Archive for the In Like A Lamb Category

Cycling Causes & Charities

Posted in In Like A Lamb on May 20, 2011 by bethleasure

Gray Sheep

7“…give a contribution, not only economically…but also with my image…There are a lot of organizations in the world but I think it is important that if you can help some or at least one organization, that is good.” Ivan Basso, Pro suspended but giving time without appearance fees

Zero tolerance cycling cause

Often our behavior is not black or white. We can be gray like woolly sheep in need of cleansing atonement. Even a suspended, unpaid rider volunteered time and talent as treasure for a good cause. One benefit was some effective public relations all around but the motivations can be many.

Take the quality of self-sacrifice used in a team scenario and now apply it to other parts of your life: your family, relationships, team culture, sponsors, charities, governing organizations, and social causes. Even the poorest rider can offer themselves without an appearance fee to lead a charity ride, speak about safety to school kids, advocate bikes to transportation authorities, volunteer, do the right thing and help a great cause. Some give themselves pro bono as coaches, team management, or event marshals.

Opportunities for benevolence are plentiful: charity rides to raise money for – medical research, disease prevention or awareness, organizations that help the oppressed, the environment, or a memorial fund; donations toward junior, collegiate, or national team funds; trail maintenance or litter patrols; or donating equipment to others in need. Other ways to give is to help the sport in its fight for systematic fairness in anti-doping, prize money parity, or some other problem that needs solved from those within whose influence is without.

 We can all give without excuse. One way to choose a cause is to seek the object of your strong emotions. This is the clue to your giving assignment. Where are you bitter, angry, outraged, sad? Cure it by helping another who hurts like you, righting an injustice that’s wronged you, give back where you’ve most had need. Take the blackness of life, mix it with what’s purest about bicycling and as you give back, paint yourself in new shades of mission.

Prayer for Cycling Causes & Charity Rides

“We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way…He took up the cause of all the black sheep.” 8Isaiah 53:6, 12


We are glad that the world’s problems are solved through community. We confess we hold ourselves apart at times from the causes we most understand because of painful remembrances. We ask for the means to give to others less fortunate and blessing upon charity rides.

Ponder Who needs my time, talent, treasure? Affirm I donate my love of cycling to good causes. Watch what’s least fortunate about yourself become what’s most fortunate for another.

7“Basso gives back with Intervita,” posted by Tom Hodges December 26, 2007<

8The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Jet Setter Cyclists

Posted in In Like A Lamb on April 5, 2011 by bethleasure

Counting Sheep

9“Twelve hours mate? That’s nothing.”  Stuart O’Grady on jet lag, after great rides at Tour of California then Het Volk in the same week, followed up by a Classics win

More than one way to dodge sheep


Our Australian brethren know a bit about long hours of travel and adjusting to a new time zone in order to race around the global village. After all there are a lot of sheep on ranches down under – plenty to count as one drifts off to sleep on a transcontinental flight.

Any jet setter knows that racing upon arrival in faraway destinations presents a performance challenge. The body clock must shift sleep management and digestion. Conventional wisdom is to take one day of adjustment for every time zone, but this and other myths are busted. So let’s break the sheep out of the corral to roam to and fro with some 10new information.

Transitions can occur smoothly to be race ready within 48 hours. The most important consideration is the sun at the destination point. Research shows that the reason is it’s easier to fly west than east is because upon arrival in the west, the day ends; while upon arriving east, the day begins, depending on flight schedules. Create a sleep adjustment schedule so you can track the sun where you’re going. Base your in-flight sleep on local destination times remembering that where you end your flight is the new rhythm, so sleep or wake accordingly. If traveling to the West, stay awake during the flight to sleep upon arrival. Plan some activities for the trip and include an occasional walk/stretch down the aisles. If heading east, sleep for duration after the first meal upon take-off and stay awake for the day upon arrival. Use ergogenic aids free of banned substances to aid staying awake, such as coffee or tea per your comfort level. To aid sleeping on a plane, use a night-time over-the- counter pain reliever as a sleep aid but make sure it does not contain any banned substances. Sleeping pills and melatonin are not recommended.

