Archive for the Seasonal Transitions Category

Cycling & Renewed Expectations

Posted in Seasonal Transitions on October 17, 2011 by bethleasure


46“… the realisation of a childhood dream – to ride the Tour De France in his hometown…for such an opportunity to fall in the prime of his career is about as good as it gets.” Bradley Wiggins paraphrased about TdF’s London Prologue


Wiggins' big dreams become reality.

The technicolor vibrant dreams of youth may bloom best in the hearty soil of maturing harvest. A poet says it best:

How quickly fade

The color in the west,

The bloom upon the flower,

The bloom upon the breast

And youth’s blind hour.

Yet keep within your heart

A place apart

Where little dreams may go,

May thrive and grow.

Hold fast- hold fast your dreams!47

Your assessment of race season has revealed the dream is alive, you may be living it this year or see it nearing. This is your time. Hold fast for 48fruitful conditions to harvest dreams-in-the-making.

Prayer for Renewed Expectations

“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 49Romans 12:2

We ask for answers to today’s questions that will empower us to conceive, believe, and receive. We ask to thrive and grow.

Ponder Who is an example in my life that inspires me?


Which of their accomplishments, joys, and victories cause you to believe you can be blessed in a similar way?


When all looks bleak but there’s still growth, are you thinking of just getting by or abundance?


Today is a new day. Forgetting the past, realistic about the present, are you ready for the next level?


Are you shrinking back in fear or are you living large – taking confident steps toward your big ideas?


With whom do you need favorable entry and assistance to realize your dreams? __________________________________________________________________________________

How are you using adversity to propel you away from mediocrity and toward excellence?


Are you learning to thrive when your need is greatest by planting good seeds in others?


What good deeds/loving acts for others’ dreams prove your commitment to your dream?


Have you decided for contentment; and are you choosing actions to support happiness even with pauses in the process of dream-making?



Affirm I am living my best life now! Watch for times of favor so you can harvest the best results.



46“Chasing Wheels: Will Wiggins’ dream come true?” Posted by Alex 27 April 2007 on

47An excerpt from the poem, Hold Fast Your Dreams by Louise Driscoll in Favorite Poems Old and New, Helen Ferris, editor published Doubleday & Company, 1957

48Suggestions for this section are drawn from Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen Copyright © 2004 published by Warner Faith, Time Warner Book Group, NY

49The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Race Favorite

Posted in Seasonal Transitions on May 18, 2011 by bethleasure

Race Favorite

50“I’ve said all week I was the favourite to win here – I haven’t been hiding that fact.” Tom Boonen, Expectant Winner

Every kid is a mother's favorite


Expectations of winning can play for and against a race favorite. Internal pressures can sometimes be overwhelming but sometimes it increases incentive. An expected winner must devise strategies to counter and overcome vigilance on the part of peers. Even being marked can work to one’s favor. It supports an essential world-class quality – Confidence.

Expecting Favor is a spiritual concept that believes God rewards faith. God may add to this by opening doors despite inexperience or past experience. Living favor-minded can help one break barriers from the past. When you believe this favor is available, confident living comes easier and bold actions and proper motives result.

51We have not because we ask not or as I like to say, “Don’t ask, don’t get.” An expectant (but not an entitled) attitude creates willingness of others to assist you. Regardless of how many people tell you what you’re attempting can’t be done, through perseverance doors open. Favor opens doors that some say are impossible, often in times of adversity.

Expecting God’s goodness causes you to see adversity as an opportunity. Favor exceeds just getting by and expects God’s goodness to chase you down. This is not a prayer for a Santa Claus version of God. God doesn’t play favorites, so don’t expect to receive something that isn’t in someone else’s best interest or that’s asked for selfishly. Praying to win isn’t selfish pandering; it’s a responsible behavior for an athlete. Sometimes your success is the best thing for others, and sometimes a defeat is the best thing for you.

We see that many winners anticipate winning or believe they can win. Even if expectations fall short, the anticipation of finishing first often improves performance. So if unselfish prayers aren’t answered as a yes, there’s still an answer for your best. Favor-finders know they can ask for favor, because any God-answer is the best answer. In this we can be confident.

Prayer for Favor

“If you hope to the end, divine favor will come.” 521 Peter 1:13


We ask for favor with God and man.

Ponder Despite circumstances, am I hoping for a favorable outcome? Affirm I anticipate help from God and others. Watch for that assistance and be open to where it leads you.

