book 2 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 63


Mum and I left home around nine thirty, she was due to meet with Team GB officials at eleven thirty so two hours should be ample to drive over. Mum explained that today she was being given the full treatment - cardio vascular testing, strength testing, full medical - the works!

She let something else slip, something I hadn't thought of. Like many sports cycling has a world ranking system based on performances over a couple of years. In Mums case she only had a few months of ranked races counting but she was already lying in 18th place! Maria Pinger is currently in fifth and Tina Porsche is eleventh and overall the squad was third.

On top of that, there is the World Cup. Mum missed a couple of the early season events; she was still at home when they were run. But good consistent results in the other three so far run have put her in with an outside chance of gaining that title too. No wonder the GB team wants her!

We arrived in good time and soon Mum was whisked off leaving me to wander the stands of the velodrome. I've never ridden a fixed wheel bike, let alone ride on a track and this place looks frightening. Imagine a wall of death with two short straights and you get the idea! A couple of riders were carelessly doing laps around the bottom of the track and the pit area was starting to accumulate bikes and equipment.

"Hello youngster, what are you doing in here?"

I jumped slightly as I'd not heard the speaker approach

"The girl at the desk said it was okay. If I watched while I wait for Mum" I explained

"And who's your Mum" my inquisitor asked

"Jenny Bond sir"

He stiffened a bit, obviously reassessing my presence

"I didn't know she was coming today hmm, well okay then, the pursuit squad have a session in a few minutes, I'm sure they won't mind an audience"


The official left me and soon reappeared in the track centre. He searched out another track suited man and started talking then pointed to where I was sat overlooking the finish straight. The second man scanned the stand for a moment then spotting me smiled and waved cheerily, he looked a bit familiar but I couldn't identify who from up here.

A whistle sounded and the now circling group of riders came down off the track where the two trainers held a pep session. The riders returned to the track and started circling, splitting into two four man squads. The team pursuit is similar to relay events in athletics; the team can be any combination of a named squad and can change between rounds of competition, hence the eight riders on the track now.

The two groups were soon circling on opposite sides of the track and the serious work started. They formed up line astern and assumed their aero positions, the pace almost immediately shot up. I sat fascinated as every half lap the front rider peeled off to rejoin the back of the line, these guys were good! Their tyres were almost touching and they rode as one, lap upon lap.

A whistle sounded again and they sat up but continued circling. Instructions were shouted and two riders from each squad set off to catch and join the group in front. This took a couple of laps, then when they joined the slower riders they in turn set off so that there were always two sets of chasers and two pairs resting.

"There you are"

Mum's voice broke my concentration

"Impressive eh?" she asked

"Sure is"

"You want to get something to eat?"

I checked the big clock on the score board, it was nearly one o'clock.

"I didn't realise it was that time"

"Come on, we can eat in the cafeteria" Mum told me

We were eating our healthy quiche and salad when the trainers from the pursuit session came in.

"Jenny!" my inquisitor exclaimed causing Mum to turn to see who it was

"Martin, I didn't know you worked here?" Mum greeted him

"I wasn't expecting to see you here either"

You don't want to hear that conversation and anyway the other trainer came over with his lunch then and I recognised John the timekeeper.

"Hi young 'un, come to see what we do eh?"

"Mum's come for testing so I tagged along"

"What do you think then?"

"Pretty cool, I'm not sure I could do it though" I told him

"Come on, we have eight year olds and eighty year olds ride on here, I'm sure you'd be just fine"

"Maybe" I allowed

"Is your mum finished today?"

"No there's some more testing to do, Mum reckons we'll be off about three"

"Well there's not much happening after lunch, most of the riders are out on the road and the public sessions don't start till four. No schools with the holidays either." He paused before turning to his colleague, "Martin would it be okay for Gaby here to have a go on the track?"

I forgot, John instead of thinking I'm Dee now thinks I'm Gaby even wearing baggy jeans and a t-shirt like I am today. The look on Mum's face was priceless I have to say, I just groaned inwardly, one day.

"No problem John, you gonna look after her?"

Now Martin thought I was a girl too. Jeez

"I've not got any shorts or stuff" I tried to defer this particular treat

"You can use my spares" Mum offered

I was sort of cornered

"That's settled then, meet me in the track centre in half an hour and we'll give you a go"

With a new mission, he joined Martin who was also now leaving.


"What?" she asked innocently

I was not going to get any support at that door.

"Come on, drink up and we'll get you dressed"

"Yes Mum"

Ah well, once more unto Gaby!

I walked self consciously up the slope to the track centre. Mum had insisted I wore a sports bra sufficiently stuffed with socks to give me small breasts, the bra obvious through Mum's Apollinaris skinsuit. I looked like a slightly smaller version of my mother as I stood nervously waiting for John.

"Sorry to keep you Gaby, I was just checking this over for you" he stated wheeling the track bike up to me.

"Nervous?" he asked

"A bit, I've never used fixed wheel before" I told him

"The only thing to remember is don't stop pedalling!" he advised, "okay let's start down here"

Fifteen minutes later I was circling the bottom of the track and starting to get into it. John then took me through some track craft skills getting me to ride higher and higher up the bankings. There is a speed where you stay there, below it you just fall off and one scary moment told me where that point was!

