book 2 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 54


After tea I went to get changed and it was only when I took my jeans off that I realised I still had Mad's pants on, and I was still tucked. Ah well.

Dad drove us up to Ranby, it only took twenty minutes, and I was treated to a leg rub from Maddy. I have to admit that my mind was not really on the job as I rode round to the start. I know it's my fault this time but it's a bit disconcerting nevertheless.


I made my starting effort and joined the main carriageway of the A1. The slight dip past the HQ let me get my cadence up and when I passed Maddy and Dad I was much more concentrated. The very slight tail wind allowed me to get most of the way up the next incline before changing down gear and all too soon I was out on the flattish middle section. I could see the rider in front but I hadn't made any impression on the gap between us.

Over the brow and back into top for the descent toward the turn, and there was the five to go marker. I negotiated the traffic island cleanly and rejoined the southbound carriageway. 12.35 - pretty good, I just need to keep it going into the headwind! Up the 'hill' onto the top and my minute man was obviously fading back toward me! I kept the revs up and along the top I continued to make inroads into the gap.


I wasn't expecting that, number forty flew past me, that was a clear 2 minutes he'd caught me for and there is still just over two miles to go. I gathered my concentration again and watched as he overtook my minute man too. The final downhill stretch and I continued to catch the man in front, the mile board came up just as I reached my quarry. The rolling climb to the finish was an agony, number forty was still not too far ahead as I crawled past the slower rider.

"Come on Drew!" Maddy encouraged

"Up, up, up" Dad provided the accompaniment

"Nearly there!" Maddy shouted as I passed them

And there it was, the chequered flag.

"38!" I gasped sitting up to gasp some much needed air into my heaving chest

My computer showed 25.01 when I stopped it so a good time; perhaps another PB was on the cards! I rode round to the HQ where my personal supporters club was already waiting at the car.

"What do you think you've done?" Dad asked

"I think a long 24"

"Kewl" Maddy supplied

Dad looked after my bike while Maddy did her masseuse bit, boy is that nice!

"I put your boxers in your kit bag" Mad said conversationally

"Cheers, I'll wash your knickers later with this stuff" I told her

I pulled on a tracky top as the breeze was keeping the temperature down and the three of us walked along to the HQ for the tea and cake ritual.

"High Dee, Maddy" John greeted us

"Hi John" I replied

"I didn't see you on the start sheet?"

"I'm there honest" I told him, " oh this is my Dad. Dad this is John, the timekeeper on Tuesdays"

Introductions made, I slipped off with Mad while Dad and John started talking. I went to hand my number in and fetched the sustenance.

"Drew, Drew! 24.41!" Maddy enthused

"Excellent!" my hands full of cups and cake prevented me joining Maddy's little jig

"How is it then Drew?" Dad asked


"Well done, is one of those cups for me?"

"Oh. Yeah this one" I passed Dad his tea

"Number 40 did 22.20, but there are a few 21's up" my girlfriend informed us over her shoulder as she scanned the board. We waited around until the last times were put up; some animal managed 20.57, someday, I mused.

The drive home was pretty quick; we dropped Maddy off at home and got home to a ringing phone.

"Bond residence" Dad answered, "oh hi love, how are you?"

I decided I had time for a quick shower while my olds were talking so I quickly used the downstairs facilities. I was still drying off when I heard Dad calling me

"Come on Drew!"

I rushed into the house and took the proffered handset

"Hi Mum"

"Hi Drew, your Dad says you did another personal?"

"Yeah 24.41!" I told her

"Excellent, I've got some good news as well" Mum informed me

"What? Come on give"

"I won today" Mum was obviously still on a high

"Kewl, that's brilliant Mum, tell me about it then" I encouraged

"Well..." mum spent the next twenty minutes giving me a blow by blow account.

"And you won the sprint" I finished for her

"Well more of an exhausted amble really"

"But you still won! I bet you moved up the GC (general classification)"

"The time bonus has put me into sixth place and I'm second in the climbers competition"

"Just wait till I tell the guys"

"Is Jules there?"

My sister had come in while we were talking.

"Yeah, I'll pass you over, night mum"

"Goodnight Drew"

I passed the phone to my sister and went to get dressed.

"You watching the Tour prologue Drew?" Dad enquired, "the highlights are on in ten minutes"

I'd forgotten that the Tour De France started today, what with one thing and another.


"Okay, I'll do supper then"

Well I was glad that Dad had mentioned it, in the end we all were. I put Eurosport on, the end of the saloon car coverage was pretty exciting and then it was Tour time!

"Welcome to our coverage of the 89th Tour de France" the commentator started. He went on for nearly five minutes before we saw rider number one, Lance Armstrong, head down the start ramp. Dad joined me on the sofa as the fancied riders were featured and the highlights continued.

Then came the surprise

"After the break we'll have coverage of the first week of the Tour Feminin and today's win by Britains own Jenny Bond" the adverts started.

"Jules! Mum's on telly" I shouted up to my sister at the same time as grabbing my mobile to call the gang. Dad quickly started the video running. I got through to Mad and Rhod before the adverts finished.

The commentators ran through each stage quickly, maybe 30 seconds on each stage telling us how the fancied riders were getting on and the GC. We spotted Mum and the other Apollinaris riders a couple of times, pointing them out to each other. For today's stage, we got quite a bit more coverage.

