La Doyenne Grandma Ardennes/Liège-Bastogne-Liège
39“ La Doyenne always ensures the Spring Classics finish in style…one last, brilliant farewell to the [spring] racing until next year.” cycling.tv
Cloaked in her misty Spring shawl of evergreen wood, Liège-Bastogne- Liège shoulders her age with dignified class right up to the finish of her engrossing season. What this elderly classic lacks in lithe freshness, she makes up for in clever experience forcing young heirs to respect her sense of timing. Spring’s final monument visits a fancy parlor of pain where in lieu of afternoon tea and crumpets one is served piping hot aggression and côtes specially flavored. The second of the Ardennes Classics serves up an indigenous menu borrowed from Flemish, French, Celtic and German sources. Many villages and narrow roads retain distinct heritage where independent spirits continue to thrive perhaps wizened but unravaged by past conquest. Style and timing determines the victor and strategic moves are made resolutely on Côte de la Redoute, with less than a quarter distance to go. The following climbs present opportunities to soften competitors and force separation if perfectly timed.
Long life seems to teach the timing about which battles to fight and when best to apply one’s strength for victorious living. In bike racing, it’s critical to develop both an external perception that sees, hears, pays attention to course features and competitor behavior but also intuitively senses like a sharp grandmother aware of all within her care. Too soon old, too late smart won’t work to be successful in a race such as this one. And in this one, its speed and length, continual brawl for positioning, and power climber’s supplesse all combine to exhaust and age its participants prematurely if not wise to its wear and tear. It’s good to be an old soul with a young heart when calling upon Grandma Ardennes.
Prayer for Liège-Bastogne-Liège
“…given the two wings of a great eagle… to fly to the place…for a time, times and half a time, out of…reach.” 40Revelation 12:14
We are thankful that life can change on a dime. We confess we need to be humble and aware of these moments. We ask to understand our times and pray blessing upon La Doyenne.
Ponder How can I improve my awareness of the time, times and half a time that characterize racing? Affirm I act and react; timing varies according to race segments. Watch to note race dispensations.
39This quote is from an email announcing 2008 coverage of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Cycling.tv – provides live streaming video of certain major bicycle races
40The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. This is my paraphrase from this version.