Archive for June, 2011

Tolerating Pain

Posted in Out Like a Lion on June 24, 2011 by bethleasure

Go Fly A Kite                                             La Flamme Rouge

The Red Kite is overtaken                                              62La flamme rouge dépassée
The Yellow Jersey arrives                                             Maillot Jaune à l’arrivée
Radio Tour Information                                                      Radio Tour Information
Broadcast Television Tour de France                 Transmission télévision Tour de France

Kraftwerk lyrics, Techno Band, Cycling Enthusiasts

Timm Peddie

Peddie, Mionske, Chann, Darren, Lance - 1992 Olympic Team

Before Olympic road cycling became professional caliber, the final amateur American Olympic Trials occurred in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Based on a points system, one could qualify for the Barcelona-bound team but not before first facing the formidable class of 1992 – future lions like Lance Armstrong and his notable compatriot star domestiques. Yet it was an underestimated rider named Timm Peddie who forced an attack that stuck and won from his small group.

Peddie was not a favorite but he wasn’t without palmarès. He’d done some national team trips and had been tested as an espoir. Not as talented in some areas (and not doping either), his ability to suffer was off the charts. He wasn’t considered a GC contender, but he was known for repeatable snap that separated him at odd times from a peloton of painmeisters. His results were few but they were spectacular and solo. He rode with passion and produced a plethora of emotional reactions. This same fire
characterized his off-the-bike persona as well, and he was often a source of controversy due to his relentlessly righteous zeal. He was not without flaw nor meant to be pitied because he was misunderstood. He was simply as fiery and in-your-face as the red kite which clearly marks the final kilometer. He held nothing back.

In meeting both pain and the final kilometer, it’s no time to quail, rise up to the challenge or neither gives you respect. Mais où est cette maudite de flamme rouge, je ne sens plus mes jambes! Where is the flippin’ red kite because I cannot feel my
legs?! The red kite can also be a sweet marker that indicates your time to suffer will rise and fall at last…prior to the podium flowers, showers and resuscitating powers of rest and recovery.


Prayer for Ability to Finish Strong

“Lift up a banner and proclaim it; keep nothing back…” 63Job 39:21


We are thankful for the inflatable archways of the flamme rouge that mark the remaining throes of suffering. We ask for ability to tolerate this painful challenge that leads toward an expected end.

Ponder Am I eager to face pain like prey that must be clawed? Affirm I forebear to finish strong and capture a reward. Watch the kite as a sign to keep nothing back, then fly.


62“Lyrics 2003 Tour de France,”

63The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Wheel Changes

Posted in March Madness on June 21, 2011 by bethleasure

Blown Chances

22A super-fast wheel-change can save the day.”  Geoff Brown, Race Mechanic

Race mechanics must race also...Help them win.

Despite a preference to be taken care of mechanically, responsible maintenance for smooth working order is a priority for a professional. Pro team mechanics appreciate a meticulous rider who provides equipment information in preparation for fast mechanicals and wheel-changes. Imagine needing a bike change without first conveying that your pedals are different from team issue. This is a disastrous sure way to get dropped from a race, not to mention being inconsiderate toward team staff as they attempt to switch bikes on the fly.

Likewise on your local group ride, a lack of preparation is inconsiderate toward training partners. Bring your basic flat tire stuff and know how to use it. I’m really grateful when I come prepared and someone still offers to help. Hundreds of thousands of miles later, road-side repair chivalry has saved me a few times.

On the other hand, one neutral support wheel change was the stuff of my nightmares. My tire popped on a high speed course into a screaming section. A willing but inexperienced helper took minutes for what should’ve taken seconds. I tried not to panic as I watched a promising tour turn into a week of stagiaire work,
because I and a group of others ill-fated and ill-inflated lost 16 minutes on Stage One.

In contrast, a neutral support success story was a save via a wheel change that took only seconds for our star rider at the base of a key climb on the penultimate stage. As an amateur elite team, we’d practiced wheel changes at camp. Three riders dropped back for a stunning example of teamwork, and our guy made the lead group of grimpeurs. All involved handled it like pros. This is the management of maddening circumstances for which we pray.

Prayer for Tire Repair/Wheel Changes

“…produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good [thing] that is ours…” 23Philemon 1:6


We are glad for assistance when frustrating circumstances come. We confess we are not always blamelessly prepared. We ask for diligence in risk management to avoid the worst as much as possible.

