Samhain Racing: Let’s Get Ready–

Today am back to my old lighthearted self, which means were going to have a novel excerpt.  Let it be known that I started on the last scene of Chapter Fifteen and I have a feeling it won’t be all that long: maybe no longer than fifteen hundred words.  Which means I’ll be into Chapter Sixteen before you know it.

The last couple of days I’ve been sticking my GoPro up on the windshield of my car and giving people a driver’s-side view of what it looks like driving around Harrisburg.  Here’s the first video I did, where I left my apartment and headed off to the Panera where I used to write all the time.

 

But the big news here is the race, which if you were paying attention has just finished. But as the drama over?  Far from it–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

He didn’t bother to see where Lisa was as he came out of the chicane. He leaned over his handlebars and willed as much speed out of his Class 3 as he could muster. The moment he pass the flashing green lights of the Start/Finish Line he pulled his PAV skyward so that he could not only bleed off speed quickly, but prevent Lisa from running him down on the straightaway.

As the rest of the pack finish the race he sat down in the waiting area between the Start/Finish Line so that he could proceed inside with everyone else. He remained seated on his PAV as his left leg and shoulder were throbbing with pain from the on-course contact and he didn’t want to aggravate them. A few seconds later Lisa’s jet ski hit the ground hard about five meters from him. She jumped off her PAV, removed her helmet, and threw it at him. She motioned for Kerry to advance towards her. “Okay, fucker. Let’s have this out.”

Kerry removed his helmet and tossed it to the ground as he gingerly got to his feet. “Back off, Lisa.” He gave her a warning look as he pointed at her while favoring his right leg. “You do not want to do this.”

She nodded defiantly. “Oh yes, I do.”

“No, you don’t.” Kerry wasn’t worried about the outcome of a fight between Lisa and him: just as he had done with Franky, he could disable her with a broken arm or a dislocated shoulder or knee in a matter of seconds, even while hurt. Unfortunately, he was unsure of his ability to do either of those, for he was fighting down an anger that he’d never felt before. He was aware of what was happening: with his hormones in flux they were messing with his ability to control the impulses he’d carefully developed over the last two years of learning Kali, and he was just enough aware of these feelings to know that if he fought Lisa now, there was a very good likelihood he do more than break her arm.

 

There you have it: Lisa’s ready to start shit and she wants Kerry to fight her.  For his part, Kerry doesn’t want to fight her mainly because he’s worried he’ll do more than just break her arm due to the hormonal rampage which is tearing him apart right now.  And given that Kerry could probably snap her neck without even a second thought, he showing remarkable restraint–but then again, he is a sorceress, and sorceresses are supposed to keep their head when everything is going to hell around them.

So this is the end of the drama, right?  Well…

 

Just then Penny came running up from his right side, helmet and gloves off, heading directly for Lisa. “You bloody stupid bitch.” She threw a powerful right-hand punch that struck Lisa in the cheek, knocking her to the ground.

The Cernunnos and Åsgårdsreia teams converged upon Lisa, Penny, and Kerry, and the fight was on.

 

Hey, I thought this fighting shit only happen in NASCAR?  Apparently not.  Which means helmets and gloves are off and fists are flying–

 

Rezi Lahood was the first to jump into the fray, running up and punching Penny in the side of her head near her right ear. As Penny fell away Alex stepped up, grabbed Rezi and threw her to the ground. Getasew Berhanu jumped over Lisa’s jet ski and threw a punch at Manco, who fell backwards as he blocked. Darius, who still wore his racing gloves, backhanded Getasew away before kicking the fallen Rezi.

Lisa jumped to her feet and, spotting Darius in front of her, pulled back her right foot and kicked him in the crotch. As Darius limped away she turned on Alex and grabbed a handful of her blonde hair. While she pulled Alex backwards Rivânia ran up and tried pulling her her teammate away. Lisa pushed her team captain away, which caused her to lose her grip on Alex’s hair. Alex took that moment to wheel around, grabed Lisa by the throat and punched her twice in the right eye.

Penny was on her feet a second later. She hit Getasew twice in the chest then wheeled around and threw a punch at Lisa, which the girl managed to block easily. Lisa, unfortunately, was bumped from behind by Anna Laskar, who was holding the left side of her mouth with bloodstained fingers. This knocked Lisa off balance just enough that Penny was able to step up to her and deliver a hard left-hand blow that knocked Lisa back against her jet ski.

Even though he was unable to move about well, Kerry could no longer stand side and watch everyone beat each other up. After a couple of limping steps he threw himself between Penny and Lisa and pushed his teammate away. “Penny: Penny.” He held on to her shoulders as he looked into her wild eyes. “Stop it, now. Let it go.”

Enough awareness creep back into her eyes that she understood what she was being stole. They then grew wide as she saw something behind him. “Kerry.”

He turned quickly enough to find Lisa swinging her helmet at his head. He managed to deflect it with his right arm then, while holding on to Penny to support his heart left leg, he used his right leg to sweep Lisa off her feet. The minute she landed on her back Kerry raised his right foot and chopped it down into her stomach. He hopped back on to his right foot as he pointed at the now-gasping girl. “Stay the hell down.”

 

There you have it: both teams letting go and punching the shit out of each other.  Oh, and if you notice, Lisa kicked Darius in the balls. Did that ever happened in Harry Potter?  No!  Sure, Draco took a blow to the testicles in the second movie when he slammed into the ground after falling off his broom, but did you ever see Hermione wheel around and kick somebody in the crotch?  No!  You only get that here.

As you see, even injured Kerry put Lisa down for the count rather quickly, by sweeping out her legs and kicking her in the stomach.  If Kerry had decided to fight Lisa in the earnest a minute or so before, he probably would’ve just blasted her once and sent her to the hospital in a coma.  So it was wise of him not to fight her.

So everything is over, right?  Well…

 

By now both Manco and Rivânia had managed to separate their teams and stop the fighting. Kerry noticed blood on Darius’ right hand and remembered Anna holding her mouth. He yelled at his teammate. “Did you punch Anna?”

Darius nodded. “Yeah. So?”

“What did you punch her for?”

He gave a weak shrug. “She was there.”

He was about to yell over to Anna and ask her how she felt when Vicky’s voice filled his and everyone else’s ears. “This is Race Control.” The annoyance in her voice was obvious. “All racers are to remount their vehicles now and proceed to the interior of The Diamond immediately without further incidences. There will be no further warnings.”

 

The first take away here is: Darius Roy is a shit.  He basically sucker punched Anna because he was pissed off and she was there.  And since Anna is a friend of Annie’s and Kerry’s, you can imagine they’ll both remember that.

And second: Vicky is also pissed.  It’s not like there have been fights before, but here you have two full teams going at it with the team captains seemingly unable to get their people under control.  Does this mean that certain racers are in trouble?

Oh, you better believe it–

Samhain Racing: The Mean On the Green

What’s new in my world, you ask?  Well, let me tell ya…

The foot is better, though still sore.  I’m thinking that after resting up over the weekend it’ll be better come Monday, but for real:  if it starts hurting at any time next Monday I’m sitting out.  I have practice Tuesday and Wednesday, so it’s not like I’m missing anything.

I did get the chance to edit some footage last night from the Wednesday Night practice, and here’s some of it.  What we are doing is a 180 spin followed by a squat, which is used to get by a defender.  You also get to hear the sort of banter we do when we’re hanging with each other–it’s somewhat interesting and amusing.

Also, I finished the current scene.  Wrote almost eight hundred words and put the fin on this sucker.

Though you won’t see a fin here.

One more scene and I’m into Chapter Sixteen, and after that the chapter, the part, and the act are over.  Then it’s on to the fun stuff…

But first we have this fun stuff to deal with.  Which consists of Kerry trying to keep some maniac from crashing him:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

As they eased through the turn, Kerry grew closer and closer to Lisa while maintaining a half a broom lead. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Lisa’s home and turned toward him, examining him as if she cannot believe he was performing this maneuver. When there was less than half a meter between them, Kerry willed his PAV to go a touch faster and he slid into the turn, hugging the inside of the elevation gates that showed the course layout.

He knew this would do two things: it would through turbulence in front of Lisa and destabilize her run slightly, as well as possibly cause her to touch her air brakes just enough that she would lose momentum through the turn. He quickly checked his rear view monitor and saw Lisa drop back several meters in an instant. It worked exactly as he had planned; he only hoped it was enough to make her wary about getting close to him again.

Kerry slammed on the brakes and eased through Double Dip before proceeding quickly to the long S turn that was Double Back. As he headed into the first part of the turn he spotted Lisa coming out of Double Dip in a hurry and with little or no form: though it was only a quick view, and looked as if she bottomed out her Class 3 as she came out of the descending chicane and reached the level ground. He didn’t take this as a good sign: it likely meant that Lisa was now pissed off and she was going a race like a possessed maniac to catch up.

At this point there was nothing Kerry could do except run his own race.

By the time Kerry reached the right hand kink in Cove Lane Lisa was upon him. As a went to the king she positioned herself less than a half meter behind him, once more using his draft to pull her along. Only this time she didn’t wait until they were on the straightaway to try and pass: as soon as they were through the kink Lisa jinked to her left and began pulling alongside Kerry.

A moment later her PAV appeared to shake before bumping hard on the left side of his jet ski.

 

This is all happening on the west side of the school.  West End and Sunset Boulevard is where Emma and Kerry first raced, and Double Dip is where they collided and Kerry messed up his knee.  Double Back is right around the area where Emma and Kerry landed after their PAVs failed them during the Day of the Dead, and they headed through Cove Lane on their way to the Diamond.

But shit is getting real now.  Lisa isn’t pretending to hit him:  she just is.  Oh, sure, she made it look like she was having an issue, but no one is fooled–least of all Kerry.

 

Kerry pulled his left leg out of the way before the nose of Lisa’s PAV had a chance to collide with the side of his. Even so, she made enough contact for him to feel a considerable amount of pain in his left calf. He didn’t think anything was broken, but his leg hurt like hell. He was at least thankful for the construction of the Class 3: if this it happened on the Class 2 or 1, it’s likely she would’ve broken his leg. Kerry pushed his jet ski forward towards the two large ninety degree turns that made up Reservoir; it was his hope as he made the jump over the path near the South Cove Entrance, he’d pull enough speed through Gloucester Bend to lose her—though a small part of his mind knew that was likely impossible.

His worst fears were confirmed. As they came out of Reservoir and entered Gloucester Bend, Lisa nearly came down on top of him, with Kerry pulling away at the last moment. She pulled even on his left side and this time didn’t even bother with the pretense that she was having an issue with her PAV: she slid to her right and rammed him. She did it one more time and then, while they were still touching, she reached over and smacked him in the left shoulder.

The second time she hit him Kerry decided he’d had enough. He easily deflected her third swipe before reaching over and punching her in the torso as he screamed in anger. “Get away from me, you crazy bitch.” While continuing to glanced to his left, Kerry pushed his craft forward. He had no idea how fast he was going, though he had seen his speed indicator pass through four hundred kilometers an hour.

Coming up on Diamond Chicane Lisa side bumped the back of his PAV trying to upset the balance of his craft so he’d screw up his entry into the final turn. Kerry hit his air brakes as hard as he could and in a second Lisa was several PAV lengths ahead of him. He turned on the acceleration and as they approached the entrance to Diamond Chicane, Kerry slammed the right side of his PAV into the front of Lisa’s, upsetting her entry enough that he was able to slide by her and proceed through the double turn with little difficulty.

He didn’t bother to see where Lisa was as he came out of the chicane. He leaned over his handlebars and willed as much speed out of his Class 3 as he could muster. The moment he pass the flashing green lights of the Start/Finish Line he pulled his PAV skyward so that he could not only bleed off speed quickly, but prevent Lisa from running him down on the straightaway.

 

The “I smack you, you smack me” scene is from the book trailer.  And now you know:  they were zipping along at about four hundred kilometers an hour.  Since most of you don’t do kilometers, they’re zipping along at close to 250 mph, which is a lot faster than a NASCAR stock car runs on their fastest tracks.  This is not for the faint of heart.

At least Kerry knows what he’s dealing with and, at the end, decides he won’t take it anymore and rams Lisa on his way to a win.  So that’s the end of it, right?

You really believe that?

Samhain Racing: She’s Back

I’d like to say today is a pain-free day, but I manged to hurt my foot a little last night during practice.  Nothing major like I had last week, so I hope staying off it for the next few days will allow it to heal up so it’ll be good for next Monday.  I think with ice and ointment I should be good, too, and ready to roll.  Oh, and I got GoPro footage last night, so wait for that to show.

