Chapter *8.26*

Who's That Girl?

Ever tried running in a short skirt? What about in vertiginous heels? We barely made our train, Frau Dürst shaking her head as we slipped on board.

“You guys seen this?” Anna didn't waste time asking the others.

“Another convention thing?” Steff enquired.

“Yeah, up in Köln, Gabs is going.”

“I need to check Anna.” I noted.

“Well what do you think?”

“Count me in.” Con enthused.


“What squib?”

“Well you know next month, am I racing like every week?”

“Pretty much, let me get the diary.”

Dave put down his paper and went through to the office, Drew in tow.

“Right, the first you've got the Mittelrhein, the week after it's the three countries on Saturday and you're penciled in for an RTF in Bonn, that's all that's confirmed, there's no premier series in July what with the TdF being on, your next big race will be in Hamburg the first weekend in August before you join the GB team.”

“You reckon I might get the 15 th and 16 th off?”

“Don't see why not, I was thinking of popping over to see the tour for a couple of days but we could do that some other time.”

The Tour. Bum what a conundrum.


“Wassup?” I enquired looking up from the book I got Dad in Bonn, Wurzeln der Menscheit, a weighty tome about Neanderthals.

“Any idea where this came from?” Mum held up the Maxi from last week.

“Sugar! I borrowed it from Sophia last week, they must have just packed everything in my room.”

“You'd best contact her and let her know you have it.”

“I suppose Max will know how to get hold of her,” I allowed, “I'll ask tomorrow.”

“I don't suppose I want to know why you are wearing a suit and rather high heels?”

“It's a long story.”

“They usually are with you.” Mum noted with a sigh.

The idiot box was humming away to itself but I like to catch the weather after the news.

‘The hunt is on to identify one of the guests at last week's big society wedding in Munich. Celeb and society watchers have so far failed to identify the young blonde seen arriving at the Dom with close family members. At least two modeling agencies and the celeb magazines are all trying to find the beauty last seen dancing with Prince William at the evening reception.'

“Poor girl.” I noted.

“Looks a lot like you.” Mum observed, which caused me to look at the screen.

“Shitza! It is me! I hope no one else saw.” I fretted.

My handy started vibrating.

“Bond, of hi Con…uh huh…you know it was…I could dye my hair or something…don't be daft…of course not…well it was only a dance, he danced with loads of people…I'll tell you tomorrow…tschuss!”

“So much for keeping it quiet.” Mum grinned.

“It's not funny.”


“What's up Gab?” Max asked after I cornered him on the way to homeroom.

“Erm, do you like have an email or something for Sophia?”

“Sophia? What for?”

“I um borrowed something from her last week that I need to get back to her.”

“Think I've got one somewhere, I'll look tonight, so no sexy skirt today?”

“That was strictly a one off.” I stated firmly.

“Pity.” He lamented.

“Get used to it.”

“No need to be like that.”

“Stop saying such daft things, we're gonna be late.”


Dear Drew,

Got your first two letters today, you don't half get into some pickles!

This place isn't too bad, I'm sharing a room with a girl called Judy from Lincoln, she's pregnant too, hers is due in September. It's not as bad as I thought it would be, we have to help with the chores, I'm on cleaning this week.

Its weird not going to school with you guys, never thought I'd be saying I missed school but Warder Stephenson is arranging for me to get some tuition so I can go back for year twelve, don't want junior thinking his mum is a klutz do I?

I'll write you longer soon




I read Bernie's letter through again, a tear breaking free and dripping onto the page. I really do feel somehow responsible – yeah I know, but it doesn't stop me feeling bad.


“So are we going to this con then?” I enquired as we pedalled towards the Ahr Gymnasium.

“Keep me away!” Anna enthused.

“Oh yeah.” Connie agreed.

“So are we teaming or going solo?”

“I've got some ideas I want to try.” Anna told the flock of cyclists.

“'Kay, suits me, I can do some recycling.”

“You'd look good in a bin bag.” Nena noted.

“We aren't gonna travel up each day are we?” Pia queried.

“We should book a couple of rooms and stay up there.” Steff suggested.

“We'd only have to carry our stuff on the train once each way.” Brid agreed.

“Hey maybe we could organise a lift, what about your Dad Pia, he has the minibus.” Con suggested.

“I can ask.”

“We could go up on Friday afternoon as schools out from Mittwoch that week.”


“So, you ready for the weekend?” Mum asked as we set off for my Wednesday ‘hard' ride.

“I guess.”

“There shouldn't be any guessing about it.” She pointed out.

“Yeah well.”

“Look Drew, your Dad has responsibilities too, not just to you but to the girls and the team too. You've been team captain for what, a year? That doesn't mean the others are your race skivvies.”

“I know.”

“I think it will do you good with someone else calling the shots, it's the leaders job to get the results for the team, if that means protecting the sprinter for a big finish or organising an attack, that's their job, yours is to try to do what they ask.”

“But what if they're wrong?”

“Look Drew, sometimes being a team player comes first, we talked about this on Sunday.”

I nodded.

“Think of it like you and your school friends, who's in charge?”

“No one.”

“Ah but someone is and they are quite skilful at it too.”


“What happened on Monday?”

“We went to Bonn for humanities.”

“And how were you dressed?”

“Sort of posh with heels and stuff.”

“And who suggested that?”

“Anna I think.”

“Did everyone want to do it?”

“Well I didn't.”

“But you still went along with it.”

“Yeah, cos like the others were.”

“In other words you wanted to be part of the ‘team', you didn't want to dress up and wear high heels but you did because of ‘team' orders.”

“I guess?”

“And I'm betting Anna was the one who kept encouraging you all to do it?”

“How'd you know?”

“She's your little group's leader, oh I know none of you think like that, I don't even suppose she does but you all respect her opinion on stuff and like Monday she has a good deal of influence over your choices.”

Mum had certainly hit a few chords with her observations; put into those terms she certainly is our unofficial leader.

This was extra ride time for Mum, keeping me company, but she still made sure I had a good workout instigating signpost sprints and other training devices that my solo training often lacks.

“It's a pity there's not a club you could train with.” Mum mentioned after another sign sprint.


“I'll talk to your Dad.”

“When do you leave for Switzerland?”

“The start is Saturday, we travel down tomorrow.”

The last ten days have been a sort of rest break for the ladies team, a few days back at base without the continuous travelling. But this weekend the first of the big tours, well five days around Switzerland, starts.

“So you fancy your chances this year?”

“Well I'm feeling pretty strong, have to see how it goes, there's strong squads from Italy and the GB – Sky girls are riding.”

Mum is always maybe a bit too deprecating of her own chances, she's been top five in the world rankings for like three years but you'd think she was a lowly domestique to hear her talk sometimes.

“Come on, race you home!”

“Hey cheat!”

She'd already got ten metres on me before I could react, see what I mean.


With Mum off in the morning Dad had booked a table at the Italian in Ahrweiler so it was straight in the shower and dress. The fact that I'd put on a sundress and a quick slap of essential makeup didn't register until Mum complimented my choice. I guess it's become second nature after a year of pretty much full time girldom but my sentence is nearly up, it's nearly time to pick the new Weinkönigin!

to be continued....

Maddy Bell 29.05.11 © 2011

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