Chapter *11.06*

Not So Brief

The mild weather that we were lucky enough to have yesterday didn't last the evening out; we woke to persistent rain that looked set for the day. The racing over it's back to the grindstone.

“Okay you lot, calm down.” Caro requested when we convened in the lecture room after breakfast. It took a moment but she was soon able to go on, “ S light change this morning's programme folks, decisions have been made, we'll be talking to you all individually during the day, because of that we aren't out on the bikes until this evening, instead you'll be in the gym this morning.

We'll be taking you in alphabetical order, which means , Drew, you are up first, we'll be using the office next to reception, Laura, you'll be up next. Questions?”

The sixty four thousand dollar question was of course, who has made the squad, Caro wasn't giving anything away, we'd each have to wait for our own individual fate to be decreed and lucky me gets to go first.

I nervously knocked on the door a few minutes later.


I pushed the door open and slipped inside.

“Take a seat , Drew.” Caro instructed.

“Er thanks.”

I'd been expecting Steve and Caro but instead of Steve I was faced with Chris Toynbee and another chap I didn't recognise.

“Hello again , Drew,” Chris started, “a lot has happened since we last spoke.”

“Uh huh.”

“Oh sorry, this is my boss Dave Brailsford, Dave is in charge of medal winning for Team GB.”

That's where I saw him before, on the Olympic coverage the other week.

“To business then, you came to us with a very impressive palmares and you've certainly confirmed in our minds that you deserve a permanent place on the Development Squad. Steve and Caro have recommended your selection for Denmark and Dave and I agree you should travel.”

Whilst Caro had hinted strongly that I'd have a place, confirmation by Chris lifted a weight from my shoulders I hadn't realised I was carrying.

“Erm, does being on the team mean I have to move to Manchester full time?”

“No, nothing like that young man,” Mr Brailsford cut in, “we want you to continue with your education, this isn't China you know. There will be training camps that we expect you to attend and if things go well you'll be representing Team GB in the junior World Cup series next season.”

“So er what happens next, I mean up to Denmark?”

Chris came back in, “Caroline will talk to your parents later, you go back to Manchester on Wednesday, full health assessment on Thursday then those picked for Denmark are off to Italy for some specific training and the Helvetia Cup in Switzerland in ten days time. You have a few days at home then before we gather in Roskilde.”

“Wow, glad my passport's up to date!”

“I don't think Chris mentioned , Drew, but you'll be doing the time trial and road race, you up for that?”

Flip and flop!

“I get to ride one of those aero bikes again?”

“Indeed you do, so what do you think?” Dave pressed.

“Count me in.”

“Anything you want to ask?” Chris enquired.

“Who else is on the team?”

“You know young Cavendish has a place but it wouldn't be fair if we told you before we tell them so you'll have to be patient a little longer. I think you've probably already got some feeling, obviously events on Saturday have changed things a little.”

“Chris.” Dave interrupted.

“Sorry, probably said too much there. So if there's nothing else , Drew?”

“Not for now thanks, you won't regret it, putting me on the team that is.”

“In that case we're done for now, can you send Laura up please?”

“Sure, nice to meet you Mr Brailsford.”

“And you Drew.”


“Will we, regret it that is?” Dave mused to his underlings.

“What options do we have?” Chris pointed out, “the kids crapped all over the rest of our pick, we need support for Mark, without Drew we'd be pissing in the wind.”

“The Waugh lad's come on a lot in Germany,” Caroline pointed out.

“Talking of Germany, how are negotiations going with Apollinaris?”

“We're waiting on a reply from the team owners but Dave seems to be reasonably behind the idea.”

“Timescale?” Dave enquired.

“We should know by Roskilde,” Caroline informed the others.

“Pity we can't do something similar for the lads,” Chris sighed.

“Josh Waugh is already in place.”

“Yes but we're not getting any depth for the road, on the track we've got a great core but to succeed on the tarmac we need more than three riders,” Dave declared .

