Archive for June, 2010

Road Rash

Posted in Private Cycling on June 29, 2010 by bethleasure

Tattooed Tips

62“Oooow, %#* that! Ugggh M%$#@*%-F%$*#$! It’s foaming, ohmmm, ow, auuuhh, I took off some meat. That one there is pretty deep.” Rick, bike crash victim, while cleaning his wounds

Bragging rights?


Road rash bites. It’s particularly bad to have it symmetrically, both elbows, both shoulders, both hips. Even turn-left trackies get total body road rash. The good news is you don’t have to look like a one-turn wonder; the bad news is that there’s no painless side to roll over while sleeping. Its scarred remnants are show-and-tell objects that spice up cycling’s war stories to impress your buddies deep into the night. This isn’t true for female friends by the way who will probably be revolted by this boasting and bloodshed and roll their eyes. Nor spouses who may become annoyed at not being able to snuggle with a mummified oozing mate.

The tattoos of cycling risk adorn the tips of us – skinned shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles, often hands and sometimes cheeks and chins. Kidding aside, these wounds need care to heal properly and scar less. Nerve endings are exposed so cleaning the wound is like repeated breathtaking sprints.

Here are some tips. Gently scrub out road debris using soap and water as other 63agents have been found to be too abrasive. Apply a non-toxic surfactant or antibiotic ointment, and then use a semi-permeable bandage. The wound heals from the deepest layer up and the outer edges inward. Keep the wound moist until healed as it promotes tissue formation and guards from infection. Begin airing it when it has a pink smooth layer unless you plan to race, then it may be better not to risk a second skid on the same place. Keep your tetanus shots up to date and legs shaved. This is where the sexy norm of smooth legs in road cycling has its justification. Make sure your group of training cronies or race crew has a road rash kit.

Prayer for Road Rash Care

 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” 64Isaiah 53:5

We are glad that time and proper care heals our wounds. We pray for courage to clean the wound and the right equipment for road rash care.

Ponder Do I or my team have a first aid kit that travels with us? Affirm I understand how to clean my wounds. Watch the wound to know when to change dressings.

62“Ricks Bike Crash,” a video by xsoylentx  October 22, 2007

63“Skin Abrasions and ‘Road Rash’ Treatment,” by Elizabeth Quinn

64The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Bike Theft

Posted in May-Day on June 25, 2010 by bethleasure


27“Cycling is a small family and it’s normal for teams to help each other out, but I have never seen a team act with such generosity on such short notice.”  Kris Westwood, Canadian Team Manager thanking Team Gerolsteiner for loaner bikes due to theft

This ain't no 'crosser - more like double-crosser

Imagine your anticipation and preparation for a world championship being hampered by your bike being stolen while far from home. This is what faced the Canadians when team equipment was stolen from a locked vehicle at the venue prior to this important event.

Bike theft and crimes against cyclists are on the rise. Pilfered frames generally affect those whose use is the greatest: messengers, students, and commuters. Racers are not immune. Headlines are rife with violent crimes, including muggings and assaults on bike paths, armed robberies against riders, and drive-by shootings.

Strong locks and avoiding certain areas only work so far in crime prevention against cyclists. While riding in a swank resort area known for mountainous terrain, some hoodlums thought it would be fun to stick a gun in my face from their gangsta sedan, financed by the meth use of rich youth from the “good” neighborhood. I’ve also ridden in notorious inner city ‘hoods and got no more trouble than respect and good directions. The determined criminal looks for opportunity and can find it in daylight in wide open spaces or busy places.

The worst incident I know occurred in the Boulder prairie – one of cycling’s meccas – where an angry driver did multiple U-turns trying to mow down a small group of pros on a typical training route. No one was seriously injured, but the driver served hard time for attempted vehicular manslaughter.

Recently I heartening story about a detective pulling a woman out of a burning house when he went to the neighbor’s to return a stolen bike. Talk about making good from a bad situation.

While cycling does much good, it’s not insulated from the bad that’s out there. Fortunately for the Canadians, another team came through replacing their stolen bikes for the event. This sort of neighborhood watch and rapid response is an example of how to pray against crime breaking in on the property and peace of the cycling community.

Prayer against Bike Theft/Crime

“Thou shalt not murder…Thou shalt not steal.” 28Exodus 20:13, 15

We are glad for law enforcement and for kind community reparations as a result of crime. We pray for protection against criminal activity in cycling. We ask punishment and justice for proven offenders.

Ponder Am I locking up, taking precautions against crime? Affirm I follow my instincts sensing criminal activity. Watch your cycling neighborhood; report and seek help for suspicious behavior.

One good source for prevention and detection is  The site is designed to leverage social media to alert, not just anyone, but like-minded people who truly understand the impact of losing your bike to theft. 

27“Canadian Team Bikes Stolen in Stuttgart, Gerolsteiner steps in with Replacements,” Courtesy Kris Westwood, CCa posted September 24, 2007 on

28Holy Bible, King James Version public domain

Cycling & Safety

Posted in Skills Seminar on June 22, 2010 by bethleasure

Million Dollar Decision 

55“We all die. She was very fortunate to die doing what she loved.” “It was an act of God.” “I’m done with road racing; I can no longer race without fear of crashing.” comments overheard at serious and fatal crash sites 

Not if, but when. Where is full of options.

After I made the transition from racer to team coach and then director, it dawned on me how my decisions could affect the destinies of others for better or worse. The awesome responsibility of influencing lives for a career in cycling hit hard when I watched the movie, 56Million Dollar Baby. This film evoked a profound emotional reaction, since I knew that my race calls and influence could indirectly lead to an athlete’s death. Death had come crashing near me before: I’d personally witnessed one race-related death, wasn’t present but nearby during the event of two others, and had raced near many serious crashes and myriads of minor cycling mishaps.

Crashes characterize cycling. I’ve crashed numerous times including one requiring several surgeries and one with a minor head injury (no comments 😉 Head injuries make up the majority of cycling-related fatalities. After my concussion, the helmet became a priority in training rides and I lost the was-a-euro-racer attitude.

Recreational riders are no less at risk from sparring with cars on crowded roads or from mechanical failure or road conditions. We put ourselves at risk. Is it because we love it, because somewhere inside we decide that it’s worth the risk, or because we deny its dangerous nature?

You must face this issue and choose responsibly. Don’t wait until something bad happens. Go into it with eyes wide open and prepared for any outcome. Preparation means precautions such as helmet safety, skills mastery, and health/accident insurance plans. How much risk you take as a rider depends on what you believe is your destiny in cycling. Ask yourself the biggest questions.

Prayer for Safety

“And just as it is appointed for all men once to die, and after that the certain judgment.” 57Hebrews 9:27 

We are grateful that risk in sport exists for our excitement. We confess we numb ourselves at times to the life and death issues elicited by racing and its fatal accidents. We ask for help to take every responsible precaution necessary, and for safety for all riding bikes.

Ponder Am I aware of every possible outcome in my cycling experience? Affirm I ride and race as safely as possible. Watch and redeem your time wisely and whole-heartedly in awe of nothing but God.

55These three comments are anonymous to protect the sources. One person was a spectator who comforted me with the notion that there’s nobility in the death of someone fulfilling their destiny. The other came from a race director whom I’d rather not quote because out of context it sounds unaffected; but I know that this person grieved deeply and investigated the course thoroughly to determine probable cause. The final quote is from a world-class racer who could no longer be automatic in dangerous sprint scenarios on the road, but who went off-road to return to an international level uninhibited.

56Million Dollar Baby was produced in 2004 by Warner Brothers and starred Clint Eastwood as the Trainer and Hillary Swank as the boxer who was paralyzed in the ring. Its treatment of issues, such as athlete selection and euthenasia, brought me to my knees asking for sure direction about my own destiny and the stewardship and influence on the lives of others.