Ponder Is my bike ready for its upcoming uses? Affirm I am precise about maintenance, even if I rely on others mechanically. Watch your tires for cuts and clean off debris.

22“Brown heads home: No more Euro’ wrenching for Discovery mechanic,” by Andrew Hood Posted Sep. 30, 2006 Geoff was one of Europe’s top professional mechanics for 14 years, including 3 Giros, 11 Vueltas and 12 Tours. He is from western Canada.

23Amplified Bible Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Cycling & Modesty

Posted in Private Cycling on June 17, 2011 by bethleasure

Nature Break

53“Taking a nature break on the fly…One of the most interesting errr, weird things on an open circuit like this is that there’s really nowhere to really relieve yourself.” A proper TV announcer trying to explain cameras rolling while a racer pees

What works in a race may be illegal in an Aspen restaurant

Peeing on the bike has nothing to do with incontinence and more to do with the law and modesty. Public urination is against the law but not out of line with cycling ethics. It’s important to switch gears and behavior between private training routes and public venues however. Just like the same tactics of intimidation which may lead to a victory in a bike race will not work in public in real life.


On long races, male riders go to the backside of the peloton to pee. Nothing is noticeable except slight slowing and spray. A rider was disqualified for doing this mid-pack in a criterium along a course crowded with spectators in a conservative Midwestern town. Honestly, I admired his skill in executing this at speed while cornering but officials saw it differently.


Although I peed in my shorts a few times during races, it’s perhaps harder for a female to do unless the pace slows during a warm rain. The women’s pack agrees to stop en masse by roadside. I admit I’ve had my arse to the wind for an entire caravan to witness, although I don’t see the appeal of staring at a crouching backside.


What’s done in a race situation would be appalling in a shopping mall for instance. What was I thinking – scores of people just watched me urinate – doesn’t go through your mind on the way to a race-winning climb. You just do it or you can’t concentrate to race hard.


Cultural customs vary and who knows where others stand or squat on this issue? InAmericathis can offend local authorities to the point of withdrawing future event support. It may also repulse conservative local populations where modesty is particularly emphasized. In European sports halls post-race, men and women shower together so perhaps preaching public modesty is a pissing contest outsideAmerica. Wherever you stand or sit on this issue, drinking less electrolyte-laden fluids isn’t the answer. Try to pick the right spot at the right time.


Prayer for Public Modesty

“…take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies…modest about our personal parts.” 541 Corinthians 12:23


Although today’s topic retains a sense of humor, we confess we sometimes ignore local customs and the law to relieve ourselves, perhaps offending some. We pray for considerations of modesty, and for the public to look the other way.


Ponder Do I want to watch a spectator drop his/her drawers and pee in front of me? No! Affirm I hold it or pick the right place at the right time, and I don’t pee in public when not racing. Watch for private places or moments of relief.



53“Bicycle Pee Break,” Added by sportsnetwork on April 27, 2008 on

54The Bible, Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

British & Canadian Cycling

Posted in What Would Cyclists Do? on June 14, 2011 by bethleasure

Cyclists Speak

19“Nah ah’tall      Translation:         I think he can do it (an impossible race feat)

blimey                    Translation:         Wow that was an awesome move!

t’isn’tit?                  Translation:         He really could’ve done better.

maght ah dun yeah  Translation:But since he didn’t, let’s tell you what we think he should’ve done.

ah bit-ah faahya-pow-hya   Translation: He needs  power/courage / strength/speed/brains

British-isms from two Race Announcers speaking one form of English


Dans la tape (said with 2 fingers pressed against your jugular then exhale puhhhh.) Translation: In the Tape/On the rivet/Maxed                                                           Québécois Cycling Slang

Beryl Burton dans la tape


Wish my translations were as witty as a Brit’s. Isn’t it great that English is becoming another language of the peloton? Our English-speaking cousins and French-speaking friends from Canada bring a remarkable contribution to competitive cycling – from the refined streets of posh Londoners poised to teach the world how to time trial to the Scottish highlands of famous hors catégorie specialists to the rugged regions of western Canada known for epic riding to eurocool Québéc, an enclave of cycling culture. So many stories, characters, achievements, interesting tid-bits too great for this one run-on paragraph.


These are ways of winners whose language we want to speak, and dialects we wish to understand! I acknowledge and ponder and praise the peoples of these areas today with a story from each country:


Svein Tuft, World TT silver medalist based in 20back country, mountaineering for several years before taking up competitive cycling, but not before pedaling a bike trailer as he trekked through snow – tough, but demure off his bike. That’s impressive, Eh?!