It’s back to racing now, which means She Who Follows stands a good chance of catching The Ginger Hair Boy on the Green Line.  And wouldn’t you know:  he’s ready for her.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry flew through The Essess, never once missing a mark, and made his way over Polar Jump without a problem. As he was setting up to go through Polar Turn he glanced to his left and saw Lisa dropping down through Polar Jump and almost bottom out her PAV due to her speed. Kerry kicked his jet ski forward as hard as he could, feeling about three and a half g’s force him backwards as he had to due west towards Northwest Passage. He cut through the small right hand kink in the first turn and saw, out of the corner of his eye, Lisa bearing down on him, perhaps a third of a second behind him—

This was it. As soon as they were on West End, he knew she was going to make her move.

He wasn’t even fully out of the last turn leaving Northwest Passage when Kerry pushed his PAV forward as hard as possible. The acceleration was incredible: he figured he was pulling slightly more than four g’s in the opening section. Every third second he checked one of his rear view monitors and saw Lisa drafting him, being pulled slowly closer due to the lack of turbulence behind him. Kerry knew there were things he could do to break the draft, but it would also slow him up and that was something he wanted to avoid. At this point, the only way to beat Lisa was to be faster—

And by being a better racer.

Given her racing style, Kerry knew Lisa would make a move to pass as they were going into Sunset Boulevard. He suspected as he set up on the right side of the course, she would use that as her chance to come around him on the left and executed a pass as they headed through the fast, sweeping left-hand turn. But he also knew, based upon our racing style, that she did a fairly poor job of doing what he was about to do…

As expected, the moment Kerry moved to the right side of the course heading into Sunset Boulevard, Lisa whipped out from behind him and began moving up on his left. And just as he also expected, as soon as she was alongside she began moving toward the center of the course in preparation for moving past the apex of Sunset Boulevard’s left-hand turn.

The moment she did this, Kerry leaned in to the turn and, allowing the Class 3 to coast through, set up to diamond the turn while losing almost no speed whatsoever. He did this because he knew how to use the track; unlike Lisa, who chosen exactly the wrong moment to try to pass Kerry.

It wasn’t her intention to perform the turn precisely: Lisa’s modus operandi was to intimidate other fliers into braking so they didn’t crash into her. But Kerry wasn’t concerned about crashing: he was concerned about passing her. And as he discovered the week before, if you intimidated Lisa right back, it had a tendency to rattle her.

And once rattled enough, it might be all Kerry needed to keep her safely behind him.

 

There you go:  Kerry puttin’ the sweet moves on someone who means to do him harm–

I wonder if that’s the last we’ll see of her?

Samhain Racing: It Follows

I was at practice last night with my bum foot and I’d like to say everything was cool, but it wasn’t.  I was probably at 80% and my foot hurt on and off while I skated.  As I learned later, what feels okay off skates often doesn’t feel okay on skates, and I found I needed to leave the floor a few times.  I finally went off-skates after taking a fall and feeling a pain in my foot that I didn’t like, after while I watched everyone else do blocking and jamming.  This is the third time in a row I’ve missed this:  I won’t miss a fourth.

Oh, and one of my toe stops came off and I had to put it back on.  I am truly derby broken now.

It’s back to racing and I decided to borrow the title of a horror movie as I believe it fits this excerpt.  After all, it does seem as if Kerry is being followed by something that he can’t shake–only he didn’t have sex with Annie first.  Let’s see what happens:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry knew he wouldn’t have long to wait for that first interval, as he was approaching South Side Slide and would enter The Sweep moments after that. He bit down hard on his mouthguard and pushed his jet ski forward through the series of turns before him.

Kerry was nearly to the start finish line and Professor Semplen contacted him once more. “Kerry, Lisa is right behind Riv coming out of The Sweep. Riv is 3.6 seconds behind you, Lisa is .1 second behind her. Over and out.”

This certainly wasn’t something Kerry wanted to hear and he was more than certain that when he received an update on the interval time between Lisa and him, he’s discover she passed Riv and was now in second place and closing on him.

Which was exactly what happened. “Kerry, Lisa is now in second, 3.6 seconds behind you. Over.”

There wasn’t much for him to do but acknowledge continue moving forward. “Understood. Over and out.”

