Archive for the Championship Lifestyle Category

Championship Lifestyle/Time with God

Posted in Championship Lifestyle on July 18, 2009 by bethleasure

The All-Powerful

33“Find yourself, and your soul, through the challenge and adventure of cycling…connecting with…God through cycling, nightly devotions, and journaling…build self-confidence, independence, teamwork and tolerance in…riders.” 10th Gear Youth Cycling Organization

More than ever, we have access to race reports, rider diaries, and cycling blogs. We seek news, insights, perspectives and helpful information from others similarly impassioned. Meanwhile, God as omnipotent/all-powerful, omniscient/all-knowing also knows cycling:


34“At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him. But later on, when I met God, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that God was in the back, helping me pedal.

I don’t know when it was that He suggested that we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, ‘Just Pedal.’

Worried and anxious, I asked, ‘Where are you taking me?’ He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I’d say, ‘I’m scared,’ He’d lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, and we were off again. He said, ‘Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.’ So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it; but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make the bike bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with God as my delightful constant companion. And when I’m sure I just can’t do anymore, He just smiles and says, ‘Pedal.’”

He knows and loves us. Pedaling with Him is first for champion living!

Prayer for Devotion to God
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously.” 35Micah 6:8

We are grateful for life and that You want to ride with us. We confess You are the last One we come to at times. We know that Jesus used the most rudimentary forms of transport of the day. We know you care about cycling. We pray for daily time to learn about You and for You to teach us about ourselves.

Ponder Do I speak with God and listen for His voice?Do I invite God into my cycling? Affirm I cultivate my relationship with God daily because He cares about me and therefore about my cycling. Watch and pray, read the Bible, seek His acts and guidance in your life.

332008 10th Gear Youth Tours<http://www.xcbikestories.comJesus, Lord of Bicycles

34“God’s Bicycle” posted August 5, 2008 on “Saddle Sore,” a daily cycling blog

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

Championship Lifestyle/Specialized Intelligence

Posted in Championship Lifestyle on July 17, 2009 by bethleasure

Still Small Voice

42“Together, we’ve been racing over forty years! After all this time, me and Graeme are still learning new things. That’s what’s so cool about bike racing.” Tania Duff-Miller, Winning Kiwi


MIT's collegiate cyclist Mark Cote, "being a geek works out in the real world."

MIT's collegiate cyclist Mark Cote, "being a geek works out in the real world."

Champions show a drive for ever-learning, better methods, faster machines, improved character – 43specialized intelligence: “To win – in sports, business, school or elsewhere – requires emotional skills (suppression of ego, patience, handling pressure), intuitive skills (connecting with and acting upon your internal voice), a big picture perspective about your challenges, and the ability to be flexible and learn from experience.”

This is a way of life that can translate from racing into other pursuits. Tom Ritchey, frame designer, thinks of new products and tests others during daily rides. He continues to produce championship goods and contribute to winning causes. He constantly strives for improvement.

In plenty of ride time, some can be allocated for contemplation. For a pro, there is a lot of down time necessary for rest and recovery. During these times, thinking through myriads of methods for improvement in all areas is part of the job. One dominant winner studied libraries of books in spare time to keep a sharp mind. Others are interested in aerodynamics, engineering, physiology, and other sciences related to improved physical performance. Others ponder philosophy, public relations, start charitable causes and contribute well-rounded personalities to the peloton.

Champions are constantly seeking new information that will give even tiny improvements. They inspire and permit test after test as a means to track progress not merely interested in opinion or what used to work. Many innovations in the sport come from these riders, as do many positive interactions to teach and inspire.


Prayer for Specialized Intelligence
“And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice.” 441 Kings 19:11

We are thankful that we have hours each day to spend productively. We confess it’s easy to be one-track cyclists stuck in the same worn groove. We ask for presence of mind to listen and learn and to contribute in fresh ways to the sport and to the world.                                


Ponder How do I spend spare time? Affirm I am thinking through today’s challenges and learning new ways to meet them. Watch the big shows and storms but note the quiet whispers that follow for genius insights and ideas.




42Conversations with Tania Duff-Miller, one of cycling’s good hearts and tough riders. This comment came after an unexpected tactic by a competitor. She and husband, Graeme Miller continued to win right up until retirement. They reside in New Zealand.

43How Lance Does It: Put the success formula of a champion into everything you do by Brad Kearns Copyright © 2007 Brad Kearns published by McGraw Hill Books.

44Amplified Bible Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Championship Lifestyle/Boundaries & Routine

Posted in Championship Lifestyle on July 16, 2009 by bethleasure

Shoes not made for Walkin’

40“‘The rest days are to rest and not do much…You have to follow a routine but keep in mind that there is the remaining competition stress that the race gives. You have to follow the habits of a normal competition day. You have to rest as much as possible and to recover strengths facing the next coming stages.’ Can riders do other activities on rest days like take a walk in the city or go shopping? ‘You need an important goal…To go shopping or walk in the city is not what I want the most at the moment… So, I try to relax and get the most of the moment in order to be ready when I have to.’” Carlos Sastre, Champion Cyclist on boundaries and routine 


Cycling shoes for the urban commuter; still not made for walking!

