End of season celebration, in bundt cake form. Photo via flickr by pjinomaha

As the domestic season starts to wind down, Psychlo Mom bids adieu (auf wiedersehen?) to her Swiss charge and commemorates the occasion with – of course – food. Aunt Phyllis’ cake, to be more precise. In case you missed her last post about Getting Your Ducks in a Row (and Brisket on a Roll), go back and check it out!

by Psychlo Mom

I’m not ready for this season to end.  Really, I’m not ready to give up my Swiss son. I just keep wishing he was ours, then I know he’d have to come back. The Philadelphia Cyclocross School and Cyfac-Champion Systems p/b Revolution Wheelworks created a unique opportunity for riders from Switzerland to live and ride here, and it was hugely successful. Really, it’s hard to imagine why any ’cross parents wouldn’t open their homes and hearts and share the season with a rider from another country. But I’ll warn you, after the season, you have to give them back, and that just sucks.

Anthony Grand arrived at the end of August with his pal, Valentin Scherz. Valentin finished first in the MAC series again this season in both Elite Men and Elite U23; Anthony finished in second place in both categories. That’s all good and well, but I think my family won the jackpot by having these guys mentor my son who is learning exponentially in his second ’cross season. Julz gained a brother, and we got the ideal house guest, who rode straight into our home and our hearts with a huge smile and a willingness to help out and dive head first into our chaotic house and into the ’cross community.

Before arriving here, Anthony had only spoken English in a classroom. (Where is Brian? Brian is in the kitchen!) Now he banters in English. Tomorrow, he leaves town as a member of the Philly Cross community and a lifelong member of our family.We now have a son and brother in Switzerland to wonder and worry about, to cheer on, and, hopefully, to visit some day.

Anthony visited my class the other day and my sixth graders were curious about how many races he’s competed in and how many times he’s won, and how large is his biggest trophy. They wanted to know if you drive on the left or right in Switzerland and if he has a girlfriend and how many languages he can speak. They also asked him what his favorite food is in Switzerland (chocolate & fondue, of course) and at my house (my brisket), and what he’ll miss the most about America.  He answered all their questions with a big grin, and they all smiled back. As an ambassador, Anthony was gracious and generous. Honestly, he was the best house guest I’ve ever had, and I’m not quite ready to send him back yet.

Looking back, I don’t think I managed to put a single pound on Julz or Anthony, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. There was almost always a jar full of homemade cookies, multiple loaves of Naked Banana Bread, and periodically there was homemade granola. When we were celebrating, there was A.P. Cake (it’s named for my Aunt Phyllis).

The end of this season and sending our Swissie off seems like a moment to celebrate all the great things this sport has brought our family. It also gives Anthony and Valentin something to nosh on the plane ride. So, cheers to all of you who put your bodies through hell in search of mud and glory. We didn’t really get much of either this year, but I would do it all over again, because the people in this scene are helping to make my son a lover with big goals and great pals. Make an A.P. Cake to celebrate with us. Thanks, y’all. Let’s do it again next year.

A.P. (Aunt Phyllis) Cake

1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

In a separate bowl:
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
6 oz. chocolate chips
½ cup of toasted pecan pieces

Butter a bundt pan and preheat oven to 350.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, sour cream and vanilla. Beat flour mixture in. Lightly marbelize the cinnamon and nut mixture into the batter; do not mix thoroughly. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a chopstick comes out clean. Your house will smell so nice, you won’t even notice that bag you forgot to empty after the last race. No problem; have this cake and eat it, too!