Archive for May, 2011

Sprint Skills & Fitness

Posted in Going Green on May 6, 2011 by bethleasure

Maillot Vert                 Sprinter’s Jersey

36“If you brake, you don’t win.” Mario Cipollini, Sprinter Extraordinaire

Cipo the pouncing leopard


To win races as a result of a sprint should be in the skills arsenal of every amateur racer. Especially with America’s preponderance for the criterium, you can’t win races if you don’t feel comfortable negotiating and executing the sprint. Even if your clear abilities are stronger as another type of racer, to move up the ranks and be useful to a team, you have to know what goes on in the fight for the finish.

At the pro level, fighting for position at strategic portions of a course is similar to the mentality, physiology, and technicality of a sprint finish. As a “non-sprinter,” how can you perform a proper lead-out or be well-placed heading into a narrow place or into a climb unless you understand timing, distances, positioning, and can bang through corners faster than a speeding car? You must become familiar with all the sprint dynamics in the lower categories first: it just gets harder the higher your rank.

It’s true that top road sprinters tend to have a higher composition of fast twitch fibers – a faster contraction yielding quicker speeds – and emphasize speed endurance. Sprinters tap into the energy systems fueled by ATP and anaerobic glycolysis. Yet there’s no point doing sprint training if you can’t make it to the finish to use it, so a large proportion of a road sprinter’s work is aerobic.

Perhaps just as important as the genetics is the sprinter mentality. Winners of the green jersey seem to have a higher degree of geospatial awareness and comfortability in navigating narrow moving channels. They not only find the flow, good speed specialists become the flow. It’s like the clutch player that gets the pass with 1 second on the clock, down by just enough to win if he scores. The true sprinter LOVES the fight and looks forward to that moment in the final kilometers when fangs drop, eager to chomp on the flesh that opposes a perfect line to victory. Cipo said it best, ““We are taking risks every day on twisty and slippery final sections.”

Prayer for Sprint Fitness & Skills

“A nation has invaded… powerful and without number; it has…the fangs of a lioness.” 37Joel 1:6


We are thrilled by a sporting battle. We confess we brake for fear of invasion. We ask for top speed savvy and blessings on Sprinters.

Ponder Can I learn how to see green? Affirm I gain the fitness and moves to be among the 38Sprinters Seven. Watch the surges and where you put yourself; think like a hungry lion chasing prey.

36So many sources have used this quote, it’s difficult to know who first recorded it. There is no doubt, however, that this is the sort of quip that would come from Super Mario. 

37The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

38Sprinters Seven is my term for that exclusive group which trades wins via sprinting. Almost invariably, a perfect bunch of speedsters separate themselves from everyone else. You’ll see the same seven or so names all season in a sprint contest. They know how to surf the surges in such a way as to wind up in the final decisive move, as well as take advantage of their genetic dispositions.

Special Olympic Cycling

Posted in May-Day on May 3, 2011 by bethleasure

See Our Smiles

19“Did you see that? Did you see that? Oh that was great, that was great, that was great. Did you see that? I’m so happy! I’m so happy!”  Sid Lea, Cyclist/Special Olympian and 5-time Gold Medalist

Exuberance for cycling is Special!

I sought help from a sport psychologist during a period of discouraging performances. I talked about a rider I admired but also envied. This rider raced with seeming abandonment and his uninhibited risks sometimes paid off in triumph. We discussed that his emotional style was his forté; passion and enjoyment contributed to his success as much as his considerable talent and hard work.

The psychologist advised me to watch the Special Olympics to understand the simplicity of this great strength. The oath of Special Olympics is: 20Let me WIN. But if I cannot win, let me be BRAVE in the attempt.

A Special Olympics goal is to “experience joy” and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other athletes and the community. Special Olympics (SO) is the world’s largest training and athletic competition program, serving millions of children and adults in 180 countries with intellectual disability. SO cyclists compete in short road races and time trials. A unified category pairs an SO athlete with a non-impaired tandem partner.

Intellectual disability may impair tactical awareness but it doesn’t preclude the inner qualities of fierce resolve and fearless rejoicing in competition. We know highly tactical bike racing takes thought, but at some level, great performances come instinctively and are released and unleashed from the soul as much as the legs and the mind. Winners allow themselves to be vulnerable. They put all of themselves out there not so much thinking of the result but finding enjoyment in the experience even in suffering.

So when enduring hard times in your riding either as a result of injury or some other impairment, remember your attitude can still have a positive and powerful sphere of influence. Send your own SOS and smile.

Prayer for Special Olympic Cycling

“’I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile.” 21Job 9:27


We are glad for examples of simplicity in athletic attitude. We confess we are so focused on where our names list in results that we minimize our impact. We pray that when circumstances cause complaint, we can respond as winners.   

Ponder How can I be braver? Affirm I change my world and it starts with my countenance. Watch for things that bring a smile.

19Conversations with Sid Lea. Sid does get discouraged, angry, loud and even occasionally feisty. But if he does remotely well in a race, he is the happiest guy on a bike and his smile radiates to everyone. This attitude sometimes humbles his non-intellectually “disabled by dissatisfaction” competitors.

21The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society