Prayer for Belgian Cycling
Grand’Place de Grote Markt Market Square
16“Holidays are over now, but they were sheer joy! A fantastic break, very relaxed, together with some friends from the peloton.” Tom Boonen, one of scores of Belgian cycling sensations
Belgium is at the crossroads of European life. Its capital city is headquarters to the highest councils of common market and democratic defense – Economic Union and NATO – and many multinational corporations. Nestled near the sophisticated old centre, Grand Place or Market Square, is a bronze statue of a boy urinating into a fountain: Mannekin-Pis is the city’s beloved attraction that represents the tongue-in-cheek unassuming air of Belgian culture.
One modest nation with two distinctive cycling regions – Belgium is both the flat to rolling of Flemish Flanders in the north and and the famous French Wallonian climbing of the Ardennes. Many Belgians embrace multilingualism to welcome all. Friends are easily found here as are knowledgeable cycling fans.
From race inscription held in a pub to the post-race party, enjoyment with others from, about, and around the peloton is the ordinary way. I never felt isolated in Belgium. Frequently at race side, I was surrounded by scores of interested supporters asking questions, offering encouragement, and curious about me.
Belgium is cycling’s shire with its modest yet grand spirit. As in the epic trilogy, Lord of the Rings, its best known citizen, Eddy Merckx captured the golden ring with 436 career wins. In fact, 17four in the top five of most cycling wins ever are Belgians! Host to international hopefuls and many great races, Belgium is trial by fire for European race entry. Whether one races into the pro ranks or not, friends guaranteed.
Prayer for Belgian Cycling
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” 18Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
We are thankful for hospitable people. We confess our oft complaint with unfamiliar conditions, inclement environs, and pavé. We pray modesty and adventure as sure wheels to draft and ask blessing upon Belgian cycling.
Ponder Have I noticed how cultural propensities influence racing styles? Why do specific areas have a unique approach to the sport? Affirm I learn the ways of a place. Watch how incorporating a new approach refreshes your strategic arsenal.
1611/27/07 diary of Belgian Cyclist of the Year 2007, Tom Boonen. www.tomboonen.com
17Source unknown- from scraps of information that I tuck away without a source:
Most Victories Ever:
1. Eddy Merckx BEL 436
2. Rik van Looy BEL 379
3. Francesco Moser ITA 275
4. Rik van Steenbergen BEL 273
5. Roger de Vlaeminck BEL 256
18The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society