50“Boonen seals Tour of Flanders win,” BBC Sport Cycling posted 2 April 2006

51James 4:2-3

52The Living Bible Copyright © 1971 owned by assignment by KNT Charitable Trust published by Tyndale House Publishers

Cycling & Contentment

Posted in Seasonal Transitions on April 29, 2011 by bethleasure

Harvest Work

53“My strength was that I am more balanced and calmer than most other riders. I inherited that calm from my father, who was a farmer. You sow, you wait for good or bad weather, you harvest, but working is something you always need to do. The sense for responsibility I have got from my mother.” Miguel Induráin

In all seasons, be content.


Big Mig understood that the responsibility for the work was his but that the result for that work lay in the reliability of Providence.  Sometimes the most productive harvest work is to be content in the waiting for divine blessing and multiplication of our efforts. The growing cycle is considered and harvest time set by quality of the yield and likelihood of weather – an uncontrollable factor. Big Mig modeled a refreshing bravery and daresay, contentment, during competitive uncertainties.

Contentment doesn’t mean we don’t seek. 54If you can dream-and not make dreams your master. We can dream but allow Providential presence to replace despair or discontent in the seeking and in the yield.

Contentment doesn’t mean we don’t need. God shows up in time of need. When a farmer plants the crops, he contends with pestilence that tries to destroy, drought or flood, hard ground. He uses the plow and scythe, and God gives increase or not with rain and sun.

Contentment doesn’t mean inactivity. It means calmness in the work regardless of opposition and unfavorable conditions.

Contentment doesn’t mean settling for second-best. It strives for the first fruits but rejoices over a little cash crop. There is plenty to harvest in cycling: the issue is not enough to be done but not enough to do it.

Contentment with who we are and what we have to offer and with what God brings us uniquely are the keys to harvesting all that’s prosperous in our sport. Work for the harvest in your particular field, seeking the Lord of the harvest to provide fruitful conditions and faithful workers.

Prayer for Contentment

The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him.” Leviticus 3:25

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” 55Luke 10:2


We confess our doubts in God and in religion. We ask for spiritual eyes to see the spirit of Christ at work in a real way in our lives, our sport, our cycling.          

Ponder the goodness of a faithful God who brings seedtime and harvest. Affirm I expect the best not because I deserve it but because God loves me and rewards belief. Watch for God when you seek Him and for other seekers to come alongside you.

53“Personal Quotes” under “Biography for Miguel Indurain” posted on

54“If” by Rudyard Kipling, published in a collection of poems, Rewards and Fairies in 1909.

55Amplified Bible Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation and The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Cycling to Completion

Posted in Seasonal Transitions on August 27, 2010 by bethleasure

Sweet fruits of cycling goals achieved!

Bittersweet Fruit

62“There is a bitter aftertaste about the way I had to stop.” Michael Boogerd on his comeback

The racing may stop but the passions sometimes continue. Racing provides constant feedback and gratification. Plugging along in the regular world can be dull by comparison.

My passion for racing was so great, I could not imagine it coming to an end. I never thought that a sense of completion would come for me but there did come a day when desire to race as a full-time rider ceased. Even though I didn’t leave on a high note but with an injury that required extended rest and rehab, still my racing time felt full – not fantastic, but with memories of many fruitful seasons. I concluded that my greatest contribution in cycling would not be as a racer and subsequent seasons didn’t feel like famine but rather like farming in new fields. My passion is alive for the cycling community. I’m a lifer on the bike and occasionally compete but with good health and sharpness a priority over performance.

Yet focus for professional cycling requires an inscrutable discipline excluding most other activities. Those with great racing abilities must have a sense of completion of competitive purposes, and a satisfied stewardship of talent totally explored. Personal missions may vary, such as becoming a responsible citizen through the conduct required for pro cycling or publicizing a cause. Character may be rounded since pursuing tasks to the finish with integrity brings a form of wholeness. Further, our professionals as public figures ought not to be reacting to contemporary social issues related to sport, but leading honorable policies. This takes vision, community-mindedness, and courage.

Coming back? Welcome back! Show us what you can do whether to rectify past wrongs, prove yourself again, or perhaps set new standards. Whether you succeed or fail we’ll respect the attempt to bring to completion any unfinished business or newly formulated benevolence.

Prayer for Comebacks

“…after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received…I will go…” 63Romans 15:28

We feel sweet sadness at summer’s end. Like the close of beloved seasons in life, we ask for complete, not bitter endings.

Ponder Are tasks completed in my current role? If not, will continuing be better than coming back? Affirm I finished another season, and its unfulfilled remnants are fueling new desire to achieve. Watch how time away may cause loss of momentum, but it may also grow toward an even riper more bountiful harvest.



62“Boogerd next on comeback trail?” Latest Cycling News, September 11, 2008 Edited by Hedwig Kröner

63The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Cycling Goals & Realistic Assessment

Posted in Seasonal Transitions on August 24, 2010 by bethleasure

Missing Breaks

40“We wanted to make the race aggressive and get in a break today. TIBCO missed the break yesterday, so we knew they were hungry today.”  Lisa Hunt, Team Director

Knowing you missed the winning break feels like this

The best way to redeem a bad period or mistake is to start with an assessment of the situation. Once assessed, search for your mistakes and you can usually find a few. Mistakes acknowledge with a hope to improve is called Repentance in spiritual terms. Repentance forces assessment because you can’t go before God without really looking at root causes. Repentance means turning away from, changing a course.

In a cycling context, you may miss a break that’s sure to win, now what – stay in the pack or bridge the gap? After assessing the challenge, champs respond with maneuvers to overcome it.  Part of champion maneuvering is mental focus that doesn’t question whether a win is deserved or not. Strong beliefs support this winning psychology. Often these beliefs come from a belief in the hard work to prepare for that win. Both the work and the justification contribute to the winning move or the move that overcomes a mistake to win.

Justification as a Christian principle says success isn’t earned but an undeserved gift because Christ’s work on the cross paid all debts. The only work is acknowledging mistakes – repentance. Jesus redeemed humankind from mistakes. Bike success must be earned through hard work, but the opportunity to succeed spiritually isn’t based on our goodness but on God’s grace. Our errors and mistakes don’t hinder us from future success. Instead we acknowledge them, confess them, turn from them, and with renewed faith, work toward victory!

Prayer for Realistic Assessment

“If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.”

41Romans 4:4-5

We are amazed that rewards can be ours from God’s sheer goodness, not on our own. We ask to take this goodness and invest it for rewards right here.


What are the secrets to successful performance for me?

What is really hindering me that I cause and can change?

What is my goal and is it the right goal?

Is my behavior lining up with my beliefs about goals? How?

What areas require trust?

What areas require action?

If significant change is necessary, what will the transition look like?

Be honest, can you make the changes? If not, how long are you willing to continue as is?

What opportunities could be missed with status quo?

If changes were made, where are energies better spent?

Affirm I search until there’s peace about my cycling goals.

Watch think, pray and move forward.

40VAC storms into Cascade Cycling Classic with Patella 7th in Stage 2!” posted July 12th, 2008 on

41The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Contracts & Negotiations

Posted in Seasonal Transitions on September 2, 2009 by bethleasure

Wheels In True

60“I am disappointed to find out in mid-September that they are not counting on me.” Paolo Bettini on non-renewal even as reigning World Champion


Team Direction isnt a game where riders are virtual

Team Direction isn't a game where riders are virtual

There may be no good time to learn your team is no longer counting on you. Even World Champions are not exempt from enduring this season of negotiating change. Like balancing bike wheels, this is a time for truing up objectives among parties. Honest business deals don’t affect whether or not the truth hurts. No matter how sensitively expressed or timed a termination, separation means status quo is altered.

Caring Directors wrestle with the best time to discuss the exit details so as not to affect a rider’s current results but also leave time for a rider to search elsewhere. It’s an annual dilemma. There may be no good time, but there is an acceptable transaction period where facing hard facts influences the direction of futures. The more involved and active a rider is in comparing a team’s future needs against individual offerings, the better it is for maintaining equilibrium during the shifting sponsorship season.

A rider’s attitude about this annual ritual makes the situation easier all around. On one occasion, I delivered bad news regarding non-renewal to a rider considerately and realistically. The facts showed he was coming up short, including his outlook. Management did not want to promote him. My thought was to give him other options and encourage him with a suggestion for a different strategy for next year. He used the strategy, found a better fit for his abilities, and had another year of satisfactory racing for those goals; however, he resented me anyway. Despite presenting an alternative solution, as the bearer of bad news I was blamed. This rider still does not take responsibility for his actions and it shows in his choices. He never improved; he couldn’t own the reasons for status quo and therefore, he could not work to improve.

These situations are as difficult for Directors as they are for riders. No one wants to negotiate difficult news. The alternative is worse. Dishonest dealings lead to broken contracts and legal problems; the community is affected from sponsors to fans. With so much at stake every late summer, let’s not burn each other in the heat of these truthful times.


Prayer for Contracts & Negotiations
“I appeal to you, brother…that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” 611 Corinthians 1:10


We pray for fairness and honesty in hiring, clear-cut communication to make necessary changes if contractual issues arise, and realistic expectations by all parties.

