Archive for July, 2009

European Cycling

Posted in Summer Carnival on July 31, 2009 by bethleasure

Rainbow Tour

7“EuroVelo 6 is an ideal route for those who would like to complete a long-distance bicycle journey one stage at a time… the whole route from the Atlantic to the Black Sea!” European Cycling Federation

 

European Cycling carries the world of cycling

European Cycling carries the world of cycling

Europe is the center of our cycling world. Time spent there quickly teaches you why cycling is so popular. The concept of village as part of entertainment is central to European life. Cycling brings the community together to participate and watch bike races. The mature cultures of Europe are not too old – despite sophisticated media outlets – to gather in the street to play. We have pondered already some specific European nations dominant in cycling, as well as some of their events. We pray now for all of Europe’s cycling nations and governing bodies. We take a Rainbow Tour that visits everyone and brings good news – a blessing through today’s prayer.

 

From a nation whose national team was besieged with difficulties to demonstrating 8Olympic dominance, Switzerland is far from neutral in cycling’s united nations. Tiny Luxembourg triumphs over giants with its trio of 9Tour competitors. Kazakhstan put itself on the 10map with solo attacks and Protour sponsorship. Each nation has unique challenges and champions and from one end of the spectrum to the other, we mention them by name:       11Albania  Andorra Armenia  Austria  Azerbaijan  Belgium  Belarus  Bulgaria  Croatia  Cyprus  Czech Republic  Denmark  Estonia  Finland  Great Britain  Georgia  Germany  Greece  Hungary  Ireland Israel Italy  Latvia  Liechtenstein   Lithuania  Luxembourg  Moldova  Macedonia  Malta  Montenegro  Monaco  Netherlands  Norway  Poland   Portugal   Romania  Russia  San Marino  Serbia  Slovenia  Switzerland   Slovakia  Spain   Sweden  Turkey  Ukraine

 

Prayer for European Cycling
“We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.” 12Acts 16:10

 

We are glad that cycling’s heart beats in the bosom of this continent where so many different nations enjoy and promote it. We ask blessing on European cycling.               

Ponder Who is my favorite Europro and from which country? Affirm I want European cycling to increase and improve as a model to the world. Watch and seek ways we can support European leadership in pro road racing.

 

7European Cycling Federation www.ecf.com has members from 38 nations and is a cyclo-touring network that includes Eurovelo6 a transcontinental bike route. www.eurovelo6.org

 

8Fabian Cancellara – Swiss won bronze in the road race and gold in the time trial of the 2008 Olympics

9Luxembourg’s Franck and Andy Schleck and Kim Kirchen were all on the GC leader board of the 2008 Tour de France

10Kazakhstan cyclist, Vinokourov was a delight to watch for well-timed aggressive attacks. Saddened by his doping. Team Astana is registered in this nation.

11See the list on Union Européenne de Cyclisme www.uec.ch

 12The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Criterium Season

Posted in Summer Carnival on July 28, 2009 by bethleasure

1“You can’t always win…The last few weeks have been really exhausting.” Jan Ullrich, on appearing in races and exhibitions all over since the Tour

 

Kriterium or Race around the Kirk

Kriterium or Race around the Kirk

After the Tour, a psyched public enjoys its newest cycling heroes in exhibition races throughout Europe. The height of speed season offers so many racing options, a pro could pull two-a-days within a small driving radius. These races take the form of criteriums, small circuits around towns suited to spectators for watching favorite riders lap after lap for a few hours. Generally, these events are held during a fête that celebrates the town’s origins. Even small cities see huge crowds that pack spectators in deep rows ringing bells and tooting horns and screaming in many languages behind barriers.

In this way, these races differ from their American cousins whose courses are more compact yet less crowded with fans. Another difference is in the strategies employed in these events which are sometimes decided pre-race by committee to ensure that the hero always wins and the crowd convinced this year’s yellow jersey wearer is truly worthy of it. Race fans are aware of this policy and seem to accept it readily. Meanwhile, riders’ tactics are programmed for this exhibition but still the racing is full-on, and sure enough, toward race end, the featured champion manages to slip to the front to properly outpower all peers.