From across the pond, British Time Trialist 21Beryl Burton was introduced to cycling by her husband. She won 100 titles over 30 years of racing. She earned the distinction of Best All-Arounder by winning 25, 50, and 100 mile trials and reserved the title for 25 years. She set several national records and won seven world titles. Her distance in the 12-hour time trial was over 5 miles more than the men’s record.


Two warriors of the sport from separate continents represent the shared language of a universal passion. Both nations’ cycling histories deserve books, and more, this prayer.


Prayer for Canadian & British Cycling

Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.” 22Zechariah 6:8


We ask blessing on Canadian and British cycling.


Ponder Who are my favorite Canadian and British cyclists? Affirm I think both countries rock as far as cycling enthusiasm. Watch these places for more great riding and glib speech to come.


19Two unnamed British race announcers, lovable and understandable enough calling a race on

20“An interview with Svein Tuft: From survivorman to cyclist,” posted September 24, 2007

21“Beryl Burton” Britannica Online Encyclopedia

22The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Bike Crashes

Posted in May-Day on June 10, 2011 by bethleasure

Crash Course

3bike wrecks make sure i know my place in this big screwy world…i’ve just had a small dose of my own mortality. i ride on, seemingly undaunted by the blood trickling down my leg or the pain in my shoulder, but a lot is going through my mind.

i am not invincible.
i bleed just like anyone else.
there are a million things out here that could kill me.
i am never promised a tomorrow.

the psychological effect is what is good for me in a bike wreck. i need this reminder from time to time. the physical pain is also good in its own way – it’s refreshing. it lets me know i’m alive…it’s better that i listened to what the bike wreck had to tell me.”  Jethro Bodine, Bicycle Impact Survivor


Now that's an endo!

Going splat against the pavement has a way of re-sensitizing us to violence, human suffering, and gratitude. Glad to walk away or be carried, we are still thankful to talk about it.


My worst crash I cannot remember as it involved a head injury with face plant. My most painful crash required multiple stitches in a French clinic. My scariest crash was caused by attack dogs. My angriest crash intersected an errant motorist. All these impacts and others left consequences beyond the body. My soul was searched in order to heal my body through these unplanned encounters with vulnerability, mortality, and philosophy.


It’s not a question of if but of when and how often riding your bike will result in a crash. Bike riding can be dangerous. One aggressive europro questioned about his superior descending skills said he never took risks in training. Yet cautious riding still leads to injury, and a few of my hardest impacts came at a snail’s pace. Sometimes those impacts come from moving obstacles – cars, wild animals, chasing dogs, tumbleweeds. Even gusts of wind can throw-down. It’s not safe out there.


Crash courses teach tuck and roll – something which may not be at all useful depending on the circumstances. Yet I recommend practicing this maneuver, doing skills work, gaining knowledge of traffic laws and gravitational forces, and using safety equipment. The best curriculum, however, is acceptance – working out your salvation energetically before God prepared and ready for what comes at you…hopefully fast, smooth, steady finish lines!


Prayer for Safety

“Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.” 4Psalm 16:1


We acknowledge cycling’s risks. We pray for preservation and salvation beyond the consequences of crashing.


Ponder Have I worked out my beliefs about destiny and eternity? Affirm I trust God with my cycling. Watch and be aware of dangers, yet ride with abandonment secure that your soul is in Greater Hands.


3“Bicycle Wrecks Are Good for Me,” by Jethro Bodine posted 10-26-2000

4Holy Bible, King James Version public domain


Pacing Strategy

Posted in What Would Cyclists Do? on June 7, 2011 by bethleasure

Cyclists Pace

1“The beauty of cycling is that you’re forced to think and to be so calculating at the same time as your body is in agony from hard effort…the important question is how you distribute that effort.” Dr. Stephen Cheung, Cyclist & Exercise Physiologist

Zabriskie zings the pace

Distribution of effort within a Pacing Strategy is a must for a competitor whose endeavor is a new personal best. Generally, when pacing is discussed among physiologists about road racing, the main focus concerns effort against the clock. Graphically, these efforts have many shapes. The most typical shapes tell a story, such as: the classic tophat silhouette of an even effort preached as salvation in the early days of powermeter analyses; a U-curve typical of self-paced efforts with a hard start then forced adjustment reducing average power output and last ditch punch in the final kilometer; and a tight sawtooth pattern reflecting a tough course with uneven efforts within a certain range. A winning ride isn’t based on a picture but on which of these or other patterns covers the distance in the least amount of time.


