book 2 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 52
Good Thinking

" you're still gonna play Badminton?" Ally pursued as we walked back to the car.

It had been an early start and this stop at Colsterworth, south of Grantham was only to answer the call of nature. We had about another hour's drive down to Sandy and today's 25 mile time trial based on the A1 trunk road.

"Well Mr Pilling asked if I would"

"But Drew, you said Gaby was history" Mad told me

"I know, but it's just a one off, if I don't you'll have to find something else too you know" I replied

"So what's this other idea then?" Ally pursued a pre toilet thread.

"Well I reckon I could do the badminton as Gaby and say javelin as me and no one would twig it was me" I informed them, they both looked a bit doubtful.

"Come on guys, or we'll be late" Dad called across the car park

"We'll talk later" I whispered

I think I've bored you with my bike riding a fair bit lately so I'll stick to the basics today. I have been looking forward to this ride for weeks, a chance to ride the near legendary (well in time trialling circles!) F1 course on the Bedfordshire / Cambridgeshire borders. It's one of perhaps half a dozen courses that have produced very fast times consistently for many years but due to traffic increases their use has been curtailed to a point where you are very lucky to get into the field. Toadies event is just for under 18's, ladies and 60 of the slowest seniors, a sort of back handed opportunity if you like.

I've told you about my ten times but I rarely ride a 25 on my own so my current best is a not exactly startling 1 hour, ten minutes and twenty-three seconds! I am hoping for much better things today.

"Number 54!"

I rolled forward to the timekeeper.

"Drew Bond?" she asked

"That's me" I confirmed

"Any relation to Jenny Bond?"

"She's my mum"

"45 seconds, well have a good ride, remember to keep your head up and signal at the turn"

The pusher grabbed my bike and I clicked into my pedals and prepared myself to start.

"15...10...5,4,3,2,1,go!" the timekeeper intoned

I made my usual big effort to get rolling and once I joined the main road I quickly settled down. I passed Dad and the girls about half a mile on; I was concentrating now so I didn't acknowledge their cheers with anything more than a look.

I was soon into my stride
I concentrated on the job in hand, barely acknowledging my cheerleaders.

I concentrated on the job in hand and despite the rolling nature of the middle section I found myself moving easily and by the turn no one had managed to catch me. I manoeuvred around the turn island without delay and checked my computer, thirty-five minutes. Well I calculated that with the longer outward leg that should get me a 1.07 at the finish! Cool.

I passed Dad and my vocal cheerleaders a bit further along and Dad had obviously worked out much the same as me.

"You're catching two riders," he yelled as I zipped by.

The last ten miles would I'm sure you recall take about 25 minutes and that's what I was expecting. However I realised that there was something amiss when with five to go I still only had 46 minutes on my clock - had I really miscalculated that much? I hit the last down hill shortly after passing a third rider and there in front I could see at least three more within catching distance. I dug deeper and at the 2-mile marker it was clear I would catch at least one of them if not two. A last big effort, I saw our car flash past, and I was into the last mile. Just two bends left past one rider then the second metres further on. Big effort to the line.

"Come on Drew!"

"Nearly there!"

My cheer squad were shouting themselves horse.

"54" I gasped out as I passed the chequered flag

Dad and the girls got to the HQ seconds before me and were whooping and shouting like mad! In my exhaustion I had forgotten to stop the clock but even now it only said 1.07.30.

"You did it!" Mad hugged me and bounced up and down at the same time

"What, ughhhh, did I, ughhhh, do?" I wheezed

"Well I make it 1.00.20" Dad was beaming

"Uuhh" I replied

By the time I got to the result board there were a lot of smiley faces, I could hear plenty of people talking about PB's and bests but I was still unprepared to see my time. Expecting a 1.00.00+ time I didn't at first spot my time in the list. Number 45 - 1.00.37, number 50 - 58.21, 51 - 1.01.00, 52 - 1.05.056, 53 - 1.06.13, then me 54 - 59.43! Wow! I've broken the hour! Now if you are a cyclist you will know that's no mean achievement for a thirteen-year-old. I just stood there with a bemused look on my face mouthing ' I beat the hour' over and over.

I was joined shortly by my cheer squad.

"I've broken the hour! 59.43!"

We had another bouncy hugging session much to the amusement of the tea ladies. Dad joined us and after checking my time joined the group hug momentarily.

"Well done Drew!"

"Thanks Dad"

"Looking at the times going up now, you stand a pretty good chance of a prize" he stated

"Kewl!" suggested Ally

"There's loads to come in yet" I suggested

"Only another forty" Dad had a twinkle in his eye

"We'll wait outside Dad" I informed him, he was now anxiously watching each result as it was posted.

"Ok, don't go too far"

"I wont be a mo, just got to change" I told my mates as I dived into the gents. I emerged a couple of minutes later in jeans and T.

"What are you going to tell Pilling tomorrow?" Mad badgered

"Well I thought I'd suggest what I told you earlier"

"Hmm, that's going to take some organising" Ally mused

"Erm, I meant to ask earlier Mad, is it all right with you?"

"If you want to do it that's ok with me, but why do two events?"