57Amplified Bible Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Championship Strategy: Segmentation

Posted in Championship Strategy on June 18, 2010 by bethleasure

Break It Down

26“If you’re there at the end, no matter what went on in the rest of the race, you made it to the end and must go for the win.” Tania Smith, Champion Strategist

Boonen is one of the Great Segmenters

How well you compete in the race finale may determine the result but is incomplete as championship strategy. You can win without having the best day because a winner breaks the race down into phases of effort and puts it together at victorious moments. Segmentation is a means of coping with pressure. Segmentation gives power in real time. It enables a proactive and reactive vigilance and response in the moment.

Race reports of segmentation specialists are rich with detail and keen with insight about what really happened in the race. The consistent winners often have a dynamic interview presence because they can recall and relate the characteristics of each segment of the race. Time trial specialists may be shooting for a certain time split per kilometer. Stage race specialists may set a periodic alarm to eat during the day’s stage to recover for the next day. Classics segmenters know when the fight comes for each marked segment of cobbles, climbs…whatever.

One technique for segmentation involves several championship activities: course preview – marking out key features in distinct portions for pacing, tactics, power application, safety; weather as it relates to route – planning for cool descents, rainy technical sections. Most importantly, great segmenters understand the race rhythm.

Many great performances happen from simply contemplating the many variables associated with outdoor routes and applying multiple tactics to address each segment. There are self-tricks for segmentation. Coping with a lack of confidence for an overall win, a champion may instead think about near perfect execution of this first hill, then surviving the hard surge expected next, etcetera, instead of starting a race with only the finish in mind. Some parcours are so difficult, segmentation is necessary. The king of such courses, Paris-Roubaix is overwhelming but positioning for the few kilometers into key segements, which  decide the winner is over in minutes. So segmenting that course into what it takes to get to that point, executing that and leaving it behind once accomplished, leaves energy for the next critical fight. In Paris-Roubaix, this must be done for each cobbled section or about 3 dozen times!!!

A great segmenter says, “Done deal; just ahead, another hard section – over. Now finish first!”

Prayer for Segmentation

“Little by little…until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” 27Exodus 23:30

We ask to see the portions of a greater whole.

Ponder Am I breaking down courses, events, and strategies into enjoyable parts that aren’t overwhelming? Affirm I set goals within goals. Watch successes mount with each passing mile.

26Conversations with Tania Smith. Leave it to a mom-wife-nurse-community minded-athlete to figure out how multi-tasking ability can be translated into victorious race scenarios. Tania and her husband Darryl lead the Bay-area Spoke of International Christian Cycling Club.

27The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Race Promoters & Event Staff

Posted in Cycling Community on June 15, 2010 by bethleasure


28“The key to sustainable promotion, with return on investment given by sponsors, is to be in a large visible marketplace with full media coverage.” Dave Chauner, Race Promoter

It's about getting those eyeballs

Searching for a post-racing career, I conducted research before deciding event promotion would not be my first choice as a second role in cycling. It didn’t seem to matter that my 29county was home to some of the greatest potential venues in these parts and a place of history for big races like the extinct, international-caliber Tour du Pont/Trump. Practically no one was encouraging about the prospects, and the role of promoter itself doesn’t suit my eleventh-hour style.

Never proving to be a quitter, I took this dissuasion as a challenge and promptly volunteered at various races. The first gig was with a husband-wife promotional team with perfect complementary skills, the lord and lady of a respectable regional event. This proved the perfect education, an internship into the details and logistics of the sport, which I had hazed as a racer. Being present and aware of what’s going on around the race is counter, after all, to being in the zone for the race.

In my volunteer promoter role, my chief indignation was the spoiled attitude of certain participants put forth in a whine – a sense of entitlement and pushy resentment. This piqued memories of my own carelessness and possible ingratitude. From the other side of the registration table, I witnessed race staff laboring 24/7 on behalf of the complainers, despite nearly a year of maneuvering to sustain, fund, and market the event while encountering numerous challenges. More details than I could track were overcome with respectable delivery in a well-run weekend. My take-away: more grace from the racers please and total respect for the talent and tolerance of a race organizer. God love ya.

