Thursday, July 28, 2011


We got back from Europe about two weeks ago and I finally found some time to go through some pictures. It was good going "home" to the "Old World". Traveling is so easy these days, and we flew via Atlanta directly into Venice, Italy. With only a backback on your back you can roam around pretty easily in any country. A 5min walk from the airport Exit doors gets you to the ferries or water taxis waiting for passengers to go from mainland Italy to the island Venice. It takes 20min and - Boom -, you're there. We had a nice little place/hotel 5min from San Marcos square and spend a day and a half wandering around the city. I was there in the Spring of 1991 the last time so it was good to be back. Seemed more crowded now, though.

taxi in Venice...

firefighters Venice-style...

Next stop was Florence, just 2hrs South-West by Eurstar, the Italian version of France'sLink TGV or Germany's ICE. Great town and not as crowded as Venice. You have to see Michelangelo's "David", the Uffizi Gallery of Art, and the Ponte Vecchio. If you're into traditional Italian cooking, then go to "Vini e Vecchi Sapori"- a TripAdvisor top-rated, but small, family-owned restaurant in the center of the city. I had "Trippa alla Romana" which translates to cow's stomach". A local delicacy.

Ponte Vecchio

David by Michelangelo

View from the Piazza Michelangelo onto Florence
AirBerlin took us then to Dresden via Duesseldorf. Unfortunately, there's no direct flight between Florence, Italy and the "Florence of Saxony" as what Dresden is called sometimes because of the similarity in architecture and buildings. After a late-night stop at the local Kebab place it was time for some rest.

What Germans love about Turkey....their Kebabs!

The rest of the weekend we mainly visited with my family and also went to my HighSchool reunion which took place conveniently that weekend. It was a small crowd since it was thrown together kind of late but still a lot of fun and it was good catching up with friends I have not seen for years.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

4th of July Weekend

After a little time off it was race-time again this past weekend before heading to Europe for a quick trip "home".

It was another 100+F Thursday but it treated me well and somehow I was able to come up with a decent sprint at the Driveway.

On Saturday, July 2nd, we went back to the Firecracker 100, a Russ-Walker-World Championship-Qualifying RALLY (not race) in Stephenville, TX. I think it was 2005 (?) the last and only time I was there before. Back then, Surfer Nick & a few others showed me how to not lose a rally ride ;-) Russ, Scott S, Thomas, some young 18y/o kid, and me rolled 55miles together and thanks to Hoka Hey Fine Arts of Dublin, TX, I got the coolest trophy ever - a Bronze Boot!

with Louise and Sheri

A day later I did a little Crit South of Dallas promoted by King racing Group and Ginny King. It was probably around 100F again by the time we started (noon?). The field was small and the course featured 0% shade - not ideal conditions for a 90minute circuit race with some good hills. Nonetheless, I found myself in a move with newly crowned 15/16 Junior National Criterium CHampion Danny Parks about 20min into the race. That kid and ride! We just did a 2-man TT and shared equal pulls and a dozen (?) water bottles. The uphill kick to the finish wasn't super steep so you could ride the big ring up and that helped me to sneak away for the win. Otherwise I might have been in trouble the way Danny was riding ;-) Long-time friend and Texas racing icon Chris Powers finished 3rd that day. I hear he bought a Porsche that same week. Fast biker, even faster cars!