Cycling shoes for the urban commuter; still not made for walking!

Once I made the mistake of going to the city with a shopper on a  Monday rest day. Four hours and forty pairs of sandals later, the shoe clerk and I were homicidal. That friendship took years to recover – she just couldn’t get why I wasn’t excited about her new red pumps after multiple stage races in a California spring. Wasn’t I grateful to be guided by a local in one of the world’s most exciting metros? Yes in the off-season but not then. Totally my fault for even thinking of doing it – an amateur moment of exhausted vulnerability!

The shoes of a champion cyclist are rarely used for walking. The mantra of if you can stand, sit; if you can sit, lie down is taken to its heights for winning recovery. Venetian leather during the Giro and French treats during the Tour are out – unless you have a really obliging soigneur and forget it, they won’t have time to shop for you.

Because speaking of time, champion lifestyle is as regimented as possible. The body learns to rest for naps, when to eat, and to sleep early and long. Routine is more restful and regenerating. Routine protects from external distractions and energy-zapping activities.

Skin is our body’s no to the outside world. Boundaries protect us and we must protect our boundaries. Champions have a strong sense of no – and resolve to open and close the gate of the picket fence around time and energy in their well-ordered house of dreams. It may be boring in that house at times so that it may be exciting on the road!


Prayer for Boundaries & Routine
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” 41Psalm 37:23-24


We are thankful for many sedentary activities that are productive and restful. We ask for the tolerance of outsiders to our energy vigilance. We pray for well-ordered steps so our soles/souls don’t wear out.          


Ponder Can I up my game by tightening my time schedule? Affirm I decide yes or no. Watch and be sensitive to yourself and others; over-commitment wears everyone out.

40Carlos Sastre interview, September 14, 2006 “Fight until the end”

41Holy Bible, King James Version public domain

Chamiponship Lifestlye/Stable Resources

Posted in Championship Lifestyle on July 15, 2009 by bethleasure

Off to the Mines

45“Elite amateur riders must have a part-time job. You can’t race with money as a motivation to make it as a pro.” Brian Walton, Olympian, Team Director  – his riders having at least part-time jobs – one of his requirements


Money helps the wheels go round

Money helps the wheels go round

Rumor had it that one young pro with a national-level team risked all he had to showcase his abilities – going for the big time with well-chosen wins at home to market himself abroad. He chose the best possible time when his emerging abilities surpassed his peers and when no other domestic doors represented a promotion. He’d learned all he could and knew that only Europe remained. He gave himself a specific time-frame with a specific line of credit. It was all or nothing, and he succeeded in securing a contract that paid off all costs within the first months. He eventually rode himself on to the highest ranking team in the world and atop the most prestigious podiums. His financial investment was wise because he’d set a boundary around it: once the line of credit was exhausted, it was off to the mines if euro-teams passed him over.

Lines of credit and debt-financing aren’t my first choice for advising young pros about how to fund the interim between potential and profit. But this rider was commendable because he set a limit on excess. Too often, irresponsibility rules in generating provision to race. This makes an elite-to-pro lifestyle unstable and detracts from focused performance.

Lack of resources eventually leads to lack of self-respect if one continues to sacrifice without renewed provision. Exploitation is rampant since resources are so limited. Some make poor choices in enlisting sugar-mamas or daddys that compromise integrity and often goals.

We are meant to be rewarded for hard work and it’s important that we choose work that brings income to live. Maintaining a part-time job may limit race choices but with an improved strategy for race selection, it may also show strengths at the right time. An off-season position is also an option, and not a few winter construction sites benefit from a cyclist’s strength and endurance.


Prayer for Stable Resources
“…look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
…All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions.”
46Proverbs 6:6-8


We pray for the resources to race and flexible jobs that support it if needed.                                         

Ponder Do I have a periodized plan for generating income to support racing? Affirm I support myself in cycling or I will find a different job. Watch that your ambition is counted against your bank account.




45Conversations with Brian Walton. Practical Canadian! Brian is a 3-time Olympian including the 1996 Olympic Silver Medalist. He is the current VP of Performance at Cadence Cycling and Multisport Centers whose primary location is near the infamous Manayunk Wall in Philadelphia.

The Bible has more to say about work, money and finances than it does about sin. There are many fine resources to study on the smart uses of money and investment. Start with Dave Ramsey or Crown Financial Ministries.