While the truth is that a serious criterium would probably not be won by a GC leader nor a Grand Tour by a criterium specialist, the events are still exciting and offer a living display of pro cycling as breathable art. They can be exhausting for riders however. Towns known as much for master painters and superlative sculpture play host to this ritual that kicks off a season of carnival for pro cycling – a little post Tour fun for the fans, crowd-pleasers by fatigued racers, or a fine tune-up for fresh legs that sat out the Tour as preparation for some of the month’s spectacles.

 

Prayer for Criterium Season
“…it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.” 21 Peter 1:6

 

We are glad to see our pros up close and personal. We pray for them in times of fatigue, vulnerability, and expectation. We ask blessing on criterium season.

 

Ponder What am I really seeing when I watch a race? Affirm I display golden qualities to inspire others. Watch that the expectations of others don’t force negative compromises in your character or capacities.

 

1“Race Report: Telekom GP Karlsruhe/GP Breitling, Cat 1.2 Germany,” September 14, 1997 http://www.cyclingnews.com

2The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Finishing Strong

Posted in Summer Sunshine on July 25, 2009 by bethleasure

Superb Sunsets


60“…the Team…to reach Paris as a whole (with all nine riders)…is something no one can guarantee – not during the Tour.”  Hans-Michael Holczer, General Manager, Tour Team

FINISH STRONG!

FINISH STRONG!

Finishing stages races like the Tour de France is such an accomplishment in itself that even the very last rider classified upon race completion claims distinction through the title of Lanterne Rouge. A red light signals to a train conductor that the caboose is still there with train intact just as losing even one rider can affect the trek of the team during a tour.

Leader or worker, sprinter or climber, each rider is important for the execution of team strategy and tactics. Likewise morale is influenced by the movements and moods of all team participants. Riders are selected carefully based on many factors with this in mind. Each rider lightens the load and signals a complete unit for achievement.

A race like the Tour de France demands every one’s best game. Completing the task by withstanding all challengers and overcoming all its uncertainties is sometimes a better team accomplishment than an individual win in a lesser event.

Sometimes life’s storms make quitting a smarter choice than continuing, such as in the case of broken bones forcing race abandonment. But more often, we in the storm must resolve to finish through the darkness of defeat and the rains of risked reputation. After all, what’s more brilliant than a superb sunset characterized by resplendent colors and patterns bursting through clouds on a stormy day? It seems to proclaim another day’s hard won accomplishments.

Even as the sun is now following a lower path along the earth as it accomplishes another season, already contract negotiations are underway to harness the bright lights of summer for next season. As we complete this season’s tasks and start to think about next year, let’s finish strong – completing well down to the detail what remains of these days.

 

Prayer for Completion
“I glorified you on earth by completing down to the last detail what you assigned me to do.” 61John 17:4

We are glad that life’s events are so challenging that sometimes, just finishing, signals victory. Give us strength to complete what’s before us; give us enlightening and encouraging glimpses of what’s ahead to keep us going to the end.

Ponder What must I finish? Affirm I fulfill what’s been started even if the pace seems slow. Watch for bright endings that offer fresh starts.

 

60“Tour de France 2008 – Team Gerolsteiner: A ‘highly motivated’ Team Gerolsteiner heads into the 95th Tour,” July 4, 2008 posted on www.dailypeloton.com

61The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Speed Endurance

Posted in Summer Sunshine on July 24, 2009 by bethleasure

Long Shadows

50“I don’t ride that much but very specific, high quality.” Jeannie Longo, One of the Heroes

 

Long Shadows of Summer

Long Shadows of Summer

The myth of season-long, low intensity 6-hour training rides is busted this time of year when a rider doesn’t place in a 200k race or perform well over multiple days in hard tours. Long bike races are less of an aerobic endurance activity and more about speed endurance since intensity is often above what’s sustainable all-day. Little hard efforts over and over decide classification.

Mid-summer’s necessity is to endure long hard races as well as a long season. Optimal preparation consists of multiple sets of hard efforts of varying intensities and lengths to endure repeated-speed fatigue, as well as racing as best preparation for racing!

