Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rights of Passage - A Truly Incredible Spring

An example of some of our spring training - a Sunday 70km ride with Peter - hang on!

The col de le Petit Galibier is a classic switch-backed, 6km, category 3 climb very close to our house in Provence.  We have a fun little 30km loop which takes us from our door to the summit and back.  The Petit Galiber is a standard "go to" for after school rides, times when we just feel like cruising, and, other times, when we want to test our legs with a timed sprint up the col's switchbacks to its pine covered summit. 

I have so many memories on the switch-backs of this little picturesque col.  It was one of the first rides Liam and I did together when we arrived in Auriol two years ago.  I still remember the joy of finding this little cycling gem right in our backyard.  There are bigger climbs around, but this one is just really special.

Yesterday, Liam nearly dropped me on the climb.  It was all I could do to just hang on.  I had to dig really, really deep just to keep contact.  There were no cameras or videos rolling it was just a moment shared between a father and son - a sort of right of passage. I was recording the ride on Strava and we set a new record and KOM on the climb.  I suppose that these moments will become more and more frequent until one day, probably in the very near future, Liam will just spread his cycling wings and off he'll go.  He has earned those wings.  At this point, I've taught him just about everything I know about cycling.  Liam has worked really hard and, as a result, is starting to cultivate some real success in the sport.

Last summer after a very difficult 90 k ride in Switzerland, a close cycling friend of ours said to Liam, "its hard to think of you as a kid, because when you are on the bike you are a man." 

A recap of a very busy Spring: 

View from the balcony of the Nice Promenade
Paris-Nice: In March we headed to the Cote D'Azur for a fantastic weekend of taking in some professional bike racing. We had some great digs right on the Nice Ville Promenade looking out on the Mediterranean sea. From the balcony of our room we could look down on Saturday's stage finish.  On Sunday, we rode along the coast and back up the Col D'Eze to take in the final time trial of the race.  We, in fact, ended up riding most of the Col with the Sky team and eventual winner Bradley Wiggins.  The team was doing a recon before the stage and they were all very cool.  On the way up we also rode for a few minutes with our friend Tejay Van Garderen who was in the white young rider's jersey and was in 5th place overall in the race.  In Lucca we promised Tejay that we would be making some noise up on the mountain.  The only disappointment was that our friend Levi Leipheimer had had a terrible time on Saturday with there crashes on the final descent into nice.  It was a testament to his character that he even started the time trial on Sunday. We had an excellent day on the mountain, and , for Liam, seeing the riders that he has come to know so well over the years up close doing their thing was, as always, very inspirational. 

Liam with Paris-Nice winner Bradley Wiggins 

Liam Making some noise for Tejay

Liam cheering on Levi Leipheimer
FatherSonTour back in action
Spring Junior races in Provence:

After Paris-Nice we headed straight into the Spring races here in France for the boys.  At the Grand Prix Sisteron Liam had an incredible race for a 1st place finish.

A win at the GP Sisteron
 Liam has improved an incredible amount on the piste (velodrome).  The track races are short and fast and very tactical.  At the races at the velodrome in Port de Bouc Liam had a 3rd place podium finish which is his best result so far on the track.

Rolling on the Velodrome

The biggest road race of the year was the Trophee de Provence.  All the cyclists from the South of France were there for a tough downtown circuit in Salon de Provence.  The conditions were windy and cold.  Liam had an absolutely incredible race to finish 2nd overall.  This is by far the best result for Liam so far.  Last year,  he was 17th in the same race. "Il a beaucoup progresse!" is the saying in French.

Huge result for Liam at the Trophee de Provence

Last weekend both Liam and Roan finished on the podium in 3rd place in their races in Berre l'Etang.  It has been a very successful start to the season.  The boys have been working at cultivating this success with consistent training, lots of passion for the sport, and dedication and patience. It has been pretty cool to be around it all here at chez Flanagan!

Live Strong, Train Safe, and Live Well!!!

This is Bill and Liam signing out.

The Strava profile of the rights of passage ride.

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