Archive for the Beginings & Endings Category

Bike Love

Posted in Beginings & Endings on February 7, 2009 by bethleasure

16“I love how a bicycle relates to the figure and exploring what each is specifically to the person who rides it…They are worn and customized uniquely…”          

Taliah Lempert, Bicycle Portraitist


Pros often get team bikes in time for the start of their base training, but amateur squads are often just now enjoying the feel of a new frame on February roads. Swap meets are common at this time of year, as well as at season’s end – so in with the new, out with the old.


No matter how excited I am about each year’s new bike and no matter how long I labor at a bike swap selling an old frame, when it comes time for the new owner to walk away with my bicycle, I always shed unexpected tears. Crying about the sale or gift of a bike is my final farewell to an old friend and all the memories that came with it.


Unlike Greek, English only has one word for love which doesn’t adequately describe my love of my bikes. My bike becomes a family member, someone I’d sacrifice for and am passionate about and which adapts me to its style even as I embrace it for what it is. Not that every frame, like every relative, is as deserving as another of my affection. Yet regardless of flaws, or ill fit, or too much flex or too little responsiveness, the bike still becomes the bearer of hours of experiences. Then there’s the special velo, the ride that is sweeter than all. I was racing for years before I had a custom frame, the TT bike that in powerful gusts of prairie wind glided like a sail in every direction. I don’t know about deserved but certainly this frame was greatly desired.


Even so, my favorite bicycle ever is a stock frame with speedy cornering angles that whipped me through turns so fast, at first I had to re-learn how to ride it. As a vessel that sticks with me through sorrows and joys, each bike warrants loyalty. Had I the desire of a personal museum, all my bikes of the past would hang with dignity in retirement. Now their wheels give memories to another set of legs.


Prayer for Bicycle Resources

“Wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go in that direction.

And the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit…was in the wheels.”

17Ezekiel 1:20


We are thankful for our frames. We ask for connections to form between the bike have’s and have-nots and for everyone to own a ride.


Ponder What is my favorite bicycle and why? Affirm I see certain traits in common between rider and bicycle type. Watch for ways to read others by their bicycling language.


16“Statement” section by Taliah Lempert, Artist

17New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


Posted in Beginings & Endings on February 6, 2009 by bethleasure

14“You can never be too rich, too thin, or if you’re a serious cyclist, have too much bicycle schwag.”   fatguycycling.blogspot


Actually you can, especially if your bike storage area is bursting, but that’s what swap meets are for – to exchange your schwag for money or better yet, someone else’s schwag. The best is those mystery bags of schwag one wins for premes. Sometimes you get the stuff too ugly, too cheap and too out of size for a shop to sell; but sometimes you get the best of the best and something a needy racer can really use. I was always frustrated by amateurs with professional jobs who rode better stuff while I suffered on my bent frame from crashes or a few months without proper eyewear during one particularly prizeless period. Poor me suffering need for an unnecessary albeit healthful activity, even if it was my job at the time. Yes, professional racers do suffer need. Only a few of the world’s teams are fully sponsored. Most of the pro peloton live in lack. Wouldn’t hurt to have a conversation with your local pro to see if they would accept some charitable piece of equipment.


There are a number of other good causes which send our materialistic excesses abroad to those who need cycling-related stuff starting from the generation of seven-speed. Your local juniors may need it but they may be bank-rolled by a garage-packed parent. College students are a worthy people group in need – financed parentally or not, they almost all seem poor in collegiate racing. Not that I believe excess is a sin. If you believe in God as creator, all you have to see is the Grand Canyon or the stars to know that His intricacy and excess beauty borders on the obscene! Great cathedrals pay homage to this abundance. We are abundantly blessed in most of our racing nations. There’s plenty to go around and more for those in need.


Prayer for Equipment Stewardship

“…and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away.

There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.” 152 Chronicles 20:25


Wouldn’t that be sweet – a warehouse for your schwag? Some have it. Thanks, Lord, for bountiful provision. Show us who lacks among us.


Ponder Whom can I give to in need of practical cycling supplies? Or whom do I know who can help me in my need? Affirm I enjoy my luxuries and share with those less fortunate. Watch your cycling expenditures and allocate some toward charitable donations.


14“Die-Cast Bicycles!” posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2005 www.fatguycycling.blogspot


15The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Dressing for Success

Posted in Beginings & Endings on February 5, 2009 by bethleasure

11“Talking of fashion faux pas, if you do see a weekend warrior flying along…in full replica world Champ kit…is a huge Non Non…which goes to show what high respect the title hold[s] – you’ve got to earn the right to wear that jersey.”                                                           Nick O’Brien, Pezcyclingnews


Oh those premier days with a new kit. What a fresh proud feeling to wear the new jersey of the season for the first time. Not so much about new chammy which is often stiff and improperly contoured at first – but it’s still cool because clothes make the…cyclist. The proper set of clothes improves one’s outlook and sometimes one’s prospects for a prized place in the sweet spot of the peloton. Jerseys bring respect, inspire intimidation, and can tell your story with just a few visible facts. It’s cycling’s calling card.


The peloton is not all that opens when a prestigious jersey is present. It can make or break contracts, sponsorships, affiliations, and invitations for a lifetime. I’ll never forget what if felt like to pull the national champion jersey over my head during the award ceremony. After hard work and focus believing it could happen, it was still dreamy to be inside the Stars ‘n Stripes. Every nation’s jersey must produce this patriotic thrill to its citizen wearer.


Some team jerseys attract respect; others fear or scorn. Probably there’s some turnover happening in closets outside of ordinary spring cleaning based on recent revelations. Despite this, don’t give up on your heroes or the idea that some exist. Coveted esteemed jerseys are still worn by a few who’ve earned the right through hard work and integrity. Probably it’s good for us to put appearances into perspective. Some amateur in a plain jersey may be a hero to you for off-the-bike achievements or character or way they care for you. One of my favorite 12hosts wears an extra-large Shrek jersey and looks like the happiest grown-up kid you could ever see while cheering race side. Sometimes it’s the cyclist that makes the clothes.


“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” 13Isaiah 61:3


Prayer for Clothing

We ask forgiveness for snobbish attitudes towards others based on outward appearances. We ask for resources for appropriate cycling kit.




Ponder Is what I’m wearing a good representation of who I am? Affirm I can change into white robes of eternal hope. Watch your spirit as well as your primping for a praiseworthy presence.


11“Worlds ’08: The Art of Winning, Italians Do It Best,” by Nick O’Brien Wednesday, February 13, 2008


12Go Michael Foley! One of the Heroes that supports pro cycling through opening his home. Shrek the ogre from the movie Shrek produced by DreamWorks Animation, Directed by Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson 2001.

13The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Warm-Up, Warm-Down

Posted in Beginings & Endings on February 4, 2009 by bethleasure

970 minutes of warmup for a 4 minute prologue. Wow. That’s crazy!”     VeloNews phorum3 posting about Tour of California opener


Not crazy – about the right amount of time for a pre-race prologue routine, though different warm-ups are required for differing events, even different riders within the same event. Again, science and art collaborate to discover and meet unique needs. The science is pretty straightforward. Warm-up eases your body into exertion. Active stretching and massage pre-event prepares muscles for work. Pre-ride procedures may also include: hydration/fueling for the event; course/competitor/conditions preview; and a mental pre-set. Your psyche time is also unique as some need activation or psyching to get ready and some require relaxation or managing anxiety prior. Methods for this sacred time can include music, mantras or words that trigger desired performance, and meditation/visualization. Sometimes a smooth pre-race experience is the best mental preparation bringing comfort as you work through a familiar routine for registration, dressing, mechanical checks, etc. Riders Ready – Go!


Game Over. It’s equally important to have a post-event plan. Cooling-down eases your cardiovascular system back to normal. During warm-down, discover information through the experiences of other participants. Post-race procedures may include: recovery fueling, checking results/collecting prizes, medical control, changing clothes/cleaning up, static stretching/massage. A post-race psyche plan ponders the performance, processing emotions and objective analysis. Some like to talk through all the variables immediately and others prefer to be well-fed and rested before delving into what worked and what didn’t. Communication is key for teamwork. Riding solo, it’s helpful to have a trusted listener for your war story who’ll provide impartial feedback and encouragement.


Prayer for your Pre-Ride & Recovery Procedures

“The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” 10Psalm 121:8


We are grateful for gentle transitions between intense sessions. We ask for wisdom to devise our unique routines.


Ponder Do I have a pre- and post-event plan? Affirm I can prepare and follow-up physically, mentally, strategically and spiritually. Watch your riding experiences improve with thoughtful entry and exit strategies.


9“prologue warm up like a pro,” comment posted by nightfend on 02-25-08 for VeloNews phorum3 These postings were about a photo posted on for the Tour of California showing the warm-up for the prologue by Team Quick Step.


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

Flashes of Lightning

Posted in Beginings & Endings on February 3, 2009 by bethleasure

4“One of the biggest myths about anaerobic power is that lactate is responsible for the fatigue… lactate actually protects the muscles from fatigue.”             Jesper Therkildsen, Danish Coach


