Archive for July, 2010

Re-evaluating Cycling

Posted in A Time for Everything on July 6, 2010 by bethleasure

Stepping off the bike allows you to pick it up again triumphantly


“But the results he’d hoped for didn’t quite eventuate, and following a tough year in 2005…McGee knew he had to go back to the drawing board.”An Interview with Brad McGee

This blog was originally written for the off-season. Yet in the midst of summer after hard racing, sometimes a mid-summer night’s dream is necessary for revitalization.

Take a few days to let the events of the season go, then take time to take it up again, but now with the detachment of an analytical observer. If you’ve done your rest days’ homework, your ego should be in submission. Confidence newly tamed can approach its wilder virtue – truth, with caution, whip in hand to beat back insecurities and arrogance. Seek the truth with soft heart, believing that your best is yet to come, but also with hard eyes toward wise preparation. Gently explore your failings and disappointments. Everyone loses more than they win. There is no perfect cycling season. Critically determine how to improve.

If you do the same things, the outcome will be the same. History is the best predictor of the future. What needs to continue, to go, to improve? Get real with yourself. I knew a rider who was masterful at this. With objective precision, Becky Conzelman would study her performances. She refused to indulge in excuses and simply called it as it was. She never reached her goal to go to the Olympics, but she did manage, in just four years of competitive track cycling, to win the races and qualify to compete at Worlds. I believe it was partly because she short-cut the bull and went straight to what needed work.

So few have the courage to do this. We seem to need to encourage ourselves with half-truths in order to stay motivated. In the off-season especially, it’s good to get this kind of feedback from the experts you respect, but sometimes mid-season is when it’s most needed. What others tell you about how to improve is worth seeking. Take the time, steady your emotions, be open to trust and explore.

Prayer for Wisdom

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free! 19John 8:32


We are made to have light in us, and light penetrates darkness – even the darkness of self-doubt. We need to know our purpose in cycling. We pray to know what’s real.

Ponder What lies do I believe about myself? Who can help me discern what’s really happening? Affirm I can handle the truth, and I will be freed by it to the heights of a unique pinnacle for me. Watch how your invitation of truth ushers in peaceful, effective change.

18“An interview with Brad McGee: Pieces of the puzzle,” Latest Cycling News for May 10, 2006, Edited by Jeff Jones, assisted by Susan Westemeyer.

19Holy Bible, King James Version, public domain

Staying Power: Cycling & Patience

Posted in The Spiritual Cyclist on July 2, 2010 by bethleasure

Staying Power

81“…people have to realize cycling is a sport of time. It takes time to train. It takes time to get fit. It takes time to learn race tactics. It takes time, so be patient.” Mike Sayers, Pro Cyclist

Sayers knows about cycling's pitfalls and pitstops

The mantra of our times seems to be, “we want it all, and we want it now.” Two proud flaws of entitlement are: 1. blindness to the benefits of a long labor in the same direction and 2. blame when quick solutions elude.

Despite soundbyte communication and speed dating, there is no shortcut to valuable, lasting excellence. In cycling, there are immediate results and long-term results. How many overnight sensations have you seen burn off like morning mists?

It takes about 100 races just to begin to understand strategy, and some never get it, clueless about what’s really going on in a race. One cycling mantra is it takes 5 years to know how to use your legs, and five more to execute what you can imagine. It’s a beautiful thing to experience a rider’s chrysalis into that second decade.

Physiologically, 82it takes about 10-12 years to make a male europro. Instant success may come to a rare few, and if they stick with it, now we’re talking world class and record-breaking.

The best used implement in the toolbox of winning skills is willingness to wait while working…the dreaded PATIENCE. This tool comes out in the final breaths of hard effort, sensing that momentum is about to reverse, surprised by a second wind, discovering the right opportunity to act. This tool works especially well with others because it knows its prize-winning place in the box. This tool can be cruel if wielded against you forcing you to wait; but with the protection of hope, it becomes teachable and trusting.

Patience believes the best is yet to come, pride sadly thinks it is passing and must all be seized now. It’s as important a tool to carry in your saddle bag as a tire iron for patience can fix a broken spirit and keep you rolling on.

Prayer for Patience
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” 83Ecclesiastes 7:8

We are thankful that meaning and value are added through the depths of time and perseverance. We confess we don’t contain our desire for speed separately from patience in the soul. As hardship must come, keep us encouraged as we wait, energized as we work.

Ponder Am I using energy to push away what instead should be persisted? Affirm I can tough it out and finish stronger than I began. Watch for a generous spirit as patience makes your heart large enough for a task as big as was meant for your life.

81“The Best Cycling Advice,” by Bruce Hendler, PezCycling News posted on Mike Sayers has wonderful tenacity as a star domestique.

82Presentations by Andy Coggan, Exercise Physiologist, power guru, and Masters Cyclist, from clinics held between November 2004 – October 2006 on Cycling-Specific Exercise Physiology which noted research comparisons of VO2 Max and power at LT as indicators of performance potential.

83The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society