Kerry leaned over the handlebars of his Class 3 and swung through Graves. He needed to pick up speed, for the nightmare scenario was beginning. He was in first, Lisa was in second, and she was going to race like a mad woman on the fastest track inside the walls of Salem. As he turned onto Gate Pass and flew over the main entrance roadway, he was told her interval was now 2.9 seconds and that their current speeds she would likely catch him by the time they were in The Essess. There was probably less than two minutes left in the race and all Kerry had to do was keep her behind him and the finish line somewhere in front. He knew if he could do that he’d win this race.

He was through Keeper Path and was getting ready to make a left-hand turn into the long switchback leading to Sunrise Bends when a motion in one of his rearview monitors drew his attention—

It was Lisa coming through Keeper Path at what appeared to be a nearly reckless speed. Kerry turned his attention forward and pushed his PAV through the turns at a slightly higher rate of speed than he had taken them the first three times.

He made it through Sunrise Bends with no difficulty and opened up his Class 3 as he approached the semi-straightaway that led through The Narrows. Even though The Essess were approaching, he couldn’t help but glance at his rearview monitors. Lisa was there and he could tell that she was gaining on him slowly. A quick estimation of her closing speed had him suspecting that she be within a second of him by the time he reached Polar Jump, and the moment he swung through Northwest Passage she be close enough to make an attempt on passing him in West End.

He was going to do everything he could to make certain that didn’t happen.

 

Always the logical racer, Kerry’s doing the maths in his head as he’s pushing his jet ski onward.  But he won’t have to worry about calculating times much longer–

Trust me on this.

Samhain Racing: How’s The Day?

And how was your weekend?  Mine was pretty good.  Knocked off two recaps, wrote quite a lot for the novel, edited a bunch of video, and managed to fit in a yoga class yesterday.  Yep, I was just how much flexibility I didn’t have–and I wasn’t disappointed.  But it was fun and the background music was Motörhead, which made for a change of pace.

Yesterday we saw how the Samhain races of 2013 were shaking out.  Today we get to see how they’re shaking out for Kerry.  And… it’s not as good as one may think:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry was determined to see to it his coven scored the maximum amount of points—but at the same time he was looking for a bit of individual glory. In both Stage 1 and Stage 3 he finished fourth, with the Stage 3 finish hitting exceptionally hard as Emma took third place by .006 seconds. He wasn’t so much concerned about his individual standing taking a beating this early in the season, but he was feeling the pressure of needing to do well in this last race. All the comments made at the start of the day about having additional pressure placed upon him due to the presence of Victor Kirilov weighed heavily upon him and he thought it had some effect upon today’s performance.

Though he didn’t want to blame his equipment, the Class 3 he normally used for racing was in The Hanger being repaired due to a crash caused by a pilot in Advance Flight One. The Class 3’s had a large, sloping underbody with a thick, padded settle upon which the pilot sat, and they were controlled by a set of long handle bars that extended from the front of the craft. Due to their resemblance to an aquatic leisure craft, they were known as jet skis, and they were known to be as difficult to operate at times as those same craft.

Early on his heat in Stage 1, Kerry noticed that his PAV acted as if it wanted to roll to the right, particularly when executing a left-hand turn. He found himself having to adjust for this roll, causing him to lose time in each of those races. So for the very last race Kerry adopted a new strategy: he would go into each left-hand turn as fast as possible, which would cause him to lean further to the left. While this resulted in having to endure more g forces, he found there wasn’t any need to compensate for a roll to the right.

And the extra speed allowed him to get out in front far more quickly than the other nine racers on the course.

Kerry pushed quickly through the Blue Line. He made great time through Pentagram Pass and Trench and it wasn’t long before he was making the climbed to Observatory Bend. He flew through that as fast as he could take it and was on the verge of grain out when he reached the end and passed on to Skyway. At Helter Skelter he showed the most caution, popping his air brakes until he could reach what he felt was the minimum fast speed to the dangerous turn, then zipped back and forth couple of times before pushing his Class 3 as hard as he could through Residence.

 

Two fourths for the Ginger Hair Boy with future father-in-law sitting in the stands watching his progress.  Normally Kerry’s like, “If I win, I win.”  Today he’s like, “I gotta win ’cause Annie’s dad is here!”  And the fact that he missed a podium spot by six one thousandths of second in his second race likely had Victor looking at Annie with a “You said he was a good race” look on his face.

