“So where did you two get to last night?” Claire enquired as we queued for breakfast.
“All over,” Mand supplied.
“Never saw you in here,” she pushed.
“Didn't see you either,” Mand noted.
“That pie was alright, eh?” I added.
“Not bad, not much kidney in it though.”
“It was steak and kidney?” I clarified.
“Well there was none in mine at all,” I observed. Course there wasn't, I had salad!
“So what do you think we're doing this morning?” Mand diverted.
“Some sort of gym work?” Claire suggested.
“Probably,” I agreed, “oh yeah you never guess what.”
“We got talking to this girl right.”
“One of the gymnastic lot?” Claire interrupted.
“They're ice skaters actually,” Mand informed her.
“Yeah well anyway, she was asking about Reddy.”
“She knew his name?”
“Course not, nah she saw him in here, I reckon she fancies him.”
“Oh my God! I hope you warned her off.”
“We tried,” Manda stated.
“Wasn't interested in what we said,” I added glibly.
Unlike last night, breakfast in the cafeteria was pretty busy so we'd been queuing whilst spreading the gossip. Finally though we got to hit the brekkie buffet, you could have a fry-up but it was cooked to order so most people loaded their trays with a much more continental meal. My eyes lit up, this is more like it!
Most of our party gravitated towards one corner of the room.
“Flippin' ' eck Drew, you got enough on there?” Darren enquired.
Well okay it looked a lot but really it was just a bit of this and that, fruit salad with yoghurt, a couple of rolls, scrambled egg and a glass of juice. Bum, no coffee.
“Here ya go boss man, coffee,” Claire plonked a pot of hot aromatic liquid next to my plate.
“Ooh, cheers C,” I enthused.
“So,” she started, sitting down, “which one is it?”
“Which skater gurl has the hots for Reddy?”
“Began with a J I think,” Mand suggested.
“They're all sat by the window,” Claire observed.
I knew that already.
“That one on the end,” I supplied.
“Hmm, not bad looking, maybe she's a bit slow?”
“He was trying to chat Sal up last night,” Mand mentioned.
“So that's where she went.”
“He must have something,” I offered.
“Okay people.” Steve stated at a volume that only just exceeded the teen gabble going on in front of him, it took several moments before we quieted enough for him to go on.
“Thank you. Today you get a day off…” before anyone had a chance to comment he continued, “from the bikes. We've spoken about adding variety to our training and today we'll be exploring some options off the bike that can add to our overall finesse. We neither expect nor suggest that you include everything into your programmes but we'd like you to consider adding at least one of today's elements to the mix. Yes Jamie?”
“Is this on top of the riding or instead Steve?”
“That will depend on individual circumstances but currently the thinking is a ratio of five to one, so five hours bike work to one hour off bike. We can talk about how to incorporate it as we go round, we'll start with a bit of a jog, loosen up and prepare our bodies for further activity.”
“I hate running,” I whispered to Claire who stood next to me.
“Me too," she agreed.
“Right, gentle jog, I don't want to see any Steve Cram's.” Steve instructed before turning to start running himself.
The pace was indeed more than walk but less than run, just enough to prevent most conversation. Some thoughtful individual had laid a gravel path around the grounds; we followed its twisting progress through the trees around grassed playing areas before looping back towards the Hall and the main complex. I think, no I am pretty fit but not for running, no way do I want to take it up, remember the Dernau Weinberg Tauglichkeitweg* episode?
At a guess the lap was about a mile and despite some grumbling we started a second circuit. How people can do this for enjoyment I'll never know, my calves and feet were already starting to complain and we've not been going twenty minutes yet. Although we had started in one group and there was still a fairly compact group at the end of the lap we now started to string out.
As you might expect we were being led by several of the lads although Laura was hanging in there too with some tenacity. Steve pulled the oldest coaching trick in the book, the peel off to encourage the slower runners that covers up them getting their breath back. I'd quickly assumed a comfortable enough pace and I resigned myself to trotting around a bit longer.
By the end of the second lap the gap between the front and me was easily a couple of minutes, I think there was only Claire and Sally behind me.
“Ding ding, come on last lap!” Caro encouraged when we reached the end of lap two.
“Sod!” I mentioned to myself.
Okay so I'm no great shakes at running, I knew that already. It's not like I was out of puff but my legs just don't enjoy the impacts, not just my legs, my booblets were in a continuous jiggle despite the tight sports bra. When I eventually finished the third circuit my shins ached and I was greeted by the peanut gallery.
“Something that Bond's not good at!” a smug Redding pronounced.
I managed a halfhearted wave of dismissal before collapsing onto the grass to catch my breath.
“Dinna take any notice o' him Drew,” Jamie instructed.
“I wasn't,” gasp, “going to.”
“You alright Drew?” Steve asked.
“Just about,” I wheezed.
Steve explained what we might gain by including running into our training programme – and the potential pit falls. The run itself had only taken about thirty-five minutes but it was some after ten before we headed for our second activity of the day. Caro led us through the complex and down to one of the smaller rooms that was furnished as a dance studio.
“Hi, I'm Paula and I'll be taking your dance session today,” a middle-aged woman stated, “sit yourselves down with a bit of space around you.”
“Dance?” Geth queried plonking himself onto the floor.
“Yes dance Mr.Jones.” Caroline agreed in a firm tone. “Paula has kindly agreed to put you lot through your paces so do as she asks please.”
“We don't have to wear those short skirt things do we?” Paul put in with a hint of fear in his voice.
“Only if you really want to Mr. Redding.” Caroline grinned, “Paula?”
“Thank you Caroline, just to put everyone's minds at rest, we are not going to be doing ballet or ballroom dancing but we will be getting a thorough workout. Okay, let's see what we have, anyone done any dance before?”
We're teenagers okay, never admit to anything that could be used to get us to do stuff.
“Girls? No ballet classes? Bit of a bop at the school dance?”
“I did ballet for a few years,” Claire admitted.
“No budding John Travolta's boys?”
“We used to do like Highland dancing in junior school, not that ah canna get ma head aroon the steps,” Jamie offered.
“I've done a bit, at weddings and stuff,” I allowed.
“I'm guessing,” Paula began, “that at some time you've all shaken a feather or two but who wants to admit it? It's not exactly something people admit to these days; most people's perception is of either highbrow ballet or shuffling about to Snoop Dog. Dancing can be so much more, disco, line dancing, folk like our Scots friend here, formal at weddings and functions, even cheerleading is a form of dance.
These days we use dance not just for entertainment but also for fitness and what our European neighbours call wellbeing. Why dance? Well it helps with co-ordination, general condition but also with muscle tone, flexibility and discipline. We've seen some prominent sports people using dance in their training regimes recently, you as cyclists are however a first for me.
So, today's session is designed to introduce you to dance as a training aid. We'll start with some stretching, can you pair up, find someone of a similar height if you can, girl or boy I'm not bothered.”
And so we started our first BC dance studio. I know I was a little light on the facts but I do have some pride you know. Being on the small end of the scale I ended up with Manda. Of course when I was in the Foresters and more lately in the Ahr Garde we do plenty of stretching exercises so I'm pretty flexible.
Paula took us through our paces for about twenty minutes; I was soon relaxing and almost flouting my suppleness.
“Urgh,” Mand complained, “talk about slave master.”
“You'll soon loosen up.”
“What if I don't want to?”
“Can't make you,” I shrugged.
“For someone who only dances at weddings you seem to know an awful lot about this stuff.”
“You kind of pick it up I guess.”
“Hmm,” she allowed.
Clearly the stretching was only a prelude to the dance class proper and I must admit to wondering what Paula had in store for us. In the event it wasn't so much dancing as learning, memorizing steps, not exactly line dancing but not far off. As you might expect, the lads made a big show of making out they weren't enjoying it.
An hour later we were hot, sweaty and tired.
“Okay, lunchtime,” Caroline announced.
“‘Bout time,” Mand groaned.
“Proper food,” I emphasised as we headed for the door.
“Okay girls?” Paula queried.
“Er yeah,” Mand allowed.
“And you young lady, clearly do more than dance at weddings,” she suggested.
Geez, I'm glad everyone else has already left.
“Er kind of,” I admitted.
“Not ballet I think, hmm, jazz?” she looked intently at me,“No, something more ordered, cheering?”
“Methinks more than just a bit,” she pushed.
“The school squad.”
“Ha! I knew it. And I bet you still do some.”
“Not cheering, I sort of fill in with the Garde.”
“It's a German thing, bit like a cross between cheering and line dancing.”
“I thought you had an accent.”
“We've got another session next week, you up for giving me a hand?”
Do I have a choice?
* Fitness route see book 7 chapter 35
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 08.10.12