Wild Boys and Metal Horses

by Hunter Woods

Chapter 24

In The Zone

It was mid-afternoon when my mom pulled into the driveway with our car and I opened up the door climbing out of the back seat. "Awe mom, stop being such a worry wart already. I've been cooped up in the house for almost a week now and I'm going nuts. Nothing's going to happen. It's just a casual bike ride for a bit." I grumbled because she was just being impossible with everything including our earlier meeting.

Just as suspected our parents had wanted to sit down with us before my dad had to head out for work. He'd been missing too many days already and even though he had enough leave, medical, and other time accumulated it still wasn't good for him to be missing so many days. They weren't really expecting him until tomorrow, but he wanted to at least get a half day in to look things over with what needed to be done and perhaps see to any little fires that had cropped up while he was gone getting them squelched in short order.

To my surprise it was my dad who seemed the most flexible instead of my mom in regards to my relationship with Carter. It was obvious my dad had told her that I was now sexually active, but I got the distinct feeling she didn't want any details, not that my dad really knew much. It wasn't like she objected to the idea of me being gay or having a boyfriend, but rather she was a bit hesitant about the whole sex situation; especially, with a boy two years younger than me.

Every time sex came up in roundabout ways during our discussion she didn't look happy and my dad had to constantly remind her that I was fifteen years old now and it was only naturally for me to be at that stage in my life. I suppose it was kind of tough for my mom to picture me that way and I really couldn't blame her because it was difficult enough for me to talk about it with my mom. Of course she didn't say anything the first couple of times my dad tossed the whole age thing at her, but he must have been getting on her nerves because at one point she literally laid into him asking what my age had to do with anything. Of course she immediately knew that was a dumb thing to say and grumbled waving her comment off as it once again turned to something else.

Even though my mom wasn't handling it well, I was happy to notice Carter's parents being receptive to the idea of me and Carter being together. I don't think they were necessarily happy about the whole sex situation either, but I think they were just relieved that if he was intimately involved it was with someone like me. When we first started talking about our situation one of the first things Carter's parents wanted to know was if their son was happy. That was their main concern before they had turned to me and asked if I really cared about their son. When I responded that I loved him, it seemed to melt their heart and they smiled sweetly at me. Their next comment was directed to both of us as they emphasized how difficult it might be for us once people found out and we needed to be careful while also taking things slow.

Still, let's face it, the biggest obstacle was the whole sex thing and even though our parents didn't think it was appropriate, feeling we were still very young, it was obvious that horse had long left the stable. So instead, they tried to lay down conditions for our relationship, which to my relief they began to back off on immediately because it became obvious that other than forcing us to remain apart many of the rules simply wouldn't work. In the end, they agreed that they didn't want to really know about any details and that while we were around them or others that there was to be no hanky panky going on.

Of course my expression had turned sour because hell, how was that going to work. They must have seen my look because they quickly clarified what they meant. In public they didn't want us to display our affection openly until and unless we decided to go public with our relationship. I think that was more a cautionary measure because they knew in general we weren't ready for people to know about us and insisting on this rule would help protect us from accidentally doing anything by mistake we didn't want to do. They also said while at home it was perfectly fine to cuddle, and if we must kiss and stuff; that is, so long as we didn't get carried away and put in an honest effort not to do that sort of thing in front of them. It wasn't that they were homophobic or anything, but let's face it, seeing their sons sucking face and making out wasn't something they really wanted to see. The usual light cuddling and little pecks weren't an issue for them, but getting hot and heavy with stuff; especially, in front of Colton, wasn't what they wanted to see or know about.

There were plenty of other little rules that cropped up in the discussions, but in the end everyone seemed to be happy for the most part with the arrangements; except, for my mom. Not that she had any issues with me being gay, but there were some things she wasn't one hundred percent comfortable with regarding my sex life. I don't think she was ready with the idea of me truly being sexually active, but I could tell she also understood that I was no longer a little kid and had to make my way in this world. This was part of growing up and she wasn't stupid and understood this, but I think a major part of her over-protectiveness was due to the recent events. Almost dying had rattled her more than she was letting on.

My mom had always allowed me to be carefree and a bit reckless coping with the typical boyhood types of injuries while growing up. She despised those helicopter types of parents who hovered over their children because it only sissified kids, both girls and boys, and gave the spoiled brats a sense of entitlements. She wanted me to grow up to be independent, strong, and my own person; able to stand on my own two feet without feeling I deserved anything and everything that came my way. It was obvious with the recent events my mom was struggling with her motherly instincts to protect me from all dangers in life even though she knew if I was to grow into a man she had to step back and not interfere too much. Still, I couldn't blame her for being over-protective for the time being since I had actually died recently, but I could tell she was also making an effort to strike a balance of some sort.

After our discussion Carter had asked if it would still be alright to compete in the upcoming big competition on Saturday. He was afraid his parents would object, but to his surprise they had beamed happily and gave him a big hug saying they were so proud of him wanting to go back. After a quick call they found out he had just enough time to get his things together for the next flight back and after calling up Mr. Baylin they were relieved he was willing to pick Carter up on the other end. I think Mason's dad was ecstatic that the boy had decided to compete after all. He said it was perfect timing because it would give him a chance to rest up before making practice runs on Friday to get a feel of the track that had been built for the weekend competition.

Mr. Baylin also mentioned something about Mason being in a weird mood, which had gotten a snigger out of me. I had leaned over and whispered into the thirteen year old boy's ear that his friend was just acting weird because he missed Carter's sexy mouth on his cute little pickle. Of course my comment managed to get me an elbow in the rib and when I had grunted everyone glanced over wondering what was going on making me blush a bit embarrassed.

After Carter got his things together we dropped him off at the airport for the short hop on a small plane before Mr. Chasson drove me and Colton back home. My mom and Mrs. Chasson had stayed behind to get to know one another better. They had become good friends, but really only knew each other from their conversation over the phone and skype. With me being sick they really hadn't managed to find time and sit down for a nice girl on girl chat since my mom had made the transition to North Carolina. My dad had walked back home taking our other car not wanting to leave mom at the Chasson's without a ride back home. Our house was only a couple of blocks away so it meant either he walk home or my mom, so decided to leave the car they drove over in with my mom.

By the time Colton and I got back with Mr. Chasson it was already early afternoon and the younger boy was just itching to get outside some. It wasn't as hot today and he thought it would be a good idea to get our bikes out for a spin. Of course my mom just about blew a gasket and shot the idea down insisting I wasn't ready yet for that type of exertion even though we said it was only going to be a casual one on the easy trails in the cooler shade of the trees. We argued about it some over at the Chasson's, but it was kind of awkward and a bit embarrassing since it wasn't really appropriate. My mom ended up making a casual exit by thanking her new friend for her hospitality and saying we should be getting home so I could relax a bit since it's been kind of a hectic day for me already.

Now as we climbed out of the car I couldn't control my frustration because she was currently being unreasonable as I explained how it was only going to be a casual bike ride. "Pim, I said no already. This is the first day you are feeling better and I don't want you to overdo things." She insisted.

"Oh for Pete's sake this is ridiculous. I'm going to go anyway and you can ground me or do whatever you want I don't care. I've gotta get out of here for a little while because I-I…well…I just need to get away from you a bit because you are just too weird ever since you found out about…," I was livid and just about shouted out how weird she had gotten ever since she found out I was gay and had a boyfriend, but stopped when I saw some movement by our front steps.

"Oh…er…I…uh…sorry." I heard a familiar voice, but it still took me a second to realize who it was since the sun was shining in my eyes as Ricky stepped closer.

"Oh…hey Ricky." I greeted curiously noticing him smiling a bit nervously.