"It was threatening rain as the peloton left Gap this morning for the second mountain stage. The bunch remained intact over the first two second category climbs before Apollinaris rider Tina Porsche accelerated away on the lower slopes of today's first category climb." We watched raptly as Tina went away from the bunch. It was clear that this was a team ploy as the other team members, sat on anything that tried to follow. The cameras nearly missed Mum's move. As the road twisted through the trees Mum dropped back a few places in the thinning bunch, then as the cameras were concentrating on Maria sat at the front there was a flash in the top of the screen, a cream flash.

We watched raptly as the cameras now went between Tina, Mum and the rest of the team controlling the bunch. About the point that Mum caught Tina, several riders managed to break the Apollinaris strangle hold to set off in pursuit of the escapees. Mum and Tina rode over the summit next to each other with a 30-second lead over the chasers.

Mum was obviously confused, she answered the commentator in German
We were all shouting encouragement at the telly even though we knew the outcome already. The chasers caught our riders in the valley bottom making a nine rider break with 45 seconds over what remained of the main peleton. The commentator was telling us about Mum's regional championship win and commenting on each of the others strengths and weaknesses. They started the final climb and Tina was quickly blown out the back, her job done.

The remaining eight kept a high pace peeling off another four riders before the one kilometre kite. And Mum was still there. They all started preparing for the sprint, the others keeping an eye on Mum as she is known as a sprinter. I thought she'd left it pretty late, they had slowed quite a bit and were well within the last 200 when she switched around behind them and made her effort. The others were wasted and Mum took it by several bike lengths. We all cheered as the commentator got a few words from her; she must have been confused as she replied in German!

"We'll have further coverage of the ladies tour each night, here on Eurosport. Now back to the prologue."

We finished watching the Tour coverage and ate our delayed supper, all the while discussing what we had just seen.

I got myself up early to go training next morning, heading towards Sheffield then down to Chesterfield before heading home arriving home just before eleven. Me and the guys are doing SATS revision at Maddy's this afternoon so I did the washing.

"These aren't mine" Jules commented

She had got to the washer before me when it finished and was unloading it ready to hang it all out. I realised what she had immediately, I'd forgotten all about them.

"No they're Mad's" I informed her

"You borrowing her underwear again?"

"No. Yes. Not really"

"Come on Drew, which is it?"

"Well I had to borrow them yesterday in Nottingham"

"Come on Bro'" she obviously didn't believe me so I had to tell her everything.

"So not only are you competing in the girls badminton but they took you to buy some tennis knickers too?" she was almost in hysterics

"'S not funny!" I stated

"Does Dad know?"

"No and I want to keep it that way"

"Okay I won't say anything"

"Erm Jules?"

"There's more?"

"Well I sort of need a top to wear?"

"And you want to borrow mine?"

"Well I was hoping"

"I never dreamt my brother would want to borrow my clothes. Ok, have you got a skirt then?"

"Maddy's got a spare one"

"You'd best borrow my racquets too"

"I've got one" I told her

"That scrappy thing! All the strings are loose!"

"Well a bit I suppose"

"No sister of mine is using that thing, I've just had my racquets restrung, you'll play much better with decent kit"

"I guess?"

"There's no guessing about it. Now is there anything else?"

"No I don't think so, thanks for the loan of the racquets"

"I'll sort out the top later, oh and you'd best take your knickers"

"They're not mine!"

"Whatever" she commented

After lunch I rode over to Mad's where the others were already getting started

"Hi guys!" I greeted them after 'Aunt Carol' let me in

"Hi Drew" Ally returned

"Drew" Rhod offered

"Your Mum was pretty cool" Maddy stated

"Well cool" Bernie added, "Mad showed us the report on the web earlier"

"Let's get this revision done, then we can check the email and stuff"

So that's what we did.

We put the books away just after four and diverted our attention to Mad's computer. We each had mail from our exchangees; Britney went to great lengths bringing me up to date on what was happening in her little corner of America. So I found out that the cheerleaders were all going to 'cheer' camp the week before she and the others were coming to the UK, that she didn't have a date for next weeks dance. Well you get the picture, she still assumed I was a she despite everything I had hinted at. We each sent our news back, Mad's mum called us to eat a little after six and we made short work of the pasta carbonara and salad that she presented us with.

"You want to watch the Tour de France Drew?" Mrs P asked

"Yes please, Mum was on last night"

"I know, my daughter told me this morning. It starts in ten minutes, just enough time to do the washing up everyone!" it wasn't a question, and to be honest we didn't mind one bit.

You don't need the full commentary after all you are probably watching it too! The stage was the usual Stage 2, no action, just a huge club run really. After the break however, they had a few minutes on Mum's race. They showed Mum's win again then the highlights of today's stage. It ended in a big bunch sprint, Mum took fourth place! That meant that she climbed the GC to fourth, a podium finish is now a realistic possibility.

"Wow Drew, your Mum is really good" Ally gushed

"Where do you think Drew gets it from?" Mad retorted

"What's it like to have a famous Mum Drew?" Bernie asked

"Give over guys" I suggested

"Yeah, give him a break" Maddy started, "we don't want it going to his head!"

She easily dodged the cushion I launched at her

"Okay kids, time to go home. You've all got SATS tomorrow" Mrs P informed us

"Thanks for tea" Rhod told her

"Yeah thanks" I added, "and thanks for letting me watch the Tour"

"No problem Drew" she replied

So endeth another weekend! Exams tomorrow - what a drag!

Maddy Bell 26.10.03 Secret © 2003

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