Monday, February 22, 2016

Three weekends, three states: TX, AZ, and CO

Phoenix in February means 85-degree heat
A blog update is long overdue, but with all the travel since coming back from Europe it has been quite a challenge to find the time. When in town, the days are always too short and the daily bike ride takes up an easy 2 1/2 hours or more when one considers the time involved getting ready and then getting all cleaned up afterward. During these past three or almost four weeks since returning I've been going out on the bike practically every day, and I feel some modicum of fitness returning. The best thing: The heart is playing along.
No, we didn't test these little speed demons
But as I said, I really haven't been at home all that much. My first weekend trip took me down to the Hill Country where we had the first High School mountain bike race of the season at Reveille Peak, close to Burnet. On the way down I stayed for one night with Martha and Alan in Temple, a slight detour but well worth it. The race was a smashing success, with more than 400 young athletes showing up. The weather was perfect, and Reveille Peak is simply a pretty place. I reconnected with some old friends whom I hadn't seen in ages but who somehow got involved as coaches for the high school league.
Morning fog at Reveille Peak
Reveille Peak was the first road trip of the year, with a little more than 800 miles of driving over the weekend. Four days later I sat on a plane to Phoenix, AZ. I was joined in my duties out there by my old friend Helene from Quebec, and together we enjoyed the balmy 85-degree warmth of Arizona. Helene had left her home in Montreal with the thermometer stuck in the -20 degree range, and when she returned it was -30! OMG! Our assignment was not too difficult or challenging, and we had some spare time in the evening for a meal or two in a brewpub. We didn't get to do any sightseeing, but these assignments really are supposed to be work, so no complaints here. Just getting the chance to sit for a few hours poolside at this time of the year is a reward in itself.
With Kent and Micki in front of the 2-million-dollar rental house in Colorado
After returning from Phoenix I had another three or four days in town to get a few things done before I fired up the BMW last Friday morning and drove 10 hours or so to Frisco, Colorado. My friends Micki and Kent (and her parents) are renting a house up here and have been enjoying the ski-scene since the beginning of the month. (As a matter of fact, Micki and Kent had stayed two nights with me on the way up from Austin to Colorado right after I had returned from Europe.) They had invited me to come up for a few days during their month-long stay, and so I did.
Snowshoeing above Silverthorne
Not knowing what exactly to expect in regard to snow conditions I had brought my cross-country skies, which—believe it or not—fit into the BMW thanks to an ingenious hidden door between trunk and passenger compartment. Unfortunately, Frisco is not Kössen and there are no free XC trails and only the small fee-area Nordic Center. So, I've been making use of snowshoes instead. Yesterday, Micki and I went for a nice hike to Lily Pad Pond, just above Silverthorne, and today I took a solitary 4-hour hike up 10-Mile-Creek. Micki and Kent (and more friends from Texas) were on the alpine slopes at Copper Mountain, just around the corner, and they just returned from a long day of riding lifts and the moguls.
Pretty snow on 10-Mile-Creek trail

My plan is to stay here through Wednesday morning and then drive back to Texas. After two nights at home it'll be time to get back into the BMW for the long drive down to Warda, where High School race #2 is going to happen this upcoming weekend. And after I return next Monday (a week from today), I'll be leaving for another 2-week-trip in Europe (with a sidetrip to Athens already fully planned out). So, you see, it's tough to find the time to update the blog!
Two old friends ...


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