Archive for the New Year's Resolve Category

Les Sept Chemins The Seven Routes

Posted in New Year's Resolve on February 23, 2010 by bethleasure

8“Today I maybe did 100 points? So for me it’s worth it [to race in Belgium]; I’d have to do about five races in the US to get that many.” Lyne Bessette, Pro Cyclist, on event selection for a starting spot at Cyclo Cross Worlds 

Opportunities of the Round-About


Today we focus on an aspect of planning pondered in pre-season: event selection as an inducement and measurement of progress. From local to international, many of the year’s events are being announced. Teams are choosing where to race based on resources, sponsor strategy, abilities of its members, and other considerations within short and long range plans.

These times mark an unprecedented abundance of choices. Cycling’s growth is seen in the elevation of the Grand Tours from the Pro Tour, multi-continental series tours, and diversion in American pro racing between National Calendar and US PRO events. Never before has there been so much opportunity to race and at a competitively comparable level. This may make the gaps between levels somewhat easier to bridge with more small steps, but complicates goal-setting. Event selection should align short and long term goals, as well as benefit from experienced up-to-date analysis of a dynamic competitive offering.

One of my favorite training routes in France arrives at a magical crossroads. From this intersection, one had seven choices for routes. Each road gave a different training opportunity: long and mountainous, a rolling shortcut and five more of equal appeal. Deciding which way to ride was based on what I wanted to achieve both on the day and for my overall plan. I couldn’t control the weather or if I got a flat, but I could enjoy sensible effort harmonized with my unique plan. A rider’s schedule, accounting for goals, dreams, and realistic achievements, sets up a year of success.

Prayer for Event Selection
“How long will your journey take, and when will you get back? …so I set a time.” 9Numbers 2:6

We are thankful for cycling’s vibrancy! We confess we sometimes choose events superficially. We ask to scrutinize our selections, and for increasing race opportunities worldwide. 

Ponder Which events are best for the plan(s) in my circle(s)? Affirm I can use the calendar to both establish and grow me (us).  Watch intelligent arrangements bring stability and improvement.


8“After USGP, it’s Christmas in Belgium for Canada’s top ‘crosser,” By Gerard Knapp in Belgium, First Edition Cycling News for December 3, 2007 Edited by Steve Medcroft

9The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Logistics & Licensing

Posted in New Year's Resolve on February 16, 2010 by bethleasure


10“Now we must reorganise everything in a hurry. I had not expected this. The finances were in order and all the contracts had already been signed.” Eric Vanderaerden, Team Manager of Pedaltech-Cyclingnews Pro Team, on Logistics & Licensing

Pulling a mound of paperwork?

11The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry. No plan is fool-proof and no one can be completely prepared for the future. Still one has to try, then regroup if necessary. Team licenses are applied for in the early post-season but the decisions, in some cases, aren’t finalized until now. Today we ascend our mound of administrative paperwork.

Cycling requires licensing of many kinds: racing, teams, clubs, officials, entities for event promotion to name a few. Plus there are insurances: liability, auto for team cars, bike coverage. Then there are certifications: for trainers, doctors, CPR; permissions from governments and law enforcement for road closure and marshaling; sponsorship requests; charitable and grant applications. Then there’s continuing education and evaluating programs available to become better at your role in our cycling community. Registrations for events, associated logistics such as travel and housing ensue.

This is a great time for your secretarial duties – either completing, or scheduling well ahead of pertinent due dates. On top of the heap leave some room for error: human and computer, misjudgment and mislabeling. Anyone who thinks it doesn’t take a “driver’s permit” to ride a bike is mistaken. Chances are there’s some paperwork lying around that needs your attention this time of year, and it’s not just your taxes. Only a few happily administrative types enjoy filling out forms, mostly we’d rather be on our bikes. Take the lousiest weather day this week, and make sure your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted. Every jot and tittle checked off is that much more quality cycling time when the season starts to warm.


Prayer for Logistics & Licensing

“…old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 122 Corinthians 5:17

We are thankful for permission to ride! We confess a disdain for more office time. We ask to painlessly and seamlessly sew up our details so we can get back on our sew-ups on the road!

Ponder Am I current with all my required permits? Affirm I can race up this paperwork hill and with measured pace crest into a blank to-do list.  Watch the KOM line come closer with each filled-in form.

10“No Professional Continental licence for Pedaltech-Cyclingnews,” as reported to in First Edition Cycling News, January 10, 2008 Edited by Ben Abrahams, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer


11reference is to Robert Burns’ poem, To a Mouse, which outlines his regret over destroying the earthbound winter home of a field mouse after plowing on his farm. The poem illustrates that things can and do go wrong and often have impacts we cannot guess. Still we must try.


12Holy Bible, King James Version, public domain

Making It Happen

Posted in New Year's Resolve on January 8, 2010 by bethleasure

Podium time comes through Planning

6“…right away, I started to think about what I’ll do differently next year — because I plan on getting there again next year.” Nick Frey, American U23 TT Champion after his ride at World’s

Dreams revisited and hope refreshed, now it’s time to think about the activities required to create a desired future. For some in our community, this may mean an actual business plan with financial projections for sponsors, promoters, managers. In some cases, this may be a strategic plan which forecasts a global racing agenda. A cyclist’s annual plan may consist of a training program, a race schedule, and performance-related goals. These are all stages in the dream tour. Some homework is in order today: creating and gathering these documents; and setting up meetings with trusted advisors to discuss it.