Yes! I punched the air in delight, it's not every day you get picked to represent your country on the international stage, not once but twice. Just wait until I tell the girls – and Dad, wonder if I've got time for a call? Hmm, best not, they'll be waiting for Laura.

I made my way down to the gym where the others were being tortured by Steve.

“Laura, they're ready for you.”

“Cheers Drew, wish me luck.”


She grabbed a towel and headed for her destiny.

“Drew, warm up then take Laura's spot with Amanda.”



“So?” Mand queried ten minutes later.”

“Yup.” I allowed with a grin.

“You shoulda been a shoe in,” she suggested.

“Eggs and chickens.”

“Uh huh, so who else?”

“Wouldn't tell me.”

“So what happens now?”

“Training in Italy, some race in Switzerland then the big W in Denmark. Oh yeah I'm doing both events.”

“Boys and girls?” she whispered.

“Don't be daft, road race and tt.”

“Oh right.”

“I'm sure you'll be picked.”

“If there were two riders and two prizes I'd be third.”


“‘Smy luck.”

“Less chat you two,” Steve instructed.



We were doing circuits, twenty stations, minute on, fifteen seconds off, the lads were going around singly, the girls in pairs, each separated by at least one station. I managed to get a thumbs up across to Josh who didn't seem to be enjoying his first day on the squad too much . Whistle, work, whistle, stop, move and repeat.

By lunchtime half our number had been up to the office, by the grin on Geth's face he had a slot, John came back with a face like thunder so I'm guessing he's not made the cut. Claire and Laura returned in good spirits but David I reckon has missed out. With seven rides to cover in the lad's events, four are taken, so three left with four riders in the frame.

As you might guess lunch wasn't the usual chatty, spirited affair. With a total of five rides and four riders to choose from it looked unlikely that any of them would miss out, it was more who got what.

“I reckon you've got a spot.” Claire suggested to Jamie between mouthfuls of chicken soup.

“Maybe, I'm nae sa sure, what with the Toon here.”

“I agree with Claire, you're a cert,” I asserted .

“They aren't aboot to pick me man, I've been here like a day , ” Josh grumbled .

Personally, I wasn't so sure about that, I'd take Josh and Jamie for the road and maybe Darren for the other Testing slot, he was pretty quick when we were chasing around that circuit. That is assuming Geth has a road start – well that's who I'd pick anyway.


I hadn't given any thought to this afternoon's activities so when Laura met us at the door of the dance studio half an hour later my heart sank. I vaguely remember agreeing to help her with this session, what the heck have I volunteered for?

“Okay people, now you're all nicely stretched we'll get down to some work, Drew love, can you give me a hand.”

It wasn't a question so I reluctantly joined her at the front of the class.

“Right then, unlike last time we are going to concentrate on balance and muscle control, both things that you as cyclists need to master. So what I'm going to do is ask Drew here who has some dance experience to take some positions and demonstrate the required moves, then you guys get to have a go. I don't want any pulled or torn muscles so just get as close as you can okay?”

There was a confirming mumble from my colleagues and then my humiliation began.

Now don't get me wrong, even at Garde we go through some ballet positions but stood in front of your mates standing in each position I felt a right plonker. So okay it's not like taking the stance was difficult, or even the moves but it hardly gives out boy vibes does it – especially as even the girls struggled with some of them. Jamie disappeared, then Sal, David, Steve before Manda and finally Josh took their turns in the office.

Of course we didn't spend the whole afternoon doing ballet positions, oh no Laura had a surprise in store for everyone – line dancing! As if spending an hour and a half holding ridiculous poses wasn't enough fun now we get Dolly Parton and the birdie dance. It was at least a chance to let off a bit of steam, reduce the tension that had inevitably built during the day.

Laura managed to collar me again at the end of the session.

“Thanks for helping Drew, are you sure you've not studied ballet?”

“One hundred percent.”

“Caroline tells me you're going to the World Championships?”


“Well good luck, bring back a medal eh oh and don't forget to practice your barre.”

“Er sure, thanks.”

I made my escape and headed for a shower – practice barre, like that's gonna happen!

to be continued....

© Maddy Bell 29.04.13

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