Archive for the Going Green Category

Sprint Skills & Fitness

Posted in Going Green on May 6, 2011 by bethleasure

Maillot Vert                 Sprinter’s Jersey

36“If you brake, you don’t win.” Mario Cipollini, Sprinter Extraordinaire

Cipo the pouncing leopard

 

To win races as a result of a sprint should be in the skills arsenal of every amateur racer. Especially with America’s preponderance for the criterium, you can’t win races if you don’t feel comfortable negotiating and executing the sprint. Even if your clear abilities are stronger as another type of racer, to move up the ranks and be useful to a team, you have to know what goes on in the fight for the finish.

At the pro level, fighting for position at strategic portions of a course is similar to the mentality, physiology, and technicality of a sprint finish. As a “non-sprinter,” how can you perform a proper lead-out or be well-placed heading into a narrow place or into a climb unless you understand timing, distances, positioning, and can bang through corners faster than a speeding car? You must become familiar with all the sprint dynamics in the lower categories first: it just gets harder the higher your rank.

It’s true that top road sprinters tend to have a higher composition of fast twitch fibers – a faster contraction yielding quicker speeds – and emphasize speed endurance. Sprinters tap into the energy systems fueled by ATP and anaerobic glycolysis. Yet there’s no point doing sprint training if you can’t make it to the finish to use it, so a large proportion of a road sprinter’s work is aerobic.

Perhaps just as important as the genetics is the sprinter mentality. Winners of the green jersey seem to have a higher degree of geospatial awareness and comfortability in navigating narrow moving channels. They not only find the flow, good speed specialists become the flow. It’s like the clutch player that gets the pass with 1 second on the clock, down by just enough to win if he scores. The true sprinter LOVES the fight and looks forward to that moment in the final kilometers when fangs drop, eager to chomp on the flesh that opposes a perfect line to victory. Cipo said it best, ““We are taking risks every day on twisty and slippery final sections.”

Prayer for Sprint Fitness & Skills

“A nation has invaded… powerful and without number; it has…the fangs of a lioness.” 37Joel 1:6

 

We are thrilled by a sporting battle. We confess we brake for fear of invasion. We ask for top speed savvy and blessings on Sprinters.

Ponder Can I learn how to see green? Affirm I gain the fitness and moves to be among the 38Sprinters Seven. Watch the surges and where you put yourself; think like a hungry lion chasing prey.

36So many sources have used this quote, it’s difficult to know who first recorded it. There is no doubt, however, that this is the sort of quip that would come from Super Mario. 

37The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

38Sprinters Seven is my term for that exclusive group which trades wins via sprinting. Almost invariably, a perfect bunch of speedsters separate themselves from everyone else. You’ll see the same seven or so names all season in a sprint contest. They know how to surf the surges in such a way as to wind up in the final decisive move, as well as take advantage of their genetic dispositions.

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Cycling & Birthdays

Posted in Going Green on March 22, 2011 by bethleasure

Green Balloons

Canadian Cyclist posts birthdays of notable riders on its website. www.canadiancyclist.com

One way to be celebrated!

That’s one way to let people know they’re loved! Cyclists sometimes commemorate birthdays by doing special rides or by racing especially motivated. A sweet piece of birthday cake is iced by time-on-the-podium.

In younger days, my special day fell amidst tough spring tours on opposite shores from family and close friends. I had host housing but my housemates were away and teammates were stationed elsewhere. Not that it’s going to kill anyone to be alone; it’s just that birthdays spent in isolation on the road are poignant reminders of the loneliness that sometimes characterizes a cycling lifestyle. Too tired to do much, I began to feel sorry for myself – desolate, glycogen-depleted, and depressed.

However, I was in sunny California in a house with a beautiful private courtyard. I went to the garden and prayed. I’d had many parties in the past that made me feel like queen for the day. Now I was focused on being Queen of the Mountain – and this was any other race day. While contemplating this, a green balloon on a string, evidently losing air from another’s party, floated into that garden. Green has meaning as a symbol of happiness, blessing, life, and rebirth. It was God’s gift to me, a message of blessing symbolizing greener pastures with fresh legs and more friends ahead. Someone came to the garden Who was listening. I was being celebrated!

As riders who get lonely, look for surprising symbols of life that let you know God made you special! You are celebrated even in solitude and isolation.

Prayer for a Happy Birthday

“God answered and spoke to his people, ‘Look, listen—I’m sending a gift…Be glad and celebrate!’ The fields and meadows are greening up. The trees are bearing fruit again: Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul.” 50Job 2:18-22

 

We are glad that we are each unique and made for special 51purposes, which only we can fulfill. We confess our doubts and self-pity when facing tough predicaments, especially when fatigued, in failure, or without friends. We ask blessing on the birthdays of every cyclist and that some symbol of caring be given when it’s most needed.

Ponder Have I asked God to show me that I matter? Affirm I ask God to show Me His love so I show love to others with a heart-full. Watch for your “green balloon.”

50The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society 

51Purpose-Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren published by Zondervan, 2002 www.purposedrivenlife.com

Irish Cycling

Posted in Going Green on March 15, 2011 by bethleasure

Incremental Gains       Feabhsoidh Sibh52       

53Obviously when you get results like this – and you can see an improvement, more than the result – that is really encouraging.” David O’Laughlin, Irish National Champion

Smiling Irish eyes

54Ed Beamon, DS of a pro cycling team, related a Gaelic encounter while racing in the Tour of Ireland. The day’s stage took to remote rural roads, through thatched roofed villages, passing misty moors. The peloton twisted and turned up a far-county crag, rounded a bend and was abruptly met by David O’Laughlin’s clan. Twelve enthusiastic fans each held placards with an individual letter reading, G-O  O-’-L-A-U-G-H-L-I-N. The apostrophe was held by a skinny little fellah who went floatin’ into the heavens, but what a surprise to see a dozen delighted cycling supporters standin’ by content in companionship with one another in the waitin’, determined to cheer their hero. The race descended then returned back up the same mountain, and there were David’s apostles, except a few were standing backwards so that they now read G-O  L-A-U-G-H.

Only part of this yarn is blarney of course, so it’s a wee bit true and worthy a’tellin.’ They say on the Emerald Isle, Ni he la na baisti la na bpaisti: A rainy day isn’t a day for the children. Even if it doesn’t feel like a sunny holiday, the Irish are up to the task to face hard things with determined perseverance and not a little humor. Despite all we hear of Irish issues and conflict, 55Cycling Ireland merged the two Irish federations in one governing body where riders can choose their preferred nationality, preserving political and cultural identity. This came about incrementally, with bitter conflict over many years, but through blessed unity to cooperate.

Apparently, every day is worthy of St. Patrick’s Day mirth for an Irishman whose shamrocks grow as steady blessings! One amusing memory of Beamon was when he appeared as the largest leprechaun ever seen, wearing a glitter-green top-hat while driving the team car up Manayunk Wall during a championship race…in June.

Prayer for Irish Cycling

Adapted from a Blessing of St. Patrick

Irish cycling, may the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

 

God will bless you people who are crying. You will laugh!” 56Luke 6:21

Ponder Where can cycling apply perseverance and humor? Affirm We can make incremental gains. Watch an Irishman, from either nation, ride proudly representing a people unified by cycling.

52Gaelic phrases, words, and slang on www.irishlanguage.com Feabhsoidh Sibh means, We Are Improving!

53“David O’Laughlin/Frank Campbell Interviews,” by Shane Stokes- Race Reports on March 27, 2008 as posted on www.irishcycling.com

54Conversations with Ed Beamon over many years. Asked about his success with team Navigators, which went from an elite team to a regional trade team to a Continental Pro team in its decade-plus of racing, he attributed it to “incremental gains.” This is now one of my favorite expressions to describe deliberate and determined perseverance. Asked why he was wearing St. Patrick’s Day garb in June, he quipped, “Because today we raced like it was March.” His squad hadn’t made the winning break.

55The UCI also had a hand in forging this union, sometimes despite Irish blessing. See www.cyclingireland.ie<

56Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Cycling Environmentalism

Posted in Going Green on February 25, 2011 by bethleasure

Greener Pastures

47” It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best…you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through…”                Ernest Hemingway, Author, Bicyclist

Hemingway wrote, rode, advocated

 

Open-air enjoyment is our passion, but the earth and others benefit from our bike riding. Congratulations to us who ride more and drive less! Even passively we contribute to a cleaner environment, reduce emissions, economize fuel, take up less space on roads and for parking, promote public health, and are safer to pedestrians than motorists.

