Archive for the In Memoriam Category

Military Riders

Posted in In Memoriam on May 30, 2011 by bethleasure

Memorial Day

44“I hate the ego sh*t associated with cycling. To me, it’s not a hard sport-there’s guys out there fighting wars!!” Ken Young, Armed Forces Team, 1st Cyclist to win Marine Corps Athlete of the Year

 

Thanks for your service on and off the bike!

Some fight in bike races, some fight wars on bikes. Brigades carrying 45folding bikes that suit the sturdy portability and stealth of a paratrooper cover distances quickly and quietly during warfare. The history of bicycle use in battle began in 46Europe in the 19th Century.

 

In nations that require a term of conscription, some cyclists are able to race as members of pro teams if they fulfill light military duty and compete at Military Worlds. Some of the toughest 49stars in the pro peloton utilize this military representation as part of elite development.

 

Military riders are represented in U.S. collegiate cycling through teams from West Point-Army, Air Force Academy, and the Naval Academy. Military involvement in cycling also includes an important contribution to competition through 47Armed Forces teams. All-stars are chosen from any branch. These athletes are expected to represent their nations at 48World Military Games. While competing fiercely on their bikes, many of these future soldiers learn a little something to remember about tactical warfare.

 

To remember those who served any branch of the armed forces, Memorial Day is celebrated in many countries. America’s oldest continuous race, 50Tour of Somerville, is the dominant event that marks this holiday. Flags drape over porches of homes lining the course, and the race is a parade that pays tribute to traditional battle in speed and skill. It blasts near the 51Bicycle Hall of Fame where cycling’s heroes are honored. Today let’s remember to fight the good fight so we can be memorialized with honor.

 

Prayer for Military Riders

“Good people are remembered long after they are gone, but the wicked are soon forgotten.”  52Proverbs 10:7

 

We are thankful for permanent honors. We confess holding on to belief that leads to valiant acts seems too hard at times. We pray for chances to be worthy and ask blessing upon military cycling.

 

Ponder Who will care to read my headstone and offer a eulogy of tribute? Affirm I want to leave a praiseworthy legacy. Watch and leave fresh flowers of faithful goodness to ensure your life leaves a fragrance worth missing.

 

 

44Conversations with Ken Young. When not pedaling, part of Ken’s service is undertaken at the Pentagon. He has a wicked sprint and can be seen tearing off the legs of the “enemy” at regional races but still manages to smile and be friendly.

Thanks also to George Gannoung for input on this topic, US Coast Guard. George is a 6-time Armed Forces Team member and 3-time World Military Games participant.

45Montague is the world’s leader of full size bikes that fold. Interesting website www.montague.com

46“Bike Mobility: Bicycles as Alternative Modes of Transportation,” by Light Dragoon on www.hardcoretalk.com

47Info on America’s Armed Forces team at www.armedforcescycling.org

48Info on World Military Games http://www.cism-milsport.org

49Jens Voigt and Janez Brajkovic to name a few.

50Tour of Somerville www.tourofsomerville.org

51Recently, new sites have been proposed for the facility historically housed inSomerville,New Jersey. By time of publication, a new home for the Bicycle Hall of Fame is likely.

52The Bible, Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

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Masters Racing

Posted in In Memoriam on May 24, 2011 by bethleasure

Mastered Lifestyle

53“I was just trying to stretch my legs.” Betty Tyrell, multiple Masters National Champion, describing her style for solo wins

Tyrell sets a tough standard to beat

 

Betty personifies the relaxed approach of a dominant winner in age-rated races. By the time of life that knowledge and experience should be leading to wisdom, veteran riders gain mastery in cycling. Some make it seem easy.

Hundreds of races into it, one would hope that fitness and finesse characterize performance. This isn’t always the case. The hardest racers to be around are excuse-driven masters who believe years invested make them experts but are unwilling to change to improve consistently mediocre results. Read internet boastings and you’d derive that because these weekend warriors watch a world championship on trainers in the basement, it means vet racing is like pro racing. Having raced both categories and levels, the two do not resemble each other much at all.

Notable differences exist in tactics, team work, etiquette, distance, and courses. So why do some masters racers behave like arrogant Little League parents? Compassionately, there is a legitimate transition process into accepting limits related to aging as an athlete. It’s doubtful that, unless a superstar phenomenon, after mid-20’s an amateur male cyclist is going to obtain a pro contract. This is reality. Instead of being a dour reality check for what will never be, a bout with mid-life crisis can be a transforming period. Progress can be made. A joke with truth in it concerns Brits on the dole – retirees with pensions who set personal bests in 25-mile TTs. They have time to train and money to fund it!

Another perspective is gratitude for the incredible health and energy advantage one has within one’s non-athletic generation. Play may continue throughout a life! Rather than proving one’s worth through performances, temper perspective and play hard as a lifestyle!

