Book 2 Chapter 8 Section 3 Tales of Dead Armadillo a Novel about Crosscountry Running and New Braunfels early 1993 By Esteban Erik Stipnieks


Coach Bob made sure they stretched...Dennis had joined along Allison, and Brandy the whole gang was there. Once the stretching was done he said take a warm up lap around the river section of the course. Ace now more then ever appreciated the beauty of the course. It was good to have this as a last meet. The took off on the back stretch by the road after they crossed the wooden bridge and the small playground. The group stretched out two and three wide their shoes hitting the decomposed granite of the path. It was a warm up lap they were loosening up the sky overhead was blue. The downhill hairpin that Ace almost wiped out as a freshman was taken with more caution this time. This was a great location for a district meet....the Seguin Course was no longer used. This was sure prettier then Northlakes Ace thought. Tara was once again amazed at the beauty of a course she was running. The stretch by the Comal she saw fish dart and a turtle swimming. Bo was trying  to make as many mental notes and adjustments on a course he knew. They crossed the bridge again and were back. Coach Bob was waiting He told them to take the loop but he wanted the group to take that down hill hairpin as fast they could.

start or turn photo Esteban Erik Stipnieks all rights reserved                               turn itself Esteban Erik Stipnieks all rights reserved

Bo looked at Raul allowing him just a couple inches taller but 10lbs lighter to be the most aggressive. Raul's line was shoved outside he made contact with a bush by the tree that was on the hairpin he was trying. Bo knew what he could get away with and his line sliced with a biter turn then allowing more speed to build up. Raul had barely avoided the River Coach Bob shouted "Not that much.” Bo smiled he was trying like he wanted it.

Dennis had the best set of quads and the lowest center of gravity on the team. He actually cut to the inside of Bo and passed him on the inside. The shoes were pushed hard but they did not break. The football cuts of his routes had given the ability to pull the stunt off with skill.

Ace knew better he ran the line that exact same line he had done earlier that year. He started the turn earlier just lightning up on breaks but sharpening the turn as much as he could then winding the course at the base accelerating. The line was too snazzy too artistic but he had tried something different so the approach was not without waste he knew what would not work.

Amanda approached the downhill hairpin she had her comfort zone. She knew the laws of momentum she had half a dozen lines for the turn her head different combinations of entry speed breaking turning she had gotten use she was not above playing with different combos but she was not about to push it too hard. She used the down hill to come in she ran the turn a bit tighter with a big tight turning impulse trying to stay out of the way of others with some speed then on the other point of the turn break off and accelerate as much as she could. It worked but it was also hard on her legs. The big turn also shrugged off momentum. She had tried something new and decided it was not worth it so that was good enough.

Tara heard the call. Her quads were the third strongest of the team Ace's were stronger yet her center of gravity was lower her shoulders broader she watched Ace's blunder. She began turn turn sooner using her leg strength and lower center of gravity to run tighter line her shorter legs did gather speed but not the extreme amount that Ace's did gain some on Amanda through the process.

Kimber was ambitious but not stupid she was content with race line she had options on the turn she knew them like she knew the Romans Road. She did not feel the desire to invent and as it played out she was not in a position to run the aggressive one as Julie was running it beside her.

The group ran the back stretch Coach Bob told them to work on the other part of the course the uphill run to Prince Solms they circled up around and rejoined the course and crossed the concrete bridge over the original channel of the Comal River. It was not the most fun part of the course but it had to be done. You could pass on the wooden bridge but that was not the wisest thing you could pass before or after the concrete bridge bottom line one had to be aware of it. The hill was severe bit it was passable Coach Noel had been told where to direct them. One more lap. When the lap was completed the Exceed jug was placed on an aluminum picnic table and the cups were there.

Steven Ray had accepted his role on JV but he had been caught up in the fire of the guys. Steven Ray congratulated Ace he congratulated Raul who had been visibly been giving his that entire workout. It was not an intense speed workout but it still mattered. His sister congratulated him for trying. She had been informed of a stunt that that would be performed the following day. She was not about to let her brother in on it. Linda had been party to the same stunt. The guys were having the rooms decorated. Amanda Cook and Kimber had spear headed the effort. He drank Ace was warm. Dennis looked at him "How about trying to finish right behind Ace.” The statement was clear...he was expected to and why not. Regionals or bust might have been the motto of the guys but they wanted JV glory to complete the picture.