Ponder Am I a suitable rider for this team? Is this the best team for me? Affirm I ask management to keep me in the loop regarding the team’s future. Watch and know your sponsor’s objectives and management’s considerations.


60“Lefevere defends Quick Step signings,” by Gregor Brown First Edition Cycling News, September 12, 2008 Edited by Sue George and Laura Weislo

61The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Ride Buddies/Peer Support

Posted in Seasonal Transitions on August 28, 2009 by bethleasure

Buddy System

58“Wendy gave me a challenge all the way. We did it together, we filled the top two spots. Two years ago, we said it would be us two.” Rebecca Romero, Olympic Pursuit Gold Medalist, on teammate Wendy Houvenaghel, Silver Medalist


Schleck Brothers: The Power of Two

Schleck Brothers: The Power of Two

Two with mutual interests is a powerful combination toward prosperity. Two-by-two little children take hands and keep track of each other’s journey in the buddy system. This kindergarten line-up procedure for safety outside the classroom works well in life also. Really good teams have a bigger more complex buddy system, and some riders have their own versions.

Family pairs like fathers-sons or brothers challenging and cheering each other’s achievements are common in sport. Both the rivalry and rapport give a competitive advantage against lone competitors. Not all of us have cyclists in the family, but we can all develop peer support. A group or even a training partner can commiserate, build teamwork, have fun during fierce moments of intense effort, share the passion, and push each other. Likewise during hard times, peer relationships can exchange ups and downs.

Certain long-term consistent coaching relationships, such as coach as a surrogate in the absence of an interested parent – can provide this kind of emotional infrastructure. Sometimes these unions are so vital that in the disruption of the partnership, an athlete decides to terminate competition. This happened to Xavier Brisseaud, French Espoir National Champion. Xav and his best friend came up through the ranks together as best buddies, earnest rivals, and young stars of cycling. Both enjoyed conscription as military cyclists as a launching pad for professional development. Then Xavier’s friend was killed. Xav lost interest in racing. But he became a fine performance manager for a grassroots development club with a powerful impact on riders in development. Perhaps the kind of incentive his rival-friend produced in him was passed on to others.

There’s power in having competitor companions. Sometimes it has something to do with performance on the bike also.


Prayer for Peer Support
“Carry each other’s heavy loads. If you do, you will give the law of Christ its full meaning.” 59Galatians 6:2


We are grateful for special training partnerships. We ask for peers to exchange encouragement and support. Bless our ride buddies!

Ponder Is the power of love included in my training? Affirm I care about friends who put the hurt on me! Watch dude, as I go up the road!


58“Event 21 – August 17: Women’s 3000m Individual Pursuit Final: Romero continues British stranglehold on track Games,” by Rob Jones in Beijing posted

59New International Reader’s Version Copyright © 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society

Team Politics

Posted in Seasonal Transitions on August 25, 2009 by bethleasure

Wheeling & Dealing

56“Van Gilder deflected her success, and credited her teammates. ‘This is a team sport and I wouldn’t be here without their support.’” Laura van Gilder, Pro Cyclist


Cross the street and say hello

Cross the street and say hello

Van Gilder has survived nearly two decades of ever-changing sponsorship typical of an under-resourced women’s peloton to ride for well-stocked successful squads. She has a wicked sprint but her warmth toward peers and rivals makes her perhaps a perfect example of race politician. Beyond her sought-after winning ways, for years she had an uncanny ability to appear on next year’s best roster.

Riders who are wooed and pursued play politics as much as riders pursuing and wishing for team spots. Tact and diplomacy go a long way; little digs and derogatory remarks are remembered. One never knows when a sure-thing team will sink in this sport. It pays to work the teams as much it pays to learn team work. Not to be confused with dishonesty or manipulation, working the teams means really learning who people are and perhaps going so far as to find out what they care about and what they need.

Simple conversations and short encounters may be enough to be remembered during this season when directors are looking at who’s who like a reference biographer. In a community this tight, networking has many advantages from employment opportunities to training and travel-sharing. The simple act of introductions and greetings goes a long way toward gathering and giving competitive intelligence.

It’s a myth to wait for a perceptive director to notice your potential and cull you out of the pack to make your career. It’s true this does sometimes occur, but why not increase the odds? If looking for a job in engineering for example, one wouldn’t just enter exhibitions and expect work to be seen. An engineer would apply for jobs, send resumes, utilize headhunters, answer ads, make calls, and interview. Racing well is only half of wheeling and dealing, the other half involves a little campaigning, namely camaraderie.


Prayer for Team Politics
“Step out of the traffic!

Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” 57Psalm 46:7


We acknowledge good politics is nothing more than good will that steps across an aisle seeking consensus. We pray for strong interpersonal interactions in cycling.

Ponder Do the decision-makers know me? Affirm I want to know everyone in my sphere. Watch who’s new and say hello.


56“Top cyclists excited for Tour de Leelanau,” by Chris Olson for Leelanau Enterprise posted September 14, 2007 on

57The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Seasonal Transitions/Realistic Assessment

Posted in Seasonal Transitions on August 21, 2009 by bethleasure

Bridge the Gap          

42“We just missed a few tactics yesterday and today we played the game exactly how we said it, we did how we said we were going to do it, that’s results and that’s how we want to play it… we really wanted to wait for half race to do it, and that’s pretty much what happened. I saw the opportunity, there’s no star on this team, we’re all here to take opportunities, that’s what happened.” Jeff Louder, Pro Cyclist on stage win


What are your closest friends saying about your situation?

What are your closest friends saying about your situation?

Chase back to catch your next break. That break may be in cycling or it may mean radical changes. This is an opportunity to determine new expectations and execute new prosperous strategies.

Just as a team meets to discuss ways to overcome setbacks, it helps to get feedback of others’ perceptions of you and fresh approaches. Reality is not based on how we feel. I’ve worked with frustrated riders who felt they were ready for a team spot who may never overcome obstacles of impatience, inflexibility outside of comfort zone, and poor communication skills – all qualities necessary for effective team work. I’ve also worked with riders who lacked knowledge, skill and confidence whose big engines and robust personalities landed them quickly in the scouting talent pool.

Somewhere among self-evaluation, the perception of others who know and respect us, and spiritual life – is the truth. Today we make a plan to bridge the gap between reality and hopes.


Prayer for Realistic Assessment
“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” 43Romans 12:3-24


We pray for open hearts to search and receive the best possible way into a prosperous future.


Ponder What are my current circumstances revealing about future?


What are wise friends and close associates advising me about cycling?


Is there provision in place for the plans I’ve formed? If not, what’s my proposal for funding/income/resources?


What is my passion revealing about my assignment? What makes me angry, sad, pumped, excited?


What can I offer that no one else can?


What inspires a deep sense of peace about my future: using verses of the Bible, words of inspiration, “signs” or unexpected spiritual senses? What is revealed to me in prayer?


Affirm I consider all these things to change course. Watch within, without, with God.

42“Jeff Louder wins break sprint in Redlands crit and Santiago Botero protects his yellow jersey – Report and Photos,” posted April 6th, 2008 by Lyne Lamoureux on
43The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Dreams Dashed/Renew Expectations

Posted in Seasonal Transitions on August 18, 2009 by bethleasure

Dreams Dashed        

44“My dreams to be a professional cyclist are dead,” and a few weeks later…“Life is beautiful.” Saul Raisin, Former Pro Cyclist


Cycling brings tears of despair and joy

Cycling brings tears of despair and joy

Stories of overcoming odds to become a professional, setbacks then comebacks, and dashed dreams are common in cycling. What sets Saul Raisin apart is the extremity of his duress, the totality of his defeats, the reawakening of his dreams, and his incredible readjustment abilities on all sides of his situation. The same brass balls Saul used to climb Tour of Georgia’s formidable Brasstown Bald were employed to return to pro cycling after a near-death accident. These balls, rusty from the tears of a doctor-recommended dead-end regarding Saul’s safety in returning, were polished to gleam again toward new dreams and a foundation about brain injury. Appropriately called Raisin Hope, the foundation informs, supports, and links like-minded victims of head trauma. In this season of realization, uncertainty and waning energies, take a lesson from Saul Raisin regarding new expectations and hopes. Use your head to determine what happens on the other side of this season’s transitions.


Prayer for New Expectations

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 45I Timothy 6:17 


We pray that today’s priority check yields fresh insights and that our dreams include the dreams and needs of others.


Ponder What is the focus of my hopes and dreams?


Who has benefited from this focus? Am I helping others realize their dreams with my dreams?


What dreams were realized this year?


What dreams need more time and pursuit and what’s your evidence the pursuit is worth it?


What new directions can a dream-in-the-works take?


The best management for disappointment is using its information to redirect your hope. What will be the cost of redirecting a realizable dream in time, resources, and energies prioritized toward it?


What dreams weren’t realized this year and may never be? What’s the evidence for this dead dream?


Despite a dead dream, what gives you hope for your future?


In this new vision for your future, are you trusting that God is a dream-giver?



Affirm I ask God for my dreams. Watch God-given dreams increase love for God, self and others.


44Quotes are from now refers to

45The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society