Contemplate where your bike is taking you this next year, how it’s going to get you there, and how you’ll know if you got there or not. You know from where we’ve gone together so far, that you’ll not get off simply with the bike goals. It’s best to add some other essential ingredients. Soul-search on your true motivations, check their veracity and integrity, skim off the fat of self-absorption and the dross of vengeance.

Focus instead on what your unique contribution can be thinking about your goals within a series of concentric circles in community. From the inner circle of you and your intimate allies to an ever-widening sphere of influence and involvement, evaluate your strategy to include club/team/organization, then racing region to national impact, and finally international exchange and the universal good of all. Your contribution to the world may be as simple as responsibly approaching your goals so as not to expect from or be a burden upon others. Interdependent realism has amazing returns during tough times, at all times.

Prayer for Planning

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” 7Psalm 20:4

We are grateful for free will and the right to pursue happiness. We confess our dread of tangible measurements to that happiness at times. We ask for divine intervention to make a path before us and be our rear guard.

Ponder What are some tangible steps I can take this year toward my dreams? Affirm I can plan where the light shines upon the next steps and not fear the unknown beyond them. Watch those steps turn into destined pathways.

6“Need for Speed: Engineering Propels Champion Cyclist,” Science Daily Nov 5, 2007 on Adapted from materials provided by Princeton University

7The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Direction: Signs Between Switchbacks

Posted in New Year's Resolve on January 5, 2010 by bethleasure

Glimpse of the Future

1If you are not intimidated at the foot of Alpe d’Huez, you never will be. You go through every emotion on that climb...” Robert Millar, Pro Cyclist, one of Britain’s best grimpeurs

Happy New Year! An opportunity for a fresh start should take the best of the past with it. Using your quiet time to ponder what’s peaceful in your cycling, now resolve to apply that peace to discovering a direction that sees you through the next hairpin.

The famous L’Alpe d’Huez climb provides a dramatic illustration. Until you race it for real, it’s impossible to know what makes it so daunting. For me, it wasn’t so much the average gradient of 8% although there are steep pitches in the mix. It was more the combination of being able to see the top again and again bend after bend and feeling like it wasn’t getting much closer. Its thirteen kilometers seem to go on endlessly. Twenty-one hairpin turns are 2marked and numbered indicating many changes of rhythm before the famous finish.

Up d’Huez, you get caught in the contrast between a seductive mountain top and its scornful signposts. You climb to another level and are immediately faced with the distance to the next hurdle. It’s almost cruel at first. About halfway up, I redirected my anaerobic thoughts and made those signs a comfort. Rather than letting the markers mock, I used them as guideposts to remind me what was overcome to arrive that much closer to the goal.

The peace that accompanies sure direction is like the calm interim between switchbacks. It’s a guide that can steady you through the next setback. Even if the summit can only be glimpsed occasionally, use the decisions sought in calm to help you dance your way upward.

Prayer for Direction
“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take.” 3Jeremiah 31:21

We are thankful to catch sight of what’s ahead. We confess we sometimes crack at the task of getting there, well short of the summit. We ask for indications to plan our course, guidance in the going, and strength for the journey.

Upwards and Onwards!



Ponder Is my rhythm steady in the right direction? Affirm I can endure immediate trial on the way to completed tasks. Watch those benchmarks between bends noting what’s being done well and knowing more chances are ahead.

1“Cycling: the Uphill Road to Hell,” by Andrew Longmore published July 13, 1997 in The London Independent, Copyright 1997 Newspaper Publishing PLC 

2For an interactive route map of L’Alpe d’Huez and photos of each sign see

3The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Cyclist of the Year

Posted in New Year's Resolve on January 1, 2010 by bethleasure


4“I remember making up a list…win the junior world championship…win a gold medal…be a professional within a year or two…win the world pro championship…win the Tour de France.” Greg LeMond on his extraordinary goal-setting

Aim at something, that's what you get

Greg’s list is extraordinary not just because of the level of his goals, but because these goals were made with little indication of reality. These were the dreams of a star-struck teenager inside his second or third dozen races! Yet each goal was achieved!

I always ask the dream question when initially helping an athlete set goals. I don’t want an edited version, but a spontaneous confidentiality about desire’s destination. My requirement isn’t that it has a basis in reality, but that it is truly what one dreams of doing. I used to think everyone would have the same answers – aiming at the sport’s pinnacle events. But I was humbled about how wrong I can be; everyone answers differently.

We seem to have an internal mechanism which indicates our destinies. Some adages that apply: as a man thinketh within himself, so is he; aim at nothing, that’s what you get. The key is not what the dream is but that you get at it. Uncovering that ideal which may be hidden under layers of put-downs or discouragement, dusting it off, and putting it back on the shelf like a prized trophy is today’s assignment. If you had your own panel of judges, what would you accomplish which would make you the Cyclist of the Year? It could be as simple as consistent training, as challenging as weight management, or as bombastic as Best All Around Rider. It could be a power to weight ratio figure, an increase in speed at a timed distance, or a particular event. Take some time on a ride this week to let those dreams come to you. Write it down and take aim! Your world championships await…

Prayer for Goal-Setting

“…I’ve got my eye on the goal…I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” 5Philippians 3:14

We are thankful that we are all given dreams! We confess our age of reason sometimes hinders uninhibited imagination. We ask for reckless internal abandonment to dare to dream again.  

Ponder What pumps me up? What is my dream in cycling? Affirm I am in wonder about how my bicycle can transport me toward accomplishments arranged for me.  Watch those fantasies turn into a well-ordered to-do list.

4“Inside Cycling with John Wilcockson: The exceptionally gifted LeMond,” By John Wilcockson
VeloNews editorial director filed September 23, 2005. Produced by: Inside Communications on

 5The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.