Off To See the Wizard

69“The Tour Down Under traditionally marks the beginning of the professional road cycling season. As well as enjoying warm weather conditions during the early months of the year [and] European cyclists of the highest level…[it’s] a celebration of cycling to welcome the new season in style.” http://www.cycling.tv

To the land of Oz, Australia of Oceania territory that is…this ain’t Kansas anymore nee the Koppenburg either. The Tour down Under has become the race of initiation for the professional racing calendar. Warm weather, great competition, and the kangaroo way of being serious and laid back simultaneously works its charm. You may have never visited there, but its competitive cycling citizens ride on international teams in increasing number. Australian Institute of Sport has managed a great coup d’état by revolutionizing the traditional euro talent pool to include its cultivated athletes. Evidently there’s some wizardry in their methods as they clean up on the track as well. Australian women were in Europe back in the day with me, when I was a lone ranger American female and only our national team came occasionally. The Aussies and Kiwis were there not for national-team invited races but for elite development and international competitiveness. Somehow they managed to outrace me (not always) while keeping me continually in stitches with their quaint English expressions and wise-cracking humor. This tendency toward being jokesters is deceptive because you’d be hard-pressed to find a tougher mindset for the challenging conditions of road racing. Grit coupled with cognitive and geospatial fearlessness makes for great road racers. No wonder Australian cyclists have created a bit of wake across the waters. Like Dorothy clicking her red heels together and chanting, “There’s no place like home,” now the world is coming home with them, and the Tour Down Under is the first ProTour event outside of Europe.

Prayer for Australian and New Zealand Cycling
“Send your grain across the seas, and in time, profits will flow back to you.” 70Ecclesiastes 11:1

We are glad for our mates down under. We confess we envy their resiliency matched by raucousness. We ask blessing upon cycling in Australia and New Zealand.

Ponder What can I learn from these mates? Affirm I can laugh with new friends while racing with grit. Watch for increasing cycling opportunities in this region.

69www.cycling.tv advertisement for Tour Down Under coverage, 2008

70Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust

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