"Er…hey Pim…I…uh…I came by to see how you were doing, but no one answered and I was a little worried that maybe you had…um…maybe you had to go back to the hospital or something. I was writing a note asking if you guys could call me to let me know if everything was alright." He lifted up a piece of paper and pencil he was holding in his hand. "I…er…hope that was alright?" He asked shyly because even though he had visited a few times he felt maybe I wouldn't want him doing something like that.

"Oh…wow…well that's…well…that's really cool of you." I responded blushing a bit because it really was thoughtful considering everything's that's happened and yet again proved just how much the teenager truly regretted getting involved in the other stuff.

"Yes Ricky, that was very thoughtful of you and we really appreciate it." My mom smiled at the other boy approvingly knowing full well it had taken a lot of guts for Ricky to come around and even visit after everything that he had done.

Our sincerity seemed to make the other teen happy as he perked up and beamed proudly since it was obvious we appeared to welcome his efforts. "Um…I couldn't help overhearing about Pim wanting to go for a bike ride and you being worried Mrs. Merckx. If I'm stepping into something I shouldn't…er…just say so, but I might have a solution. I mean…if you are worried about him overdoing things and all." He offered and blushed self consciously because he wasn't sure if he should say anything or not, and to my surprise mom seemed to be curious as to what he had to say motioning for him to continue, which gave the boy more confidence while also making him feel at ease.

"Er…right…well if you are worried about him overdoing things I wouldn't mind going along and looking out for him. I just finished up doing some of my community service hours this morning and it would actually be nice to get out some as well. Even though I'm no longer officially grounded my parents restrict what I'm allowed to do and well…it would kind of be doing me a favor too because it would mean I can get out a little. It's something my mom would approve of and I promise it doesn't mean I won't look after Pim, but it would just be nice to get out of the house for a while and hang out with a…er…," he glanced over at me and blushed.

"friend…," I finished for Ricky. "And yes…you are my friend Ricky. Even Carter and Colton don't hate you and I'm sure Colton would love having you along with us today. He knows you are sorry and didn't mean things to go that far and he also knows what you've done by coming to visit me. He actually likes you and I'm sure he wouldn't mind getting to know you better. I'm sure if Carter where here and not on his way to a competition he would say the same thing. We're cool Ricky…really." I smiled at him reassuringly with my mom sighing and gazing at us intently.

"Ricky if your mother says it is alright then I'll let you boys go, but you have to promise you will keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't overdo things. I know my son too well, and he just doesn't know how to control himself sometimes when there is fun to be had. Don't get me wrong I don't mind him having fun, but sometimes he gets into situations because of his outgoing nature." She chuckled. "This last time almost did me in Ricky, so if you promise me you will take care of him and it is alright with your mother then it is a go." She stated while I smiled and gave my mom a big hug and kiss.

"Thanks mom…and don't be such a worry wart." I teased feeling her giving me a harder squeeze before swatting my butt.

"So help me Pim, if you put me through what you did just recently you will wish you had died and gone to heaven because where I will send you won't be pleasant." She growled and I could tell Ricky was trying not to laugh at me because my mom was kissing me all over my face.

"Mooooommmmm," I protested enough to make it official, but not fooling anyone about how I appreciated my mom's affection, not to mention her slowly beginning to crack in the whole being impossible funk.

It was nice to get away from the house on our bikes and I could tell Ricky felt the same way as we gathered together our stuff after a quick break in a clearing off on the side of the main trail. Even Colton had gotten excited when we had dropped by his place and picked him up unexpectedly on our bikes. He had been debating what he was going to do for the rest of the day and had planned on going down to the skate park with his board to see who was around. It would have been fine with him to hang around some buddies if they were out and about, but he immediately opted to go with us eyeing Ricky curiously.

It was obvious how Colton was checking out the older boy, and not in a casual getting to know him way, but rather in a kind of wondering what the boy had between his legs way. I had to admit the teen looked kind of cute and wondered why I hadn't really noticed it until now. I suppose a lot of it had to do with what's been going on lately and how I had viewed him. Until now I had only seen the ugly side of him, which of course would have turned me off to noticing him in the physical sense regarding his looks. Like us, the teen was wearing a sports shirt with baggy athletic shorts and when I discreetly glanced down I couldn't help but notice he seemed to have a decent sized package going on down there making me blush and look away wondering how lately I've become a bit of a pervert.

It was nice to notice that Colton was also being discreet and I think the only reason why I knew he was checking out the older teen is because of how well I knew the little guy. There were several times now where I had to stifle a giggle when the younger boy would pop a stiffie as he managed to tactfully keep it pretty much unnoticeable. It made me happy to see Colt being a bit more cautious about the whole sexual thing, but it was hard not to laugh because it was obvious Ricky didn't even know he was being perved on by two other boys, one very much younger and one slightly older than him. It made me wonder what he would think if he knew how a couple of guys were checking him out.

"This is really nice." I inhaled softly, smelling the leaves and plants of the forest before putting my helmet on and smiling as I looked around because it felt really good to be out again in the fresh air.

My left arm throbbed a little and I didn't have as much control with my hand, but the pain wasn't anything major and the main trail was smooth enough where using my right hand for the most part didn't affect me controlling the bike. The benefits of getting out far outweighed any minor discomforts. Besides, the doctor had told me I needed to start using my arm and hand, working it to get some of the strength back into them.

"Yeah it is." Ricky agreed flashing me a smile, which I thought was very cute making me blush for a second about my naughty thoughts. "Thanks Pim," the teen responded gratefully, shifting his gaze away and blushing now as well.

"For what?" I wondered curiously shaking my head a bit baffled.

"You know…for talking my mom into letting me come with you guys. I've been feeling kind of cooped up and restless, not that I didn't deserve it." He sighed apologetically.

"Shit…stop feeling guilty already. Colton and I don't give a shit about the past and we know you weren't really a part of it. I mean…you were, but also you weren't. Besides, I should be thanking you because my mom's been really over the top lately with me and it just made it easier overall. Maybe we should also work on your folks if they've been keeping you cooped up. If you ever need to get out for a bit just tell your mom that I was asking if you could come over to my place. She seems to be alright if you are hanging around with me. Just give me a buzz and we will get it worked out somehow." I added seeing him smile appreciatively.

"Yeah, don't be such a downer. We are having a good time and besides, if you behave I'll even let you see my willy." Colton added catching me by surprise while Ricky choked and coughed because he was getting a last slug of water before putting it away.

"W-what!" He hacked with water spurting out of his nose while Colton busted up and began to look all cute and adorable like at the older teen.

"It's what you were after that day wasn't it. I mean, who can blame you since I'm so sexy." He batted his eyelashes blowing kisses towards us and wiggling his hips around seductively before grabbing his crotch suggestively.

It took a second to recover because both Ricky and I were stunned for a second before we came to our senses realizing the little pervert was just teasing us and trying to lighten the mood. "Why you little shit." I grumbled lunging for him, but he was ready and took off on his bike laughing his ass off.

"Why that little shit is going to get it." I flashed Ricky a smile before jumping on my bike and tearing after Colton.

"Pim…wait…not so fast and take it easy." I heard the other teen try to slow me down, but I could also hear him laughing his ass off too because if truth be told Colton really had laid it on thick and when he grabbed his crotch it was very obvious he had a boner and I was fairly sure Ricky noticed as well.

We tore down the trail, and I was so busy having fun I had forgotten all about taking it easy as I started to gain on Colton. He knew it too and he suddenly veered off the main trail taking the steep drop off to the side track we've ridden on so many times before and without thinking I tore after him as we started to get reckless. With my left arm being weak and on the shaky side I could feel myself becoming dangerously close to losing control on several occasions already, but I was too much into the moment and when I almost lost it completely during a turn I suddenly heard this shrill whistle behind me along with a commanding shout.

"STOP! FOR CHRIST SAKE EVERYONE STOP RIGHT NOW!" A bellowing voice shot through the air, the forcefulness of it making me immediately stop and I could see Colton doing the same thing about ten yards ahead with Ricky hoping off his bike while shucking his backpack on the ground when he came to a stop just behind me.

"What the fuck is wrong with you Colton!" He yelled at the younger boy while I instinctively stepped in front of Ricky with a scowl on my features that made the teen step back a bit frightened.

"Oh shit…I didn't mean to scare you Ricky…it's just…shit." I apologized shaking my head as I calmed down feeling bad now for making the other boy afraid of me. "Really, I'd never hurt you Ricky it's just…I get really protective over Colton and it isn't totally his fault because I should have known better. Please I'm sorry if you thought I was going to hit you or something. You're our friend and I'd never do anything like that to a friend of mine because I know you weren't out to hurt us or anything." I tried to make this right because this time it wasn't Ricky's fault and with him being a friend now he should never have to feel afraid of being around us even if we do get mad at each other.

To my relief he seemed to take my words to heart because he stepped forward and scowled at me. "Shit Pim, you scared the shit out of me, and I don't mean just now, but riding down this damn hill like a maniac. I promised your mom that I'd look after you and make sure you don't overdo things. I know about your arm and how it isn't one hundred percent because of the poison eating at your tissue, tendons, muscles, and joints. I looked a lot of this up on the internet and I'm sure even though you are feeling a lot better it is going to take some therapy to get you back to a hundred percent. Don't ever scare me like that again. I'm trying to be a good friend, but if you don't respect me then just say so now and we can all go our own way. I don't really have a right to ask this considering what I've done, but I'm not going to be responsible for telling your mom you got hurt because I broke my promise. That I won't do." He grumbled looking at me meaningful and making me feel awful for the pinch I put him in.

"You're right and I am sorry…really. I meant it when I said we are friends and you have every right to be mad at me." I sighed shaking my head because he was right.

He nodded his head accepting my apology before focusing his attention on Colton and this time I didn't stop him when he walked over to the smaller boy. "The same goes for you Colt. I know I wronged you and I want to make it up to you, but I won't tolerate you doing something stupid either and what you did was dense. I know it was in good fun and you are younger than us, but Pim could have seriously been hurt. I know he's always there looking out for you, but sometimes you have to man up and be there for him too. It's not fair that he saves your life and almost dies to only break his neck after he survives the first time. You've gotta be better than that when he needs you." He scolded the other boy and I could see the shame in Colt's eyes as he began to apologize, but I didn't hear it because all of a sudden I felt a bit lightheaded and nauseous.

"BLEEEUUURRRGGGEEHH!" I doubled over leaning my weight against a tree as my body heaved and I threw up.

Chunks of food from lunch emptied out of my body along with some nasty looking fluids before I heaved a second time. "HUUUURGGEHH!"

"Oh shit." I heard Ricky yelp and felt him immediately by my side along with Colton while my body heaved several more times before I was finally done.

Straightening back up, I wiped the vomit from my lips with the back of my hand and nodded my head that I was alright now. I heard Ricky sighing in relief while helping me over to the uphill side where I took a seat and started to recover.

"Colton, in my bag there's a bottle of sprite and some crackers, bring them over please." Ricky asked the younger boy while I frowned curiously. "The crackers and sprite will help settle down your stomach." He informed me noticing my questioning look.

"Really, how do you know that?" I wondered.

"When a cousin of mine got pregnant she was always nauseous and ate crackers with sprite or seven up when she felt sick. I asked mom about it one time and she said it was a good way to calm down an upset stomach. It seemed to work with my cousin so knowing you've been nauseous lately I grabbed some before leaving the house just in case." He explained while I smiled and looked at him from a different perspective now.

"And here you are worried if we are friends or not." I chuckled shaking my head. "Only a friend would think about their buddy like that…thanks Ricky." I added sincerely grabbing the bag of crackers and bottle of sprite from Colton when he came back.

"You think he'll be fine?" Colton glanced over at the other teen anxiously while I sighed.

"I'll be fine Colt, thanks to Ricky, but for real guys let's not say anything to my mom."

"I don't know if that's such a good idea." The teen pursed his lip in concern.

"I'll be alright, really. I shouldn't have overdone it like that, but let's just take it easy and enjoy the rest of the day. If I start to feel dizzy or nauseous again we can head home and we can tell my mom what happened. I just don't want to spoil things for any of us, and this was just a fluke…promise." I assured them with both Ricky and Colt agreeing so long as if I did start to feel sick we'd head home letting my mom know about everything.

Now that I was feeling better I was surprised at just how fast the rest of the week went as I sat back on my bed leaning up against the back wall my eyes glued to the TV set. I was listening to the announcers talking about the upcoming mountain biking race. I was feeling better, but still recuperating from my scare last week. My arm no longer ached, but it was still black and blue, and weak. Thankfully my nausea was completely gone now, but I still got tired; although, that was improving leaps and bounds as well.

Both Ricky and Julian were sitting in the chair next to my bed and I was glad the older teen's folks let him come over to watch the race with me. He had to go straight home afterwards, while Julian was going to spend the night with Colton and I got a feeling there was going to be a lot of hanky panky going on over at the Chasson's place later on when the boys went to bed. Even though Ricky had to go home later, I could tell he didn't mind so much and just being able to come over for a little while seemed to do his spirits wonders. I just hoped his folks would ease up on him here before too long because sometimes going overboard could do more harm than good.

"Has it started yet?" I heard a familiar excited voice and I looked up just in time to brace myself against a flurry of arms and legs when Colton came bouncing onto my bed and into my lap.

"Oh fucking hell Colt…," I winced because the little twerp managed to knee me yet again right in the nards.

Both Ricky and Julian noticed and thought it was funny because they started busting up and shaking their heads at me. Ricky was already getting used to seeing Colton and me cuddling up together; although, at first I could tell he was uncomfortable with it. Now though he seemed to know it was a brotherly like relationship we had for one another.

"Sorry…," Colton giggled giving me an apologetic peck on the cheek before squirming around and settling in my lap while I tried to recuperate from my balls getting crushed.

"Shit for real Colton…you need to start being more careful. I mean sometimes its not that bad, but other times it really hurts you know." I sighed, giving him a little cuddle and kiss before wrapping my arms around his front and pulling the boy into my body as he settled his back into my chest and stomach.

"I know, and I really am sorry." He apologized again.

Sighing, I shook my head. "I know buddy, but your aim is impeccable." I chuckled seeing him furling his eyes and craning his neck to look at me for a second or two because I had used an odd word as he got the gist of what I was saying. "Now hush up, the race should be starting any moment now because everyone is getting lined up." I nudged him as we both focused on the television and the announcers as they rattled on.

"It's a beautiful day here in Virginia at our big manmade outdoor venue they've erected over the last several days and where in an few hours we will all be watching closely as Nash Sr. tries to clench his fifth win in a row on the big Motocross circuit. The man has been on a winning streak lately, and his son, Nash Jr., has been tearing up the tracks as well, racking up several wins over the summer in the junior division on his mountain bike." The first announcer commented.

"That's very true Harry and we will be keeping a close eye on Nash Jr. as he is favored to win here in the junior division of the mountain biking event, which is set to take off here in a few moments. It's a field of twenty seven young riders each hoping to make their mark on this track. Nash Jr. is wearing his yellow colors, which matches his father's, so he won't be hard to spot. As a side note the young teen has also been transitioning into the motocross sport and we expect big things from him in the near future as he follows in his father's footsteps." The second announcer informed all the viewers.

"I hear you Jerry, but I wouldn't count my chickens before they are hatched just yet because I tell you I like what I've seen in this new kid, Carter Chasson. This guy just came out of nowhere and has been making a name for himself as well. There are several other kids worth mentioning in this junior category, and many have competed against each other on numerous occasions. Most of these kids all belong together on teams since it's easier to defray costs and get sponsorships, so many are familiar with one another's strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I think it will come down to who has the most staying power. This is a four lap event, and the course is fairly long for a man-made venue. I know Nash Jr. is the favorite, but I have a gut feeling we are all in for a treat today because I think Carter is up to the challenge. It won't be hard to spot either of these kids because this Chasson fellow will be wearing green. Actually, I think Carter and Nash Jr. are the only ones wearing colors different from everyone else, so we will keep an eye on those two." The first announcer added his two cents worth and I was happy to see the thirteen year old boy get some props.

"Well Harry you may be right, but Nash Jr. and Carter Chasson were matched up head to head last week and well…we all know Nash took that one rather handily." The second announcer seemed to dismiss Carter out of hand.

"That was last week my friend and this is a whole other story. Besides, I've found out recently from reliable sources that the Chasson boy wasn't quite himself last week. Evidently, his best friend had almost died while protecting Carter's little brother from a poisonous snake by using his arm to block a bite that would have struck the younger boy's neck. I'm sure young Mr. Chasson wasn't in a good frame of mind. From what I understand he was actually on the phone with his mom when his best friend coded on the table and died only to somehow be miraculously revived. That's gotta be stressful for a kid his age." Harry made the announcement while I blushed totally mortified that this information got out there and had been made public on a national sports broadcast.

"Holy cow, you've gotta be joking." Jerry sounded quiet surprised by the disclosure.

"A guy can't make something like this up, but Carter seems to have it all sorted out now because he had made a quick trip back home sometime after the race last weekend before returning back on Thursday just in time to get some practice runs in on the track. I watched him yesterday and he was simply tearing it up as if on a mission. Like I said, I have a gut feeling about today and we will find out here quickly because the race is about to start now that everyone is lined up…and yes, there they go as Nash Jr. jumps out to the lead with Carter immediately behind him while his teammate, Mason, slides into third." Harry began to focus on the race while Ricky, Julian, Colton, and I watched the race unfold with the jumbled mass of riders vying for position.

As the race progressed it was like Harry had predicted, with this competition being much tighter than what Jerry had led on, and it was rather exciting for everyone as the racers jockeyed back and forth throughout the track vying for first place. Even Mason was putting in a good showing keeping up with both Nash Jr. and Carter as they set a blistering tempo outpacing the rest of the pack each waiting for someone to make the first biggest mistake that in all likelihood would determine the outcome of the race.

Several times Nash Jr. made moves that were outright uncalled for, drifting into a guy's lane trying to shove them into the wooden wall on some of the turns or the hay bales in other dubious points along the course. At other times he'd swerve inwards sharply trying to cut someone off so they'd ride into the ditch or completely off the track along the inside area of the field. He nearly succeeded several times making us all cringe because it could have created a dangerous wipe out where someone could get hurt, but both Carter and Mason simply pushed past the dirty tactics as they started the third lap.

We were all yelling now with excitement and anger in my room, and I could hear plenty of grumbling coming from our living room as well. My parents had invited the Chasson's over to watch the event unfold and I could tell they weren't very happy with Nash Jr. and his dirty tactics. Even the announcers seemed to think a lot of this was uncalled for, and the crowd at the event itself was starting to boo Nash Jr.'s., tactics, not at all pleased with what they were witnessing as all three boys started tearing up the track on their third lap with none of them showing any signs of letting up.

"Whoa Harry, man I can't believe just how right you were, but dude, I'm not exactly sure if I really appreciate what I'm seeing. Nash Jr. is tossing his weight around jamming these two competitors at every turn and I have to admit this is getting downright nasty and dangerous…OH…there it is…exactly what I'm talking about as he almost clips Mason's front tire when he cuts him off at that turn. It's cost him the lead though as Carter inches forward glancing over to make sure his buddy, Mason, is alright. It's back and forth with these three having extended a big lead over the rest of the pack."

"You've said it Jerry, but let's not forget about the rest of the racers because there's been plenty happening back there as well. I mean, Mason's sister has somehow managed to pull away from the big knot of riders. She got jammed at the beginning, but has fought her way to the front of this mob." Harry brought everyone's attention to the rest of the riders giving them their due diligence as well.

"That's right and it was partially due to the help she got from her two fellow teammates who opened up a lane or two for her to jump ahead during critical junctures. They know she is the stronger rider, and even though this is an individual event, and not one based on team points, they still sacrificed some of their own speed and positioning for a fellow teammate. This race isn't for the National Championship or anything, but it does count towards the national ranking so for those two youngsters to sacrifice their positioning is true sportsmanship at work here, and Mr. Baylin, Mason's dad, should be proud of his group of young riders. All of them are showing what being on a team is all about, unlike the non-sportsmanship actions we've being seeing from Nash Jr., and looking over at the sidelines even his dad looks a bit upset about it." Jerry pointed out.

"Yes, and we've just seen it again with Nash Jr. once again trying to knock out one of his opponents, this time Carter as they round a corner with another one quickly coming up as they are literally side by side." Harry now described the scene with Jerry jumping in.

"Oh man, Mason is making a move on the inside, and I don't think Nash Jr. is paying attention because he is focused on Carter…but oh no…he just noticed and has slammed the lane shut actually clipping Mason's front tire when he moved over and…oh…oh, this can't be happening…oh…no…Mason just lost it and has slammed into a large pile of hay bales." Jerry gasped with everyone seemingly doing the same while Colton immediately jumped to his feet up on the bed.

"Hey, that's not fair. That Nash kid is a jerk." Colton blurted out in protest while I grabbed his wrist and pulled him back down a little upset myself, but tried to remain calm so it wouldn't get the younger boy worked up even more.

"It's alright Colton…it's part of the sport even though technically yeah, he's a big jerk. You know how it is when you compete with your friends on the skateboard. Sometimes things get a bit heated." I tried to explain; although, inside I wanted to wring that Nash kid's neck as I once again focused on that Jerry announcer on the television set.

"Oh my folks the move has slowed Nash Jr. down a tad, but he's churning the peddles once again picking up speed while it looks like Carter has slowed down looking back at his friend and it is obviously he's concerned about his teammate. It looks like he's about to turn back to help his buddy, but Mason is waving his arm furiously indicating his teammate should move on as he tries to get his bike un-jammed."

"This has not only cost Mason valuable time," Harry interjects with the announcing, "but Carter as well with Nash Jr. now tearing down the track all on his own and in a good lead while young Mr. Chasson starts to hoof it after the older boy. Folks, I'm afraid it might now be too late though as Carter picks up speed on the flats to help carry him into the long uphill track that is designed to burn the muscles and wear down a rider. It hasn't seemed to work though against these first three riders as Carter continues to pump his pedals furiously. These three have been nothing short of wild boys on their bikes today and this is a rare treat for us all. Our hearts can only go out to young Mr. Chasson though for his valiant efforts and not backing down even now when it is almost assured he will lose because there is just too much of a gap between Nash Jr. and him. When he turned his bike around it cost him big time. I think I can speak for everyone though, if nothing else Carter will be the People's champion if not the outright champion, but I don't think it matters because the crowd is now standing and cheering the youngster on."

"You said it Harry, just look at the crowd as he crests the enormous hill and begins to tear down the long slope. He's gotta be careful though because there is a huge hairpin turn coming up before it continues downwards with six, that's right folks, six large hilly mounds that were designed to get the racers plenty of air. With the motocross folks many will be taking the hills two or three at a time as they jump over them, but on mountain bikes these kids will be forced to take them one at a time despite catching plenty of air." Jerry explained.

"Holy cow, Carter isn't even slowing down and this could be a total disaster as he takes the tight turn that is held in place with a wooden wall. The dirt is built up against the wall so it will allow racers to take the turn high, but there's no way Carter can slow down in time now and he isn't even trying." Harry began screaming into the microphone because things were getting intense now.

"Oh my god…oh my god…did you guys see that…this is incredible and by far the best mountain biking venue I've ever had the pleasure of announcing. Even if things end up going horribly wrong I won't ever forget this. Young Carter simply took the turn at a fast clip allowing the downhill momentum to carry through, but it is a tight turn and instead of slowing down like everyone else, he simply kept picking up speed. I was sure he'd bite the dust, but he rode his bike right up against the wall letting the force slingshot him around picking up even more speed with the jumps looming ahead." Jerry was now standing up and screaming right along with the rest of the crowd who were all on their feet, the roar of their voices echoing through the man made outdoor stadium.

"Holy cow…," Harry screamed. "This is insane if he doesn't slow down who knows what is going to happen with those jumps coming up. If he doesn't time things right, or if he doesn't have the right speed, he could literally take a jump and smash the front of his bike on the uphill portion of the following hill. I'm not sure what is going through Carter's head right now, but he's refusing to back down and if anything is forcing his bike to pick up even more speed as he takes the upward slope on the first hill and holy Toledo, he's got big time air as he slices through the distance…and…and…oh my god…he made it…he made it…He cleared two hills on one go his wheels touching on the downward slope of the second hill and he made it look easy folks. He's still not slowing down as he now takes the upward slope on the third hill and oh my goodness, he clears two once again. I don't know how he's doing it, but it's like this isn't even a challenge for him…it's simply incredible."

Even Jerry was weaving his body around as if imitating Carter as he goes soaring through the air on the fifth hill with everyone holding their breathe as he lands on the downward slope of the sixth hill. "Oh…my…goodness." Jerry jumps up and down. "If I wasn't here I wouldn't believe it, Carter just cleared all six hills on three jumps, and folks, that is simply amazing." He yells as the entire makeshift outdoor arena erupts with the crowd jumping up and down. "Holy ta-mo-lie, this kid is in the zone and simply can't do any wrong as he lands the jump picking up more speed on the downward slope with it now leveling out as he crosses the finish line area with one last lap to go."

"Jerry I don't know about you, but I've never seen anything like this in the junior division, have you? I mean, Carter is definitely in the zone and in a completely different level at this point than anyone else on this track today. Nash Jr. still has a pretty good lead, but Carter has eaten into it big time. I'm not sure if it is enough because both boys still seem to have plenty of steam left. Carter's been hitting every turn, twist, rut, hill, and jump with perfect precision now, while it seems like Nash Jr. has been making a couple of little mistakes. He has avoided making any big ones so far, but the little ones are costing him some time here and there as we watch the two youngsters tearing through this track in what must be record time."

"No, you are entirely correct. I've never seen anything like it and no matter what happens Carter is the true champion in my book. He's done everything right and represents what this sport is truly about while Nash Jr., I'm sorry to say, but he's lost all of my respect and is nothing like his father. Sorry folks, but that's just the way it is as we watch history in the making here. I'm not sure if Carter can make up the distance, but he's giving it his best and win or lose he can hold his head proud as he continues to eat up the distance between him and Nash Jr. at a blistering pace." Jerry replied back to his fellow commentator making me smile while the announcer continued with his banter.

"Harry, I'm not even sure if Nash Jr. really understands what is happening with the crowd. He's still pumping the pedals for all he his worth, but he just doesn't seem to be as focused and looks sloppy out there. Maybe it's his overconfidence, thinking he's padded a big enough lead against the rest of the pack after taking out Mason with Carter giving up his lead out of concern for his teammate. Again, this Baylin team epitomizes what it means to be on a team and Mason's dad should be proud. Speaking of which, this Mason kid is still in third place despite being forced into the ditch and hay bales earlier. Even though the youngster is far enough ahead of the rest of the pack to coast easily into third place he's still trying to catch up to Nash Jr. and Carter."

"That's right Jerry, and that further illustrates just how committed and deep the talent goes on the Baylin team because Mason's sister has managed to pull away from the main mob as well getting a bit of distance, which puts her in fourth right now."

"Yes, Harry and that was only possible for young Ms. Baylin because of the help she received from her teammates to open up some lanes for her after getting shut down in the beginning. This Baylin team really care about each other more than winning, and once Carter found out his buddy was alright it then became clear he's made it his personal mission to do something about Nash Jr.'s., dirty little tactics. I'm sure if Nash Jr. knew just how much Carter is eating away at that lead, we'd see him panicking. From up here it is obvious Nash Jr. isn't holding back, but it's just plain as day that Carter is the stronger one as we watch the two boys making their way through the jungle portion of the track." Jerry continued to lay into Nash Jr., definitely giving the indication that no matter what, he was going to support Carter in the end as Harry now steps in with the broadcast.

"Jerry, I don't know about you, but if Carter can catch up most of the rest of this distance to Nash Jr. it will be right here. There are a lot of twists, turns, and handlebar jolting ruts to slow everyone down through here and if you look at young Mr. Chasson he's completely focused on the task taking the route of least resistance and I don't know about you, but it's like he's put on a burst of speed through here. This kid is absolutely on fire and we've said it earlier, but this youngster is totally in the zone and in a completely different level than anyone else on the track today. This kid is absolutely amazing." Harry offered up while everyone who was watching on the television set, along with the crowd at the event, seemed to be totally focused on Carter trying to close the gap between him and Nash Jr. on this final lap. Both boys were kicking up plenty of dirt navigating each obstacle of bridges, running water, mud, sand, and anything else tossed in their way.

The last lap seemed to take forever as I found myself holding my breath watching the love of my life do something amazing with the announcers' voices once again getting my attention because they became even more animated. "This is unbelievable what we are witnessing folks. Carter has managed to almost wipe out the entire lead Nash Jr. had gained when he pulled that nasty stunt earlier, but will it be enough as we get towards the end of the very last lap. Nash Jr. is definitely looking tired as he tries to grind his way up this last hill barely managing it and believe me folks it gets even steeper when the steam inside your body is just about evaporated, but look at that Carter go. It's almost like he's just now taking this hill for the first time and if I didn't know any better he hasn't lost any steam at all as Nash Jr. crests the hill and begins the steep downward slope to the first hairpin turn. Now it is Carter who crests the hill with Nash Jr. taking the turn while young Mr. Chasson doesn't slow down one bit, and like the last time it looks like he's going to try the slingshot maneuver." Jerry gets excited.

"That's right my friend," Harry was nodding his head. "This is for all the marbles folks and Carter knows it. If he hopes to overtake Nash Jr. he's gotta really turn it up and don't hold back anything…and there it is, he slingshots around the corner just like last time taking his bike literally up the side of the wall and boy is he burning it up now folks. He isn't missing a beat as he races down towards the hilly jumps just as Nash Jr. starts up the first one. Like last time Nash Jr. isn't taking any chances and had tapped the brakes on the downward hill to maintain just enough speed to carry him through one hill at a time as he finishes his first jump and is pedaling through for the second one. This way he doesn't risk going too far and slamming into the following hill. So it looks like he will be taking the hills one at a time while Carter takes them two at a time as Nash Jr. now catches air on the second hill."

