Monday, December 22, 2014

Two more days until Santa Claus comes

The formerly single-speed steel Ritchey is geared again and now lives in Freising
Sitting here in Sabine's new apartment on our last evening before leaving tomorrow for her childhood home in Dortmund,  it's a good time to reflect on what my past two-and-a-half weeks have looked like.
My neighbor Kelly's front yard is the best-looking in the entire neighborhood
My trip to Cape Cod feels like a distant memory—mind you, a very happy one. That surely was one wonderful trip. Since then I made it home on a Friday, cursed the crappy weather over the weekend, and then enjoyed the WTCA's Yuletide Ride on Monday as I had missed the actual Christmas party. Two days later I packed once again and left Lubbock in the Miata to drive down to Waco to officiate one more race in 2014. Since Temple is very close to Waco, I extended my trip by an extra day and stayed with Martha and Alan for a few nights. Oh man, it was so much fun to see them! It had been since the HS race in Troy that we had gotten together, so this visit was overdue. Apart from good food and lots of wine there was a trip to Austin where I got to see the Whole Foods flagship store. Wow.
With Martha at Antonelli's, the Italian cheesemonger in Austin
The race happened on Saturday and Sunday, at McLennan Community College in Waco. For once I didn't have to chief—so that meant that I was not responsible for paperwork or hard decisions. I enjoyed my time as the referee in the wheel pit, and I got a chance to talk to many, many old friends and buddies. What a great way to finish off the year!
A true race mobile—you oughta see the beer tap on the side!
One of 'cross racing's victims
Usually I'd drive only a few hours up to Abilene and spend the night there, but with my flight leaving at 2:20 p.m. on Monday afternoon (and not being packed!) I figured it was a better idea to push home after the race had concluded on Sunday afternoon. I made it, safe'n'well, before midnight, and I didn't sweat too much packing on Monday morning since I have a certain amount of experience doing so.
Nice bird, eh?
And so I left Lubbock, enjoying a last-minute opportunity to use my miles for a classy ticket across the pond. OK, the co-pay was $500, but the (one-way, mind you) ticket was worth around $7,000: First Class on a British Airways 747—yes, that's a jumbo jet—from Dallas to London, with the front- and back-end flights being in First as well. My seat was in 2K, in the nose-cone below the pilots on the upper deck. Dang, that was fine, and I don't regret shelling out the money (and miles). For the flight back I am booked into Business on the same equipment, so I will get experience the upper deck as well (for another hefty co-pay and a bunch of miles). One lives just once, they say.
View from my First Class berth
For the past week I've been eating too much, drinking even more Vitus, fixing some nice dishes, and even riding the bike (so far about 90 miles, which is pretty good considering that we had several days of rain). Sabine has had to work during the week, but we managed to attend a beautiful guitar concert in the Hofkapelle of the Residenz, drink some potent Glühwein, entertain friends, and get ready for tomorrow's trip to Dortmund.
Procuring refreshments—by bike
Christmas without my dad will be a bit different, although it never was all that Christmassy anyhow but rather was just "what we did." I am sure that Sabine's mom is just as excited to see her daughter and grandchild as my dad was glad to see me, and I feel privileged to be part of her family tradition. Merry Christmas to all of you!
Happy Hoppiness!

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