Friday, April 15, 2016

Tax Time

April 15 means Tax Day in the US, and my return is done. I had to pay uncle Sam a few pesetas this time around instead of getting a few centavos back--thus it goes. I had finished my taxes about two weeks ago in anticipation of my trip to Redlands, California, last week. Even with this kind of foresight, it's been once again a busy time in my life.
Paracyclists were part of the Redlands activities
My trip to the LA basin was quite successful, as I found out just yesterday: I had attended USA Cycling's first Level-A road Commissaire Seminar that has been offered in a while, hoping that I might learn a few things and maybe pass the class and thus increase my chances of working a few of the bigger US road races. On the mountain bike side I am at the top level, as an International Commissaire, but road opportunities have been rare and I was stuck at the B-Level (only one step up from the bottom rung) for years.
The peloton approaches the feed zone, as seen from the commissaires' car
Well, I am happy to say that after three days of excellent instructions by two of our best road commissaires, Phil Miller and Mimi Newcastle, I apparently didn't bomb the final exam (written and oral) too badly and actually passed the class. Yeah! Of course, that doesn't mean that I am qualified to be the Chief Referee for Road Nationals (although I am indeed the CR for the Mountain Bike National Championship later on this year in Mammoth, once again), but I have a much better understanding of our dynamic sport and hope to expand my horizons.
Commissaires watch the race from cool cars like this
This weekend I was supposed to working another high school mountain bike race, this one in Comfort, but the forecast of heavy rain resulted in a postponement until next week. Oh well, I didn't have anything planned for next week anyhow, so that's no big deal. The weekend after we'll have the HS finals in Dinosaur Valley, and then I'll turn around immediately and drive out to Silver City, NM, to work the Tour of the Gila, one of the premier races in our region, if not the US. I'm excited to be part of the crew for the first time ever.

Once I come back a week later I'll have about 36 hours to wash my clothes and get packed for another trip to Germany. Sabine and I are planning  cycling vacation in Frnce, so that will be fun. as you can see, life just keeps going for me!


PS: I apologize that post #250 in these chronicles deals with taxes and rather mundane trips, but that's all she wrote, as they say.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Travel on a smaller scale

Hard to believe, but three weeks have already passed again since the last blog entry. Athens seems like such a looong time ago ....
Mr. Thanksgiving prancing by
After returning from Europe at midnight on Thursday, March 17 (with only half of my luggage), I left Lubbock about 12 hours later (after picking up said luggage from the airport) and drove around 350 miles to just a bit south of Bertram, in the Hillcountry. It was time for another TX High School Mountain Bike League race weekend, and I had pre-arranged a stay with my in-laws, Mike and Candi. The two of them had sold their house in Midland at just about the right time, when the oil boom was booming like crazy, and are now owners of a gorgeous home in a nice-and-tidy gated community among the cedars, deer, and turkeys. We had a wonderful time together, and I hope to go back down there before long.
Mike and Candi on their most-excellent porch
The race came along just fine, even if we had several hospital transports for some of our student athletes. Friday night had brought some severe weather (Saturday and Sunday were gorgeous) with lots of rain and even hail, and swollen creek crossings made the course a bit slippery.
Student athletes pre-riding the course at Reveille Peak Ranch
Back in Lubbock I thought it was time to start my fat-gut-reducing program in earnest. Off the beta blockers and with what appears to be a normal heart-beat, I figured it was time to start riding again on a regular basis. Nope, I didn't overdo it; I mean, three rides of 31 miles and a bit of commuting to the grocery store and the bank, followed by a leisurely 43-miler a week ago Sunday is really, well, nothing--or so I thought. And on Monday the back reared its ugly head.
Balance in life--and good protection!
So, instead of being able to enjoy the last few days of nice weather I've been eating Motrins and taking things easy. Tuesday I was ready to get an epidural to get some relief (I had one of those a few years back), but since then things have become progressively better. I've even ridden the commuter a few times to the grocery store and the bank, but that's been the extent of my athletic endeavors. OK, so we continue to stay above the 1-9-0 mark on the scales. Disgusting.
Gotta love those Hillcountry spring colors
It didn't help that first I had a wonderful goodbye dinner with my friend Andrew who by now is in Spain in the first week of his around-the-world adventure. Follow his progress at And neither did it  help that my New York buddy, Barry, was in town--you know, good food and drink. And then Miles from North Carolina announced that he needed a place to stay for a few days while in Lubbock. More good food and drink. What is a man supposed to do?
Lunch in Palo Duro
My old buddy Miles enjoying life
As a matter of fact, Miles and I have had a really good time together. He's here not only to see me but (maybe more so) to give advice to his old race mate Mark as well as see BSLT race director Mike. But yesterday we had the whole day for ourselves, and we took the Bimmer up to Palo Duro Canyon. Miles is not so mobile any longer, but we sure enjoyed a leisurely picnic in the canyons and some fine sightseeing. For Miles, at the young age of 77, it was a throw-back to times well in the past. Especially when you get to see the Wienermobile!
What's that?
Looks like a swollen mother termite abdomen.
No, it's the Wienermobile!!!!
Tomorrow he and I will go to the airport together. He will return to his Judy in Franklin, NC, while I will fly to Ontario, CA to attend a USAC road seminar in Redlands over the next few days. Yep, I was accepted to the A-clinic and hope that I will manage to progress from a Level B to a Level A road official. (That certification is different from my mountain bike palmares where I am at the top level, International; the anti-doping stuff is totally different from all this.) I'll be out in California for the remainder of the week and hope that I will pass the exam. Please wish me luck. And a cooperating back.