Gaby Book 16 ~ Sweet Sixteen ~ Chapter *11* What Dad Does

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*Chapter 11*
What Dad Does

“I’ll be back Thursday afternoon,” Dave advised the assembled masses, well Jen and his youngest.
“George picking you up?” Jen enquired.
“In about,” he checked his watch, “ten minutes.”

“Where are they going?”
“Bologna.” The current women’s Arc en Ciel told her daughter.
“Like Italy?”
“Is there another? He did tell you last night.”
“Probably,” Gab allowed, “anyway I need to make tracks, tschuss!”
“Tschuss,” Jen replied to her daughters already disappearing back.

Dave wasn’t the greatest fan of flying, he’d suggested driving down but George wasn’t having it. Given all the hanging about in airports its not like flying was that much quicker, get your foot down on the autobahn, overnight down in the Alps. George is the boss though so it was his call.
And all the extra security, well it was tedious, back in the day you turned up, checked in and got your passport checked. Now they make you queue for ages before having you just about strip and woe betide you missing that 1 cent coin ‘hidden’ in your pocket. And that business with what you can take through in hand luggage – definitely paranoia.

He started, “oh sorry, I was miles away.”
“You want coffee before we leave?”
“Good idea.”

They shuffled closer to passport control, their arrival had coincided with a flight from London and the two guys checking travel documents weren’t the fastest.

“So why’s he going to Italy?” Pia queried.
“Not sure really, some sponsorship thing probably.”
“I thought Apollinaris sponsored your team.” Nena mentioned.
“Well yeah but like other companies pay to have their names on the jerseys.”

To be honest I wasn’t sure how things actually worked, I know some of the Pro teams have a bunch of sponsors but others only have a couple, guess it depends on how rich they are. The junior team are part of Apollinaris but they have more sponsors on their jerseys, I guess it costs a lot more to run. Dad’s often in the office trying to stretch the team budget and Mum often has to do stuff for the sponsors.

“I checked the website for the Cosplay,” Steff told us.
“So?” Con enquired.
“Science fiction.”
“Like Star Wars™?” I asked.
“Star Wars, the Doctor Who, that sort of thing,” Steff confirmed.
“I’ll do the Princess,” Brid crowed.
Yeah, I wasn’t gonna do that anyhow, have to do some research I guess.”

The drive to the first meeting was an hour south on the autostrada to Firenze; Dave had volunteered to drive leaving George to shuffle through his paperwork – again. It was busy but there were no hold ups until they left the motorway even so they pulled up at the factory thirty minutes before their appointment. It was going to be a long couple of days, tomorrow was going to be one long round of drive, meeting, drive at least this was the only one today.

“You gonna come to the Con?”
“Eh?” Mand queried looking up from her homework.
“Rheincon,” I promoted, “the gang are all going.”
“What is it?”
She acting dumb on purpose?
“You know, costumes, comics and stuff, you’ve seen the costumes in my wardrobe.”
“I’m not really into stuff like that.”
“You don’t have to costume,” I pointed out, “its just a bit of fun.”
“So what are you going as?”
“Not sure yet, it’s a sci-fi theme.”
“Princess Leia,” Mand suggested.
“Nah, there’ll be loads doing her and Brid’s already claimed her, so?”
“I’ll think about it.”
“Let us know as soon as, Steff is sorting the tickets at the weekend.”
“’Kay, did you know Hitler was a painter?”
“What, like windows and doors?”
“Nah, fancied himself as a proper art painter.”

“Well that went okay,” Dave suggested when they returned to the car.
Having two rainbow jerseys’ on the roster was certainly a good bargaining chip, who wouldn’t want to be associated with that? Tomorrow would be more of a challenge and perhaps their bargaining chips would be less important.
“Ja, hopefully the others will go so well,” George agreed.

Dave started their transport and the journey to their hotel best part of 300km away.

Of course this whole trip shouldn’t’ve been necessary, an understanding with one of the big international brands had been signed back in the autumn but that had turned sour as they then wanted to oust Apollinaris as headline sponsors. Approaches to domestic suppliers had proven fruitless; it wasn’t lack of interest but lack of budget, a result of the localised nature of most of the brands. Whilst Apollinaris were putting more money in that would only go so far and so the hunt was on in earnest for bikes and clothing.