Such races used by champions of summer may or may not target performance as much as preparation, such as Paris-Nice to tune-up for Tour de France or Tour de France to overreach toward the Olympics.

For example, Longo consistently shines at race selection for the purposes of ramping up speed endurance. She used small Colorado stage races prior to an international tour in America as preparation for gold and silver medal rides in Atlanta. She targeted a win in some form, not necessarily first place, to build confidence and keep freshness while gradually overloading fitness. She chose events that shielded her from the pressures of a relentless French press and venues that simulated if not the humidity at least the heat of a southern Olympic city. Longo’s longevity overshadows anyone in top level cycling. With precision and preparation suited to someone who knows herself well, she outlasted all with a sunny smile while winning one of the most important of her many races solo.

Lengthening summer light casts long shadows in rolling silhouettes on the ground as we ride this time of year. A long shadow can be cast upon performance if speed endurance and rejuvenating races are missing from a training program.

 

Prayer for Speed Endurance
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.” 51Hebrews 12:2

We are thankful for examples of winning a “war” with many hard battles before it. We ask for speed endurance.           

Ponder Can I repeat efforts of varying intensity for as long as my targeted races demand? Affirm I select events that require hard efforts but keep me fresh for bigger events. Watch and work repeatability for speed endurance.

 

 

50Conversations with Jeannie Longo, One of the Heroes.

51The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Best Young Rider & Espoirs

Posted in Summer Sunshine on July 23, 2009 by bethleasure

Sons Rising

56“…the trainee champions were able to taste the sensation… [it’s] clear to us that the values of cycling had here acquired new meaning.” Christian Prudhomme on Tour de l’Avenir

 

Strength, Kindness & Youth

Strength, Kindness & Youth

There seems to be a 57bigger pool of younger talent capable of competing with more senior riders in recent years. Perhaps kids during the Armstrong era – inspired to race by increasing media coverage and financial opportunities – are coming of age as wizened, saddle-worn warriors. There’s a trend toward greater competitiveness with more senior counterparts and sometimes the Best Young Rider category offered in big stage races is a GC contender as well – like Andy Schleck in the Tour for example. These sons rising toward a golden day of professional leadership provide a race within the race in parallel with what’s necessary to do well as a GC leader.

Often the jersey is won by a rider who is already very experienced even if younger. Certainly some nations excel with a highly developed pipeline toward pro racing via grass roots networks that send through well-taught trainees. Similar to American Little League baseball, where best young pitchers can toss at speeds nearing professional players and coaches have more players than positions, the countries producing young stars encourage both depth and breadth. By the time these espoirs flick the teens, they’re already strong and smart enough to jump past inexperienced and under-trained peers into professional teams that have squads to develop and utilize them.

Only 58one American team so far uses such a program, and successfully! Talented riders and team efforts by the domestic-based young B squad can sometimes beat well-funded pro squads at home. The sport seems to have shifted so that Best Young Riders are among the best of riders, and average age seems a bit younger than ever before. The Espoirs burst out like an eager sun on a new era of cycling!

 

Prayer for Best Young Rider & Espoirs

“Father, it’s time. Display the bright splendor of your Son.

So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.” 59John 17:1-2

 

We are grateful for programs that encourage and advance emerging young cyclists. We ask to take care regarding the responsibility and privilege of instilling ethics and values into this amenable age-group.  We ask blessing on our best young riders and upon espoir racing.

 

Ponder What values are relevant for this age? Affirm I want young riders to be spiritually and emotionally ready too! Watch and wear a “white” jersey of good values as a clean slate for cycling’s future.

 

 

56“Editorial: More Verve & Spirit,” on Tour de l’Avenir 2008 by Christian Prudhomme, Director of Tour de France posted on www.letour.fr. Tour de l’Avenir is the biggest event of the year for espoir riders and consists of Under-23 national teams.

57I can find no study to support this, so this is my opinion based on observation of trends. More juniors are coming out of the amateur ranks and getting pro contracts because of the average age restrictions for pro teams set by the UCI and because there is more young and capable talent available now than ever before.

58Garmin-sponsored Slipstream is the only team in America that is also focused on espoir and junior development from within its system for the purposes of Europro competitiveness. I know of no other American team, also competitive in Europe that had such a system. This system is common for Europro squads.

59The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson 

Most Aggressive Rider

Posted in Summer Sunshine on July 22, 2009 by bethleasure

Hot Pick

54Prize of combativeness…the most aggressive rider…Awarded for being feisty, irritating, unpopular with your peers and, frankly, not likely ever to win anything else.”         Barney Ronay, Sports Editor 

 

Seeing Red is a good outlet for Aggression

Seeing Red is a good outlet for Aggression

Decidedly, Most Aggressive is not the same as Most Valuable Player, who is usually selected from the winning side. The Most Aggressive Rider, while combative, is not necessarily disliked by peers or unable to win anything else. Competitors sometimes pick this rider as deserving of this distinction. An aggressive ride may be grudgingly admired at times and may spectacularly display a determined hot desire to win.

In a long season, desire can be worn down by disappointment or disaster. An aggressive ride is an inspiring way to turn around a bad trend or take an all-or-nothing set of risks to reap some return on an investment likely to fail due to bad legs. One racing strategy is to attack when one feels poorly because what’s lost may be the effort and what’s gained may be a result on a day when finishing seems impossible – let alone finishing well.

An aggressive rider may also be someone whose fitness or capabilities aren’t suited for the type of racing in a particular event. Or most combative may be someone who refuses to race in ignominy when instigation brings camera time for a sponsor: better notoriously off the front than unnoticeable in the bunch. Most Aggressive can sometimes lack tactical awareness, timing sense, or even top talent for a win but still gain an award  – the E for effort rather than an F for failed to be first.

Cycling admires courage regardless of result. Cycling also rewards riding that focuses less on result and more on the ride. Further, champion cycling puts together courage AND situational awareness. Most aggressive has at least the courageous part of it conquered but may need to redistribute focus for mastering awareness to win. And sometimes, Most Aggressive is a rider capable of ripping off everyone’s legs anyway who decides to smack down dramatically and decisively anytime he wants. 

 

Prayer for Most Aggressive Rider

“He did it so that all of the nations on earth would know that he is powerful. He did it so that you would always have respect for the Lord your God.”  55Joshua 4:24

 

We ask blessing upon appropriately-used aggressiveness in competition and winners of this category. We ask for displays of power that lead to respect.  

Ponder When do I respect aggression in myself or others? Affirm I use my aggression wisely. Watch well-worked power and assertive actions work well as a worthy result and esteem-builder.

 

54“Essential French in five minutes,” by Barney Ronay defines Prix de combativité (n) in The Guardian, posted July 2, 2007 on www.guardian.co.uk

55New International Reader’s Version Copyright © 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society

Fans & Spectators

Posted in Summer Sunshine on July 21, 2009 by bethleasure

Warm Crowd

52“Since 1993, I follow the races as ‘The Devil’ as I felt that there was something missing among the fans. Someone who cheers them up, fans as well as riders, and who gives the races a certain, special surrounding…the riders are passing by, I never afflict them. It’s a question of respect for them. I chase them for the media, only from behind and never too close.”     Didi Senft, The Devil, #1 Cycling Fan               

 

Roaring Fans

Roaring Fans

The fans of cycling are a warm cheering crowd prodded by the piping pitchfork of cycling’s most recognizable booster, The Devil. Far from devil’s advocate, Didi’s antics may sometimes worry a rider too close on his shoulder but mostly he’s a good angel of the Alpes and audience mascot.

Our spectators set us apart from most other sports. Our open-air arena brings them shoulder to shoulder with us but separated from one another. Ticketed stadium viewers can do the wave and chant a song but exclude every one wanting to watch. Cycling’s crowd is linear, all-encompassing, and allows a worker to pause for a watch. While we don’t benefit from gate proceeds except in VIP refreshment tents at grand venues, we appeal across socioeconomic lines as a spectator sport. We do have body painting, banners, tailgating, and souvenirs. And we also have alien groupie activity like crop circles with messages and symbols in the languages of the peloton, strange statues and street performers, rows of rowdy schoolchildren and clanging cow-bell ringers.