Prayer for Race Promoters & Event Staff

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body…The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’” 301 Corinthians 12:12, 21

We are thankful for the administrative abilities and fortitude of event staff. We confess we take for granted all the races available to us. We pray abundant blessings on race promoters and workforce. 

Ponder Am I grateful for the opportunity to race? Can I express thankfulness, offer suggestions gracefully, and question kindly? Affirm the race organizers publicly; only confront in private if necessary. Watch an event noting all its activity and be in awe; better, volunteer some time to recognize the challenges of it happening at all.

28Conversations with Dave Chauner, Director – Pro Cycling Tour, the promotion company of the UCI-rated pro races in Pennsylvania popularly known as “Philly week.” The Philadelphia segment of his series of one-day races attracts 250,000 spectators, includes live radio and television coverage, and was formerly the venue for the U.S. Professional Road Championships.

29This blogger resides in western Maryland in a river valley between Appalachian ridges, the easternmost known as the Blue Ridge for its deciduously-tinted forest. Four distinct seasons, a historic network of old roads and varied terrain make it one of the best places in America for riding. She is completely biased on this point.

30The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Cycling’s Soigneurs: 2,016 Water Bottles

Posted in Cycling Community on June 11, 2010 by bethleasure

2,016 Water Bottles

25”I am here to make what you do go as smoothly as you do.  Remember that on the 15th hour when your laundry is not quite dry, or when I’m late to pick you up from the airport. There are always things that are not seemingly put together. We just need to know you appreciate our love of this sport.” Janis Burns, Soigneur

More about work, less about glamour


Thousands of times are approximately how often a team support person must mix up bottles for one Grand Tour. If the mechanic works the most daily hours, the soigneur probably works the most total hours because of work before, during, and post-event.

A soigneur works between races driving…everywhere: delivering team vehicles or personnel to airports, buying supplies, and from one feed zone to another. They are the logistical implementers and the multi-taskers extraordinaire. Their tasks vary per team but they are the team’s real domestiques doing at all times what their on-the-bike counterparts only do in races – whatever’s necessary for the feeding, care, and success of a rider.

I’ve never met a soigneur that didn’t feel love for their athletes; if not, they left the profession. Arguably, the pressure for success is felt as much by the soigneur as by the rider for their purpose is to ensure it by controlling all the practical variables related to living it. Soignée means pulled together; their role is the hub of the team connecting its vital parts for movement. It’s no wonder loyalties to team have led to predictable 26improper behavior. It may be that this is the role in our community which is at greatest risk for compromise, and therefore needs our most earnest prayers.


Prayer for Soigneurs

The good people taste your goodness, The whole people taste your health, The true people taste your truth, The bad ones can’t figure you out.27Psalm 18:25-26

We see this example of love serving its community. We confess that love can be compromised without strong boundaries. We ask for pure love, which can be tough love doing what’s best for another; and for moral courage to resist what’s wrong despite social pressures.

Ponder Am I asking anyone to compromise what’s right for what I want? Is anyone trying to compromise me? Affirm I can be more successful in the long-term by doing what’s right now than by looking for short-cuts to success. Watch carefully what others are doing to support you, check them; and ask others to hold you accountable also.

25Conversations with Janis Burns, American Soigneur to several pro teams so far in her career. She has also fought prejudice against females to contribute to men’s pro cycling.

26Massacre à la Chaîne or Breaking The Chain by Willy Voet records a well known incident of the bust of a soigneur’s drug trafficking on behalf of his team. Published Calmann-Levy, Paris, 1999. 

27The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Self-Respect & Paralympic Cycling

Posted in May-Day on June 8, 2010 by bethleasure

Respect as Response

15Cycling gives me such a rush.”   Stuart Flacks, Paralympian first rode as therapy for traumatic injury

One less leg, more self-respect

The next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself for nursing some injury or drained by overcoming limitations, meditate on our disabled cycling brethren. These athletes compete in classes blind, or with severe to slight lower limb disability, or with cerebral palsy, or as handcyclists in either road or track events.

Paralympic cycling was introduced in 1988 at the Seoul Olympics and is now practiced worldwide on the same quadrennial cycle. One can strive to the heights in events, such as Paralympic Games, World Cups, and World, European and National Championships. One year’s theme for the American Paralympic Team was RESPECT:

16“Respect is the way one chooses to respond….a lot like The Golden Rule…Real athletes show respect for themselves, for their teammates, for their competitors, and for their sport…Examples: Valuing diversity—in race, ethnicity, gender, size, and ability; treating other athletes as equals—on your team, on another team, or from another country; congratulating your opponents on their victories; behaving on the field of play in a way that others admire; doing what is right; obeying the rules of competition and being willing to abide by the final results of play; refusing to harm your body or alter your performance with drugs; maintaining a positive attitude toward competition and your competitors…Respect builds self-confidence. It makes you and others feel better…”

In comparison to this creed, maybe it’s we able-bodied who are disabled in spirit and must take a lesson in respect. One of America’s most sought after fit experts,17Andy Pruitt, also has palmarès as a disabled cycling champion. His “limitation” became an expertise that helps others, and one of his best gifts. Now that’s a self-respecting response!

Prayer for ParalympicCycling

“I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 182 Corinthians 12:10

We thrill at examples of overcoming adversity, even great hardship. We confess we can feel sorry for ourselves for even the least bit of difficulty. We pray for a spirit that delights in hardness to prove what’s strong and ask blessing upon Paralympic cycling.

Ponder Does my self-respect include valuing my abilities even when limited? Affirm I congratulate the best even when I’m at my worst. Watch for opportunities to prove strength when weakest.

14New American Standard Bible, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

15“The Greek gods would be pleased—the 2004 Summer Paralympics revisited,” by Diane Craft, Susan Hudson, Sarah Rich, Andreas Hadjisavvas, Nancy Megginson, published by Palaestra on September 22, 2004 posted on

16“Respect,” National Olympic Education Program

17Pruitt is quoted and referenced in “Body Geometry: Prayer for Bike Positioning & Fitters,” of Prayers for the Peloton, not yet posted here on Good Spin. He is the founder of Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Andy is remarkable not only for winning Paralympic World Championships but for his influence and expertise on positioning. He has helped scores of riders alleviate pain and get more out of their bikes.

18The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Cycling & Humility

Posted in The Spiritual Cyclist on June 4, 2010 by bethleasure

Wielding Power

84“People are screaming and the next thing you know you’re going too hard. You’re out of the saddle sprinting up a hill or something and because of the cheers you don’t feel a thing until you get to the top. Then you pay.” Alison Sydor, Pro Cyclist

With confession, even the disgraced get back a little self-worth


Riding and racing are a healthy means for getting attention. We all need praise, and the bike becomes a prop in the rolling theater of athletic drama. A supportive cycling world may provide affirmation that is lacking from other areas of one’s life.

Educational material for coaches is focused on a modern role of coach, not just as trainer, but as character-builder in a world of fragmented families and values. Teaching worthy values like meekness or giving quality emotional support are just as important as a workout plan.

Sometimes life just puts people around us who frown, abuse, criticize and put-down. Particularly when things go well, everyone loves a winner. But with winning so elusive, we cannot measure our lovableness on the approval of others, which comes and goes like a tailwind on a meandering course.

Likewise living large on prestige and honor, a false reality can leave us proud and overconfident – pride in the sense of thinking you’re all that. It can also lead to poor judgement and a sense of invincibility that may lead to very bad choices.  Thinking yourself unbeatable, vaunting superiority or arrogant displays are often associated with insecurity and a need for approval. It’s a long plummet from this pedestal and a hard pull to be dropped from and – gotcha – where’s the self-worth? These arrogant winners are some of the emotional neediest people. Sport temporarily rewards this need. Yet the best race and life tacticians are meek in applying strength without arrogance, irrespective of approval. These kinds of victories endure.