Jerry jumps in now. "Oh man folks, this is going to get dicey because the way Carter is flying there's no stopping things now and this is really going to be a close call. I just hope the way their two strategies differs that they don't end up somehow crashing into one another. Carter's totally committed now as he gets ready to take the first jump while Nash Jr. is already finishing the third one and shooting for hill number four. Man, Carter is truly flying now as he hits the upward slope on the first hill and actually cranks it up. He's gotten the feel for what he needs on the previous lap as he catches air and once again takes two hills at a time with Nash Jr. catching air on the fourth hill and cranking for hill number five just as Carter soars into the air for the second set of two hills. He lands it perfectly again his speed almost immediately launching him into the air yet again."

"Oh my god, they are going to collide." Harry gasps including everyone in the crowd, my room, the living room, and the entire nation watching the sports channel on the television, but to everyone's amazement Carter soars just over Nash Jr.'s., head, landing safely on the downward slope.

Just as Carter soars over his opponent's head, Nash Jr. had been about to take off in the air himself on the last hill, but Carter's bike coming down just over on top of him as he was about to crest the hill totally throws him off. His bike jumps into the air and spins slightly out of control and he lands hard slightly behind Carter. The other boy hangs on for a second or two before he loses control and ends up spilling over the top of his handlebars, landing hard on the ground with his body rolling several yards before coming to a stop. His bike bounces towards the finish line ending up crashing into the hay bale just shy of the crossing a few yards away.

As Nash Jr.'s., body comes to a stop Carter crosses the finish line with the crowd jumping to their feet and letting out the biggest roar ever while the thirteen year old boy pumps his fist into the air in triumph.

"He won…he won…oh my god…he won…," Colton squeals as he starts jumping up and down on my bed using it like a trampoline while I begin shouting as well, joined in by Ricky, Julian, and our folks in the living room.

"Oh my god…oh my god…he did it…the biggest comeback of the year, of the decade, hell for that matter maybe ever." Jerry was shouting over the television while Harry places his hands on the top of his head and is shaking it back and forth. "I've never seen anything like it," Jerry continued, "and you called it my friend. You said there was something special about this kid and you had a gut feeling this race was going to be a tight one, but man-oh-man I don't think anyone could have predicted anything like this." Jerry was screaming while Carter came to a stop and stepped off his bike raising his hands to the crowd and giving them an appreciative wave before pumping his fist in victory.

The crowd didn't disappoint and began chanting his name over and over again. "CARTER…CARTER…CARTER…CARTER…," They kept yelling with people dancing and jumping around in the stands just having a great time.

"This place is going absolutely nuts and deservedly so because this was just history in the making. They will be talking about this moment for years to come. I called it folks, but honestly never in my wildest dreams would I have thought this would be so epic." Harry was screaming into the microphone because the crowd was so loud that they were drowning him out.

The atmosphere was charged with an electrical excitement that suddenly evaporated into thin air when Nash Jr. tackled Carter to the ground. "Holy cow…," Harry gasped in horror. "Nash Jr. just came out of nowhere knocking Carter to the ground as the boys are now rolling around. No one saw it coming…oh…except for Nash Sr. who has run out on to the track to intervene and is literally dragging his own son off of poor Carter. I don't think young Mr. Chasson expected Nash Jr. to be such a spoil sport and come after him like this. I'm just glad Nash Sr. had the presence of mind to intervene as more officials now take to the field trying their best to calm things down. I gotta tell you folks, I don't think Nash Sr. is happy at all with what has transpired today because from up here it looks like he is giving his son the tongue lashing of his life. I'd hate to think what words are being exchanged between father and son, but it can't be good."

"That's right Harry and I don't think Nash Jr. was even thinking because here comes Mason crossing the finish line. It looks like he will be taking second because if Nash Jr. was thinking straight he would have picked up his bike and crossed over, but as it is his bike is still on the track so technically he hasn't crossed over yet. This means Mason will take second, and with Mason's sister now cresting the big climb she just might take third unless Nash Jr. gets his head screwed on right." Jerry explains.

"I'm sure the judges will agree with your assessment not that it would probably matter anyway since he tackled Carter, not to mention what he did to Mason, so I'm sure they will end up disqualifying him. Besides, the boy has bigger things to think about because his father isn't letting up one bit as the officials begin to surround both father and son trying to defuse things as Mason's sister begins the jumps on the final hills and crosses the finish line looking very pleased; as well she should, because she put in a good showing too today. The entire Baylin crew should be proud as it now looks like they will take all three winning slots. This is just amazing folks." Harry declares while we all settle down now to see what will happen as we see Nash Sr. firmly grabbing his son's arm and directing the boy off the track followed by several officials.

There was a lot going on down by the race track as other racers now began to cross the finish line. Carter and the others were directed off to the side with the awards ceremony getting sorted out almost immediately waiting just long enough for all riders to finish. I suppose the officials just wanted to keep things moving along as Carter stepped up on the higher middle podium while Mason and his sister flanked him on either side on lower ones. There was plenty of talking going on with the announcers describing the scene along with what just happened during the race and it was kind of total pandemonium, yet in a controlled kind of way as they gave the winners their medals and trophies.

The crowd erupted and cheered when the first place was given to Carter and he was immediately surrounded by the rest of his team members along with Mr. Baylin while both Harry and Jerry confronted the small group shoving microphones in their faces for an interview.

"Oh wow Carter, my buddy Harry here at the very beginning stated we needed to keep an eye on you because he had a feeling there was something special going to happen and sure enough he was right, but I don't think even he knew it would be so monumental. What was going on in your head when you saw Nash Jr. taking out your teammate?" He asked Carter who was smiling and having the time of his life being hugged by his team members as he took a moment for the announcers.

"Oh well, I was really devastated because I thought he might be hurt. At that point winning wasn't even on my mind, but once Mason waved for me not to quit I immediately hopped on and chased after Nash Jr. even though I felt it was probably too late." He explained getting a nod from Jerry before Harry stepped in.

"We felt the same way, but noticed you took off like a wild boy on a mission and even though we didn't notice it at the time I think this is really when your focus became razor sharp because when you climbed that major hill it didn't look like it even affected any of your energy. After that you just busted out going for broke and gave us all a fright when you took that tight turn without tapping on the brakes going high up on the wall. What on earth made you think to do that because it was like you were put in a slingshot, which sent you at supersonic speed down the hill?"

"Er…yeah…I don't know. I guess it had a lot to do with my little brother." Carter explained getting a confused look from the announcer.

"How so?" Is all he asked trying to get Carter to open up more.

"Well…er…you see Colton, that's my eleven year old brother…," Carter began to explain and paused waving at the camera, "love you bro," he beamed giving Colton a wave who gasped here in my room and giggled that his older brother would take the time to mention him. "Anyway, he's like this super-freakoid on a skateboard. He even went head to head with this legend of epic proportions, a guy known as 'The Hammer,' which was a blast to watch on youtube. Anyway, I watch him a lot and see him doing that sort of thing all the time at our local skate park in Vass, North Carolina. Now mind you I'd never be able to pull that off on a skateboard and probably would crack my head open or something. Anyway, it just sort of hit me to do that on the bike, and well it worked and as a matter of fact felt so natural I knew I'd be doing the same thing on the final lap. It did scare me some because I was like going super fast." Carter explained with both Harry and Jerry nodding their heads.