The din is so great in certain narrow uphill routes, a rider cannot hear a radio, one another, or much else. Throngs of cheering enthusiasts become our guardrails. Sometimes this is more intrusive and dangerous than guardian angel-like. So fans beware! We like our devil but his demons can flee because we prefer our angels to be around watching out for us – but not too close.

 

Prayer for Cycling Fans & Spectators
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” 53Hebrew 12:1

 

We are thankful for each supporter and admirer of cycling. We ask blessing upon each one and for more to come near but not into our rolling fold. We ask that fan interest, insight, and safety increase.

 

Ponder What would racing be like without fans? Affirm I love a crowd. Watch and make our passage safe ye admirers; watch ye riders, not the crowd but the road and the race to ensure it flows through our fans and not into them.

 

 

52“The DEVIL: PEZ-Clusive Interview!” by Florian Wenk posted on June 30, 2004 www.pezcyclingnews.com

53Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004 Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189

Championship Lifestyle/Time with God

Posted in Championship Lifestyle on July 18, 2009 by bethleasure

The All-Powerful

33“Find yourself, and your soul, through the challenge and adventure of cycling…connecting with…God through cycling, nightly devotions, and journaling…build self-confidence, independence, teamwork and tolerance in…riders.” 10th Gear Youth Cycling Organization

More than ever, we have access to race reports, rider diaries, and cycling blogs. We seek news, insights, perspectives and helpful information from others similarly impassioned. Meanwhile, God as omnipotent/all-powerful, omniscient/all-knowing also knows cycling:

why_would_jesus_drive_singl

34“At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him. But later on, when I met God, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that God was in the back, helping me pedal.

I don’t know when it was that He suggested that we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, ‘Just Pedal.’

Worried and anxious, I asked, ‘Where are you taking me?’ He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I’d say, ‘I’m scared,’ He’d lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, and we were off again. He said, ‘Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.’ So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it; but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make the bike bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with God as my delightful constant companion. And when I’m sure I just can’t do anymore, He just smiles and says, ‘Pedal.’”

He knows and loves us. Pedaling with Him is first for champion living!

Prayer for Devotion to God
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously.” 35Micah 6:8

We are grateful for life and that You want to ride with us. We confess You are the last One we come to at times. We know that Jesus used the most rudimentary forms of transport of the day. We know you care about cycling. We pray for daily time to learn about You and for You to teach us about ourselves.

Ponder Do I speak with God and listen for His voice?Do I invite God into my cycling? Affirm I cultivate my relationship with God daily because He cares about me and therefore about my cycling. Watch and pray, read the Bible, seek His acts and guidance in your life.

 
332008 10th Gear Youth Tours www.10thgear.com<http://www.xcbikestories.comJesus, Lord of Bicycles

34“God’s Bicycle” posted August 5, 2008 on “Saddle Sore,” a daily cycling blog

35The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Championship Lifestyle/Specialized Intelligence

Posted in Championship Lifestyle on July 17, 2009 by bethleasure

Still Small Voice

42“Together, we’ve been racing over forty years! After all this time, me and Graeme are still learning new things. That’s what’s so cool about bike racing.” Tania Duff-Miller, Winning Kiwi

 

MIT's collegiate cyclist Mark Cote, "being a geek works out in the real world."

MIT's collegiate cyclist Mark Cote, "being a geek works out in the real world."

Champions show a drive for ever-learning, better methods, faster machines, improved character – 43specialized intelligence: “To win – in sports, business, school or elsewhere – requires emotional skills (suppression of ego, patience, handling pressure), intuitive skills (connecting with and acting upon your internal voice), a big picture perspective about your challenges, and the ability to be flexible and learn from experience.”

This is a way of life that can translate from racing into other pursuits. Tom Ritchey, frame designer, thinks of new products and tests others during daily rides. He continues to produce championship goods and contribute to winning causes. He constantly strives for improvement.