46The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Championship Lifestyle/Supportive Relationships

Posted in Championship Lifestyle on July 14, 2009 by bethleasure

Short Accounts

38“This is something I never expected but it really touched my heart because of the presence of my parents and some close friends who mean a lot to me.” Sir Marc Madiot, Champion Cyclist, on being knighted by France


Who is there for you after the racing?

Who is there for you after the racing?

One of our purposes is implemented in relationships. Part of professional development includes a supportive network. We can’t make those we care about care for us, but we can choose who we let in and for how long. Having sensible boundaries regarding family and friends is part of championship lifestyle.

Some athletes have the uber-parent who takes a second job to support junior’s equipment needs every season. One pro’s wife set up a family business to support his racing. Some are persuaded into support when they witness the happiness and success of their cyclist-loved one. Some never quite get it but tolerate it. Others actively oppose it. The latter requires well-thought out responses that are in one another’s best interest.

Champion lifestyle minimizes unresolved tensions with others and keeps short accounts – as quick to resolve conflict either through reconciliation or reevaluation as they are to reach the finish line. Rather than being selfish as serious cyclists are often accused, instead be responsible by being upfront about levels of engagement. Often energies limit the network a champion can maintain and hard choices ensue: this is where knowing one’s purpose helps guide. Sometimes, concessions can be made to maintain healthy interactions with others outside the tiny winner’s circle. Sometimes it’s better to pursue the relationship than serious cycling.

Supporters need to be cultivated. Winners keep it simple. This can be tricky with a demanding schedule, travel, and lack of face time. Therefore, direct communication is the best tactic. Certain relationships tolerate insulating oneself from drama for the sake of race focus and some do not. Family and friends that are flourishing help nurture championship potential.

Prayer for Supportive Relationships
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” 39Deuteronomy 31:8

We are grateful for God’s omnipresence – someone supportive always with us. We pray for happy relationships in a well-ordered life and for the important family and friends who also endure our cycling.

Ponder How much time and energy must I give to maintain a certain relationship? Affirm I enjoy and thank faithful supporters. Watch for energizing ways to interact with and bless loved ones.



38“Madiot knighted by French president,” by Jean-François Quénet First Edition Cycling News, January 25, 2008 Edited by Laura Weislo  Mark joins Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault among the road cyclists who have received the award.

39The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Championship Lifestyle/Purpose in Cycling

Posted in Championship Lifestyle on July 13, 2009 by bethleasure

Know Thyself

36“Why do I ride my bike everywhere? I gave this some thought. I know why I started initially, but do I still have the same reason now? Those things are still important to me now, but…When I ride my bike every day, my body feels better, and my mind feels better. I never would have guessed it, but it’s true. I ride a bike because I need to ride a bike. Riding my bike makes me feel good.” Purpose-driven Bike Commuter


What is your reason for taking to the roads?

What is your reason for taking to the roads?

Understanding one’s purpose and discovering one’s destiny makes any hardship associated with fulfillment endurable. A purpose for riding may be as simple as it feels good. For a bike commuter to endure splashing motorists, subzero mornings, and regular road rage, a reason other than a way to get to work acts as incentive. The more committed one becomes, the more sacrifices that are made, and the more rewards anticipated – it pays to ask the deep questions.

Even a seasoned pro whose body is one with bicycle and whose palmarès reveal providence needs to reacquaint with purpose in cycling. For work has a purpose beyond income; and cycling for a living is not merely work. It’s a lifestyle choice that sets apart from the majority; a subculture that sometimes counters society. Pro cycling requires us not to mirror our world but to reflect a brighter light. Against those who take a pill for anything, we are not to dope. For those who eat, sleep, and sit as little and as much as they want, we are to count, monitor, and move. For those who live randomly, we exhibit a culture of discipline. For those with little ambition, we strive for excellence.

If you know you’re purpose is GC leader then it’s easy to be generous in a sprint. If you know you’re purpose is team support, then you can be generous away from limelight. A winner isn’t more valuable in spiritual terms than the one who finishes last. Yet consistently last must reconsider purpose – some other pursuit brings tangible value – and this affirms purpose. Some riders are so gifted, racing is an act of worship to a God who created them for it. We all have meaningful gifts and purposes to seek.


Prayer for Purpose in Cycling

“The Spirit also makes us sure that we will be given what God has stored up for his people. Then we will be set free, and God will be honored and praised.” 37Ephesians 1:14


We are glad for our unique contribution to the world. We confess we try to be what we’re not at times. Guide us to our highest and best purposes.             

Ponder Are my reasons for riding in tandem with my calling and place in cycling? Affirm I am in the center of God’s purpose for me when the bike is —. Watch amazing and prosperous doors open when desire and destiny match.



36“Why Do I Ride My Bike?” posted on Riin’s Rants Copyright © 2004 Riin Gill January 7, 2004 This website has expired

See Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren as a reference for discovering purpose and one’s purposes.

37The Bible, Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society