Prayer for Masters/Veteran Riders

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” 541 Corinthians 9:25

 

We rejoice that cycling rewards effort over time. We confess we don’t temper insecurities especially facing hard realities. We ask for body and soul mastery and blessing on masters/veteran riders.

Ponder Which is my obstacle – lack of confidence or not facing reality? Affirm I pick the right category to be competitive. Watch a mastered attitude lead to more relaxing rides and better results.

53Conversations with Betty Tyrell. Betty is super strong and despite her years and amateur status has placed in elite women’s category races. However, she knows she is not a pro. She has won 20+ national masters titles for road, criterium, time trials, and track racing. She is also very encouraging to her peers and young racers. She is a model masters racer.

54Holy Bible, King James Version public domain

Cycling & Facing Mortality

Posted in In Memoriam on May 13, 2011 by bethleasure

Streets of Gold
55“There are no headwinds in heaven my friend.  We’ll ride together again someday on the streets of gold.”  Mike Munk, Ride Leader, Dedication to cycling mentor Jim Loyd (1937-1998)

Streets of Gold

 

What is the best way to face our mortality – aging and also death? Cycling can be dangerous and death as a result of it is a possibility. The grim reaper coming to slash our tires with cruel sickle is a fearsome specter whom every one eventually meets. Even the young have trepidation on bikes. It shouldn’t be about maintaining a façade of youth but living courageously. Working out your perspective on death can help conquer fear and lead to purposeful, prosperous living and racing.

Everyone has to struggle to find their raison d’être and place in life, as well as to satisfy needs for acceptance, happiness, success and feeling loved. There are no easy lives but there are lives at ease regardless.

Asking the big questions, going deeper and pondering one’s philosophy is the responsibility of every soul. When physical limits or death touch us, this duty is forced to the front. The cycling community deals with such limits on a regular basis. Although we are often accused of escapism into an alternative reality of riding lifestyles, perhaps we are facing the ultimate reality best by deciding to challenge our limits. Our cycling results quickly tell us where we stand on the day. We’ve worked out that suffering and success sometimes exchange roles and that without sacrifice there is no reward. This makes cycling a natural framework for spirituality or the opportunity to probe the spiritual aspects of living in a physical world.

Now the questions become where do I stand with God and what sacrifices are made for an eternal result? Who do I need to forgive or ask forgiveness of today? Who do I influence and what lasting value can I leave as a legacy? These answers determine your call-up rank on those streets of gold, as well as your peaceful parcours right here, right now.

Prayer for Facing Mortality

“No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death.” Ecclesiastes 8:8

“I am convinced that neither death nor life…separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39

 “…and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…be glory forever and ever. Amen.” 56Ephesians 3:19-21

 

We are thankful that contentment can be ours in any category during any crisis. We confess anything standing in the way of clear conscience before God…We pray for cycling to bring out our best spiritually even through its disciplines, hardships, and challenges.

Ponder How would I live if I were ready to die? Affirm I make a difference with my life. Watch faith cast fear aside because the death of body does not mean eternal end of soul or spirit or love; we cast fear aside, and live abundantly right here, right now to the fullest.

55“Cycle America ’96: My First Attempt at Cross Country Rides,” by Mike Munk. The motto on this website is, “You don’t quit playing when you get old…you get old when you quit playing.” www.bamacyclist.com

56The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

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

Cycling Loss & Grief

Posted in In Memoriam on May 10, 2011 by bethleasure

Maillot Noir                Mourning Jersey

60“The cycling community is my family.” Merlyn Townley, Race Mechanic & Instructor, on the death of his last living relative

Remembering Wouter Weylandt

 

If you’ve experienced any kind of devastating loss, then you may agree that the old custom of wearing black as a symbol of mourning was a good one. Just as the bearer of Maglia Rosa celebrates happiness in pink, a Maillot Noir invites more nurturing treatment during black times of intense sorrow. Loss of breath isn’t our only grief as cyclists. Sometimes we lose our own.

Minor sadness about loss of fitness to grieving over the death of a dream to the major loss of a loved one reaches all in the peloton. Studies indicate 61many stages of grief that overlap in unique progression toward healing and recovery depending on the nature of loss and personality of the mourner. Initially, numbed disbelief protects the mind from being overwhelmed, known as shock, denial, aimlessness, physical weakness, and bargaining. Pain and emotional upheaval manifest physically and emotionally as anger, anxiety, guilt, sadness. A sense of isolation, loneliness and depression usually hits months after the circumstance causing concerned well-wishers to push the mourner to get over it. The process is highly individual and needs to run its course apart from external pressures. Unlike a grand tour, there is a return to certain stages without a time-cut. Enlist patient supporters.

A return to lightness signals the start of recovery toward acceptance. Appreciation for all that’s precious is heightened. A complete return to the pre-grief state or replacement of what’s lost never occurs but creative ways to find new joy in life are discovered. The process is messy but miraculously designed. Ride through it with compassion upon oneself or toward others in sorrow. A fight to hold maillot noir eventually brings victory over a sorrowful but expanded heart.

Prayer for Loss & Grief

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.” 62Ecclesiastes 7:2-3

 

We are thankful for reminders of life’s limits and brevity as a signpost to prepare and prioritize. We pray for all who grieve.

Ponder When was the last time I cared enough to cry? What losses need to be mourned? Affirm I heal by seeing the past as a stepping stone to the future, even into eternity. Watch how acknowledgment of error and seeing some benefit revises some of what’s regrettable.

60Conversations with Merlyn Townley. Merlyn is a category 1 race mechanic who has wrenched worldwide. His palmarès are so numerous it would take several pages to list. He has a sister in me.

61For more information on various models that outline characteristics of the mourning process, see references under “Grief Stages” on www.recover-from-grief.com

62The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Back-Pedal/Remembering

Posted in In Memoriam on May 21, 2009 by bethleasure

63“Life can change on a dime.” Scott Mares, Cyclo-Cross Sponsor and Race Promoter

 

 
Going backwards sometimes helps us move forward

Going backwards can sometimes help us move forward

It’s comforting to know that hard periods without seeming end or solution can change inexplicably and instantaneously. All the pondered doom and gloom that characterizes the realities of life at times ought to make hard bike riding seem joyful, light and pleasurable. It’s all perspective isn’t it? There are times to pause and process loss, and times to backpedal and remember success as fuel to re-ignite lost momentum.

Let’s apply switching from intense sorrow to the starting line of cycling performance. Even with life’s uncontrollable variables, it is possible to plan and adapt so momentum consistently drives toward success for victory at goal events. You know these seasons and these athletes who are seemingly untouched by bad luck, poor health, insufficient skill, lack of resources, deficits in emotional support, spiritual bankruptcy, or failing confidence. It’s true that tremendous planning and practical attention to detail helps. True there is a fateful force. Yet, there is also a decision not to be deterred.

Great racing has a systematic feel; some strategic situations are textbook cases implemented with prosperous precision. But great riding in races may also be a sloppy random flow where the success comes not by managing things but in precipitating and reacting to imperfection. Usually when a rider has a streak of bad luck or disappointing performances with a vague sense that the mind is part of the problem, my advice is to stop controlling and race as it is. Cognitive distortion leads some personalities to believe that all things have to be in proper order. We comfort ourselves by procedure and minimize risk. But you also have to remember those unexpected breakthroughs. Think back on that moment when you came up a level rather amazed and maybe you’ll relax and trust enough to allow it again.

Prayer for Remembrance

We are thankful for memories of surprising goodness. We confess we think we control all of our blessings. We pray that memories come to mind of past exploits – hard challenges overcome with seeming ease.

Ponder When were odds beaten and it amazed me? Affirm I remember that incredible ride where I finally could execute what I could imagine. Watch and replay those successes as you backpedal in time.

63Conversations with Scott Mares. Scott loves cyclo-cross. He has one of the smoothest dismount- barrier-remounts ever witnessed. What imagery for smooth transitions and seamless momentum despite obstacles!

Ride of Silence

Posted in In Memoriam on May 19, 2009 by bethleasure

Ride of Silence

57“I’ve exhausted myself with tears and questions… I find myself looking up. I think because the sky wanders into the biggest realm of the unknown and if I know Nicole is not here, feet on the ground, she’s got to be there. Sleepless and lost, looking up and the most phenomenal thing happened. It wasn’t a shooting star but more like a falling planet, white hot as the moon with a fiery tail and falling straight down to the earth for no less than 4 or 5 seconds until disappearing behind the trees. I looked at my roommate to see if I might have maybe been hallucinating in my pain, but he sat in the same amazement. She famously waved, smiled, and said hello. Nicole is sprinting in the sky. Heaven. I had to share the beauty…” Ryan Kelly processing the loss of pro cyclist, Nicole Reinhart

 

Nicole Reinhart; Gone but not Forgotten

Nicole Reinhart; Gone but not Forgotten

 

May is Bike Awareness Month. It includes Bike to Work Day and Ride of Silence. The 58Ride of Silence is an international event which commemorates those killed or injured while riding on public roadways.

It’s a somberly-paced ride that encourages participation from all strata of the cyclosphere – hybrid commuter to trials practitioner to professional racer. The ride lasts about an hour and is ridden by the eclectic group slowly in complete silence. Silence is the great gulf that divides the land of the living from those who’ve passed. This two-wheeled processional is hauntingly beautiful accompanied by its funeral dirge of humming spokes and squeaking brakes. No voices bring words as comforting as silent thoughts that contemplate the eternal bliss of a lost loved one.