5Anaerobic capacity is a mass start fitness emphasis. It IS painful. It IS necessary for road racing. It is where those who are racing this month are living – suffering through the first lightning strikes deep into recesses of the central nervous system. Here’s a quirky description of living in anaerobic country: 6Traits of the Anaerobian include persistence and the insatiably quixotic desire to explore the boundaries of the Republic…an appetite for the journey is necessary…For Anaerobians, the pain is the reward. If pain is the reward then repetitive misery is the preme prize. Dipping again and again into an anaerobic zone characterizes track events, criteriums, cyclo-cross, aggressive road racing, and climbing surges. What accounts for all that misery is popularly attributed to 7lactic acid; but more technically, it’s better to say legs will burn when you have an energy deficit from any number of causes, which reflect an imbalance between aerobic energy and energy to support muscle contraction. Glycogen depletion, for example, is also a cause of “the burn,” and so is inflammation. The accurate news is that you can train to increase anaerobic capacity. Very short, very intense strikes can increase lactate tolerance – improving speed/power; and the period for which you can produce it – speed endurance. When highly trained, we sick ones love this pain: it hurts so good to have that fitness to dig deep again and again. The enjoyment of chasing those flashes of lightning in surge after surge, effort after effort, attack after attack, hard lap after hard lap is like a ride in the thundering heavens. All your senses are heightened in the spark of this spring storm. Sounds like early season racing.


Prayer for Anaerobic Power

“… sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.” 7Ezekiel 1:14


We recognize our timidity approaching the threshold of pain. We ask for desire to dig deep and for increasing power in short work bouts. We pray for open pathways and beautiful buffering. 

Ponder Do I train super hard for up to 3 minute efforts? Affirm I can get more fast twitch flash in my physiological repertoire. Watch you don’t get zapped chasing the storm!

4How to train for anaerobic endurance,” by Jesper Therkildsen February 23, 2008 at Power Meter Training Tips

5Anaerobic Power is our fitness focus today. We cover it so that your awareness, emphasis, fitness and enjoyment improve in this area- whenever the timing is suitable based on specific periodization and goals.

6The “Republic of Anaerobia” jersey looks like suitable attire for the outer regions of a Soviet gulag, symbolizing the upper limits of suffering.

7Technically the term, “lactic acid” is incorrect since lactate is really a base. Causes of heavy legs may include an intolerance of or inadequate rate of lactate buffering, glycogen depletion, or inflammation. Lactate is replaced quickly with rest, so blaming your heavy legs of the next day on “lactic acid” is a disservice in selecting a training or recovery solution. “Heavy legs” from a prior day’s stage is more likely caused by inflammation from muscle soreness or glycogen depletion. Both can be part of recovery procedures: eat carbs, take an ice bath and check for anti-inflammatory medicines against the list of banned substances. Thanks to Andy Coggan and Sam Callan for assistance in understanding the role of lactate.

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


Mass Starts

Posted in Beginings & Endings on February 2, 2009 by bethleasure

1“On any given day at just about any of these rides you could find yourself sucking wheel behind a current or ex-professional cyclist just out to stretch their legs.  Regardless of who shows up most of these rides have one thing in common – speed.”                             on Training Rides


For those unable to travel to exotic locales for an exciting pre-season, similar cooperative efforts for speed can be achieved through training races and group rides. Some of these events are legendary: 2Shoot-Out, Derby, Goon Ride, and more too numerous to mention. Your community has one – the local group ride that becomes the “world championships” for eager riders keen on weekly bragging rights. Some of these rides attract local and visiting pros that allow an amateur an opportunity for comparison. The great thing about these rides is that they offer a return toward racing intensity nearly surreptitiously. Almost without realizing it, participation in these events makes you faster. The group dynamic and competitive juices get flowing again and before you know it, super hard efforts – unachievable solo – launch you beyond your current level. One of the best uses of these rides in February is for anaerobic repeatability. Surges outside your control provide an opportunity to dip into anaerobic energy again and again. Most of these rides have places where the pace goes ballistic then lets up again, much like the multiple changes in speed in races but often with far more recovery and grace. The motivated group helps you reach beyond yourself. If the pace is too easy, you can always make it harder by attacking, pulling, or sitting slightly off the back and chasing back into the group. While improving and eventually dominating on these rides helps your self-confidence, beware that the familiarity of the route and muscle memory do not always translate to real world racing, and perhaps the better riders may not be emphasizing this event like you are on the day. Yet enjoy it, for it signals the end of off-season! Godspeed.


Prayer for Group Rides/Training Races

“I’ll be on my way to you with a light and eager heart,

looking forward to being refreshed by your company.” 3Romans 15:32


We exalt at the times of refreshing found riding en masse! We ask for sound decision-making in choosing which rides and when, safety for a newly reformulated peloton, and blessing for fast rides! 


Ponder Where are the challenging group rides in my area? Affirm I use these rides as a test, as well as for a focus in fitness. Watch for times and places to attack, bear down, recover, and go again!




1“Bicycle Training Rides”

2The Shoot-Out ride is a gun fight that starts in Tucson with several difficult climbs and sprint lines. This ride can last up to 5-6 hours, if you can hang. Former professional and Canadian cyclist, Gord Fraser owns this ride. The Derby encircles the Pennsylvania countryside in Lehigh Valley near the velodrome at T-Town, and attracts many track speedsters. The Goon Ride is a stop-start session that winds through Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC and suburbs during rush hour commuter traffic. It’s included here because of its anaerobic nature, as well as its interesting moniker.

3The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson