Archive for the Victory Lap Category

Cycling & Off-Season

Posted in Victory Lap on November 15, 2011 by bethleasure

Fare Thee Well

40“Every year at season’s end, I evaluate what happened this year and thank God for it before deciding where He will lead me the next year.” Kim Morrow, Masters World Champion & Cycling Coach

Fare thee well cycling friends...


A long season closes after – many peaks and valleys, straight and crooked roads, still and windy days, hot and chillin’ moments, old bases of support and new acquaintances, deepening experience and teachable times, predictions and surprises, goals missed and hopes met, defeats and yes some victories – some of them in the form of race wins.

Each year brings its set of troubles and triumphs. Whether it finishes on a low or a high note, we have songs of praise to sing. Be joyful now and carry the highest hopes for what’s ahead. Problems aside, just now we are thankful for what has come and what is.

An entire season of daily Prayers for the Peloton has now been blogged. To track the season and see some off-season notes, see Prayers: Table of Contents. Fare thee well my friends.


Ah, when to the heart of man

                        Was it ever less than a treason

To go with the drift of things,

                        To yield with a grace to reason,

And bow and accept the end

                        Of a love or a season?     41Robert Frost


42Praise Our God Above (Harvest Song)

Praise our God above, source of boundless love:

                               Spring wind, summer rain, then the harvest grain;

                               pearly rice and corn, fragrant autumn morn.

                               Though our work is hard, God gives us reward.


                               God’s care like a cloak wraps us humble folk,

                               makes all green things grow, ripens what we sow.

                               Through God we are strong; sing our harvest song.

                        Sing praise, field and flower, praise God’s mighty power


Praise for Racing Season

 “God! Let people thank and enjoy you.
Let all people thank and enjoy you.
Earth, display your exuberance!
You mark us with blessing, O God, our God.”
43Psalm 67:5-6

We are glad for another year of competitive cycling. We are grateful for all the people in the cycling community that participate, orchestrate, and watch bike racing. Thanks for another year of health, fitness, and joy. Even the suffering has brought good rewards. Even our pains have led to blessings and we count those now.

Ponder What am I most thankful for this past racing season? Affirm I am so glad for — this year! Watch and carry these blessings into your next season of cycling and life.

40Conversations with Kim Morrow. Kim’s website is

41An excerpt from the poem, Reluctance by Robert Frost

422061. Praise Our God Above (Harvest Song) Text: Tzu-chen Chao; trans. by Frank W. Price, alt. (Deut. 8:1-3, 6-10; Matt.6:25-33) Music: Confucian Dacheng Chant; arr. by W.H. Wong Tune: HSUANPING, Meter: 55.55 D. This tune can be heard on

43The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson


Cycling & Reform

Posted in Victory Lap on October 21, 2011 by bethleasure

Fantastic Reorganization?


33“This reorganisation has been the subject of intense discussion with the teams and organisers with the view to establishing a common platform to allow cycling to return to a period of stability and serenity.” UCI Plan for the future of professional cycling


“The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance.” ― Thomas Jefferson


This entry was originally written at a time when the road beneath our bikes shifted a little less, and this was meant as a Praise entry for cycling’s apparent reforms. Since then, pro cycling’s track record on being truly reformed seems shakier still and perhaps has pedaled a few strokes in reverse. A winner of Grand Tours remains untried for alleged activity; and yet another is under federal investigation. The sport’s governing bodies seem even more entrenched in a purpose of smoothing things over to maintain status quo, pursuing its role of Promoter in conflict with its role as Overseer.


Even the humblest of coaches can appreciate that even a great athlete cannot have two goals in conflict and expect to accomplish either with supreme excellence. Let’s say Lance Armstrong wants to pursue both a Tour win and Olympic gold in the 500m sprint. For his coach to advise that as a conflict in goals and that he’d be better served focusing on the one thing he does really well would be the loving thing to do. But if the coach were more concerned about personal ambition and expansion and could see Lance impacting both areas at least some, then the coach may advise with self-interest. Lance loses the Tour but crowds flock to watch him challenge; he gains a placing on the track but walks away medal-less, in this fantastic scenario. The coach sells more books; Lance’s media entourage penetrates the world of track; the promoters of the Tour are a bit richer. No one walks away claiming excellence. The coach has chosen something other than the high road of loving Lance.


Thus it’s not harsh to point out when goals are in conflict, even if there is a payback in the short-term within that conflict. There is also a cost in the long-term, a huge cost. Thus let me do the loving thing for cycling and its participants and not be the first to point out that the goal of promoting cycling is in direct conflict with the goal of overseeing its behavior. These kinds of organizational checks and balances are why democracies thrive – the executive branch must be accountable to the legislative process, which is bound by the judicial system. Each organization focused on its goal, pursues its purpose in an accountable, presumably better way where the opportunity, at least, for less corruption provides for a healthy society, where care for its citizens demonstrates its excellence.


We have a long way to go for accountability to be the norm in cycling, and for its citizens to be in the best care. Significant reform is necessary, and former dictatorships must die. Short-term stability is compromising specialization and excellence in the long-term. Every successful athlete accepts the short-term pain in the process of long-term excellence.


I originally wrote: “today celebrate your discovery, confession, repentance and reforms!” but now I feel instead we should pray all the harder for that discovery, confession, and repentance, as well as for the reform that is its evidence. That reform must include a separation of powers based upon the admission that in fact, cycling citizens are better served by accountable governing.


And so I end with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on true free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among general bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.” –Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Va., 1782.



34Amazing Grace

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.


Praise for Cycling Reforms (in advance)

“Then I let it all out; I said, ‘I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.’  Suddenly the pressure was gone—my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;

when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts we’ll be on high ground, untouched. Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be— you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him.

Celebrate God. Sing together—everyone!  All you honest hearts, raise the roof!” 35Psalm 32:5-6,1-2,11

We are glad for stellar examples of confession, repentance and restoration in professional cycling. Thank You for forgiving honest hearts and for making beauty out of ashes. Thank You for many graces that keep us on the high road.


Ponder In what area in cycling did I realize I was wrong? I know my area, do you know yours? Affirm I celebrate change and reform in my character, even if that change hurts! Watch what could be when the limits of power are subject to other powers; just as competition makes us stronger.



33“UCI’s plans for Future of Pro Cycling,” By Rebecca Charlton – Cycling TV posted Switzerland| Cycling 18-08-08 on

34Amazing Grace by John New­ton, Ol­ney HymnsLon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779

35The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Cycling & Answered Prayer

Posted in Victory Lap on August 19, 2011 by bethleasure

Faithful Responses

29“And then, as if God himself had answered my prayers, the most amazing spectacle of the 21st century occurred right before my scrappy little eyes: One of the ladies dropped her chain.”   Race Report

Me and Mr. Wonderful

Some prayers answered for you became challenges for another. In a harmonious cycle, our challenges persuade us to pray while answered prayers lead to praise!

It’s been a long season in my prayerful life. In an earlier blog about cycling and romance, I posted that I held hope out for that one special guy to share life and cycling. This was after YEARS of a lot of wrong turns, getting dropped, and separations to be solo – to put it in race terms. About the time I was at peace with spinsterhood and planning my little cottage near family, I told God if He wanted me to be with someone He was going to be the one Who arranged it as I was tired of being my own marital Directeur Sportif.

Literally the next day, I went out for the usual lunchtime ride and at the first crossroads, a place I’d ridden through millions of times, awaited Mr. Wonderful on a Specialized. We’ve been riding together ever since, and in a few days we will go tandem for life by marrying up. Prayers do get answered.

Daily time set-aside for inspiration and spiritual growth yield great rewards. Think of those rewards, areas of renewed hope, restored faith, and growing awareness of God. Remember answered prayers. Discover what’s gained in petitioning – greater God awareness. We push pedals, and sometimes we must PUSH spiritually: Pray Until Something Happens. Another cycling advisor has come into your life who listens – God Almighty!

God’s so good, he hears our cry.
He knows our needs before we sigh.
He takes our load, and gives us hope
because he loves us so.
When we pray both night and day,
he’s always there to share our cares.
and give advice if we but ask
because he loves us so.
30Praise Song

31In the Garden

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Praise for Answered Prayers

 “…many people will give thanks for the blessings we receive in answer to all these prayers.” 322 Corinthians 1:11

We acknowledge our answered prayers and give thanks!

Ponder What prayers were answered in unexpected ways that turned out even better than imagined? Affirm I will keep praying and praising! Watch for a closer walk with God through the act of prayer, as well as all your needs met and some of your wants.



29“Race Reports: Jessi Prinner Reports from Hillsboro-Roubaix,” posted April 2, 2008

30Let God Be Good To You by Lenny Smith and Elton Smith Copyright © 1997 New Jerusalem Music

31In the Garden words & music by C. Aus­tin Miles, 1912

32The Bible, Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Praise for Renewed Cooperation

Posted in Victory Lap on October 26, 2010 by bethleasure

Fellowship Resumes

36“We are acknowledging that some things could have been handled differently. The athletes brought that to our attention in a very constructive way and we are going to do everything we can to make sure that something like this does not happen again.”  US Olympic Committee apology to American track cyclists

Bono likes cooperation...and bikes.


Few things act like balm upon an angry war-torn spirit like an apology. A brave and responsible few came forward this season and said they were sorry. Though many conflicts remain unresolved among disagreeing parties within and without the peloton, we have witnessed some resumption of relationships this season. We praise cooperation!

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We’re still building
Then burning down love, burning down love
And when I go there
I go there with you…
(its all I can do)

38Blest Be the Tie That Binds

Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares.

We share each other’s woes,
our mutual burdens bear;
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.

Praise for Renewed Cooperation

 “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” 39Psalm 133:1

We recognize sometimes it’s important to stand one’s ground and fight for one’s cause. Thanks to those who came together to cooperate – who parleyed problems into peace.

Ponder In what situations did I cooperate this year? Affirm I’m so relieved that — was resolved! Watch how pleasant it is to be around formerly uncomfortable scenarios when cooperation resumes.

36“U.S.O.C. Apologises,” First Edition Cycling News, September 16, 2008 edited by Paul Verkuylen & Les Clarke  on

37Where the Streets Have No Name lyrics by U2

38Blest Be the Tie That Binds words by John Fawcett 1740-1817, and music by Johann G. Nageli, 1768-1836; arr. by Lowell Mason, 1792-1872

39The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Praise for Off-Season

Posted in Victory Lap on October 19, 2010 by bethleasure

Finish Line

44“And as an everyday cyclist, I’m assured that I’ll always be able to find my way home – even if home is a hotel room in a distant city.” Christian Vande Velde, Pro Cyclist on navigational technology 

Rest even if the bike's not far away...

Each racing season ends with an off-season. Or viewed another way, each new season begins with an off-season. The next weeks, take time to evaluate what’s past in order to prepare for what’s to be. Review highlights and touch points for you. By doing so, you may discover some navigational clues for renewed direction and new preparation.

Include some contemplation for rest; or expand on evaluating beyond what your season meant in results and about what it meant to your character. Supplement your daily time with additional inspirational readings.

Take stock. Take time to fellowship and worship God now off the bike with others– perhaps in a pew of a church or in a parlor for group study. Find your way home!

The self-renewal process must balance renewal in all four dimensions of our nature:

The Spiritual – Value Clarification and Commitment, Study and Meditation

The Mental – Reading, Visualizing, Planning, Writing

The Physical – Exercise, Nutrition, Stress Management [and now rest]

The Social/Emotional – Service, Empathy, Synergy, Intrinsic Security   45Stephen R. Covey 

46Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.


Praise for Off-Season

 “…their recovery is going to set off something even better: mass homecoming!”  47Romans 11:13

We praise God for times of refreshment and for homecomings.

Ponder About what am I most praiseworthy going into off-season? Affirm Spent as I am, I am excited to come home so it can start all over again! Watch how reflection times help you feel God’s pleasure.

44“Team Garmin edition Edge 705 now available!” Author: admin posted Sept 23, 08 on Slipstream Sports blog home  Eugene H. Peterson

457 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey Running Press Copyright © 1989 Stephen R. Covey

46Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing words by Ro­bert Ro­bin­son, 1758 A Col­lect­ion of Hymns used by the Church of Christ in Angel Al­ley, Bi­shop­gate, 1759. Music by Net­tle­ton, Wyeth’s Re­po­si­to­ry of Sac­red Mu­sic, Part Se­cond, by John Wy­eth 1813

47The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by

Praise for Accomplishments

Posted in Victory Lap on October 5, 2010 by bethleasure

For Our Deeds

25“I was praying, waiting, hoping…I don’t have any words – I am so excited, so happy. I can’t speak right now, I don’t know what to say. It’s a dream come true.” Amber Neben, World TT Champion

Hooray we as cyclists did something right this year!

Deeds that fulfill dreams leave us speechless. Sometimes a melody captures our delight better than words. Capping a season with a gold medal is one way to end the year’s racing on a high note.

Whether you won at World’s or not, remember and be thankful for your top-step experiences this season. List praises for all that went well. Think of wins, podiums or better placings. Think of improvements and positive changes.

Remember your deeds and see them in light of God being there with you. Contemplate surprising ways your needs were met and see God’s provision there. He cares for you and He showed it this year! Sing your particular high notes to acknowledge your thanks!

Lord, let the treasures of my heart
The work of humble hands
Be an offering to You        
26Praise Song 

27Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!


Praise for Accomplishments

 “Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.”  28Psalm 107:8

We are glad when hard work and wise living pay off in achievements. We are astounded when we can see God doubling our efforts with unexpected, supernatural, miraculous deeds. Every day we see Your provision on earth awakened by light and fresh mornings. Remind me of these same consistent blessings You brought specifically to me this year so I can be grateful for what we’ve accomplished.

Ponder What contributed to this year’s accomplishments? Affirm I am speechless when rewarded with unexpected successes! Watch for ways that God loves you, and when these works sink in, praise Him!

25“75th World Championships – CM Varese, Italy, September 23-28, 2008 Race 2 – September 24: Women’s time trial, 25.15km ‘Neben knocks out favourites for gold Soeder and Arndt take second and third’ By Bjorn Haake, with additional reporting from Hedwig Kröner and Gregor Brown in Varese

26Everything To You by Rhesa Siregar, Paul Gentry, Dave Cooley and Elton Smith CCLI Number: 4182902

27Great Is Thy Faithfulness words by Thom­as O. Chis­holm and music by William M. Run­yan 1923

28The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society