"It's obvious right Drew?" Ally put in

"Er yeah"

"If Drew isn't at sports day but Gaby is some people might realise who Gaby is, right?" Ally concluded

"That's what Jules reckons, so if people see me and 'Gaby' there, they won't suspect anything"

"I guess?" Mad didn't seem too convinced

I spotted Dad coming out of the village hall HQ.

"I said didn't I?" Dad was beaming stupidly

"Said what?" I had to ask

"You've got the best improvement prize," he told us

"Brill!" Ally agreed

"And you're second under 16!" Dad finished

"Cool" Maddy added to the limited conversation

To be honest although I'm pleased as punch I'm also a bit embarrassed by the attention.

"There's no presentation is there?" I asked Dad

"No not today, they'll post the prize money with the results"

"What's he won Mr Bond" Maddy queried

"Twenty-five pounds in total, fifteen for second place and ten for the improvement, I wish I could earn that an hour" he joked, well I think it was a joke.

"I'm starving" Ally announced

"Me too" I agreed

"How about we go up to Stamford for lunch and then have a look around Rutland Water before we head home?" Dad suggested

"How far's that?" I whined

"'Bout half an hour, it's only just gone twelve" Dad answered

"Okay then" I agreed

Stamford is what I guess some people would call quaint. There was a thing on telly recently about how they used the town for some Jane Austin or Dickens film. All they had to do was take a few signs down and put sand down on the roads and it looked perfect. It's not all that black and white stuff like Stratford, the houses and stuff are all stone built.

We ended up in the beer garden of an old coaching inn, it was a pleasant afternoon and we were sort of celebrating. Afterwards we headed up the valley to Rutland Water, which nestles between England's smallest county, Rutland and Northamptonshire. I wasn't expecting such a big lake, well it's a reservoir really but to be honest the girls and me are not much into looking at loads of water. Dad eventually decided to leave us at the visitor centre while he took a guided drive around the shores in a Landrover.

"You've still got that ring in" Maddy half accused

"I can't take it out, Anna says you need a special tool"

"What ever made you get that done?" Ally asked

"Well I didn't really"

"What do you mean?" Mad questioned

"Well Sylv did this," I fingered the ring in the top of my ear, " and the extra ones at the bottom without me knowing"

"She must have asked you" Ally stated

"Well she asked if I wanted to be convincing and I said I did. Next thing I know I've got these extra holes"

"My mum would kill me if I got all those holes" Ally mentioned

"Mine too" Mad concurred

"Well as soon as I can it's coming out, I think the other holes are healing" I told them

"Let's have a look" Maddy suggested

She moved closer to inspect my lobes.

"Well these at the bottom have healed" she stated

"Great!" I enthused

"Well not really, they've healed I said not closed up" Maddy continued

"Oh sugar!" I exclaimed, " are you sure?"

"Look, I'll try mine in them." So she removed her little blue studs (the same ones she used to pierce my ears at Meadowhall) and quickly slipped them into my 'new' holes.

"There, just a bit of dead skin in the holes" she stated

"Those studs are pretty cute on you Drew" Ally put in

"Well if I never put anything in them they'll eventually close" I stated with more confidence than I felt.

"Maybe" Mad hedged

"Let's go look in the shop" Ally suggested

We walked over to the visitor centre where there was cycle hire, a small snack bar and a shop as well as the information place. I stumped up for a round of Mivvi's then we hit the shop. It was mostly your usual tourist tat, with a few books and other bit's to tempt your wallet. I didn't buy anything but both the girls left clutching paper bags.

Dad's excursion arrived back in the car park soon after, and sensing a revolt if we stayed any longer, Dad had us homeward bound soon after.

"So are you saying you'll do it then," Mr Pilling asked

"Erm, yes" I answered

"Let's check the programme then," he said searching for it amongst the mess on his desk.

"Ah here we are." He studied the sheet for a moment before continuing, " well we might be able to do something, not the javelin but if you did the discus, that's due to be over by ten o'clock which would give you, lets see now, forty minutes to get ready for the badminton."

"That's not long" I stated

"Best I can do I'm afraid" Mr Pilling told me

"Okay then"

"I'll get you 'enrolled' as Gaby and we'll see the two of you on sports day"

"Yes sir"

"And Drew,"

"Yes sir?"

"Take those earrings out before class"

I felt my ears; damn Maddy had left her studs in yesterday afternoon.

I rejoined the others in the yard.

"Well?" Maddy asked

"I'm doing the discus first, then its forty minutes until the badminton" I told them

"That's not long" Bernie echoed my comment to Pilling

"We'll have to get everything ready beforehand" Maddy stated

"These are yours I believe," I said pointedly handing her back her studs

"Oh I'd forgotten about them, where were they?"

"Where you left them, Pilling saw them and told me to take them out" I half fumed

"You mean..." Mad went on

"Yep they were right where you left them, in my ears" I stated

Bernie stifled a laugh

"It's not funny!" I told them

"The look on your face" Rhod grinned

"I give up" I rolled my eyes, "your Mum can take this out later too" I told Rhod fingering the ring in my upper ear.

Maddy Bell 22.10.03 Secret
© 2003

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