2Studies indicate subjective pacing without a powermeter tend toward slower times. Starting too fast is often the main culprit. Riders with pacing technology have a more complicated task devising a strategy that incorporates many details, such as air conditions, cadence, and terrain. There are subjective means to transverse that terrain based on rider strengths and intuition within a certain power output. There are objective measures using an overall average wattage coupled with time or speed splits at intervals, or max and minimum watt targets based on course features applied at starts, ascents, descents, corners, finishes etc. A mix of this time trialist intuition and the science of the numbers provides a winning formula for pacing.


Another factor to consider is 3feedback – a luxury for an amateur but precision science spoken to the rider by team staff during the event. While Pacing Strategy is applied most notably in a time trial, road races also require distribution of effort. Studies about pacing are few, but it is clear that riding like a brute out of the blocks isn’t the proper method.


Pacing varies its energies throughout the year for racing, training, psychology, goals, spiritual growth, resources – all of which must be distributed well for optimal performance.


Prayer for Pacing Strategy

“The Lord your God…directs you in the way you should go.” 4Isaiah 48:17


We ask for wisdom in recognizing our governors for optimal pacing.


Ponder What am I using to set pace? Affirm I let these markers propel and not prohibit me. Watch the details and determine pace for full potential.



1“Toolbox: Time Trial Pacing Strategies,” by Dr. Stephen Cheung, PhD posted on April 15, 2008 Stephen Cheung is Canada Research Chair at Brock University, with a research specialization in the effects of thermal stress on human physiology and performance.

2“Pacing strategies during a cycling time trial with simulated headwinds and tailwinds,” by Atkinson & Brunskill published in Ergonomics 43:1449-1460, 2000

3“Effect of distance feedback on pacing strategy and perceived exertion during cycling,” by Noakes, Lambert, Gibson, Albertus, Tucker & Hampson in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, WK Health 0195-9131, 2005. This measures negative feedback and concludes perceived rate of exertion and heart rate did not change. I submit that any feedback, even negative or incorrect feedback, acts as an encourager but that proper feedback that includes more than RPE and HR makes a measurable difference, and would love to see a study on it.

 4The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Cycling & Emergency Personnel

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

Cycling’s Samaritans

7“I love marshaling bike races, hours of sitting with something to really watch.”  Police Officer marshaling the district criterium championship

Some of our protectors like speed too

Hanging out at a bike race in any official capacity to monitor and manage safety is an interesting vigilance. Official government and civic community support is essential. From funding road infrastructure to medical assistance, our ability to ride depends on the interest and activities of many behind-the-scenes professionals and volunteers.


From ensuring pedestrians don’t walk in front of riders to ministering medical assistance, the calls for help are heard in every event and answered by these hidden Samaritans. Often these are the people we look through as riders. Until they’re needed, we don’t really want to see them: certainly not misdirecting a sprinting pack or stopping short on a moto. Yet these guardians are often our first comforters in any incident. Examples include: a cycling doctor chose emergency medicine to have more ride time and relevant experience as a team doc; a marshal previews courses to sweep for debris and survey potential hazards; a hospital arranges for an extra helicopter on call while a major race comes through town; an ambulance crew sits by hoping nothing more is needed than some water as they wait.


Like the Good Samaritan who crossed the road despite inconvenience, we are humbled by their care so we can ride. Once a French fan pressed a few francs into my palm as I moaned on the road cradling a bashed elbow full of grit. I’d crashed just across the street from him, and his energy to cross and sympathize was much appreciated.


Prayer for Emergency Personnel

“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds….made him comfortable.” 8Luke 10:30-37


We are grateful for caring and competent support. We confess we take these services for granted. We ask blessing upon all officials and emergency personnel whose aim is to ensure safe riding and rapid response. Bless those who comfort us while monitoring our safety.

Ponder Do I extend the same mercy to others that is given to me? Affirm I give behind-the-scenes thanks and offer hidden care.  Watch when you’re off your bike at an event, all the people somewhat surreptitiously in place ensuring your care.


7Conversations with a course policeman. Actually it was I who offered him a donut. I was so happy about winning, I wanted to share it with everyone. So I tried to thank everyone on my victory lap.

8The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society