So now Kerry’s way out in front–over four seconds out, which is quite a lot on these courses–and racing his ass off.

Except–  He may have company soon…

 

He was making his way through Aerodrome when he heard a mix of voices on the open mic. There seem to be a lot of warnings and mixed in with that warnings, he could tell there was a bit of anger. He found out the reason for this moments later when Professor Solomon broadcast on the open channel to all racers. “This is Race Control. Five second penalty to Glissandi: rough racing.”

While most of Kerry’s mind was on the course in front of him, something about the recent penalty bothered him. “Race Control, this is Malibey. Clarification, over.”

Professor Semplen was on the radio in an instant. “Go ahead, Kerry, over.”

“Where did Lisa have her penalty? Over.”

“It happened in Helter Skelter. Over.”

Kerry was not the least bit surprised to hear this. “What’s her interval on me?”

“She’s .7 seconds behind Riv, which puts her 4.2 seconds behind you. Over.”

Kerry was not in the mood to do something stupid and lose this race. “Race Control, I would like an interval on her time at The Sweep, at the Start/Finish Line, and at Graves. Over.”

“You’ll have it, Kerry. Over and out.”

 

There you have it:  Lisa’s in third after pulling another dangerous move in Helter Skelter.  Any chance she’ll get around Riv?

Well…

Samhain Racing: The Day So Far

So here we are, one year since the start of Book Three of The Foundation Chronicles: C For Continuing.  As I stated in my video yesterday I don’t have anything special planned for today.  If I was a good author who actually had things published, I would probably have giveaways of the previous two novels in the series.  But I’m not like that: I spend too much time writing and not enough time publishing.  I could say maybe next year, but we know next year will probably be a lot like this year.

The one thing I do hope for is that if this novel isn’t completed I’ll be close to the end.  Maybe I’ll even be over four hundred thousand words.

It has been a good day of writing, with just a little over one thousand, one hundred, and fifty words written.  I even have photographic proof:

It’s all right here.

And as you can see, in the process of writing over eleven hundred words today, I also managed to pass one hundred and ninety thousand words total.  So here I am crossing my fingers, hoping that by the end of the month I’ll have passed two hundred thousand words.  Actually I’d need to write five thousand words a week for the next two weeks to do that, so I have a goal.

And as a way of remembering, I went back and looked at the first scene I wrote today in 2016.  I wrote exactly five oh one words, followed the next day by little over six hundred words.  As you can see, I’ve not changed my habits much in the last three hundred and sixty-five days.

So what’s up for today on the blog?  As you may have guessed from the title were getting into the race.  You know what race I’m talking about–the Samhain Races in which Kerry is participating.  So below I have the first seven hundred or so words of the scene which discuss everything that has happened up to a certain point in the races.  It may seem a bit technical, but if I can follow it, I’m sure you can follow it as well.

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry came flying off the Red Line and rode the air brakes just long enough to make the tight, sweeping left-hand turn on to the Blue Line. He came within less than half a meter of the elevation gate as he straightened his Class 3 PAV and turned on the speed entering Woodland Path.

He didn’t check his rear view monitors as he headed toward Selena’s Meadow at high speed. He didn’t need to see if there was anyone behind him: he had a considerable lead in with less than two laps to go, he intended it to stay that way.

This was his last shot at a podium today and he wasn’t about to mess things up.

Today’s Samhain races had been brutal. The course was Green to Blue to Red and Back For Two, which on even a good day was a hard course to master. Ten laps, four each on the Green and Blue Lines and two on the Red Line, which tested even the best racer’s skill. There were few people on any of the race team’s who enjoyed participating in this course layout. The only positive thing everyone could agree upon was it was a beautiful day for racing, with clear skies and temperatures in the low teens.

While there were a few instances of race teams acting as a normally acted, there were also quite a few surprises—and they began with the Stage 1 heat.

Let’s remember we have three race courses at Salem: the Green Line, which is an easy course that pretty much follows the outlines of the wall; the Blue Line, which is a slightly more technical course that allows the racers to actually get a bit airborne; and the Red Line, which is a fully technical course full of twists, turns, climbs, and dives, the centerpiece of which is the notorious 1K, eight turn which is centered one kilometer directly above the Great Hall, and requires the racers to fly almost straight upward, go through the turn, and then drop straight down. It’s not for the faint of heart.  In the next novel there will actually be a scene showing what it’s like to negotiate this turn.

Just to prove that you’re not the only ones who are confused by this racing stuff from time to time, when I was putting together all of the information below I started the layout the winners and losers of each stage based upon notes I had from the B Level novel.  I was halfway through the process when I looked at what I had written and went, “That’s not right.”  It turned out that, even with my notes, I had somewhat forgotten how these Round Robin Races were determined.

So I took a few moments to go back to the B Level novel and look at what I had written there, and was able to figure out how to proceed with the races in this novel.  See?  Even the author is sometimes confused by her own work.

So don’t worry if you don’t get this right away: I had to go over it a couple of times before I got it right.  Oh, in case you need some reminding, here the nicknames for the various teams:

Åsgårdsreia:  The Stags
Blodeuwedd:  The Owls
Ceridwen:  The Warthogs
Mórrígan:  The Blackbirds
Cernunnos:  The Snakes

In the first stage Cernunnos was paired with Mórrígan and Ceridwen was paired with Blodeuwedd. While Nadine won their race, Penny and Alex took the remaining two positions on the podium and Cernunnos beat them on points. However, the Blodeuwedd/Ceridwen matchup saw The Owls taking the first and third positions of the podium and scoring fifteen points overall, the most for any team four that stage and assuring they would face Åsgårdsreia in the next stage.

Cernunnos sat out Stage 2 as they had come in second overall in Stage 1. Åsgårdsreia, who would set out Stage 1 by virtue of being the first place coven, faced off against The Owls, while Mórrígan and Ceridwen faced off. Mórrígan did as expected, crushing Ceridwen with Nadine and Emma taking the first and second positions of the podium and scoring eighteen points overall to The Warthogs’ eight.

But Åsgårdsreia conquest of Blodeuwedd did not go off as planned. The Owls raced hard against The Stags, and while Rivânia won the race, Soroushi Amouzegar and Maritza Iglesias took the second and third place positions for Blodeuwedd and forced a tie on points with Åsgårdsreia. Race Control awarded the match to The Stags by virtue of their individual win.

Stage 3 so the single match up between the best from Stage 2 and the second best from Stage 1, pitting Cernunnos against Mórrígan. Though The Blackbirds were pumped up from their Stage 2 victory, The Snakes were even more pumped up and put everything they had on the track, giving Mórrígan the hardest Samhain race in a long time. It what ended up becoming an extremely hard-fought finish, Alex and Penny took first and second respectively, with Emma Nelson from Mórrígan rounding out the podium. Overall, however, Cernunnos crushed Mórrígan nineteen points to their seven, with Cernunnos scoring the highest number of points for any team that day.

The Battle Royale between Åsgårdsreia, Ceridwen, and Blodeuwedd, did not go as planed for The Stags. All teams raced hard and while Åsgårdsreia won Stage 4—with Riv taking her second win of the day—Ceridwen took the second podium position and Blodeuwedd took the third, marking the first time in almost twenty years that each of the three teams stood upon the podium together. Åsgårdsreia picked up seventeen points, but did not score the knockout they expected.

With all but two teams finish for the day of racing, the point standing showed an incredible shakeup. Ceridwen found themselves deep in a hole, fifteen points behind blow to weld. While Mórrígan scored a considerable number of points, they actually lost ground to The Owls and were now only four points ahead of fourth place.

But the real shakeup remained between first, second, and third place. Åsgårdsreia, Cernunnos, and Mórrígan each had eighty-seven points, making a tie for first place. As Mórrígan was finished racing for the day they would remain in third, while the Stage 5 race between The Stags and The Snakes would determine who would finish the day in first.

And this is how the standings looked before Åsgårdsreia and Cernunnos started the last race:

Åsgårdsreia: (1/57[+3]/+30/87[+0])
Cernunnos: (2/54[+4]/+33/87[+0])
Mórrígan: (3/50[+6]/+37/87[+4])
Blodeuwedd: (4/44[+5]/+39/83[+15])
Ceridwen: (5/39/+29/68)

The first number is their overall position at the start of the day, with the second number being their total point and the third being how many points they are ahead of the team behind them–this number does not exist for the last place team, however.  The fourth number is the total number of points gained during the races discussed in this scene, with the fifth number being their new overall point total and the sixth number being how many points they are ahead of the team behind him.  So as Kerry points out, going into the last stage of the day, there is a three-way tie for first place. Most importantly, Åsgårdsreia and Cernunnos are tied for first, so whomever scores the most points in this race will end up taking first place in the Overall Coven Championship.