Kimber hung out with Anna and said "Thanks for being such a loyal teammate." It was a simple statement the girls were one Varsity and JV. They were also very valuable partners in Crime. The high five was given to Brandy by Linda and she sought Allison out as well. The congratulations and unity was intense. Rosignol smiled she liked this team. Kimber had made it a point to build it. The plan for the room decoration of the guys had been done before and it was to be done again. They did not know it. The girls were talking Bo and Dennis and congradulated them all. They fellowship of sweat was intense. They drank the fluids did their crunches and pushups they were soon splitting heading home. The girls locked feet guy and girl as they did sit-ups. They did the 50 as a team. The pushups were done next the last bit of upper body strength to be gained and some additional cramp insurance purchased on the concrete near the river. It had been a good workout the last major one two approach runs and then district.

Linda drove her brother home. She had been impressed with his attitude shift. She did not like the fact he was going to the party at neighbors house that Saturday night. She could not do anything about it. It would mean at least the guys would get the gold at district. She feared that the party would be busted. She still wanted company to the regional meet. She finally let him on how the girls were feeling and how Amanda often felt the talent had been foisted on her. She made it clear to her brother that the strength of the guys squad had been welcome relief.

Steven Ray and Allison the two Juniors were in the same car heading home near the high school they had been staying with their dad. They were smiling it had been an unbelievable season. Allison commented it was sad that Special had to be kicked off the team. Stephen Ray made the comment "He had it coming drunk at a football game is too much he shafted Ace....their was a pause wound up costing us.” Allison realized her brother a fellow Junior was right. She then said "Scary once Linda leaves and Amanda we will be stuck second fiddle." Stephen Ray commented, “We got this one to worry about we will be crazy seniors soon enough.” They arrived at their house over looking Seele.

 Amanda offered Ace a ride home. She was finding herself liking him. He was not too interested. He said, “It’s nice to see Coach Bob get his dream.” She seemed surprised she had heard the conversation and realized their significance now and in the times he had visited his radical new course that had been. She asked him "What do you think of Coach Bob?" He was direct "Coach Noel is by older brother in the faith Bob is my head coach and someone my effort has to witness to our discussion before the home meet I crossed the line now he considers me partially responsible for the district assault." Ace was only half way comprehending what had gone on. Amanda responded "The dents in the car spoke volumes you got under Stephen Ray's skin you can put on a guilt trip more effectively then Bob can you do not use it all the time but people do not want to let you down." Ace thanked her "Dennis, and Tom though put me where I am." Amanda said "Yeah but you earned it." He thanked for the ride and did the his homework. The voice contained joy when Stephen talked about winning district for Coach. It had never occurred to her that despite Stephen respected Noel Scott he cared for Coach Bob. The two had butted heads but she finally picked up on what had been known in the guy’s locker room.  Coach Bob had not lost his temper or even had his moodiness on display.  Ace had done it for Coach Bob. 

Tara was met with her mom when she arrived at home. She asked about the workout. Tara found it hard to contain her excitement about being a part of champion girl’s squad. She talked of Kimber and how Kimber and Julie set the tone. She told about the plans to decorate the rooms of the guys. She loved the idea. The girls would go out in groups and her father had already been a partner in crime her father would slow down Dennis's arrival home and the dinner planned. Her father arrived for dinner. He was simple "Any truth the rumor district glory for both squads is imminent." Tara responded "Dennis and Ace are the fire Tom is the big brother while Bo and Serg keep the humor I would rather take on a pack of pit bulls then stand in the way of the guys" She commented she learned about the course and was happy to spend time on it. The family prayed before dinner and ate it together much like AManda Cook's a couple miles away. For the seniors they were now painfully aware in the own homes that the season was rapidly fading. The season was just about over. Two maintence runs and the race....remained.



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