Sunday, February 5, 2017

At home, yet not entirely

Part of my 31-mile ride through the Canyon Lakes. Yes, this is pavement.
With the Superbowl making noises in the background, and New England attempting to come back from the dead, I start this particular blog post that will bridge from Prague to Geneva, via New Mexico, Texas, and California. Huh? Well, the last entry was written just a few days after our beautiful trip to Prague, and now I am less than 48 hours away from leaving for Switzerland. And life didn't stop in between.
My good friend Janet treated me to a birthday dinner
 at her place with Tom and Trish--thanks, Janetta!
The time in between flew by, as it always does. There was a 61st birthday, snowshoeing in New Mexico, the better part of a week in California, 210 miles of riding the bike in just one week in Lubbock, and today's first High School mountain bike race of the 2017 season. I washed clothes, went to the store, bought a new bed (to be delivered once I'm back from Europe), tried to support my neighbor Janet when her bathroom was ripped up thanks to a pipe leak under the slab. I bought a ticket to fly to Argentina in April, I took care of my taxes, and I participated in a demonstration triggered by the inauguration of our 45th president. In other words, it was a busy few weeks at home, When I was actually was there.
My neighborette, Janet, and I at the Women's March in Lubbock
My birthday was really beautiful, to use Trumpian language befitting a grade schooler. While in Germany, I had pre-planned a little get-together to celebrate the fact that I am still kicking, and on a Saturday night nine good friends came over to the house for raclette and Feuerzangenbowle. Honestly, I dont quite remember when everyone left, but it was a memorable event, and nobody caught on fire. No, that evening didn't help my waistline, but then, aren't we supposed to splurge once in a while?
On the verge of being unconscious--or just not photogenic: Tom, Trish, and Janet
Pre-spectacle meet-and-greet at la casa
I tried to work off a few calories during my three-day trip to Albuquerque, where I needed to pick up a bike at my old friend Liz's house. The Sandia mountains had received some fine snow in the days before, and I went out for a 3 1/2 hour snowshoeing excursion that convinced me that at age 61 I was still able to do things that I used to do a few years back--barely. Seriously, it was a tough but serene and amazingly picturesque trip that I should put on my annual list of things to do. As a bonus, I got to spend a bonus evening with my good old friend Wayne out in Mountainair, something I had sorely missd for the past year and a half.
Have bike, have snowshoes, will travel
I had the entire mountain to myself. Really.
Old mountain man
Panoramic view from the east side of the Sandias
Remember that stupid collar-bone that I broke a few months back? During the time that I was laid up, I completed a gazillion training modules for bicycle mechanics, offered by the world's most important manufacturer of bicyle components, Shimano. That effort earned me a free ride to one of Shimano's s-TEC seminars, meaning that I just had to pay for my flight to Irvine, California, and received free room and board for the late January seminar. I was floored by how well-organized this workshop was, and what a classy company Shimano is. The three days on the ground in Orange County were chockful of superb instruction, hands-on training, in-person road bike and e-bike rides, and superior food and drink for ALL of our meals. Dave and Austin from Shimano, you guys totally rock!
All of us passed the s-TEC workshop in Irvine
Instruction was broken up by a 20-mile road ride
We spent some serious time in the classroom
It was nice to get a chance to ride in Southern California on Di2-equipped Moots bikes, but it felt even better to have a few days in Lubbock with almost no wind and temperatures that allowed me to wear just shorts and short-sleeve jerseys. It felt like spring! So, no wonder I managed to ride more miles than I had in a long time. That, coupled with a bit more discipline in regard to calorie intake, was responsible for a bit of weightloss--nothing major, but a step in the right direction. In addition to my daily riding I also re-embarked on a new walking (and even running) regimen, meant to hit the fatty cells just a little harder. We'll see how the next few weeks are going to pan out, of course.
Driving ...
... and driving ...
... and driving!
Today's high school race at Reveille Peak, the first one of the 2017 series, played out in better-than-expected weather conditions, after a cold front had hit us a few days ago. It felt good to be back among this young crowd, seeing the eager faces but also some of the anxiety of the newcomers in the middle school and freshman ranks. Everything came off without a hitch, nobody got seriosuy injured, and I drove away with way more hugs and high-fives than I had anticipated. It's a bit of a bummer that I will miss the second race in two weeks in Warda, but I am sure Sabine won't mind since after my seminar in Switzerland I'll be able to hop over to Freising for a couple of weeks (and we've already booked a B&B in Austria for more snowshoe action).
Office for the day
Vance McMurry, the man, getting ready for the "crazy selfie" with
the crowd at the awards of HS#1 at Reveille Peak
It's been a really good month at home, or wherever the heck I was. It felt as if I was home, but I really wasn't, by most people's standards. Doesn't matter: I thoroughly enjoyed myself and will do so for another two days before getting back on a jetliner.