Archive for the Cross Training Category

Prayer for Mountain Bike Community

Posted in Cross Training on November 16, 2010 by bethleasure

High Tail It

59“…interactions I had in the woods…first question, ‘You guys from around here?’ I wish the first questions would be, ‘Do you pick up trash on the trail…treat others in a respectful manner…treat the woods with respect…cause an excessive amount of noise or disruption?’ … instead of ‘are you from here.’” Gooneyriders Blog

Mountainbike Bliss

Woods beckon. Whistling trees sing welcoming tunes, and mystic trail whispers invitations. We respond with yearning to go up. Some dwell where soft-edge ambles into a forest; others must commute for off-road riding. In Boulder, there’s the 60Ned Bus – a commute for mountain bikers to a Rocky Mountain village. It shuttles the concrete front rangers with their hard-earned hard tails to almost heaven. The terrain itself can work ya, but mindful of an awaiting vista, which includes myriads of meadows wildflowered or snow-packed, drives you on.

Whether your tastes run from is-there-anything-this-steep to secret singletrack, there’s adventure in every ride. Even an urban trail provides opportunity to escape la vie quotidienne, routine daily life. The surroundings quietly speak but the bike answers vigorously: come back victorious or come back on your shield! Nature’s nobility awes you into your rightful place – master of the dominion comes but through sweat in delightfully toilsome spin. I leave adversity in this place seeking it only from myself, the elements. Hallowed ground and hard-earned heights assist in transcendent escape.

Similarly, some off-road flats evoke this sentiment. 61C&O Canal rides, winding along Potomac River paths meant for mules towing cargo, awaken a magical muse. Whitewater harmonizes in the all-terrain choir, more pianissimo, gentle background music accompanies clanging cranks. One can be carefree and above all in this calm when the bike plays its off-road tunes.

Prayer for Mountain Bike Community

“…Oh, I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all…” 62Isaiah 58:14


We are thankful that natural beauty can be enjoyed by bicycle. We confess we are too loud, too busy, too hemmed in at times. We pray for mountain biking moments: where new ideas resound and ask blessing on our friends focused mainly on the trail.

Ponder Is there any cognitive area where I need a single-track perspective? Affirm I can take ancient paths and seek roads less traveled. Watch for renewed vision, other dimensions, unexpected solutions.

 59Comments by Eszter, Gooneyriders blogspot, 12/3/2007

60Regional bus route from Boulder to Nederland at Experiencing the Boulder cycling scene is par for the course for an American bicyclist, in my opinion. Riding to Nederland by road is pretty darn exhilarating too.

61This historic trail is used by bikes, runners, dog-lovers, hikers, horses, and wild animals, yet is amazingly solitary in western sections. It runs from Georgetown in northwest Washington, DC to Cumberland, Maryland. See and for more information.

62The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Track Racing

Posted in Cross Training on November 12, 2010 by bethleasure

Beyond the Blue Line

63“I’ve been waiting for this since 1985 when the snow brought down the roof of the Vigorelli Velodrome.” Francesco Moser on track installation in Milan, 2007

Moser was famous for an effortless pedal stroke

Snow is not all that brings down the house during winter track season. The festival atmosphere of 6-Day’s is legendary. From late night affairs at indoor velodromes in Europe to 64“winter” carnival racing in warm season Down Under, the oval comes into world focus. Precious as the opportunity is in many places to engage in track racing due to inaccessibility to velodromes, today we dwell trackside.

Track racing is another area of specialization that sees cross-over in cold months by road racers, when the track world competes in premier events. Time trialists and speed specialists, able to concentrate on short work, heighten their abilities. With multiple race opportunities per event, competitive skills can be learned in compact time. Viewers can learn about the sport easily by watching action on the entire course while listening to a clearly announced event. It is a crowd pleasing way to experience the key motions of world class athletes within a Madison’s throwing distance.

Cycling’s technological advances often are innovations first used in the velodrome. Anyone can simulate some of the benefits beyond the blue line of the track by riding a fixed gear this time of year. With each fixed revolution, one enters spinning nirvana. Experience the top-end rpm’s of the track spinmeisters via a steep downhill on the fixie. Simulate that for your base period, and see how those first bites of speedy springtime buffering in the quads are minimized to feel like familiar nips.

Prayer for Track Racing

“The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.” 65Ecclesiastes 1:6


We are thankful for fixed gear fever and full view velodrome action. We confess we sometimes prefer linear coasting to roundabout repetition. We pray for determination to dig deep for improvement and for our focused friends in track cycling.

Ponder Can I improve my spin and speed? Who can help me learn about fixed gear riding or track racing? Affirm I can spin faster, think quicker, see more. Watch that winter of speed homework help you pass summer’s final exams on the road.

63“Milan Bike Show Velodrome,” Angelo Garcia quoting Francesco Moser 11/1/07 www.italiancyclingjournal.blogspot Francesco Moser was a great track rider: world pursuit champion-1976, world hour record-1984. He was also a great road racer winning the World Championships, Paris-Roubaix and Giro d’Italia among other races.

64“Night Flying,” by Arnold Devlin and Eugene Vandal/Thunder Bay Cycling Club, 2007 Gent 6 Day- Day 5,

65The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Strength & Flexibility for Cyclists

Posted in Cross Training on November 9, 2010 by bethleasure

Powerhouses, Poses, & Posture

66“I did Pilates three times a week…and started riding on the road and lifting weights. I am still riding off road on the mountain bike, as well as my new Colnago cross bike.”  Levi Leipheimer on his injury rehab by improving alignment, muscle strength, and “horrible” posture

Talk about opening up the hip flexors...


A powerhouse time trialist like Levi takes a multidisciplinary approach to total body conditioning. It’s his fulltime focus as one of the world’s best pros. Many cyclists use Pilates and other forms of functional strength training 67“to restore postural alignment, shift the spine back into position, open up the chest, ease and prevent back pain and relieve the tension caused by sitting for long periods in a mechanically unsound position.”

It’s true our noble chariots are hard on the body’s biomechanics. Cycling practitioners of the Pilates method, which emphasizes core strength from one’s “powerhouse” musculature, suggest reversing this through 68“exercises specifically for cyclists because of their emphasis on balanced overall strength and flexibility as well as their ability to help develop underused muscles.”

For functional strength to meet cycling’s sustained intensity, 69yoga is also an incredible counterbalance for core strength, flexibility and relaxation. We must work our cycling bodies in tandem with at least one of these 70functional and flexible practices; beginning in the off-season is best.

Prayer for Strength & Flexibility Conditioning

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest…for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” 71Hebrews 12:11-12


We are thankful for conditioning experts and anatomical options. We confess the same diligence we put into our legs is sometimes lacking for our lumbar. We pray for increased body strength and flexibility.

Ponder Is there any twinge, pain or tightness I’m ignoring? Affirm I can strengthen my cycling from the core. Watch how increased strength improves climbing and/or sprinting, and how greater flexibility improves aerodynamic considerations.

66“Levi Leipheimer Interview: Living up to Potential,” by Chris Henry 2002,

67“Cycling,” section on

The Pilates Method or Contrology was formulated by Joseph Pilates. Pilates called the core all the muscles between the elbows and knees and the spine’s primary stabilizer, transversus abdominus, the “powerhouse.” Most athletes must be taught to properly use this muscle by drawing in rather than protruding the stomach during core work. Known to be 50 years ahead of his time for proclaiming the benefits of functional strength conditioning, he authored Return to Life through Contrology (published by Pilates & Miller) in 1945. Friends who practiced with pure Joe knew of his incredible health and fitness well into his 80’s.

68“Pilates for Cyclists: Core Exercises to Make You Stronger on the Bike,” by David Fiedler,

69Cycling-specific yoga or yoga for endurance athletes has developed in many studios in recent years, and a wide variety of media exists for your research. It’s my belief that all cyclists should practice key yoga poses to stretch quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, and neck and strengthen glutes, mid-back, and triceps.

70National Academy of Sports Medicine and the Egoscue Method are two other recommended methods for strength and flexibility conditioning.

 71The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Cross-Training: Building Confidence

Posted in Cross Training on November 2, 2010 by bethleasure

Confidence Builders

54“After it snowed, I just skied and the form was good…I was out for two to four hours of skiing…I rode my bike a half-hour on the rollers and skied every day.” Jason McCartney, Pro Cyclist on his preferred cross-training activity

Heiden was a daunting competitor in cycling and speed skating


Cross-country skiing and speed skating are legendary as both supplementary training and as a reservoir for cycling talent. After a suitable rest period, most serious racers engage in some form of cross-training.

Cycling has many benefits but is also limited to one plane – straight ahead, unilateral movement – mostly legs, in forward flexion. Typical cycling posture produces a profile with rounded shoulders, turtle-like forward head, and ski jumper-like posture with weight over our toes from our overdeveloped hip flexors. It’s important to train in ways that change this profile, using the total body bilaterally in multiplanar motion. Mixing up training to stretch an overly developed front body against an overstretched and underdeveloped back body is essential. Plus it’s great for one’s sense of confidence to have total body awareness and functional strength.

It’s best to choose an activity that will enhance cycling fitness and psychology. Some pro riders will choose a team ski trip or adventure activity like ice camping to build unity that requires trust in intense circumstances. Others choose to escape winter by taking a scuba diving vacation. One faced a life-long fear of water and took swimming lessons. After learning so well she could lap swim, her confidence in herself translated to ability to target cycling skills that were daunting to her before.

A California rider decided to surf in the off-season, another plays “winter” soccer.  Surfing improves balance and forces movement in extension in all directions. Soccer works anaerobic capacity, sensory perception, and emphasizes team roles. Basketball, Ultimate Frisbee leagues, fall 5k runs, squash – whatever the sport, enjoy it! You’ll be back on the bike soon enough.

Prayer for Cross-Training

“… I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” 55Psalm 139:14

We are thankful for a variety of recreational activities and the incredible bodies to pursue them. We confess we can be one-dimensional cyclists. We pray for more choice for off-season fitness variety.


Ponder Which activity should I choose and for which results? Affirm I can become proficient in another sport. Watch cycling benefit.


54“Interview: Jason McCartney, Discovery,” 16 April 2007

55Holy Bible, King James Version, public domain