There are other musts for productive plane time. All that sitting slows digestion so eat small snacks and roughage to aid digestion. Compression hose reduces leg swelling that causes sluggishness or peripheral edema, fluid build-up from a pressurized flight.

As discussed, the sun is the most important consideration in reducing jet lag. Bright light exposure is the most potent force to re-set your body clock. Upon arrival heading east, choose the brightest part of the day to exercise with a vigorous stroll. Notice the local breed of sheep – but no need to count!

Prayer for Time Adjustment/Jet Lag

“Preserve sound judgment and discernment…when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”  11Proverbs 3:21, 24

We give thanks that the sun overcomes darkness every day like a champion crossing the finish line. We pray for readjusted sleep patterns when traveling abroad.

Ponder Flight sleep/wake schedules to track with the arrival time zone. Affirm I look at plane time as training time either for sleep or for staying awake. Watch the sun’s pattern in the new time zone and act accordingly upon arrival.

9“Will Jet-Lag Tempt Boonen to Skip Het Volk?” Monday 25th February 2008 – Lionel Birnie 

10“Jet Lag: What To Do Before, During and After Your Flight,” a webinar by Randall L. Wilber, PhD, FACSM, Human Performance Lab, US Olympic Committee as presented on April 24, 2008 by USA Cycling Science & Education. Randy’s favorite in-flight foods are dark chocolate, warm milk, and apples.

11The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Domestique Skills

Posted in In Like A Lamb on March 4, 2011 by bethleasure

Sacrificial Lambs

5“I preferred being told what to do. It meant I could avoid the pressure and just get on with the job… My tip to domestiques today is to give 110% no matter what. That’s what you’re there to do…And if I didn’t give my all, I’d be out of a job. There was no point whining if someone forgot to say ‘good job Sean’ at the end of a stage.”  Sean Yates, Domestique Extraordinaire

Hincapie made a career out of service and reaped rewards.

When a rider comes up through the ranks in my grassroots program, they arrive with all the skills to win: to think, act, and train like a winner. I think learning how to serve a winner is dependent upon knowing how to win, and it’s often harder to teach service skills than winning skills. Upon graduation to elite development, they’ve earned the right to next learn how to serve.

An elite rider has to flip a switch from me-to-we and learn a new way to approach a race. It’s important to not send any elite rider up to the pros without first teaching them how to be a teammate. One rationale is that there are no neopro stars: no worthy team has a first year pro as the GC leader. So immediately, neopros are called upon for the duties of the domestique.

As kings of customer service, Domestiques have important jobs to perform, and some of these tasks are counter-intuitive for riders accustomed to getting results. This includes sacrificial acts, such as putting yourself in the wind to shield another; instead of finding the sweet spot, herding your captain to it; offensive and defensive moves timed to benefit someone else. Just learning how to set and maintain pace on the front can be startling; where once you sought the right tracks of a fast moving train to advantage, now you are a working part of the engine. Where your focus was once on prudent expenditure, now you are expendable.

Yet the blessings of utter sacrifice are many: pouring out for something bigger than oneself enables many to celebrate in it, adding another dimension of race awareness and value, and increased strength. And if you think only the winners are noticed, think again. Those of us who know the sport are watching who is a great service provider. As the artists of the Assist, you are the real MVP’s and to you we say, great job!

Prayer for Domestiques

“The slain Lamb is worthy! Take the power, the wealth, the wisdom, the strength! Take the honor, the glory, the blessing!”  6Revelation 5:12

We are thankful that cycling provides a picture of self-sacrifice, love’s greatest gift. We confess it’s difficult to have this love motivation when our efforts are at times seemingly unappreciated. Help us give ourselves completely. Help those who benefit express thanks.

Ponder Am I learning to lead by first serving? Affirm I rejoice at the opportunity to minimize another’s suffering. Watch every leader at first a servant.

