Archive for April 17, 2009

Tyler, This is How I REALLY Feel

Posted in Today's Topic on April 17, 2009 by bethleasure

There is a verbal tool used in conflict mediation called Emptying Your Emotional Jug. The exercise is simple. The speaker answers 4 questions without interruption – not stopping until all emotion on that point is completely exhausted. This breaks the tensions of silence and brings relief to the speaker. It also gives the listeners insight. From this place, conflict resolution is easier to attain.


Through words and deeds I’ve “listened” to Tyler. Now I want an audience as I empty my emotional jug:


Question 1: What makes me MAD?


I am so pissed at you. You’ve taken your position and abilities and abused us again. Despite your US Road Race win, you never won back my respect. Not because of your riding abilities, but because of your lack of character in acknowledging wrong-doing. Do you think the public is so superficial that we categorically adore our race winners without looking at who they are and how they go about things? For me, that win was empty – further, it was a frustrating demonstration of a lack of repentance – and we all need to change our ways sometimes- as well as a poor example to the young clean riders in that peloton who may have believed at that time that it’s possible to get away with anything. I would respect you more if you confessed to all. Despite doping, you did so many things right. I remember the Boulder days of sacrifice as an elite amateur developing into a neopro talent. I still own a pair of your used Speedplays from those days – worn thin like pennies smashed by a train. So I’m mad that the glory that would have come your way anyway now cannot because you cheated your own destiny. Not to mention everyone else, the sport and its supporters. I’m mad mostly because you will not take this as a person of character and admit wrong-doing so it can be corrected for your sake and for the sake of others who hold you as an example.


Question 2: What makes me feel BAD?


You have never given me the opportunity to respect you again. By confession and trying a new way, I think you still could have won. These wins may not have been as grand, they may not have been as dramatic and as public but they would have given others the opportunity to forgive you and admire you again. Further, they may have offered those within your sphere of influence an example of hard work, determination, clean living, justice and mercy. What makes me feel really bad is that if you don’t learn this lesson which keeps cycling around over and over in your life, you are going to apply this same short-cut-your-way-to-the-top mode of operation in other endeavors. You are going to wind up disqualified and suspended from life. Because real life requires the giving of ourselves so deeply that we cannot avoid the pain on the way to achievement – that pain feels like patience, that pain feels like hard work, that pain feels like disappointment, but that pain leads to glory. Because even the second place finisher can be glorious.


Question 3: What makes me feel SAD?


I’m sad for American cycling. We look like fools to the world because of this. I feel sad for young riders who think that several moments of podium time may be worth acts of disrepute. I feel sad for outsiders to the sport who don’t understand our challenges and will judge us because of this. I feel sad for me – having to look around for examples that I can use with neopros. I feel sad for you because I doubt you understand how cleansing it is to confess and how freeing it is to admit. I feel sad because I wonder how you can recoup any losses in this current state. How can you feel good about your past, your present and your future if nothing changes?


Question 4: What makes me feel GLAD?


That you were caught makes me glad. Justice is seen despite your lack of taking responsibility about it. I feel glad about the idea that this could bring you to your knees, not because I want you to suffer. But because we all need to be brought to our knees at times and realize that our heroes are imperfect and our fallen are redeemable. If you change your ways, these setbacks can be a set-up for a comeback in life. You could become an inspiration to others who are tempted, others who fail, others who need to change and rebuild.


– – –


What has this exercise accomplished? My part toward forgiving Tyler is done. It’s up to him now to acknowledge his actions and take responsibility for them. Forgiveness is dependent upon me, reconciliation is dependent upon him. I hope he reconciles himself to his own conscience so his troubled soul can find peace, a new way and a bridge back – to the sport he’s spent a lifetime pursuing as a renewed contributor rather than a failed perpetrator. So Tyler, this is how I really feel. I’m keeping your penny-thin Speedplays as a reminder to fess up when I screw up. If you will not, at least I can. I’m at peace, and I am going to win. May God have mercy on us all.

Dutch Masters/Amstel Gold

Posted in Spring Classics on April 17, 2009 by bethleasure


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.

Koos Moerenhout


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


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