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Part 40
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Even Jules was late getting up on Monday morning!

We met dad in the breakfast room at quarter to nine, I had managed to dress more like a boy today, well at least the clothes were mine!

"Come on you two, your mum will be here soon"

"How's she getting here? " Jules asked

"She's got the car remember" I offered

"Oh yeah" she allowed

"We'd better get something to eat then" I nudged Jules

You don't really want a full travelogue do you? Mondays are mums only regular day off as she is either racing, training or doing PR the rest of the week. We drove up to the Effelsburg radio telescope and then dropped down to Bad Munstereifel. Mum explained that 'Bad' was like putting 'pool' on a place name and usually meant there was a spring or such there. We did the tourist thing and watched the glass blowers, which was fascinating; dad was more concerned that we didn't break anything in the shop!

After lunch mum took us up to the Nurburgring where we went into the sort of visitor centre. Although it was nearly all in German we enjoyed ourselves, especially where they had loads of PS2's to play on. Then mum drove us on a convoluted route back to the hotel.

"We'll walk down to Dernau for dinner, then we can catch the train back, I'll stay here tonight" mum advised us

"How far's that?" I asked

"Only a few kilometres, we'll get the train back"

"That doesn't sound so bad" dad agreed

"It's a nice walk too" mum placated

So that's what we did, the footpath followed the railway for some of the way, the river in other places and boy did we have an appetite when we got there! We ended up with pizza eaten outside watching life go on in the village; we were well relaxed when we were done. The train arrived on time and we were quickly back at Altenahr. Before bed I texted Mad with news of mums win and promised to send a postcard.

Mum popped her head in the door last thing.

"Did you bring your bike kit Drew"

"You said to"

"Ok then, you can come with me tomorrow, Jules and Dad can go to Bonn shopping"

"Oh great!" Jules stated

"What are we doing then mum?"

"Training with the squad of course!"


"Good night then"

"Night mum" we both echoed

Tuesday arrived with a mixed forecast, showers and bright spells from what I could make out from the TV. We all got an earlyish breakfast before dad and jules dropped me and mum at the flat.

"Get changed Drew, we've got a bit of time yet, Mike will be by to collect us in about half an hour"

"I thought we were going training?"

"We are, Mike drives us out then we ride back"

"Where are we going?"

"Oh George will pick a route based on this weeks racing. Sometimes it's up and down the river or last week we started down at Trier"

"What am I going to ride then?"

"Mike will have something, some ones spare bike most likely"

A horn tooted outside.

"Come on that's the bus"

We went down to find Mike and the rest of the squad waiting for us. The bikes were on the roof and spare wheels were racked on the back. George was waiting with the masseuse in his car, as soon as mum and I got in the bus he pulled away, Mike in hot pursuit.

"Tag" mum greeted everyone

I was getting some funny looks

"Hier ist mein sonne Drew"

Maria got in first what the others were clearly struggling with

"But Drew is your daughter no?"

"No this is the lad I've been telling you about"

"But Sonntag? Drew she was wearing a dress"

"Sorry everyone, it was Kats idea"

"My Kat?" Maria asked

So mum had to explain to everyone why I ended up at the party dressed as a girl.

"But he looks so good as a girl!"

"Time to get to work ladies" Mike urged

We set about getting ready, shoes, gloves, glasses, helmets while Mike, George and the masseuse who was called Petra, got the bikes ready.

Drew ready to train with the squad
I was ready to join the Apollinaris squad!

"Drew, over here please" George called

"Good morning Herr Müller"

"Call me George please. Your mother says you are quite a racer eh?" he seemed to take my sex change in his stride!

"Well ok I guess, I've won a couple of times this year"

"Well today you see what your mother does. Mike has Tina's spare bike for you, he will set you up."

"Thanks George"

"Now it's a long ride, we will be going steady, you know piano?"

"Yes sir"

"Well we ride piano for maybe fifty kilometres, then I will go through some drills, then after the girls usually race back to the Café Adler, last one in buys the coffee eh?"

"Sounds great"

"Now I promised to look after you, so if you are getting tired tell someone and you can ride the bus ok?"

"Yes sir, thank you George"

"Now go see Mike"

I found Mike checking the brakes on a small machine with 'Tina Porsche' on the top tube.

"Two Tina's today" he chuckled, "ok hop on lets get you set up"

He quickly had me comfortable on the gorgeous Campagnolo equipped Cannondale. I was in heaven, Record 10 speed Ergo gears, Mavic wheels, my machine at home was like a barge by comparison!

I lined up with the girls, my Notts. Velo strip contrasting with their Apollinaris strip. George had a quick chat with Maria, who I found out was team leader then we set off, nine of us followed by George's car and the team bus. I've no idea where we were, there were lots of trees and not too much traffic, our route was fairly flat and we rode piano for almost an hour, everyone chatting, mostly about Sunday's race and mum took a lot of joshing over her win.

Then Maria dropped back to talk with George.

