74“It’s not enough to have Christians riding together for support. We must serve all of cycling and do that by focusing on the spiritual lives of our elite and pro riders.” Tim Lagerborg, Founder of Team Ironclad, a faith-based non-profit for cycling
“Since [Team] Ironclad has been around, the spirit of the races has changed.” Racer noticing positive change
Military chaplains encourage the troops in war and peace time regardless of denomination. Many professional sports teams have chaplains to support their athletes. Yet Pro Cycling has no chaplaincy, one of few sports that lack a designated ministration to buffet its “warriors” spiritually. Is it any wonder our sport is besieged and beleaguered?
Pro cycling offers the most high profile example to the rest of the riding community. Pro cycling drives consumer interest and burgeoning growth. Often we concentrate on niche groups in the sport by funding programs for this and that in order to grow it whilst our professionals remain unsupported in the essentials of body-mind-spirit. Our pro ranks experience tragedy, death, and temptation. Our pros suffer long separations from family and support networks. Our pros grapple with issues regular riders never encounter.
Our influential pros need positive influences. They are both venerated and vulnerable. While there’s a clear anti-doping message in my writings, there is no judgment. We ponder confession, forgiveness, and resistance to temptation not hatred of dopers. Some temptations at the pro level are understandable as its pressures are unfathomable outside the pro peloton. The hard ones of cycling face hard spiritual choices every day manifested in a highly physical realm. Just as support is available for training methods, strategic decisions, nutrition, sponsorship, mental psyching, and emotional counsel, wise advice regarding the ethical, moral, and eternal implications of riders’ choices must be a feature of the caravan.
Pro football has a chaplain for nearly every team. Some teams engage in organized study and prayer. Its members appear to be on a short leash for misdeeds, and solidarity is seen among its players league-wide. The correlation for football’s success is not just about gate proceeds. God has been invited into pro football. Pro cycling needs to send a similar invitation for team Spirit.
Prayer for Chaplaincy
“…the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” 75Isaiah 11:2
We pray for the peloton to receive spiritual counsel and care. We ask for resources to bring chaplaincy to Pro Cycling.
Ponder How could cycling be served by a moral and ethical support structure for its pros? Affirm I am influenced by the pros. Watch the sources of your inspiration and notice its correlation upon your decisions.
74Conversations with Tim Lagerborg. Team Ironclad started small with a core group of mountain bikers. They offered free spaghetti dinners at big races as a way to introduce their support to the race community while sponsoring elite riders. They merged with International Christian Cycling Club which broadened their base of support at the amateur level.
75The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society