Active efforts for conservation include: trail creation, cleaning, and recovery; rides raise awareness and funds for environmental causes; and advocate groups who inform and cooperate with transportation authorities.

Cycling environmentalism goes beyond rights to ride on streets. Our growing bicycle commuter constituency is part of 48smart growth, assisting in a philosophical shift from expansive urban planning and economic development to improving quality of life. Bike use helps contain urban sprawl by reducing vehicle miles traveled, especially in conjunction with mass transit and walkways.

Going green for us can mean a few other simple choices. We already reuse our water bottles, saving plastic. Use your stuff until it’s worthless, then decide how best to recycle. HHHang your shorts out to dry – saves the chamois and your electric bill, use energy-saving bulbs, go paperless with event registration, recycle bike electronics. Some kid-hauling cycling parents are using bike trailers for shopping. A ride to the local market with a backpack was part of my euro-racing experience that transferred state-side. Most of us are already eating locally-grown produce and less processed foods…now if I could only find an authentic fresh patisserie! Cycling already knows about the value of greener pastures.

Prayer for Cycling Environmentalism

“You lead me beside green pastures, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” 49Psalm 23:2-3

 

We are glad for a Go Green trend. We confess our food garbage goes from jersey pocket to roadside sometimes. We ask for reminders to honor the earth and tangible support for cycling conservationism.

Ponder What can I reduce, re-use, or recycle? Affirm I can go green by using the bike to run an errand on an active rest day instead of the car, and I can ride my Scooter! Watch increased commuter miles cause training time to go green.

47“A Bicycle is a Splendid Thing,” Hemingway’s Source for Bartolomeo Aymo in A Farewell to Arms by Mark Cirino in The Hemingway Review – Volume 26, Number 1, Fall 2006

48“John Holtzclaw: Cycling Environmentalist,” posted July 17, 2007 on Bike Commute Tips Blog www.bikecommutetips.blogspot.com A San Francisco-based consultant in transportation, urban development, energy consumption, and air quality, Dr. John Holtzclaw is chair of Sierra Club’s Transportation Committee.

49This is my paraphrase from two versions: Holy Bible, King James Version public domain and The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Safety on the Road

Posted in Going Green on February 11, 2011 by bethleasure

Green Light

42“…spread the joy of bicycling bliss…if so much can come from unconscious or non-deliberate action, imagine what our bike commute can be like when we mix action AND thought.” Jeff the Veloteer, Bicycle Commuter

Lights, reflectors, screaming...whatever works to get noticed.

Definitely mix action and thought when riding in traffic. With warmer weather, everyone is eager to be outside: guys driving ‘Benz clinching deals wearing ear buds; newly licensed teenagers cruising while sending text messages; sleepy, overworked truckers; and people who’d rather pause than stop at an intersection.

A bicycle commuter city like Portland boasts 6 years with ZERO cycling fatalities. Some credit this to strength in numbers, designated lanes on busy streets, lights and intersections engineered for it, and motorist awareness. Most of us live in areas without this kind of safety focus for cyclsits on the road – some of us even encounter hostility when riding. Even so, we can have a significant role in our safety.

Most but not all bike accidents in traffic are avoidable. The top two 43scenarios of traffic-related cycling fatalities in America occur when exiting a driveway in front of an on-coming vehicle or when turning left in front of a passing vehicle. Of 44crashes involving minor injuries only 11% involved a motorist and of serious crashes only 24% were with cars. Of these injuries, over half were recreational users on secondary streets or streets without bike lanes. 45Other leading crash causes with motor vehicles are:

b   oncoming motorist turning left into the path of a bicyclist

b   motorist misjudged the space required to safely pass

b   bicyclist turning left in front of car going same direction

b   motorist failed to yield right-of-way at a junction violating the sign or signal

b   bicyclist failed to yield right-of-way at an intersection

b   bicyclist did not stop for a sign/flashing signal and was struck in intersection

As riders, we need to remember: we are also subject to traffic laws; cars often do not see us; some motorists have no clue how fast we go and don’t estimate the speed at which we’ll reach a certain point. As you’re training out there, ride defensively. Wave arms, yell, shake your head – whatever it takes to communicate to a driver not to come toward you. Force eye contact. Go only when you get the green light. Be safe! 

Prayer for Commuters/Traffic Safety

“Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts. At the town center she makes her speech. In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand. At the busiest corner she calls out.” 46Proverbs 1:20-21

 

We are glad we belong on streets for which we also pay taxes. We confess we think we own the road when what we need to do is navigate it and assume all its dangers are for us to avoid. We ask to be seen by motorists and to take responsibility to ride in traffic – eyes wide open.

Ponder Do I ride on autopilot in traffic? Affirm I must be present even before I leave the driveway. Watch the cars and adjust accordingly.

42“Green-tuesday-on-being-an-environmentalist,” posted by Jeff the Veloteer on 1/29/2008 www.bikecommuters.com

43“Crash-Type Manual for Bicyclists,” by Carol Tan from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) research study Pub No. FHWA-RD-96-104. This work was done by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.

44“Adult Bicyclists in the U.S. – Characteristics and Riding Experience in 1996,” by William E. Moritz, Ph.D. Professor (Emeritus) Human Powered Transportation, University of Washington. Revised March 30, 1998 paper 98-0009 presented at the Transportation Research Board 77th Annual Meeting, January 11-15, 1998, Washington D.C. www.bicyclinglife.com

45“Their summary of crash causes,” Funded by the US Department of Transportation, University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center in cooperation with the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, as updated in 2004 by Doug Mink www.massbike.org “Bicycle Crash Statistics”

To test your awareness of seeing many things at once, Try this “See the Cyclist” Test to find the Moonwalking Bear http://www.dothetest.co.uk/ This gives you pause to ride defensively.

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

Cycling Advocacy

Posted in Going Green on February 8, 2011 by bethleasure

Road Envy

39“Do you feel that 93% of federal funding for bicycle transportation should be used for shared pedestrian/bicycle paths and trails with less than 2% going for such things as education, sharable-width lanes and bikeable shoulders?” ProBicycle, Bicycle Advocacy by Bicyclists for Bicyclists 

Carla Swart RIP

Everyone should take a lesson from the Dutch about how to accommodate bicycles on roadways. What a model of shared transportation! One can go anywhere on a bike in all of The Netherlands via designated bike lanes and be yielded to, as well as properly directed. This is a bike commuter’s dream: an entire cycling- friendly nation, its windmills wave to us in welcome, “Come on over and see how we bike to work, to shop, to school.”

In America, we have more space than sense sometimes. We have bigger and better roads than probably anywhere on earth, and we still build separate places for bicycles and call them greenways. It’s good that some of these projects offer parks and paths to areas which may not otherwise have them. Yet there’s little incentive to commute when unable to ride the most direct route to work or in competition with rollerbladers and dog-walkers.

So bicycle advocacy has moved beyond new trails to safe accommodation on roads with the same rights and rules as cars. In market economies, the harder, smarter workers are supposed to be rewarded with sustainability and profits. It’s time to reward bike commuters with safe road infrastructure and more widespread public education of motorists regarding bicycle awareness, rules, and driving habits on shared roads. We who choose to ride versus drive profit by reduced gasoline and health bills – that is if we don’t get hit by a car. Let’s reduce emissions and become a healthy, compatible, collision-free cycling republic.

Prayer for Cycling Advocacy

“Don’t stealthily move back the boundary lines or cheat orphans out of their property, For they have a powerful Advocate who will go to bat for them.” 40Proverbs 23:10-11

 

We are thankful for those lobbying for the bicycle as utility and recreational mode of transportation. We confess we don’t do enough to show others how to treat us on the road. We ask for more bike lanes and that bicycle awareness become a component of driver education.

Ponder Besides riding, how else am I a bicycle 41advocate? Affirm I will do one more action item to help this cause. Watch the bike advocates for opportunities to serve your community and your country.

39“The Shameful Side of American Advocacy,” under “Who Claims to Speak for You?” Copyright©1995-2008 by Chainguard and Probicycle www.probicycle.com

40The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

41League of American Bicyclists defines advocacy and these points for taking action: ride a bike; form an advocacy group/club; encourage friend/family to ride and employers to support commuting; speak to elected officials; respond to tragedy; and share the road. www.bikeleague.org