5“Domestique Bliss,” by Matt Majendie posted July 24, 2003 on

6The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Lead-Out Skills

Posted in In Like A Lamb on March 1, 2011 by bethleasure

Like Sheep Astray

1“That’s the real secret in sprinting: being in the right place with 500 meters to go. The right place is just behind a leadout man who shepherds the sprinter…setting a fast pace while letting him save his energy by riding in the draft… usually with two or three kilometers to go, sometimes further…if you’re by yourself, you really don’t have a place…” Gord Fraser, Star Sprinter

Ron Kiefel otherwise known as Electric Chair


The good shepherd herds his lambs, wards off danger, and leads the sheep safely into the fold. Racing’s shepherds are the lead-out experts. This skill is often misinterpreted by amateur racers. In the set-up for the designated sprinter, there’s often confusion about who is supposed to benefit from the fight for positioning. Even where pecking order or team roles have been clearly established, a selfish tendency to disregard the plan seems to show up most often in a lead-out.

Lead-outs end where the sprint begins. This means the race for the last lead-out person is over with 200 meters or 2more to go. The temptation of barreling with momentum and adrenaline toward the finish in full line of sight seems too much for an inexperienced lead-out rider who forgets he’s riding for another. Those astray are conditioned to prepare for the final sprint and haven’t learned to recognize the distinctive segments preceding the last move: the subtle opportunities sensed by the experienced. A lead-out starts well before obvious finish action but may be characterized by violent and aggressive maneuvering, which makes it another hard ability for a neophyte with less skill and less extrinsic incentive for the risks.

A good lead-out man is often a team’s MVP. The lead-out knows how to negotiate the surge after surge before the sprint to win…like surfing, hanging 10 on many waves. 3Ron Kiefel had a reputation for lead-outs. Sitting on him was known as being in the electric chair – like a freight train down a steep ‘Frisco street – express delivery for the sprinter, Kiefel got the win for his man.

Prayer for Lead-Out Skills

“Appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”  4Numbers 27:16-17 


We are glad for the shepherd’s rod that protects and the staff which guides. We confess we’d rather lead than serve at times. We ask for ability to see how to ride a race in segments and for lead-out skills.

Ponder Can I give a proper lead-out? Affirm I take on wolves and the wind for the sake of my sheep. Watch the safe passage of your sprinter.

1“Sprinter Staying Cool Under Tour’s Pressure,” by Samuel Abt, published July 8, 1997, International Herald Tribune

2The distance for the end of a lead-out varies upon experience of the field, nature of the event, and type of course. Some sprinters take over in the final kilometer, using other sprinters as lead-outs. In amateur racing, most lead-outs deliver their men within sight of the finish line or prior to a final corner. In pro races, the lead-out may begin an hour from the finish line with lead-out men covering multiple moves. The point is to deliver your man among the Sprinter’s Seven and be gassed in doing so because you did your job properly!

3Ron Kiefel was great at other roles too. He was a winner in his own right both domestically and in European racing. One of the men he consistently delivered for wins was Davis Phinney.

4The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Baahd Manners

Posted in In Like A Lamb on March 23, 2010 by bethleasure

14″At the level of…Thévenet, the sport is exclusively about honor. And no matter how Kuiper had advanced his chances of winning the Tour by hanging on Thévenet’s wheel, he had destroyed every chance of winning the Tour grandly. Thévenet won it grandly.” Tim Krabbé, Cyclist, Author

Thevenet, A Grand Champion

Even while aggressively going for a win, choosing how to do it distinguishes the grand from the good: the higher up in cycling civilization, the more distinguishing its mores of honor. Gentleness means not forcing one’s way in life – showing respect for self and others.

I was more satisfied with placings where I did my share rather than wins being a wheelsucker. It’s important as a wily hunter to wait and know when to work, and equally important to practice etiquette efficiently. The more someone cursed me or cut me off, the calmer and more tactical I became. Instead of intimidating me, I saw it as scare tactics from a threatened competitor. Not that I didn’t lose temper and mouth off occasionally, but I remember these incidents with regret. The injured parties have long since forgiven me, but others who observed frame these incidents centrally in their impressions of me.

Bad manners pour precious energy out of your mouth and mind instead of into your legs and heart, dividing focus between conscience and courage. You and I are so much more than isolated incidents of ugly etiquette. The world is shrinking and a bad reputation becomes a rap sheet in our subculture. No one wants an angry, belligerent teammate or a nagging, critical coach for instance.