In plenty of ride time, some can be allocated for contemplation. For a pro, there is a lot of down time necessary for rest and recovery. During these times, thinking through myriads of methods for improvement in all areas is part of the job. One dominant winner studied libraries of books in spare time to keep a sharp mind. Others are interested in aerodynamics, engineering, physiology, and other sciences related to improved physical performance. Others ponder philosophy, public relations, start charitable causes and contribute well-rounded personalities to the peloton.

Champions are constantly seeking new information that will give even tiny improvements. They inspire and permit test after test as a means to track progress not merely interested in opinion or what used to work. Many innovations in the sport come from these riders, as do many positive interactions to teach and inspire.

 

Prayer for Specialized Intelligence
“And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice.” 441 Kings 19:11

We are thankful that we have hours each day to spend productively. We confess it’s easy to be one-track cyclists stuck in the same worn groove. We ask for presence of mind to listen and learn and to contribute in fresh ways to the sport and to the world.                                

 

Ponder How do I spend spare time? Affirm I am thinking through today’s challenges and learning new ways to meet them. Watch the big shows and storms but note the quiet whispers that follow for genius insights and ideas.

 

 

 

42Conversations with Tania Duff-Miller, one of cycling’s good hearts and tough riders. This comment came after an unexpected tactic by a competitor. She and husband, Graeme Miller continued to win right up until retirement. They reside in New Zealand.

43How Lance Does It: Put the success formula of a champion into everything you do by Brad Kearns Copyright © 2007 Brad Kearns published by McGraw Hill Books. www.bradventures.com

44Amplified Bible Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Championship Lifestyle/Boundaries & Routine

Posted in Championship Lifestyle on July 16, 2009 by bethleasure

Shoes not made for Walkin’

40“‘The rest days are to rest and not do much…You have to follow a routine but keep in mind that there is the remaining competition stress that the race gives. You have to follow the habits of a normal competition day. You have to rest as much as possible and to recover strengths facing the next coming stages.’ Can riders do other activities on rest days like take a walk in the city or go shopping? ‘You need an important goal…To go shopping or walk in the city is not what I want the most at the moment… So, I try to relax and get the most of the moment in order to be ready when I have to.’” Carlos Sastre, Champion Cyclist on boundaries and routine 

 

Cycling shoes for the urban commuter; still not made for walking!

Cycling shoes for the urban commuter; still not made for walking!

Once I made the mistake of going to the city with a shopper on a  Monday rest day. Four hours and forty pairs of sandals later, the shoe clerk and I were homicidal. That friendship took years to recover – she just couldn’t get why I wasn’t excited about her new red pumps after multiple stage races in a California spring. Wasn’t I grateful to be guided by a local in one of the world’s most exciting metros? Yes in the off-season but not then. Totally my fault for even thinking of doing it – an amateur moment of exhausted vulnerability!

The shoes of a champion cyclist are rarely used for walking. The mantra of if you can stand, sit; if you can sit, lie down is taken to its heights for winning recovery. Venetian leather during the Giro and French treats during the Tour are out – unless you have a really obliging soigneur and forget it, they won’t have time to shop for you.

Because speaking of time, champion lifestyle is as regimented as possible. The body learns to rest for naps, when to eat, and to sleep early and long. Routine is more restful and regenerating. Routine protects from external distractions and energy-zapping activities.

Skin is our body’s no to the outside world. Boundaries protect us and we must protect our boundaries. Champions have a strong sense of no – and resolve to open and close the gate of the picket fence around time and energy in their well-ordered house of dreams. It may be boring in that house at times so that it may be exciting on the road!

 

Prayer for Boundaries & Routine
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” 41Psalm 37:23-24

 

We are thankful for many sedentary activities that are productive and restful. We ask for the tolerance of outsiders to our energy vigilance. We pray for well-ordered steps so our soles/souls don’t wear out.          

 

Ponder Can I up my game by tightening my time schedule? Affirm I decide yes or no. Watch and be sensitive to yourself and others; over-commitment wears everyone out.

 
40Carlos Sastre interview, September 14, 2006 “Fight until the end” http://www.cyclingnews.com

41Holy Bible, King James Version public domain