Sunday, January 20, 2013

La Calavera Catrina, mascot of Aguascalientes, Mexico
And once again I am sitting in the DFW airport, this time coming back from Mexico where I spent the past four days on UCI business. It was a trip I had been looking forward to, but it almost had to be nixed when I started to have some problems with the old pump last weekend that saw me spend the night in Lubbock's Heart Hospital. Seems as if the long flight from Germany, my stressing over the house remodel as well as the race in Mexico, plus a few extra drinks were the cause of the atrial flutter that I experienced. Thanks to various doctor buddies I was checked out quickly and pronounced fit to travel with 24 hours to go. And so I went to Aguascalientes.
My home for the past five days
It was an interesting five days, most of which I spent inside of the ultra-modern velodrome that had already seen major international competition in the past few years. I worked closely together with two truly enjoyable gentlemen from Argentina (Juan) and Costa Rica (Cristiam), and together we took care of the task at hand. I had never worked a track race, and I have to say that the hours were longer than for any other cycling events that I have been involved in. Every night we'd close shop after 11 p.m., only to have dinner at midnight and go to bed at 1 a.m. But I'm not complaining as I met an amazing number of  hospitable people and enjoyed the cooperation of the local organizers as well as the respect of the commissaires.
Posing with the race doctor
There wasn't much sightseeing possible. If Dallas hadn't been iced over on the day of my departure and my first flight out of Lubbock hadn't been cancelled that monring, I would have had a full half day of exploring Aguascalientes, an old colonial city about six hours' worth of driving north-west of Mexico City. But I had to take a later flight that afternoon and didn't get to my hotel until about midnight. (The hotel itself, the Grand Hotel Alameda, was quite a trip—it had seen its best years probably 50 years ago but still exuded some of the colonial charm and certainly made up for some of the lacking modern amenities with its warm personnel and unbelievable breakfast buffet that included such favorites as chilaquiles, frijoles, and carne guisada, chased by fresh orange juice as well as papaya and pineapple.) However, this morning I did get a chance for a two-hour walk through the old city center, and it was vintage Mexico.
Fruit in all flavors

A hanging menu at a street cafe

The chicken is getting ready for the noon crowd

An old woman peels cactus leaves, nopales

One of the many pretty churches in Aguascalientes
That was just a small sampling of the many photos that I took this morning. Boy, I sure would have liked to stick around a little longer. But as I said, this was a work trip, and so I should add a few pics from the velodrome, too. It's quite cool to have full access to all parts of such a venue, and even though I did not have very much time during the finals to watch the action I still got a chance to see some of it. The perspective from the infield is quite different from that from the ranks, and I enjoyed being in the middle of the fast-paced action. Here are a few shots from the past few days.
The ultra-modern Aguascalientes velodrome

The view from below

A soigneur pins the number of a Mexican rider before the Madison

The well-oiled Swiss team pursuit team warms up
The view from the commissaires' stand

A Swiss rider surveys the damage after crashing in the Madison
So, once again I had an exciting trip with lots of new impressions and experiences. We were fed like kings (even cochinita pibil!), and whatever we needed was provided. I had a chance to work on my Spanish, and I made new friends. Still, it's a bit of a shame that I had to head home because I would have liked to take in at least one these three attractions:
Will it be the bullfight, the concert with Chuy Lizarraga ...
... or the circus tonight (only 40 pesos, and viewing the lion is free)?
Instead I am heading home to a kitchen that by now will be on the way to a completely different look, i.e., most likely it's demolished. I am sure that the next few days will be busy, as usual—but maybe I finally get a chance to ride the bike again. I am terribly out of shape after all that travel of the past two months and will have to buckle down to make myself presentable again.



  1. Hi Jurge. Its me Enrique from te world cup. Very interesting blog you have!. Give me your e-mail adress so we can stay in touch. Take care, i hope you enjoyed Aguascalientes.
    My e-mail is: