Archive for October, 2011

Cycling & Cool

Posted in Autumn Glory on October 28, 2011 by bethleasure

Must Come Down

60Wearing an ice vest before [performance] in warm, humid conditions allowed athletes to start and finish the competition with a lower Tc [core temperature] than did those who did not wear a vest.

University Research, Cooling Study

A little too cool

Class is back in session and we need to be reminded that we’re never too cool for school by using smart products. Old school helmet-less racing had a cool factor other than its justification that they were too hot to wear during hard climbs. Technological advances in helmets that don’t thwart heat dissipation were catalyzed by several race-related deaths due to head trauma. So we’re using our heads and wearing lids these days because it’s way cooler, so to speak.

Another cooling product is the ice vest as a means to promote cooler core temperatures. Reduction of thermal stress caused by prolonged exertion upon core temperature contributes to increased performance by reducing sweat rates, allowing the rider to worker harder for longer. In fact, 61studies show that optimal time trial performance occurs around 50°F. Another 62study concluded that repeated sprint exercise in hot temperatures resulted in a faster rate of fatigue but also resulted in higher peak power outputs due to increased pedal cadences. So maybe it’s not so cool to be too cool in certain events.

Finally, one of the coolest activities in cycling, leg-shaving, is associated with one of cycling’s coolest products – embrocation creams. The ritual and the oils within act as a 63thermal layer keeping you cool on hot days and protected and warmed in rain and cold.

As temperatures cool down, dress accordingly and remember that after all this year’s hard riding, your best ride may come during this season of optimal aerobic temperatures. And if you get a hot day, you may be able to post the highest sprint outputs of the year. Either way, a cool-down is a great way to end an argument, a ride, and a season.

Prayer for Cooling Off

“God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time…Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. He gets the last word. Keep a cool head. Stay alert…The suffering won’t last forever.  64 First Peter 5:6-11

We ask blessing on times likes these when we utilize the products and methods that capture the essence of cycling’s cool factor.

Ponder Where’s my cool weather cycling gear? Affirm I’m psyched there’s never a ho-hum day as a bike rider. Watch the leaves change, enjoy these colorful autumn moments; now eyes back on the road!

60“Warming Up With an Ice Vest: Core Body Temperature Before and After Cross-Country Racing,” Hunter & Hopkins, Brigham Young University, and Casa, University of Connecticut published in Journal of Athletic Training 2006 Oct–Dec; 41(4): 371–374.

61“Mythbusters,” a webinar presented by Stephen J. McGregor, Ph.D. on3/18/08 arranged by USA Cycling. Stephen is part of USA Cycling Science & Education faculty and Applied Physiology Laboratory of Eastern Michigan University.

62“Human power output during repeated sprint cycle exercise: the influence of thermal stress,” by Ball & Sargeant- Neuromuscular Biology Group, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University; and Burrows-Royal Liverpool University Hospitals. Copyright © 2008


64The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Cycling & Equipment Sponsorship

Posted in Bottom Line to Start Line on October 26, 2011 by bethleasure

Market Bike

37The team works closely with technical sponsors and this allows us to bring new and innovative products not only to athletes but also to consumers.Scott Bicycles, Equipment Sponsor

Latest and greatest is enhanced by athlete input.

Products Pros Need – An Incomplete List: bikes-components-glasses-helmets-pedals-powermeters-rollers-saddles-tires-wheels. Some of the latter is equipment from within the bike industry; and some stuff comes from elsewhere: vehicles-insurance-travel-nutrition-communications-clothing.


When a team goes to market, a more-equipped bike than a cruiser with a straw basket on the handlebars brings home the day’s fresh bread. Generally, so much stuff requires calculated logistical preparation for safe handling in vehicles the size of truck containers and caravans. This vast movement of supplies down-line from manufacturer/provider to market uses cycling as a vehicle to connect with consumers.


An added benefit or reason for equipment sponsorship may be technical innovations inspired by athletes. Usually this has to do with tweaking and specifying versus testing although destruction happens regularly. These failed tests generally stay quiet as part of the secrets of the caravan that are privy among team and supplier. Often improvements and cool innovations result from real-world Research & Development.


Like cash sponsors, equipment suppliers need to see a return on investment in similar marketing strategies from branding messages to shared values to corporate visibility. A cycling team’s shopping list may be scrawled on a loose scrap of paper held tightly at a trade show but once bagged, it’s widely consumed.


Prayer for Equipment Sponsorship

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” 38Proverbs 22:7

We recognize we’re not slaves to equipment sponsors, but that borrowing does come with responsible representation. Lending also comes with trust that products are safe and sturdy – able to handle race demands. We pray for all the necessary provisions for competitiveness and some wants as well as rewards. We ask for assistance with logistics to manage all this schwag. We ask to reach new audiences with fan give-aways and marketing strategies. Bless our equipment sponsors.


Ponder What am I using to ride or race that is truly a great product? Affirm I tell others about who has the goods! Watch your manners when it comes to public product comparisons as this year’s best may be bust next year and this year’s novelty may work better next year.


37“Scott Bicycles To Become The Equipment Sponsor of Team Columbia,” by Editor posted September 10, 2008 on

38New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Cycling & Reform

Posted in Victory Lap on October 21, 2011 by bethleasure

Fantastic Reorganization?


33“This reorganisation has been the subject of intense discussion with the teams and organisers with the view to establishing a common platform to allow cycling to return to a period of stability and serenity.” UCI Plan for the future of professional cycling


“The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance.” ― Thomas Jefferson


This entry was originally written at a time when the road beneath our bikes shifted a little less, and this was meant as a Praise entry for cycling’s apparent reforms. Since then, pro cycling’s track record on being truly reformed seems shakier still and perhaps has pedaled a few strokes in reverse. A winner of Grand Tours remains untried for alleged activity; and yet another is under federal investigation. The sport’s governing bodies seem even more entrenched in a purpose of smoothing things over to maintain status quo, pursuing its role of Promoter in conflict with its role as Overseer.


Even the humblest of coaches can appreciate that even a great athlete cannot have two goals in conflict and expect to accomplish either with supreme excellence. Let’s say Lance Armstrong wants to pursue both a Tour win and Olympic gold in the 500m sprint. For his coach to advise that as a conflict in goals and that he’d be better served focusing on the one thing he does really well would be the loving thing to do. But if the coach were more concerned about personal ambition and expansion and could see Lance impacting both areas at least some, then the coach may advise with self-interest. Lance loses the Tour but crowds flock to watch him challenge; he gains a placing on the track but walks away medal-less, in this fantastic scenario. The coach sells more books; Lance’s media entourage penetrates the world of track; the promoters of the Tour are a bit richer. No one walks away claiming excellence. The coach has chosen something other than the high road of loving Lance.


Thus it’s not harsh to point out when goals are in conflict, even if there is a payback in the short-term within that conflict. There is also a cost in the long-term, a huge cost. Thus let me do the loving thing for cycling and its participants and not be the first to point out that the goal of promoting cycling is in direct conflict with the goal of overseeing its behavior. These kinds of organizational checks and balances are why democracies thrive – the executive branch must be accountable to the legislative process, which is bound by the judicial system. Each organization focused on its goal, pursues its purpose in an accountable, presumably better way where the opportunity, at least, for less corruption provides for a healthy society, where care for its citizens demonstrates its excellence.


We have a long way to go for accountability to be the norm in cycling, and for its citizens to be in the best care. Significant reform is necessary, and former dictatorships must die. Short-term stability is compromising specialization and excellence in the long-term. Every successful athlete accepts the short-term pain in the process of long-term excellence.


I originally wrote: “today celebrate your discovery, confession, repentance and reforms!” but now I feel instead we should pray all the harder for that discovery, confession, and repentance, as well as for the reform that is its evidence. That reform must include a separation of powers based upon the admission that in fact, cycling citizens are better served by accountable governing.


And so I end with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on true free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among general bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.” –Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Va., 1782.



34Amazing Grace

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.


Praise for Cycling Reforms (in advance)

“Then I let it all out; I said, ‘I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.’  Suddenly the pressure was gone—my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;

when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts we’ll be on high ground, untouched. Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be— you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him.

Celebrate God. Sing together—everyone!  All you honest hearts, raise the roof!” 35Psalm 32:5-6,1-2,11

We are glad for stellar examples of confession, repentance and restoration in professional cycling. Thank You for forgiving honest hearts and for making beauty out of ashes. Thank You for many graces that keep us on the high road.


Ponder In what area in cycling did I realize I was wrong? I know my area, do you know yours? Affirm I celebrate change and reform in my character, even if that change hurts! Watch what could be when the limits of power are subject to other powers; just as competition makes us stronger.



33“UCI’s plans for Future of Pro Cycling,” By Rebecca Charlton – Cycling TV posted Switzerland| Cycling 18-08-08 on

34Amazing Grace by John New­ton, Ol­ney HymnsLon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779

35The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Cycling & Renewed Expectations

Posted in Seasonal Transitions on October 17, 2011 by bethleasure


46“… the realisation of a childhood dream – to ride the Tour De France in his hometown…for such an opportunity to fall in the prime of his career is about as good as it gets.” Bradley Wiggins paraphrased about TdF’s London Prologue


Wiggins' big dreams become reality.

The technicolor vibrant dreams of youth may bloom best in the hearty soil of maturing harvest. A poet says it best:

How quickly fade

The color in the west,

The bloom upon the flower,

The bloom upon the breast

And youth’s blind hour.

Yet keep within your heart

A place apart

Where little dreams may go,

May thrive and grow.

Hold fast- hold fast your dreams!47

Your assessment of race season has revealed the dream is alive, you may be living it this year or see it nearing. This is your time. Hold fast for 48fruitful conditions to harvest dreams-in-the-making.

Prayer for Renewed Expectations

“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 49Romans 12:2

We ask for answers to today’s questions that will empower us to conceive, believe, and receive. We ask to thrive and grow.

Ponder Who is an example in my life that inspires me?


Which of their accomplishments, joys, and victories cause you to believe you can be blessed in a similar way?


When all looks bleak but there’s still growth, are you thinking of just getting by or abundance?


Today is a new day. Forgetting the past, realistic about the present, are you ready for the next level?


Are you shrinking back in fear or are you living large – taking confident steps toward your big ideas?


With whom do you need favorable entry and assistance to realize your dreams? __________________________________________________________________________________

How are you using adversity to propel you away from mediocrity and toward excellence?


Are you learning to thrive when your need is greatest by planting good seeds in others?


What good deeds/loving acts for others’ dreams prove your commitment to your dream?


Have you decided for contentment; and are you choosing actions to support happiness even with pauses in the process of dream-making?



Affirm I am living my best life now! Watch for times of favor so you can harvest the best results.



46“Chasing Wheels: Will Wiggins’ dream come true?” Posted by Alex 27 April 2007 on

47An excerpt from the poem, Hold Fast Your Dreams by Louise Driscoll in Favorite Poems Old and New, Helen Ferris, editor published Doubleday & Company, 1957

48Suggestions for this section are drawn from Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen Copyright © 2004 published by Warner Faith, Time Warner Book Group, NY

49The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Cycling & Finance

Posted in Bottom Line to Start Line on October 11, 2011 by bethleasure

Free Wheeling

27“With things the way they are, my family could use some help and we could probably get closer to debt-free if we were sharing the bills and such with my family.”  Josh Boggs, Race Mechanic on moving his wife and children nearer grandparents


Realistic planning characterizes a champion.

Participating in pro cycling is rife with challenges that filter all but a few. Beyond talent, there must be opportunity in the form of teams that get you to races and also financial support. Many lower level teams pay riders the bare minimum required to live – and they’re the lucky ones. Providing for a family for most full-time riders is impossible; others help support financially.

Expectations to perform against well-funded programs with a full-time training and racing focus leave no room for generating income outside of cycling. Nearly every pro faces this conundrum when coming up the ranks, and the push is for financial provision as much as physiological competitiveness. Providing for family has to be factored into the dream-pursuit equation. The finances must match desire because there is no free wheeling. Plans for full-time training must also include a budget with a spending and income plan.

Purposeful living is best pursued debt-free. Make intentional choices regarding debt – even for investments in real estate or for a powermeter for instance – and limit credit use. If team salaries are limited, it’s possible to prepare for races properly by working part-time or in the off-season. Schedule in race goals that support this.

Other options for self-finance include fundraising through cycling non-profits that assist developing riders. Further, consider those who would be liable for you financially by taking necessary steps to gain accident and health coverage in case of catastrophe. The cost of an ambulance is more than some monthly cycling salaries; a helicopter airlift fee could fund a season. Primary insurances are sometimes available with the purchase of a race license.

Finally, even the tightest budget must consider benevolence. Giving away the widow’s mite is a principle of reaping what is sown that God blesses exponentially – this is the one area we are invited to 28test His benevolence. The rewards are great.

Prayer for Fiscal Responsibility

God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

“People who don’t take care of their relatives, and especially their own families, have given up their faith. They are worse than someone who doesn’t have faith… 291 Timothy 5:8

We pray for ways to fund cycling responsibly.

Ponder Do I have a financial “training” plan? Affirm I finance my dreams in cycling and care for myself/my family. Watch bonus money earn interest through savings and investments.
27Hiatus” by Josh Boggs posted on “ProBikeWrench” August 30, 2008

28The one time we are invited to test God’s power concerns giving 10% of income to God:

“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’” Malachi 3:10 from The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

29New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation and The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Cycling & Broken Bones

Posted in May-Day on October 6, 2011 by bethleasure


9“Thought I could just ‘shake it off’… X-ray confirmed a very clean 90 degree break through the right clavicle…I have to get up and practice dentistry in the morning.”  Dick the Cycling Dentist gets drilled

Skint couldn't understand why dogs liked him more than other riders.

After breaking a bone, just how long one is away must be decided on a case-by-case basis. Most breaks have to be kept immobilized and time to movement can vary. Choose a medical team including doctor and physical therapist who understands your active lifestyle for advice about when to return to movement and pressure.


Famous past incidents of professionals racing on these breaks are bad examples of premature and possibly supplemented overeagerness. Most riders must readjust expectations and set new goals. Some pros are able to return within weeks with a mindset accustomed to overcoming and willingness to risk re-injury, as well as access to the most contemporary specific treatments. Some are able to mount a trainer within days; others must wait weeks because the break cannot be vibrated. Risking re-injury through prematurely re-entering competition isn’t a good choice for most.


Calcification to knit bones back together takes many weeks. Cycling’s most vulnerable bone-break must be the fractured clavicle or broken collarbone, wing in a sling, away from the racing fray. When the ol’ tuck ‘n roll snuck up quickly, the shoulder’s vulnerable protrusion must break the fall and snap, crackle, pop.


The first days after are misery, no avoiding it. Make yourself as comfortable as possible and wait through the relief that will come. Expect areas near the break to be tender and in need of re-strengthening and flexibility. A coating of multicolored bruising will emerge that probably looks worse than it feels but it is tender. Ribs, femurs, tibias, the pelvis and other bones can take months to heal, changing the course of a season and even a career. When able to ride on a trainer, put it outside and ride strong focused sessions in the sun. Count yourself fortunate to have life and new reasons to ride.


Prayer for Bones

“Can these bones live? The bones moved and came together, bone to bone.” 10Ezekiel 37:3, 8

We are glad that bones knit back together with proper care. We pray for wisdom to know the difference between time to heal and suffering through some discomfort to minimize loss of fitness.


Ponder Can I leave behind what’s missed and rediscover new incentive? Affirm I will readjust my time-frame and event selection. Watch X-rays as time knits a break like a loom spinning strong weave.



9“Chad’s Broken Collarbone Report,” by Chad Crocker, posting by Dick on June 10, 2006 on

10The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society