"I can imagine," Jerry interjected. "We even figured you'd be tapping the brakes a bit, but you didn't and we thought for sure you were in for a lot of hurt. To our amazement, including our audience, you seemed to pick up even more steam and took two hills on the first jump, repeating it on all six hills taking them in three jumps. Boy, let me tell you that was a heart stopper, but you made it look so easy. It was then I just knew you were in the zone and that there was no stopping you."

"Er…well…yeah, it was like really weird because once I did the slingshot there was a split second when I thought about tapping the brakes, but then it was as if I could see it all playing out in my mind. I could see every rut and groove on the first hill and it was like I even knew how fast I needed to go to clear both hills. When I took the first jump and was in the air I knew exactly where I was landing and already saw the exact path for the second jump, and after that the third. It all felt natural and from there on I just concentrated on the track itself picking out the best route. Everything seemed to fall into place and it was like my bike and the track all cooperated and became like this huge flawless engine running on all pistons. It was a fantastic feeling." Carter tried to explain what he was feeling.

"You said it kid." Harry commented. "From where we were sitting it was exactly like you described and it was amazing just how fast you were closing the gap. The last lap was even faster than your previous ones on a track that was designed to wear down the racers, but it didn't even seem to faze you. It was like you had plenty of gas left in your reserve tanks. You made it look so easy; especially, when you ground through the monumental hill on the last lap. Even Nash Jr. barely seemed to make it up while you looked very fresh."

"Yeah…I don't know. At that point I wasn't feeling anything. I was completely in my own world and had blocked everything out; except for Pim, my best buddy. He was the one who convinced me to come back to Virginia to race after he saved my little brother's life and almost died while protecting one of the most important people in my life. I love him for it with all my heart. I was so upset, but he confronted me and asked if I still like mountain biking and if I still enjoyed competing. When I told him yes, but I was afraid of losing because I was upset about everything and not as focused, he gave me one of the best advices anyone's ever given me. He told me all that mattered is I have fun and at the end of the day if I win or lose the important thing is if I did my best and know it in my heart." He nodded his head with a somber expression before lighting up and smiling. "Hey Pim…I did it and you were right so this is for you." He held up the trophy with the fans in the background and everyone around him cheering him on and laughing thinking it was so nice.

Carter took the time and waved to the people in the stands before turning his attention back to the announcers. "Anyway, once I got to the top of the hill and cranked it around the slingshot, I noticed Nash Jr. and I knew right there and then I had won. I could see it all play out in my head, and knew exactly where I had to hit my jumps knowing exactly where he would be and where I would land at the very end…and sure enough…that's how it happened. It's freaky weird and will probably never happen ever again in my entire life, but today I just knew I had done my very best, which I knew would make Pim proud." He finished with the fans roaring their approval.

"Oh man Carter let me tell you, all of us here today are so appreciative of the heart you showed and no one will top your performance today and I'm sure this race will be played over and over again for years to come. It wasn't just you though, but the rest of your team as well because we couldn't help notice the accomplishments during the race with everyone else involved. Mr. Baylin you must just be beaming with pride over your team." Jerry asked with Mr. Baylin stepping forward while ruffling Carter's hair.

"That's right I really am. Everyone did their part here on the team even though it was slated for individual performances, and I can't be prouder of each and every one of them. The way Carter stopped in the middle of the race to make sure Mason wasn't hurt just shows the true nature of who he is. I'm so proud of Mason as well because despite what happened he hopped right back on to his bike and ground it through like a real champion and it paid off for him." Mr. Baylin crowed proudly of his two top racers.

"Yes indeed, their character sure shown brightly today." Harry interjected now. "But we can't forget about your daughter who had the fortitude to grind it through as well after she got shut down by several of the riders at the beginning." He commented placing the microphone in front of Mason's sister who ran her hand through her long hair pulling it back out of her face.

"Oh man, that was a thrill today and I'm so proud of Carter and Mason. They are our strongest riders on the team, but they also have a lot of honor and integrity. That's what makes a champion and I would have given you two yahoos a run of your money if I hadn't been ganged up on." She teased with her brother piping up in good form.

"Yeah, you wish. Besides, you probably would have gotten a bit ticked off with what Nash Jr. was doing and knowing you I bet you would've beamed him with your helmet if not outright plowed into him." Mason teased and then yelped when his sister slugged him while everyone chuckled.

"That's not true. I'm not the violent type." She harrumphed with everyone suddenly roaring and cracking up because slugging her brother and the so called comment of 'not the violent type' didn't go unnoticed by anyone. "Anyway, I was only able to break free because of our other teammates. We all know that this race was an individual competition, which makes what they did even more special because they sacrificed some of their speed and positioning when they managed to open up some lanes for me to shoot through." She commented giving their other two teammates a quick hug of thanks.

"You are so very right." Jerry commented. "We noticed that and at the time commented just how well your entire team projects themselves out there on the field. Sacrificing your own positioning and speed to help out a teammate in this individual competition had to have been a tough decision for you guys?" Jerry asked watching as one of the other boys stepped forward shrugging his shoulders.

"Well not really, we both knew that she was a stronger rider and had heard some of the other guys talking about shutting her down and blocking her at the beginning of the race, which I thought was a punk a-s-er…well…that is…a punk out move and didn't like it one bit." The boy caught himself before saying something inappropriate. "Many of us know each other since we often race against one another, and there are a lot of boys who just can't handle getting beat out by a girl. She's tougher and stronger than most of the others so they ganged up on her. We couldn't do anything about it at the beginning because of where we were positioned, but we were able to help during the race opening it up for her so she could bust past several riders at a time. It's the least we could do for her to give our teammate a chance, and to her credit she made something of our sacrifice so in my book it is all good." Carter's teammate beamed proudly at the girl who gave him another hug before doing the same for the other boy.

"Well said young man and I have to admit you guys did it at the most critical points, which is a testament to your abilities and sportsmanship. You should be proud of your accomplishments and coming in sixth and seventh respectively is a good showing too. I have to say well done one and all…," Harry paused noticing some movement. "Oh…er…well it looks like Nash Sr. is coming our way and…yes…it appears if he wants to come over and say something." He commented glancing over at Mr. Baylin who hesitated for a second and then nodded his head indicating it would be fine.

"So Nash Sr., it looks like quite the dust-up out there today." Harry asked a bit cautiously not wanting to stir things up since it was kind of a sticky situation at the moment.

"Yes Harry and I would like to personally apologize because this is not something I condone and certainly not in my own son. This is a competitive sport, but above all there has to be respect and I'm ashamed to say it, my son did not display any of this here today. I just wanted to come over and apologize to you Mr. Baylin and to your team. I also wanted to congratulate Carter on a well deserved win…and wow son…you did not disappoint. That was the best riding I've seen ever and won't soon forget. I also wanted to apologize to Mason who put forth a display of what this sport is all about. The sportsmanship everyone displayed is beyond what we can hope for in our young competitors. You are the future of the sport…and I just felt it was necessary for me to come over and try making things right at least on some small level." Nash Sr. apologized and congratulated everyone very humbly and it was obvious he was sincere.

"How's your son…he didn't get hurt did he? That was a pretty nasty spill out there and I'm afraid it was partially my fault." Carter asked surprising everyone including Nash Sr.

"Er…well…no…he's perfectly fine other than the typical bumps and bruises. It was really thoughtful of you to ask though; especially, in light of the way he tossed his weight against you guys out there and how he jammed Mason out there and believe me it scared me to death for young Mr. Baylin. It was a shameful act on my son's part and he will be dealt with, that much I can promise." Nash Sr. added.

"So, I take it the officials have made a recommendation in regards to what the league is going to do about your son's actions?" Jerry inquired with Nash shaking his head.