Drew at the track!
I looked like Mum in miniature as I walked to the pit area.

It was really cool dropping off the banking onto the straights, the acceleration was fantastic! I had forgotten how I looked and was just enjoying myself.

"Okay Gaby let's have a go at a Kilo then you can have ten minutes to warm down"

For those of you who don't know the kilo or kilometre time trial is a classic track event, one rider on his or her own going as fast as possible over 1000 metres. At Manchester that is four laps of the 250 metre wooden track. John set the timing board and then held me up ready to start. The timing system started beep, beep, beep, beep, beeeep! I pushed down on the pedals and started up the straight. Now I've done a lot of time trials but those four laps were hell! Trying to stay at the bottom of the track when centrifugal forces are pulling you up the banking and the featureless nature of the track mean it's a real job. After two laps I could hear some cheering and board slapping, seems I had an audience!

"Keep it going Gaby" John shouted as I passed him

"Up, up, up"

"Dig in"

"Go for it girl"

Up the back straight I glanced up at the board, one minute fifty!

I concentrated on keeping on the pursuit line and John rang the bell as I passed again, to more cheering from the stands. That last lap was interminable; I glanced at the scoreboard again, two minutes thirty seconds. Then it was over and I sat up to the clapping and cheering of the small gallery. There it was on the scoreboard, Gaby Bond two minutes fifty one! I circled the track back to John slowly getting my breath back.

"Well done lass, that's not bad for a first attempt, do a couple of laps to cool off then I'm afraid it's time to stop"

I quickly recovered and had time to look up into the stands where Mum was talking to some of the guys I'd seen doing pursuit training earlier. She waved as I went past and I pottered round to the pits and came to a stop.

"You enjoy that?" John asked taking the bike off my hands

"It was hard work" I stated

"Not as easy as it looks eh?"

"No, but it's good fun"

"Well done D...Gaby" Mum greeted me, "you gonna start track then?"

"Maybe, I really enjoyed that"

"Come on then time to go, thanks for that John, we might see you later"

"No problem Jenny, see you later Gaby" John replied

"Thanks John" I told him

We didn't get very far as we got stopped in the reception area before I could even get changed.

"Jenny, Phil Eaton, Cycling Weekly. Can I just get a couple of pictures of mother and daughter?"

mother and daughter
Mum and I posed for the camera

"You'd best ask her?" Mum put it on my shoulders.

Well the adrenaline was running, everyone here thought I was Gaby what the heck. I shrugged my shoulders.

"I guess" I told the man from the Comic

Ten minutes later he had his pictures and it turns out it was he who was coming on Friday to do the article on Mum.

"Just put your jeans on, you can shower at home" Mum advised

We were sat in traffic leaving Manchester when I realised I was sat there wearing a tight skinsuit and a bra with my hair still up in a ponytail! I grabbed my sweatshirt and pulled it on and released my hair much to Mum's amusement.

We got home just after half five and amazingly Jules had made tea. Admittedly it was only pasty, chips and beans but I was not about to turn it down, Mum only ate a few of her chips but Jules at least seemed in a better mood today. My attire didn't get past my eagle-eyed sister however.

"Drew, what are you doing wearing Mum's skinsuit?"

"He borrowed it to ride on the track" Mum advised

"So what's with the bra then?" she pursued.

What did I say, doesn't miss a trick!

"Seems they all thought he was a girl before then so we didn't enlighten them"

"You two are just so weird!" Jules stated

Mum decided to ride the ten at Cuckney so we rode out together, Maddy was there when we arrived.

"Made it then" John greeted us

"Yes I thought I'd have a go, just to keep in practice" Mum told him

The other riders seemed a bit shy about approaching Mum, it was sort of 'wow I'm riding against Jenny Bond!' you could see it on their faces.

Maddy got the details of my day as she paid her usual attention to my legs; much to Mum's apparent amusement. Well I've told you about a few of these events so I won't bore you with another right now. Biggest thing this evening was that Mum passed me, she started three minutes behind, I suppose swept would be a better description as she left me standing!

I crossed the line to stop the clock with 25.03, I nearly fell down there and then with Mum's time though, 20.58! It's true I swear! The best of the rest managed 22.11; Mum was well and truly pinging!

"You should ride the National twenty-five" John suggested to Mum as we were preparing to head home.

"I've got a pretty full programme so I doubt if I can fit it in, but I'll have a look"

"And you young lady, another impressive ride" John went on

Mum just shook her head in amusement

"You coming round tomorrow Drew?" Maddy asked after Mum went on home.

"I suppose so, Mum's taking Jules shopping or something"

"Great! I've been working on the costumes all day"

"Do I get any hints?" I asked

"No they'll be a surprise tomorrow" she parried

I knew it was a mistake giving her a free hand, I could still wimp out. And what about what Mum said yesterday. As I rode home alone I thought on that a bit. It was Maddy who pointed out Ally and Bernie's attraction to Tuesday evenings, she didn't give any indication what she felt then. I couldn't think of anytime that she went out of her way to be with boys, mind you the converse was probably true as well. Whatever.

Tomorrow's another day.

Maddy Bell 23.11.03 Secret © 2003

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