And as you can imagine, both teams are racing hard…

Team Get Together: Oh, Something Else…

So, getting this out a little early today as I have a lot of things to do tonight.  Me, busy?  You know it, kids.

I was at practice last night but I didn’t work out–well, sorta didn’t.  I managed to get about three hours of video, though:  two from my tripod camera and maybe an hour from my GoPro.  Below is the first part of a longer video–about seventeen minutes–of the ladies in a pace line doing pullthroughs.  I’m on the side of the track while Laura wears the GoPro.  This is what it looks like from our point of view:

I also helped one of the freshies with a plow exercise where I didn’t need to be in skates to help her.  The foot is feeling better and I do hope to be back on skates by next Monday’s practice.  Tonight is bout review with pizza and ice cream.  We know how to party!

And speaking of party, it’s time for the kids–well, at least Kerry–to get out on the course.  And it seems Penny has one more question–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

As she was putting on her second boot Penny leaned closer to Kerry and spoke in a low tone. “I heard something else today, too.”

Given the way Penny was acting, Kerry was certain he knew what she’d heard. “What was that?”

“That you’d put your name in the pot.”

He drew in a sharp breath as he continued lacing his own boot. “Yeah, I did.”

“What?” Alex leaned towards Penny as she looked at her friend with a shocked expression. “You’re not going home for Yule?”

Kerry stared at the spot on the floor for a few seconds. “My folks are going to Australia for Christmas. I need to find a place to stay.”

“So…” Penny leaned forward, resting her elbows on her thighs. “Are you going to stay with Annie?”

He shook his head slowly. “No.”

 

Penny drew the logical conclusion that since Kerry has a long-time girlfriend, it’s a simple matter to spend Yule with her.  And then he tells her no.  I wonder how Penny will take this?

 

Penny looked at him as if she couldn’t believe what she just heard. “No?”

Alex looked as if she wanted to jump out of her chair. “Why not? I’m sure her parents would let you.”

Having gone through this with any this morning, Kerry wasn’t in the mood to go through it again with his friends. “I don’t want to spoil her holiday—”

“You’re not going to spoil her holiday.” Penny affixed a piercing stare upon her teammate. “What the hell is wrong with you, mate?”

Kerry shot a bemused stare back at Penny. “Nothing’s wrong with me.”

“Did Annie ask you to spend the holiday with her?”

“Yeah.”

“And you still said no?” Penny’s voice grew a bit louder. “You remember what I told you when we met in Rendlesham Forest over the summer?”

Kerry finished leasing his boots and sat back in his chair. “I remember.”

“Well, why are you acting as if you don’t?”

He felt the sudden urge to snap irrationally at Penny, but caught himself as he realized that was likely caused by the hormonal imbalance he was currently experiencing. He got to his feet and turned to face his two friends. “Probably because I got a ton on my mind right now, none of which has to do with the Yule holiday.” He picked up his helmet and gloves. “Like you said, Annie’s parents are here and her father is probably going to be judging my every action out on track today.”

He stuffed his gloves in his helmet and let the arm holding it drop to his side. “I don’t want to sound like I’m bitching for no reason, but I would like to discuss this at another time ‘cause we got a lot of racing to do today.”

Penny stood nodded once and Kerry’s direction. “You’re right: we do have a lot of racing ahead of us today we should be thinking about that.” She placed a hand on his shoulder. “And we will talk about this later.”

Kerry grabbed on to Penny’s arm and gave her bicep a squeeze. “Not a problem.” He released her and slapped his helmet hard. “Let’s get going. There’s a Class 3 out there with my name on it.”

 

So, the news seems unanimous:  Annie, Penny, and Alex all think Kerry’s idea not to spend Yule with Annie is sort of–what’s the word I’m looking for?  Oh yeah:  bullshit.  And since Annie will have time to talk to her parents without Kerry around, I wonder what she’ll talk about?

We’ll likely find out much later–

Right now we have a race to run.