 

These encouraging eulogies are meant for the living. There are no more answers from the dead, there are only questions by us forced to consider forces greater than ourselves in realizing our own mortality.

As I participate in this event, I choose to think of not just cyclists lost by tragic accidents but all those who’ve hastened across the final finish line before me. Our community has its aged who pedaled to a natural death. It has its remembered who fought disease as valiantly as the competition and finally succumbed after fulfilling some important purpose. It has its ravaged whose lives ended painfully. It is comforting to turn to my silent companions in the group and smile at their special place beside and beyond for this sacred hour’s ride.

 

Prayer re: Fallen Cyclists

“God’s glory is on tour in the skies…Their words aren’t heard, their voices aren’t recorded, But their silence fills the earth: unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.” 59Psalm 19:1-4

 

We are thankful for the time we’ve had with those we loved or enjoyed in cycling. We ask forgiveness for all that was left unsaid. We pray for comfort as we grieve and for the families and friends of all beyond the finish line. Ponder Who can I honor with a silent ride? Affirm I am alive for a reason and appreciate what the departed gave. Watch while you can; hear the truth in the silence.

57″Ryan Kelly Part II,” Special Edition News for September18, 2000 Nicole Reinhart June 3, 1976-September 17, 2000 http://www.cyclingnews.com

RideOfSilence        

58Ride of Silence organized by Cumberland Valley Cycling Club, Hagerstown, Maryland on May 21, 2008 honored all fallen cyclists and especially acknowledged local resident Lloyd Clarke who was killed just months before on a training ride in Nevada. He is survived by wife and teenage daughter.

www.rideofsilence.org

59The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Ride of Silence

Posted in In Memoriam on February 5, 2009 by bethleasure

57“I’ve exhausted myself with tears and questions… I find myself looking up. I think because the sky wanders into the biggest realm of the unknown and if I know Nicole is not here, feet on the ground, she’s got to be there. Sleepless and lost, looking up and the most phenomenal thing happened. It wasn’t a shooting star but more like a falling planet, white hot as the moon with a fiery tail and falling straight down to the earth for no less than 4 or 5 seconds until disappearing behind the trees. I looked at my roommate to see if I might have maybe been hallucinating in my pain, but he sat in the same amazement. She famously waved, smiled, and said hello. Nicole is sprinting in the sky. Heaven. I had to share the beauty…”                             

Ryan Kelly processing the loss of pro cyclist, Nicole Reinhart

 

 

 

May is Bike Awareness Month. It includes Bike to Work Day and Ride of Silence. The 58Ride of Silence is an international event which commemorates those killed or injured while riding on public roadways. It’s a somberly-paced ride that encourages participation from all strata of the cyclosphere – hybrid commuter to trials practitioner to professional racer. The ride lasts about an hour and is ridden by the eclectic group slowly in complete silence.

 

Silence is the great gulf that divides the land of the living from those who’ve passed. This two-wheeled processional is hauntingly beautiful accompanied by its funeral dirge of humming spokes and squeaking brakes. No voices bring words as comforting as silent thoughts that contemplate the eternal bliss of a lost loved one. These encouraging eulogies are meant for the living. There are no more answers from the dead, there are only questions by us forced to consider forces greater than ourselves in realizing our own mortality. As I participate in this event, I choose to think of not just cyclists lost by tragic accidents but all those who’ve hastened across the final finish line before me. Our community has its aged who pedaled to a natural death. It has its remembered who fought disease as valiantly as the competition and finally succumbed after fulfilling some important purpose. It also has its young who’ve gone on too early, it seems to us. It is comforting to turn to my silent companions in the group and smile at their special place beside and beyond for this sacred hour’s ride. 

 

 

Prayer for Fallen Cyclists

“God’s glory is on tour in the skies…Their words aren’t heard, their voices aren’t recorded,
   But their silence fills the earth: unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.”
59Psalm 19:1-4

 

 

We are thankful for the time we’ve had with those we loved or enjoyed in cycling. We ask forgiveness for all that was left unsaid. We pray for comfort as we grieve and for the families and friends of all beyond the finish line. Ponder Who can I honor with a silent ride? Affirm I am alive for a reason and appreciate what the departed gave. Watch while you can; hear the truth in the silence.

 

 

 

 

57“Ryan Kelly Part II,” Special Edition News for September 18, 2000 Nicole Reinhart June 3, 1976September 17, 2000 www.cyclingnews.com

 

58Ride of Silence organized by Cumberland Valley Cycling Club, Hagerstown, Maryland on May 21, 2008 honored all fallen cyclists and especially acknowledged local resident Lloyd Clarke who was killed just months before on a training ride in Nevada. He is survived by wife and teenage daughter.

www.rideofsilence.org

 

59The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society