A look out of the kitchen window revealed misery, misery in the form of a cold and wet start to the day. Bond junior sighed, it was gonna be a long day – school of course then the extra tutorial and back home the turbo trainer would be waiting her attention. Boring but a necessary evil if there was to be any repeat of last year’s success on two wheels.

“Morning Gab,” Con greeted a few minutes later.
“What a morning.”
“I thought it had stopped,” Pia mentioned.
“Its persisting down,” I told the others.
“Great,” Brid groaned.

So of course the ride down to Silverberg was a muted affair, a desire to get there and out of the liquid sunshine trumping any conversation. It wasn’t a repeat of last week, although I had taken the precaution of having some dry in my bag, it actually reduced to a fine drizzle while we were riding. Not the best start to the day.

The first meeting on Wednesday hadn’t been very useful in reality, they’d been shown some nice bikes sure enough but essentially they’d been shunted onto the German distributor. Another stretch of autostrada linked them to the second stop of the day; both men were in contemplative mood, if the first result was repeated they’d have to rethink their strategy and possibly the team’s aspirations. Of course they could look for other out of sport support but that could have other issues attached to it.

“That was more positive,” Dave told his boss as they waited for their lunch in the motorway services.
It might not’ve been everything they were looking for and there were strings but nothing they couldn’t live with.
“I sense a ‘but’ Dave?”
“Well I’m a bit concerned whether they can deliver everything.”
“I’ve heard the rumours too but it’s a good deal.”
“Lets see what this afternoon brings.”
George grunted his agreement.

“You seen this Mand?”
“What’s that?”
“You can get Campag Chorus with a carbon chainset now.”
“Out of my range.”
“Mine too, Mum used to have Record on her race bike but I think that was nine speed.”
“One of the guys in the club had that, everyone called him Campy Dave. Thought you had a bike with Campag on?”
“My old race bike had Mirage, not even sure where that is now, I stopped using it when I got the team bike.”
“It was a bit weird on those bikes in Japan.”
“I find it easier to use with my little hands, I’m always stretching with the Shimano.”
“Hadn’t really thought about it that much,” Mand admitted.
“I suppose we’d best get some riding done.”
“Can we not listen to Shania Twain today, it’s doing my head in.”

“I suppose it depends what we can get in Vicenza,” George suggested.
“We could stick with Shimano,” his DS opined.
“After last season? Come on Dave, we had three shifters break in one race.”
“It was just an idea. We gonna try for the wheels too?”
“Worth a go,” George agreed, “otherwise we can get trade on Mavic.”
“Not the worst dilemma,” Dave agreed.

They were sat in the restaurant of the Hotel Europa in Desenzano on Lake Garda, not the busiest place in January. Vicenza, their destination in the morning would be an hour’s drive then they had to get back to Bologna for the flight back to Germany. Getting the iconic Italian company on board would be a bit of a coup, the Italians being famously under represented in the professional peleton.

“There’s not many costumes for girls,” Con complained.
“Wonder Woman?” Nena suggested.
“P-lease,” I put in, “that is so lame.”
“And you’re doing?” Steff enquired.
“Er dunno,” I admitted.
“Well I’m doing Star Trek,” Pia informed us.
“What about you Steff?” Bridg asked.
“Mum suggested a Bene Gesserit.”
“A what?” I queried.
“They’re like priestess’s from the Dune books.”
“I think Mum has some of those,” I allowed, “something about deserts?”
“If its desserts Gab’ll be there,” Con opined.

The afternoon bell sounded which prevented further retribution, I was still no nearer.

“I’ll ring Pinarello,” George stated as he climbed into his seat.
“I didn’t think they were going to bite,” Dave allowed.
“I think the girls will be pleased.”
“And for the juniors too,” Dave mentioned, “hope we make the flight.”
“What are you waiting for, lets go,” George urged as he fished for his phone.

They’d done better than expected, full support from Campagnolo including wheels; Pinarello would back them with frames and forks. Yes there was some cost but it was nominal, more to keep things on the right side of the taxman. The clothing company was small but the advantage there lay in their enthusiasm to produce top quality gear and get it onto an international stage.

Maddy Bell 17.05.16

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