Chapter *11.16*

Deep Breath


“Bit full of himself.” Mand stated as we headed towards the bus.

“A right jerk,” I agreed, “he thought I was a girl!”

“As if,” Claire noted. “At least they had some decent gloves.”

“Pity that Telekom jersey was so big,” Laura lamented.

“They're a good laugh.”

“Who?” Sal queried.

“The Telekom lads.”

“You're not gonna tell us you know them,” Claire posed.

“Well Mum knows some of them, we've had dinner together and stuff.”

“You lucky sod,” Sal allowed wistfully.

“It's like having some celeb on the team,” Laura chuckled.

“You'll be telling us next you know Prince William,” Claire added.

I decided not to mention the Munich affair; things could get a little erm, awkward to say the least.

“Don't be daft, where would I meet royalty?”

“I'm sure you'd find a way,” Mand stated.

“And what's that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing.” She replied with a smirk.

We'd just missed our bus so we had a fifteen-minute wait for the next, which was quite full with commuters and homeward bound shoppers. Our stop arrived sooner than I thought, we nearly missed it in fact but we arrived back at the hostel about quarter to six – well before dinner.




I hate it when they stick that wooden spoon thing down your gullet, always makes me gag.

“Okay Drew, that looks fine, just need to do the vampire bit and I'm all done with you.”

“Great,” I'm not a fan of having blood drawn either.

I'm not sure whether I mentioned it or not but we get to do a full MOT* today, yeah we did one when we arrived in Manchester the other week but BC are nothing if not thorough. The Doc raided my precious supply of blood and I was done – well for the doctor type stuff at least – we get to do all the fitness type stuff next. I reassembled my clothing and left the good doctor scribbling a note.


‘Bzzzt, Bzzzt, Bzzzt.'

I had a bit of time to kill until my torture session starts so I was sat watching the action on the ‘drome when my phone started chirping.

‘Bzzzt, Bzzzt, Bzzzt.'

I flicked it open and accepted the call, “ H ello Bond.”

“Heya , Drew!”


“Well duh! Who else would ring on this number?”

“Sorry I didn't look, so um how's it going?”

“Ach so so, there's not much racing and it's not much fun on my own anyhow.”

“Poor Roni.”

“Huh, it's alright for you in your training camp!”

“I thought you guys that made the German squad were going on a camp?”

“It was just a few days not like your six weeks.”

I hadn't really given it much thought; I'd sort of assumed they'd have a similar set up to BC, clearly not.

“So um, why the call? Not that it's not good to hear from you.”

“To the point for a change, well I have just been on the phone with the Federation, I'm on the team for the Switzerland Tour!”

“What about Gret?”

“Dunno, not spoken with anyone else yet, you're the first.”

“We're doing some race down there too, the Hel something Cup?”

“It's the same! Cool, we can get together.”

“We'll be on different teams.” I pointed out.

“We can still talk.”

‘DREW BOND, ROOM B4 , ” the PA boomed.

“I have to go Ron, it's my turn on the torture equipment.”

“Torture equipment?”

“Performance testing, it's all computers an' stuff, look I'll try to call back later okay?”

“Sure, have fun in the dungeon, ciao.”


It's pretty cool that we both get to ride in Switzerland, mind you it'll be pretty weird being on a different team. I stowed my Handy, gathered the rest of my stuff and headed to the torture chamber, I mean room B4.


“Drew Bond?”

“Uh huh,” I agreed.

“Okay I'm Marcus Wilson, my glamorous assistant over there is Pauline Cameron, “the young woman tending to the equipment gave a smile, “we'll be putting you through your paces today. You've got your shoes I see, Look** I hope?”

I nodded in agreement. They get a team in from the local university to carry out these tests so your chances of meeting the same people are fairly small, I don't think it's anything sinister, just the way it is.

“Okay you can change behind the screen.”

I entered the impromptu changing room and started to get ready.

“You done one of these before Drew?” Marcus enquired.

“Ja, im Janvier und letz monat hier testet.”

“Come again?”

Dur! Talk about daft, that's what I get for talking to Ron!

“Er sorry, I was just talking to a friend in Germany, I forgot what language I was using.”

“Wish I could speak another language,” Marcus lamented, “you're pretty good at it.”

“I do live there, you learn pretty quick!”

“So er, have you? Done the test before that is?”

“Oh sorry, yes I came over in January and did it and we went through it a few weeks back.”

“You know the score then, ready when you are.”

This bit was always going to be embarrassing, I returned to the main room in just bib shorts and a sports bra.

Marcus and Pauline didn't bat an eyelid.

“Okay girl, lets get this show on the road,” Pauline grinned.

“Er sure.”

Sometimes it's just easier and less embarrassing to go with the flow, at this stage it's simpler not to try and explain my whole situation.


Not sure what I've told you before about this testing stuff, essentially after calibrating the kit, the victim, I mean testee, gets to take part in a series of exhaustion testing whilst breathing through a controlled supply and wired up to a ton of monitors. Of course you could do ‘just enough' but what would be the point? So you work as hard as you can – end result, you land up absolutely cream crackered and hot and sweaty.

“Great , Drew, let's get that kit off you.” Marcus stated as I did my best to drag oxygen into my lungs.


“If I didn't know Drew, I'd say the results look like some of the lads we've tested today.” Pauline mentioned as she passed me a towel.

I am a boy!

“Better endurance though,” Marcus observed, “typical female physiology, the lads get by on strength, so whilst your power output isn't as high you can keep the same intensity of effort much longer.”

“Huh ? ”

“So we girls are better than the boys at something eh Drew ? ” Pauline chuckled.

“I guess.” I sort of agreed.

“I'd say you're in the top five percentile,”


“Of female cyclists,” Marcus supplied.

Not so cool, well okay if I have to be a girl it's pretty cool but I don't want to be a girl.

“Get yourself changed girl,” Pauline suggested, “I'm sure your coaches will want to discuss this stuff with you.”



I really wanted a shower, I hate sweaty boobs, but I've still got the gym tests to get through – at least I don't need to do that in my underwear.

Steve was running the gym sessions, the first time I'd seen either of our coaches since we arrived at the velodrome.

“Okay Drew?”

“Just about, that VO² test doesn't get any easier.”

“That's the point, so you ready to hit the weights?”

“Not really, I hate weights.” I admitted.

“Necessary evil I'm afraid, let's start with some leg curls.”

It wasn't a particularly intensive session; it was all about measuring muscle strength and that endurance thing again. I'll be the first to admit that my upper body strength isn't particularly great, riding a bike is about your legs, isn't it? Well okay you need to have some arm strength but I don't want to end up looking like Popeye.

At least afterwards I got to shower.


“You done too man?” Josh asked after nearly knocking me over.

“Yeah. How'd you get on?”

Because we've each been going round on our own we've hardly had a chance to compare notes.

“Okay I guess like. That breathing thing is like pretty intense eh?”

“Yeah.” I agreed. “Oh yeah, I spoke to Ron earlier.”

“Oh aye?”

“She's racing in Switzerland too.”

“The same race like?”

“Yup, she didn't know about Gret tho.”

“Not gonna be easy is it,” Josh noted.


* Ministry Of Transport road vehicle test – often hijacked to describe any thorough check of man, equipment or system.

** Look – perhaps the leading manufacturer of performance pedals as well as other lumps of aerodynamic carbon bike stuff.

to be continued....

© Maddy Bell 31.05.13

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