Racing’s environ is designed to break us down to yield a champion. 15Prisoners of war know that repeated bouts of torture intended to humiliate are tolerable if a structured set of adhered values center on basic self-respect. Regardless of result, to come out of a performance with head held high, strike balance between bold confidence and gentle manners.

Prayer for Gentleness/Competitive Etiquette
“Not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” 16Galatians 5:23

We are intrigued by cycling’s honor code and its intricate tactics. We confess patience and hard work are sometimes replaced with self-promotion. Help us be competitors who want to win when the best are at their best and when we know the rules and the privileges of the road.

Ponder Do I know the code of honor? Affirm I am swift and sweet practicing cycling’s best etiquette. Watch words, take the wind at times, give and get respect.

14The Rider by Tim Krabbe, published by Bloomsbury USA, NY, English translation copyright © Sam Garrett 2002. This book is a fantastic race report written by a thoughtful and perceptive amateur racer during one of cycling’s golden eras. The tactical descriptions are astute and no wonder, the writer was a grand chess master as well as successful author. It is not a professional cyclist’s perspective, but it is a refreshing read.

15A Vietnam Experience: 10 Years of Reflection by Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale published by Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace copyright © 1984 by Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford University. Stockdale was a prisoner of war for 10 years. He was badly injured in the crash that led to his capture and endured not only sets of crushed bones untreated, but repeated torture. He and his ten men were released with self-respect intact; they were all readily reintegrated into military positions.

16The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Cycling’s Goodness: Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing

Posted in In Like A Lamb on March 19, 2010 by bethleasure

The pack approaches the herd

Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing

12“Cycling is a tremendous sports discipline that needs unity, purity and honesty. All initiatives that contribute to these values will be supported by the cycling team.”   Omega Pharma, Cycling Sponsor 

A basic holiness permeates your riding life: cycling is good. If actively committed to cycling, you’ve been sanctified. Cleaned up and set apart is the basic meaning of sanctification, a word which implies useful service. We who ride are not afraid of service: hard work with others in mind – others for whom we work as a team, others whose market share is increased or who benefit from our health, lifestyle or entertainment.

We are meant to be clear beacons: lights on hilltops – symbols of purposeful life and healthy living. Light attracts – it guides and warms. Your greatest cycling accomplishment is in aiding someone else. This may be a behind-the-scenes role with little public adoration or even gratitude from the one whose destiny it is to be glorified because of your quiet sacrifices. It may also mean a very public image that is purposefully pure. This takes a different kind of strength – integrity.

Cultivate a burning desire for honor, to represent cycling in honor, and to save others who are vulnerable. The most sustainable purpose and motivational fuel comes from a reservoir of selflessness, looking to the interests of others. Love IS the most powerful motivator.

The impure leave cycling like whimpering whelps – seat tubes tucked between their legs in disgraced dishonesty. Instead, stay pure. The impure talk smack, spread rumor, put down competitors – instead, teach by honest actions. The impure have an excessively high opinion of themselves – instead, build up those around you. By this means you will profit and also profit others. We are fierce like wolves in the pack, but we need both the fangs of the wolf and the fleece of the sheep to be complete cyclists.


Prayer for Purity, Goodness
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel…it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”  13Matthew 5:14-15


We are glad for competitive rivalry which can bring out the best in us and others. We recognize that goodness, purity and honesty are the highest ideals.  We ask for strength to adhere to moral principles.

Ponder Like a mirror dimmed by grime, have I diminished my ability to reflect glory? Affirm I am honorable in truth, purity, and community. Watch your sphere of influence grow in parallel with an integrity demonstrated clearly and consistently.

sup>12“Omega Pharma extends with Lotto team,” by Susan Westemeyer. First Edition Cycling News, December 15, 2007 Edited by Sue George Omega Pharma makes anti-snoring devices and sponsors the professional cycling team, Predictor-Lotto or Silence-Lotto.<

13Holy Bible, King James Version public domain