"You ok Drew?"

"Great mum"

"Remember to listen to Maria and if you want to drop off do"

"Okay mum"

Maria rejoined the bunch and the exercises started. We spread out up the road about twenty five metres apart then had to chase the rider in front, we did that several times and I was getting pretty tired, Mum spotted me panting hard and I was soon watching from the bus. The squad went through several other scenarios for about an hour during which time I had pretty much recovered, with the aid of liberal amounts of energy drink.

Maria came back to the bus.

"Drew, you want to ride the last bit?"

"I think so"


"She's ok"

Maria had the squad slow down while I got back on the bike and soon I was back in the bunch. We rode fairly steadily and then as a village approached, Mum and a couple of others took off to sprint for the sign. Mum was a designated sprinter so this was important training for her. Each time we regrouped and returned to a saner speed. We must have repeated this about six times before someone shouted "Adler!"

Well within metres it was a battlefield! Maria tried to get away off the front, Tina chased her down and we were spinning along at over 40k's. Mum came alongside.

"You ok?"

"I think so"

"Well drop off if you want and definately if it gets a bit boisterous"

"Yes mum"

"It's only about ten kilometres ok?"

I nodded

"See you in a bit then" she moved back up the group

It was every bit as tough as mum suggested, breakaways, chases, a split formed, I was in the back half and was grateful when my companions eased back and the pace dropped. Mum, Maria, Tina and Susan disappeared up the road rapidly, although we kept them in sight.

Our little group arrived at the 'Adler' just as the others were parking their bikes. A waitress was already at the door to get the order and soon everyone was talking at once as they found seats on the veranda.

"Hey Drew, your mum beat me again!" Maria called out

"Can't have you beating the champion can I?"

"You switched me"

"Did not!"

The banter continued until the drinks were served when George called order.

"Okay everyone, good session and well done Drew"

"Yeah" several voices sounded

"You all have your schedules for this week?" everyone was nodding, "well there are no changes, everyone will start the Schwarzwalder Fest ok, Jen, you will be protected rider with Maria, everyone will be watching you after Sonntag"

(Note from Maddy: I should say that George used a lot more German but I want you to follow the plot!)

"Ok, see you all Thursday"

"Bye George"

"Bye bossman"


George left on his own; everyone else would catch the bus back to Bad Neunahr.

Mum explained on the way back that only herself and Maria were full time riders, the others had part time jobs, organised by the team, to make up their wages. Three worked at the Apollinaris plant, one at the tourist office and the other two at the spa centre.

Mike dropped us off at the flat and mum rustled up some cheese on toast while I showered and changed, then got her own whilst I ate. I was only just after three so mum suggested we catch the bus up to Ahrweiler and go visit the Roman Villa. So that's what we did. The villa has a road going literally right round it. Apparently it was only found when they started building the bypass. So now it's covered by a huge wooden hall, I thought it was pretty neat. What was just as neat was that the girl at the desk recognised mum as the new regional champ. Apparently it was all over the local paper, 'local' rider wins title sort of thing. It seems that a lot of people thought mum was German! Weird or what?

Silverberg Romischer Villa
Silverberg Roman Villa is inside this!

I got some postcards and wrote them over a coke so I could post them back home. They might just get there before me!

We went back to mums flat to wait for dad and Jules, we were going to eat in the town tonight. Mum took a call while I tried to get a descent channel on the TV; there was a badly dubbed film, some German police drama with a helicopter or news.

"That was Maria, how do you fancy going out with Kat on Thursday?"

"Don't you have anything planned?" I asked

"Only training again, your dad was going to find something, but Maria said that Kat mentioned swimming."

"Well it sounds okay, what about Jules?"

"She's invited too of course, anyway think about it, we're going to the Pinger's for dinner tomorrow night you can tell Kat then."


The others finally got back and we went to a Spanish restaurant, mums favourite. I nearly fell asleep at the table; the day's exertions finally caught up with me! Afterwards we drove back to the Krone and I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Wednesday, Mittwoch. Mum had tourist things organised for today, a steam train ride amongst them. We were having a leisurely day and we drove across to catch the 'Vulcan Express' just after ten. The little train took an hour to climb to the top where we had time for an ice cream before returning back down the valley to where the car was.

We then drove to Maria Laach, a real live monastery! We had a walk around the gardens, had a snack and walked down to the lake. It was still early so we drove on to Koblenz where we went to the Deutches Eck where the River Moselle joins the Rhine. Then mum dragged us to the Koblenz Museum where we she showed us the actual painting of the 'Tower of Babel', you know the one, lots of little people building a huge tower thing. Well it's tiny! You'd think it would be huge but it's only about 30cm square if that!

After another ice cream we went back to the car and set off for the Pinger's.

"Don't we need to change?"

"No, it's a barbecue, just a few friends and you both look ok to me"

"If you say so"

We drove alongside the Rhine for some of the way, back past the railway then along some lanes until we stopped outside a house in a small village. There were a couple of other cars outside and the sounds of a party drifted from the back.

Kat had already spotted us and rushed over to the car.

"Welcome to Lohrsdorf! Come on through"

We followed Kat around the house to where the family Pinger were holding court. It's always a bit awkward when you don't really know anyone, worse when you don't know what is being said.

"Everyone" Maria clapped for attention, "you all know Jenny, these are her kinder Juliette and Drew and her husband Dave"

The others present said hi in various ways and then Maria brought a man whom I assumed was Mr Pinger over.

"Hello again Dave, this is Henryck my other half, he'll keep you lubricated. What would you like? Beer, wine?"

"Er beer please" dad replied

"Come on over Dave" Henryck spoke pretty good English too.

Well you know what these things get like. The adults drank, the kids mucked about, we all ate, potato salad, red cabbage, sauerkraut, wurst, schnitzel, in fact a veritable feast. A couple of Kat's friends were round, Lori and Freddii and after some initial reservation, we were all soon chatting away in Gerlish or is that Engman?

"Are you guys coming tomorrow?" Freddii asked

"Mum says we can" Jules replied

"Great" Kat mentioned

"How do we get here?"

"You are staying in Altenahr?" Lori queried

"Yes, at the Krone"

"Well you can get the train of course, we will meet you at the dorfbahn, sorry how you say, halt for trains?"

"Station?" I offered

"Yes station"

We made the arrangements and about nine mum indicated a need to leave.

"Thanks Maria, the kids will come down in the morning and I'll see you for training"

"We hope you enjoyed yourselves?" Henryck asked

"Yes thanks, I'll send that sample to Jen for you Henryck" dad replied

"Safe journey, guten nacht!" Maria offered

"Teuss" mum was into the German

"Wiedersehn" Kat added

"Bye everyone" I replied

Mum hadn't been drinking so she took the wheel to drive back to our accommodation.

"You all enjoying the holiday?" mum asked

"Yeah it's great" Jules replied


"It's brill so far"

"Well I'm sure you'll enjoy tomorrow too"

The sun streaming through the curtains awaked me; it looked set to be a good day. After breakfast Jules and I walked round to the railway station and only had to wait a short time before it came in. we were soon comfortable in the air-conditioned carriage and speeding down the valley. Mum had told us what to look for so we didn't miss our stop, but it told you on the train where you were.

"Die nachste halt ist Lohrsdorf" came through the speakers

"Our stop jules!"

"I heard"

We got off and Kat greeted us

"Hi guys"

"Hi Kat" I replied

"Come on, Freddii lives just up the road, you'll be borrowing her sisters bikes"

We followed her up the street to a small apartment block where Freddii was waiting with our steeds.

"Hi Drew, hi Juliette" Freddii greeted us

"Guten morgen Freddii" I offered

"Come on, we'll meet Lori on the way"

We mounted our steeds, I was a bit off put by the pink paintwork and loop frame but hey, it wasn't a race. We threaded our way down lanes and tracks collecting Lori en route, it was great. The sun was out and we were having fun. We got to the swimbad and joined the crowd inside. We were quickly changed, the girls commandeered a patch of grass and we were set for the day!

"Hey Drew, it looks like you have been not honest" Kat declared

I cringed; I remembered my strange tan lines.

"It's a long story" I started

"Another one?" Kat exclaimed

So I had to tell them about our trip to Ladybower and the case of the missing swim trunks. We stayed at the pool till after lunch then we rode on to the mini-golf just along the road. We got back to the Pinger's house to find mums car already there.

Swim time
Jules and Kat at the pool

"Good day kids?"

"Great mum" I replied

Mum decided to cook for us in her tiny flat that night as this was the last night she'd be here, they were travelling down to the Black Forest tomorrow afternoon. We enjoyed the spaghetti just because mum had cooked it; it was pretty good too. Again we drove up to the Krone for the night.

Our last full day in Germany was going to be a bit odd. Mum was leaving just after lunch, which left us without transport from then on. So we decided to hang out around Altenahr. Mum drove us up to Adenauer in the morning for an hour or so then we said our goodbyes when she dropped us back at the Krone. We did tourist things, a trip up the chairlift, a walk up the river, me and dad climbed the hill to the Altenburg while Jules perused the shops below.

We ate that evening at the Krone, then retired early as we had an early-ish start.

Henryck and Kat joined us for breakfast next morning, Henryck was going to drive us to Köln for our train, which meant we could have a bit of time there before catching the Thalys back to Brussels. So that was what we did. Kat took Jools and me on a whirlwind tour of Köln's main shopping area then a last coffee with the Pinger's before we caught our first train of the day.

Apart from gradually worsening weather, our return home was pretty uneventful. We had plenty of time for our connections and the Eurostar even got into Waterloo a little early. A quick taxi ride across London got us onto an earlier train back to Nottingham so that we were home by nine o'clock. We were all pretty tired, but it had been quite a week!

Maddy Bell 02.07.03
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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.