"No, and I suspect a ruling won't be made so soon, but I can assure you we will abide whatever decisions they make. I can promise you this much, I've pulled my son from any mountain biking competitions for an entire year." Nash Sr. assured everyone, seemingly punishing his son on his own without even waiting for a ruling on the part of the league and it was a tough punishment.

"Oh wow, that's going to be a brutal one, but at least he will be crossing over into the motocross arena." Harry added knowing that Nash Jr.'s., been transitioning and doing a dual sport.

Nash Sr. shook his head. "No, after tonight he won't be getting on any motorbike to compete, not ever, so long as he lives under my roof. Tonight's actions proved he doesn't have the temperament for it and I won't be responsible for anyone getting seriously hurt because of my son. He isn't happy, as a matter of fact he's spitting mad at the moment, but that's life. We all live with the consequences of our own actions." Nash Sr. insisted and he was dead serious about it, which pretty much squashed his son's career in the field, or at least until he became an adult and was on his own.

"Oh wow, that is a steep punishment and I'm not sure if the roles were reversed I could do that to my own son. That takes a lot of heart and courage for a parent and you sir have once again shown just what a classy kind of guy you are and what it means to have someone like you for other kids to look up to. I take it this is going to be rough for you to remain focused on your race coming up later in the day?" Jerry wondered.

"No, I'm sending my son home and I'll be going with him. He's got a lot of thinking to do with his role here today and how he is ever going to earn my trust back. I'm sure he's not looking forward to facing his mother who I'm sure will not go easy on him." Nash Sr. sighed sadly with Carter immediately piping up.

"You can't…I mean…," the thirteen year old boy blushed because he had no right to interject, but it was obvious he felt he needed to say something. "Please Mr. Nash, you have to compete. It wouldn't be fair to the crowd of supporters who came to watch you race and set more records. You can't let what your son did ruin things for you too. Then it just becomes a punishment for you and all of us fans, and that's not right. I'm sorry, but Nash Jr. already has done enough harm, and we should make sure it doesn't continue. He made a mistake, a big one, but if you really want to show your son that he didn't win or want to teach him what a real man does in this sport, then you won't go with your tail between your legs. You will get out there and do your best no matter what, and come time for a win or a loss, so long as you put your heart and soul into it, then it is a win for everyone." Carter finished and blushed because it had become dead quiet and he thought he might have taken it too far when suddenly the crowd erupted and began chanting.

"NASH!...NASH!…NASH!…NASH!" While Carter gazed in awe at the spectators sitting in the bleachers and beamed before looking back over at Nash Sr. wondering what he was going to do because the man looked around in stunned amazement as well.

The crowd kept chanting and stomping their feet until Nash Sr. raised his hands trying to quiet them down. It took a few moments, and I could see Carter and the other members of the team chuckling and shaking their heads when the television screen showed their expressions. After several long moments the crowd finally settled down with Nash Sr. shaking his head.

"Well wow, what can I say to that. I tell you what Carter, I'll make a deal with you. I'll race, but only if you become part of my pit crew. It'll be a great time and will give you an idea of what goes on and give you a first hand and up close personal look at the bikes and the mechanics. Of course you will have a perfect view of the race as well and can listen in on the headsets as I race. How's that sound?" He asked to the applause of the audience, but Carter hesitated looking a bit embarrassed which didn't go unnoticed by Nash Sr.

"Listen Carter, I'm having a crew member taking my son to the airport and on a flight home so he won't even be around to bother you if that's what you are worried about." He encouraged while Carter smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

"Well…er…that's not it. I mean…it sounds great and all, but I can't just abandon my teammates. We were going to sit and watch the race together…and well…they are my friends and I can't ditch them." He replied and of course all the guys on the team started talking and telling him it was alright and he needed to go and not worry about them because they thought it was so cool and a great opportunity since he will also be meeting some of the best riders in the world on the track today.

"Whoa…whoa…whoa…hold up guys." Nash Sr. got everyone to settle down. "You really are going to pass up a chance like this. We have strict rules about kids in the pit area and even my son is rarely allowed to hang out so are you sure Carter?" He asked.

"Yeah, I'm sure…but please…you still have to race, it's only right." He responded meekly.

"I see, well I won't race if you don't agree; which means we are kind of in a sticky wicket here aren't we." He sighed with Carter starting to say something, but he held up his hand stopping the boy. "I suppose we just can't disappoint the fans now can we, which means I'm just going to have to extend the invite to all your team members including your coach since I can't have my pit crew distracted by so many of you." He offered giving Mr. Baylin a conspiratorial wink while Carter and the rest of the kids began jumping around excitedly and chattering away.

Mr. Nash chuckled and shook his head. "Well Harry and Jerry, as always it's been a pleasure and if you can do me a favor and see to it that the Baylin crew get all the proper credentials I'd appreciate it." He offered up before shaking their hands along with Carter's and the rest of the team before making his escape to the wild applause of appreciation from the audience.

"Oh my people, now we see why the motocross fans love this guy. He truly is deserving of respect and epitomizes what this sport is all about." Jerry praised as the interview was finally wrapped up and new announcers exchanged out to give these two announcers a break while some of the other bike races took place.

"Oh wow, that was…well wow." Colton smiled while I had to agree noticing Ricky getting up and nodding his head.

"Yeah, wow, and I tell you when Carter gets back he's going to get mobbed by the rest of the town. Most of the kids heard about him competing and that it was going to be on the sports channel and televised live so were going to watch just to see what happens, but this, well he's going to be the buzz of the town." Ricky chuckled shaking his head. "And to think the way all of us used to treat him." He added sadly.

"Hey, knock it off. What's done is done and you are our friend now." I scolded him for getting down in the dumps.

"Thanks, I appreciate that, but I've gotta get home or mom will get a bit upset if I stay too long." He smiled at us while I felt a little bad for him.

"It kind of bites how your folks are still being hard on you." I offered sympathetically.

"Like Nash Sr. said we all must face the consequences of our actions and it's just until school starts. My folks do know I've done the right thing, but they felt it was necessary to see the punishment through and I can't blame them. I can't be mad at them for doing the right thing." He smiled warmly at us.

"Well Carter is going to want you to come over and hang out with us when he gets back home so my folks or the Chasson's will talk to your parents to see about it." I offered up catching him by surprise.

"Really, Carter wants me to come over when he gets home?" He asked a bit surprise.

"Of course he does you goofy lug." I replied and then had to chuckle when Colton pounced on Ricky and gave him a big hug.

"Pleeeeease Ricky, he knows you didn't mean to do that stuff to me and he knows you are my friend now too. So yeah, he told us that no matter what happens at the race he wants to hang out with his friends and maybe go cruisin on the trails. He specifically told us to make sure you join us…and well…if I have to I'll go to your house and pout until your parents agree." He stated sweetly making me and Julian bust up with laughter.

"Believe me, he'll do it too and it is hard to say 'no' when he pouts." Julian chuckled and the expression on Ricky's face sent us all into another laughing fit.

"I…er…," the older teen stuttered totally speechless.

"Alright already Colton you can let him go before he gets into trouble, and Ricky, we'll get things sorted with your folks somehow. We plan on doing a sleepover too, but I'm guessing that'll be pushing it with your parents so we will at least shoot for the entire day bike riding." I smiled warmly at the older boy before walking him out to the front door.

Returning back to my room we decided to hang out for a while outside since the motocross race wasn't taking place for a few hours. This had already turned into a very nice day and I was happy to be hanging out with Julian and Colton. I couldn't wait until Carter got back. After that we would then be off to Texas for a few weeks before school starts and summer vacation officially ends.

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