Dutch Masters/Amstel Gold
34“My broken rib is tedious but there is good in life.” Koos Moerenhout, Dutch National Champion on missing the Spring Classics in prior years
The Dutch are masterful at optimistic perspective. Dutch painters became masters in treatment of light. Early works were often stiff but developed to become a legacy of intimate portraiture.
From the golden age of painting to a golden race, this classic didn’t begin masterfully but with typical Dutch optimism. Two inexperienced promoters, Vissers and Krott had little cycling experience but wanted an international race with a bigger course than around the village kirk. Volunteering as a first-time director, Vissers did a U-turn during a race and headed into the oncoNederland’s biggest event and a Spring Classic.
ming peloton after hearing a rider had punctured. He was banished by officials but paired with beer salesman Krott to promote races. So much amateurism occurred in planning the first race, it nearly never happened. Eventually Vissers & Krott learned. Amstel Gold became
Limburg’s Dutch “mountains” so called from this typically optimistic viewpoint – is one ridge that riders cross again and again. Part of the challenge in the race is in meandering through many small towns densely populated. Riders encounter a lot of road furniture, such as speed bumps, chicanes, roundabouts, and traffic islands as well as parked cars on course. Hijinx with autos occurs.
While racing a Dutch Dames classic, I was thrown into a car waiting for the race to pass and sheared its side mirror with my hip. The driver didn’t flinch. Worried after the race that I’d be fined, I approached the room of commissaires cautiously but was told, “Ya well, he had two mirrors didn’t he?” Any situation it seems can be viewed positively.
Long retired, I first saw The Dutchman who won Amstel Gold the most, Jan Raas with five wins, racing at the front in an event for former professionals and was astounded by the speed of these optimistic Dutch masters.
Prayer for Amstel Gold
“Look up, and be alert to what is going on…where the action is. See things [with] perspective.” 35Colossians 3:2
We are thankful for ways to see afresh. We confess we expect the worst too often. We ask for optimism. Bless Amstel Gold.
Ponder Am I an expert at mining for what’s golden even in dim situations? Affirm I consider fresh perspective and keep working for mastery. Watch and keep looking up.
34“Short Web Interview with Koos,” April 22, 2008 www.koosmoerenhout.nl
Kirk is the Dutch word for church, race around the church or kriterium. Dames is the women’s category.
35The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson