbury (its a real place!) then past Beeston Castle and on for a few more miles before turning into the car park of a smart looking pub in a place called Aldford.
“Here we go ladies,” Gran announced.
“Are we alright in a pub? We're both underage,” Mand pointed out.
“It's okay if we're eating , right Gran?”
“Yes but as it's such a nice day I thought we'd eat in the garden?”
Indeed the earlier chill was now but a distant memory, there was still a bit of a breeze but it was turning quite warm.
Dinner was very civilized, a traditional roast beef dinner with all the trimmings, Gran followed with coffee but Mand and me had to try the sticky toffee pudding with ice cream.
“Urgh, I can't move.”
“I don't know where you girls put that pudding.”
“Hollow legs?” a slightly green looking Manda suggested.
“You won't want a look at Chester then?”
“We haven't got time have we?”
“I reckon we could do a couple of hours,” Gran calculated looking at her watch .
“Mand?” I enquired.
“That's settled, then.”
It wasn't a long drive into Chester, less than ten miles, Gran parked up at Boughton Heath Ferry, as it was easier than going into the centre. We used the ferry to cross over into Queens Park before following the river round to the centre.
“You fancy walking up the wall?” Gran suggested.
“Wall?” Mand asked.
“City wall,” I supplied, “you can walk around most of the town centre on it.”
“Yeah okay, sounds different.”
We crossed the Dee and climbed up onto the wall and headed up towards the city centre.
“You never been anywhere with a wall before?”
“Don't think so, never like this at any rate.”
“My Dad's like really into castles and stuff so we get dragged all over for this stuff, York, Lincoln, here.”
“Mine's more interested in footie than anything else, we like go to a race then straight home in case he misses any action, it's all he ever talks about.”
“So how'd you get into racing then?”
“Uncle David, my mum's brother, he used to race when I was little, used to fascinate me all his polished bikes and colourful shirts and all that. What's that?”
“Roman amphitheatre Amanda.” Gran supplied.
“Like Julius Caesar type Romans?”
“The same,” I agreed.
“Kewl! Just wait until I tell Lise, she's right into history stuff, shoulda brought a camera.”
“Ta da!” I announced producing my camera with a flourish, “Never leave home without one!”
“Neat, can you take some for me?”
By the time we'd walked round to the Cathedral and back down through the throngs of Sunday shoppers past the arcades to the river it was heading towards three.
“Anyone fancy an ice cream?” I offered.
“Ooh, yes please.”
“We'll have to eat them on the hoof,“ Gran mentioned, ”We need to be heading back to the car.”
“I'll take that as a yes then Gran,” I giggled.
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 13.09.12