Pride in the sense of self-esteem, realizing the value of your life and that unseen forces guide and protect you is healthy. Everybody has a limit – a fragile boundary far from omnipotence. You see 85this in the peloton when riders encounter hardships. Their responses that improve character and confidence require humility. A winning strategy that employs competitive humility and realism– a firm sense of self that knows how to implement what it’s got and when– works in life also.

In time, we see arrogance brought low. We even see this fall work some redemption on the fallen. This is as refreshing as when a humble competitor gets on the podium.

Prayer for Humility

“Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor.”  86Proverbs 18:12

We are thankful for elegant moments of humility. We confess our pride – thinking both too much and too little of ourselves at times. We ask to see ourselves realistically.     

Ponder Is pride making me pay too early? Affirm I can be confident minus conceit. Watch smug swiftly abandon, self-esteem take the lead.

84Alison Sydor quote from a now defunct website. I cannot substantiate this remark, but the sentiment has been experienced, and overconfidence is not a competitor’s friend. However, I’m not calling arrogant; this quote is used because she admits she had to pay for a mistake.

85The principle of a fall or wake-up call as a result of pride is a redemptive blessing to the soul. So while it may look like disgrace to the public, to God it is discipline borne of love to teach us how to be.

86The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson


Posted in Championship Qualities on June 1, 2010 by bethleasure

Songs of Victory

18“Me, a monstre sacré?[holy terror] If I had to describe myself, I would use the word champion.” Jeannie Longo, One of the Heroes

The winning-est cyclist of all time


Holy and champion is appropriate in the same sentence. The Bible says that victory comes from God. Read that again. Victory does not come from our effort alone. This is a hard doctrine unless you have the heart of a lion. Lions know when to attack and when not. They understand the hierarchy of the jungle. There can be only one.

This is a hard doctrine. This means that even a cheater who wins is allowed to win ultimately by God. The drug may have helped but it was God’s ultimate decision. God did not cause the victory but allowed it. Even a cheater has to win the race without crashing, puncturing, bonking, and by riding smart with all the other elements in place. God could intervene but may not, and the victory is permitted. Why? Perhaps to show God’s goodness even to the undeserving. Perhaps to bless even the soul of a cheater. Perhaps to force systemic changes and do a better job of doping control or a culture that encourages it. Perhaps to humble even clean competitors. This is a hard doctrine, and its truth cuts like a claw.

Good guys do not always win; bad guys sometimes do. This is a concept of grace which is not human. It’s a divine concept. The sooner you grasp this hard doctrine and pray for God’s help to win, the more you will be shown and given in order to win. The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. This is the goodness of God.

There is a reckoning but we may not see it right away. There is a paradox in victory that includes both God’s help AND man’s effort. This is a crisis of faith that is exposed clearly in competition. The shepherd boy David who became a king was both a loser AND a victor. His song of victory mentions his weakness AND God’s strength in achieving victory:


You have given me your shield of victory; Your help has made me great…I did not stop until they were conquered…You gave me victory…You give great victories.” 192 Samuel 22

Prayer for God’s Help

We confess our discomfort with the idea of dependence in a supreme being that we must believe is good. We pray for faith for this premise so that we can see God at work and trust God to bring victories.


Ponder Do I feel eased or frustrated that winning isn’t just up to me? Affirm I believe God is good and wants me to be victorious. Watch for supernatural cooperation when you ask for God’s help.

18“The Unretiring Jeannie Longo,” by Samuel Abt published June 6, 1992 by International Herald Tribune. My support and admiration of Jeannie Longo is unrelenting. She and her husband-coach, Patrice Ciprelli, were generous, informative, and friendly to me during and at races in France and America.

19The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society