Bearing One’s Cross
56“I crashed when my wheel washed out, like was happening to a lot of people. I didn’t think that I would be coming back. I hit a post pretty hard, knocked my helmet off and bent my bars. I figured that was it, but I just got myself up, straightened my bars and got going.” Daniel Summerhill, Junior Medalist 2007 Ciclocross Worlds
Though completely worthy of specialization, cyclo-cross is solid training in the long months between resting and racing. Like steeplechase on a bike, it is arguably the hardest racing of all, combining maximum steady state and anaerobic systems with technical skill, timing, control, running, riding, leaping, carrying. Its unforgiving conditions and spectacularly tricky courses are reminiscent of childhood’s hard and tough outdoor play in winter after school or on snow days.
Relentless weather, uneven footing, laughing at and taking ourselves seriously all at the same time, pushing, shoving, sliding – it’s a cyclist’s toboggan outing, and hot chocolate is even served under a tent. In what other cycling discipline is the winner photographed best, completely covered in whatever encrusted the earth that day? Here’s a description pre-race from a national championship that details cold and camaraderie characteristic of this form of crucifixion:
57“Walked most of the course in 12 [F] degrees and snowing—like a small ridged glacier with ruts all over from the previous day’s mud…I watched some…go down in a corner—comforting! I got a number 6 call-up. Then we waited around in 15-17° and snow with wind. I had hand warmers in my gloves…. We stood waiting, shivering and…tried to shield…from the wind with a rain jacket.”
Prayer for Cyclo-Cross Activity
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’” 58Matthew 16:24-25
We are thankful that a winter version of summer cycling exists. We confess we too often choose comfort and ease when sacrifice is the only way. We pray for our heroic friends in cyclo-cross and ask blessing upon them as examples of hardship endured.
Ponder Is there anything I’m avoiding because it’s outside my comfort zone? Affirm I can withstand tough circumstances. I can bear my cross with others alongside. Watch the losses of sacrifice add up to unimaginable gains.
56“Worlds Cyclocross Photos and Comments,” 1/30/07 by Staff with Andy Lee, USA Cycling credited on www.dailypeloton.com
57Conversations with Loren Hettinger about 2007 US National Cyclo-Cross Championships in Kansas City, Missouri. Loren is a well-liked masters roadie and crosser. He was pulled after a crash in this race, hence the sarcasm.
58The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers