Happy Holidays: No Poker Content at All!

by Lou on December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays to everyone stopping by to read my blog. May you have a healthy and prosperous new year.

The Holiday spirit touches people in very different and often unsuspected ways. Yesterday it touched me. It was an incredibly beautiful day in the desert, about 70 degrees, with blue skies and absolutely no wind: the perfect day for a bike ride. I got on my bike and kept riding all the way from Palm Desert to Palm Springs and back again, about a 32-mile jaunt.

I was about two miles from the turn around point, cutting through the Palm Springs Airport and cruising to a stop for the traffic light where the airport exits on to Tahquitz Canyon Road. It was there I heard a high-pitched voice from behind me. “Hey,” the voice said, “is that a Trek Madone?”
I was now stopped at the light and turned to look. The voice belonged to kid about 11, and I realized he must be into bicycles in a big way if he could recognized the make and model of my bike from a distance. I stopped to talk to him, and we were soon joined by his older brother, younger sister, and his mom.
Turns out the kid was visiting his mother from Boulder, Colorado, and I told him that he lives in the bicycling capital of the United States, the home of Velo News Magazine, the Slipstream Racing Team, and lots of well-known bicycle racers. He knew all that, and prouldly told me he was just starting to get into bike racing and that he loved cyclo-cross too, because, he told me, “You get to race in the snow, the mud, and the goop of winter and that was a lot of fun.”

We chatted for about five minutes when I wished them all a happy holiday and pedaled off, thinking how nice it was to meet such an pleasant, focused, well spoken, and polite kid–a kid who has a passion and is pursuing it.

After riding into downtown Palm Springs and returning through the airport again, I saw another cyclist stopped with a map in his hand, and obviously trying to figure out where to go. I asked him if he needed directions. Turned out he was from Germany but spoke pretty good English and we were able to communicate.

He just arrived yesterday, had ridden from his sister’s house and had no idea how to get back. But he had the address and a map, and I was able to point him in the right direction. He told me he liked my bike and asked whether it was expensive. I told him I got it for about 60 percent of the original price because it was last year’s model and came painted with Discovery Team’s logo and colors, and since there was no more Discovery Team, Trek had to reduce the prices on this model to clear their inventory.

He was riding a borrowed bike, but told me about the bike he rides at home in Germany. We wished each other a happy holiday and I pedaled off, through the airport, through Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage until I was back in Palm Desert.

I was daydreaming as I rode, thinking that all in all, it had been a good year and I had plenty to be thankful for. I’m not sentimental in the least, and have never been caught up in all the seasonal celebrations. But there was good cheer in the air yesterday, and it came to me on two occasions on the access road leading to and from the Palm Springs Airport.

In fact, if I had spotted Santa’s sleigh making an apporach to the runway as I pedaled home through the airport, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all.

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