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

Eight Years for a Day: Olympic Cycling

Posted in Summer Carnival on August 1, 2011 by bethleasure

13It’s the most amazing day of my life. I’ve been working for this for the last eight years, especially the last four, and to time everything right on one day is an accomplishment of its own.” Kristin Armstrong, Time Trial Olympic Gold

Olympic Day, Wedding Day, child's birthday - lots of big days in life


What a day it is to peak correctly! Olympic cycling comes only every four years, but the preparation for an Olympic goal occurs every day years in advance. Eight-year physiological planning is considered the gold standard for Olympic competitiveness. Based on this idea and a national team program that is medal-driven, American women have medaled in the past three Olympic time trials. This is the height of honor in female road racing. Whatever struggles were encountered, all pale in comparison to the shimmer of metal on this special day.

Yet living out the countless minutes of training, discipline, sacrifices in lifestyle, travel schedule, race rigors, saying no to over-commitment and yes to isolation and even to boredom at times is all part of what it takes to slip that circular medallion around your neck. It is hardly the high-life enduring hours of racing in the rain, training in
the cold, skipping dessert, keeping farmer’s hours, honing the craftsmanship of
the sport and refining psychology, emotions, and character for excellence.

It takes a team of experts who work well together and who remain focused on the same goal over a long period of time. Even in the time trial, a team is necessary to assist with preparation and competition. For the road race, this becomes crucial and more often than not, the winner comes from a team dedicated as a unit.

To have a great day for one day on the right day is such an achievement. It requires many days of consistent, sustained excellence at a cost in energy, time, resources, and decision-making. Really that one great day is thousands of excellent days. It takes a gatekeeper to win – someone willing to shut the door on distraction and open it to the right focus.

Prayer for Olympic Cycling

“A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!  I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.” 14Proverbs 84:10

We are grateful for the Olympic Games –a celebration of universal unity through the community of sport. We ask blessing on Olympic cycling and all those preparing for it.

Ponder What am I willing to do for a single day of greatness? Affirm I do more than envy an Olympian. I am dedicated like one every day. Watch your days of excellence lead to a day of celebration!



13“Armstrong wins time trial gold,” posted August 12,  2008 on

14Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004 Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois  60189

French Cycling & Tour de France

Posted in Spring Classics on July 1, 2011 by bethleasure

La Diadème Doré   Gilded Crown

23“Why do they always finish at the top of a mountain.” Rhetoric by Ian Wright, Cyclosportif

Mont Blanc, the crown of the Alps in cycling's royal nation


Cyclosportif is a form of group ride particularly popular in France. It’s an organized mass participation event where riders, who start in waves, are timed, given a result, and awarded prizes like a competitive form of an ultra-century ridden as an unsanctioned race. The most prestigious of the genre, L’Etape du Tour is an annual summer event allowing recreational riders to experience a stage of the Tour de France
just prior to its arrival. One must register far in advance for admission, and starting position is at premium. Occupying the front lines of staging is a class of VIP riders. Yet like the French national creed of Liberté-Égalité-Fraternité, cyclosportif is a race for all with equal exposure to the grandest riding and greatest guest riders.


Invited to L’Etape when it finished on l’Alpe d’Huez, my hosts aranged accommodation worthy of a climber’s Elysian col. We stayed in a halet and dined upon the terrace at evening overlooking great mountains. Seen in the distance with its alpenglow mists was Mont Blanc in silhouette. Just as its magnificence was being noted by the  innkeeper, rays of the sunset hit the points of the great white peak transforming it – in a shimmering moment – into a golden crown. Its effulgence about us was much like the brilliance of cycling’s reign there in the French Alps.


France’s ancient landmarks attest: 24“With glistering spires and pinnacles adorned, Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams…” A country which promotes the sport’s most watched and benchmark event, it is the culture which brings us many of our racing terms, traditions, and concepts. Cycling’s free, egalitarian, and fraternal appeal gives all riders a chance to be royalty for a ride.


Prayer for French Cycling & TdF

“Remove not the ancient landmarks which your fathers have set up.” 25Proverbs 22:28


We are thankful for exceptional riding experiences and traditions, and the history of effort that came before us. We confess our occasional undeserved entitlement and elitism. We pray blessing upon French cycling and cycling’s greatest event, Tour de France.


Ponder Do I look down on others or snub someone because I think I’m better? Affirm I see strengths and weaknesses in myself and others and appraise equitably. Watch for beautiful mountaintop moments on the bike and in life.


23“La Luchonnaise,” Cyclosportive 18th June 2005, Ian Wright’s event report.

24Paradise Lost, by John Milton, an epic poem in blank verse, published 1667.

25Amplified Bible, Copyright © Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Tolerating Pain

Posted in Out Like a Lion on June 24, 2011 by bethleasure

Go Fly A Kite                                             La Flamme Rouge

The Red Kite is overtaken                                              62La flamme rouge dépassée
The Yellow Jersey arrives                                             Maillot Jaune à l’arrivée
Radio Tour Information                                                      Radio Tour Information
Broadcast Television Tour de France                 Transmission télévision Tour de France

Kraftwerk lyrics, Techno Band, Cycling Enthusiasts

Timm Peddie

Peddie, Mionske, Chann, Darren, Lance - 1992 Olympic Team

Before Olympic road cycling became professional caliber, the final amateur American Olympic Trials occurred in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Based on a points system, one could qualify for the Barcelona-bound team but not before first facing the formidable class of 1992 – future lions like Lance Armstrong and his notable compatriot star domestiques. Yet it was an underestimated rider named Timm Peddie who forced an attack that stuck and won from his small group.

Peddie was not a favorite but he wasn’t without palmarès. He’d done some national team trips and had been tested as an espoir. Not as talented in some areas (and not doping either), his ability to suffer was off the charts. He wasn’t considered a GC contender, but he was known for repeatable snap that separated him at odd times from a peloton of painmeisters. His results were few but they were spectacular and solo. He rode with passion and produced a plethora of emotional reactions. This same fire
characterized his off-the-bike persona as well, and he was often a source of controversy due to his relentlessly righteous zeal. He was not without flaw nor meant to be pitied because he was misunderstood. He was simply as fiery and in-your-face as the red kite which clearly marks the final kilometer. He held nothing back.

In meeting both pain and the final kilometer, it’s no time to quail, rise up to the challenge or neither gives you respect. Mais où est cette maudite de flamme rouge, je ne sens plus mes jambes! Where is the flippin’ red kite because I cannot feel my
legs?! The red kite can also be a sweet marker that indicates your time to suffer will rise and fall at last…prior to the podium flowers, showers and resuscitating powers of rest and recovery.


Prayer for Ability to Finish Strong

“Lift up a banner and proclaim it; keep nothing back…” 63Job 39:21


We are thankful for the inflatable archways of the flamme rouge that mark the remaining throes of suffering. We ask for ability to tolerate this painful challenge that leads toward an expected end.

Ponder Am I eager to face pain like prey that must be clawed? Affirm I forebear to finish strong and capture a reward. Watch the kite as a sign to keep nothing back, then fly.


62“Lyrics 2003 Tour de France,”

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

Wheel Changes

Posted in March Madness on June 21, 2011 by bethleasure

Blown Chances

22A super-fast wheel-change can save the day.”  Geoff Brown, Race Mechanic

Race mechanics must race also...Help them win.

Despite a preference to be taken care of mechanically, responsible maintenance for smooth working order is a priority for a professional. Pro team mechanics appreciate a meticulous rider who provides equipment information in preparation for fast mechanicals and wheel-changes. Imagine needing a bike change without first conveying that your pedals are different from team issue. This is a disastrous sure way to get dropped from a race, not to mention being inconsiderate toward team staff as they attempt to switch bikes on the fly.

Likewise on your local group ride, a lack of preparation is inconsiderate toward training partners. Bring your basic flat tire stuff and know how to use it. I’m really grateful when I come prepared and someone still offers to help. Hundreds of thousands of miles later, road-side repair chivalry has saved me a few times.

On the other hand, one neutral support wheel change was the stuff of my nightmares. My tire popped on a high speed course into a screaming section. A willing but inexperienced helper took minutes for what should’ve taken seconds. I tried not to panic as I watched a promising tour turn into a week of stagiaire work,
because I and a group of others ill-fated and ill-inflated lost 16 minutes on Stage One.

In contrast, a neutral support success story was a save via a wheel change that took only seconds for our star rider at the base of a key climb on the penultimate stage. As an amateur elite team, we’d practiced wheel changes at camp. Three riders dropped back for a stunning example of teamwork, and our guy made the lead group of grimpeurs. All involved handled it like pros. This is the management of maddening circumstances for which we pray.

Prayer for Tire Repair/Wheel Changes

“…produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good [thing] that is ours…” 23Philemon 1:6


We are glad for assistance when frustrating circumstances come. We confess we are not always blamelessly prepared. We ask for diligence in risk management to avoid the worst as much as possible.

Ponder Is my bike ready for its upcoming uses? Affirm I am precise about maintenance, even if I rely on others mechanically. Watch your tires for cuts and clean off debris.

22“Brown heads home: No more Euro’ wrenching for Discovery mechanic,” by Andrew Hood Posted Sep. 30, 2006 Geoff was one of Europe’s top professional mechanics for 14 years, including 3 Giros, 11 Vueltas and 12 Tours. He is from western Canada.

23Amplified Bible Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Cycling & Modesty

Posted in Private Cycling on June 17, 2011 by bethleasure

Nature Break

53“Taking a nature break on the fly…One of the most interesting errr, weird things on an open circuit like this is that there’s really nowhere to really relieve yourself.” A proper TV announcer trying to explain cameras rolling while a racer pees

What works in a race may be illegal in an Aspen restaurant

Peeing on the bike has nothing to do with incontinence and more to do with the law and modesty. Public urination is against the law but not out of line with cycling ethics. It’s important to switch gears and behavior between private training routes and public venues however. Just like the same tactics of intimidation which may lead to a victory in a bike race will not work in public in real life.


On long races, male riders go to the backside of the peloton to pee. Nothing is noticeable except slight slowing and spray. A rider was disqualified for doing this mid-pack in a criterium along a course crowded with spectators in a conservative Midwestern town. Honestly, I admired his skill in executing this at speed while cornering but officials saw it differently.


Although I peed in my shorts a few times during races, it’s perhaps harder for a female to do unless the pace slows during a warm rain. The women’s pack agrees to stop en masse by roadside. I admit I’ve had my arse to the wind for an entire caravan to witness, although I don’t see the appeal of staring at a crouching backside.


What’s done in a race situation would be appalling in a shopping mall for instance. What was I thinking – scores of people just watched me urinate – doesn’t go through your mind on the way to a race-winning climb. You just do it or you can’t concentrate to race hard.


Cultural customs vary and who knows where others stand or squat on this issue? InAmericathis can offend local authorities to the point of withdrawing future event support. It may also repulse conservative local populations where modesty is particularly emphasized. In European sports halls post-race, men and women shower together so perhaps preaching public modesty is a pissing contest outsideAmerica. Wherever you stand or sit on this issue, drinking less electrolyte-laden fluids isn’t the answer. Try to pick the right spot at the right time.


Prayer for Public Modesty

“…take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies…modest about our personal parts.” 541 Corinthians 12:23


Although today’s topic retains a sense of humor, we confess we sometimes ignore local customs and the law to relieve ourselves, perhaps offending some. We pray for considerations of modesty, and for the public to look the other way.


Ponder Do I want to watch a spectator drop his/her drawers and pee in front of me? No! Affirm I hold it or pick the right place at the right time, and I don’t pee in public when not racing. Watch for private places or moments of relief.



53“Bicycle Pee Break,” Added by sportsnetwork on April 27, 2008 on

54The Bible, Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

British & Canadian Cycling

Posted in What Would Cyclists Do? on June 14, 2011 by bethleasure

Cyclists Speak

19“Nah ah’tall      Translation:         I think he can do it (an impossible race feat)

blimey                    Translation:         Wow that was an awesome move!

t’isn’tit?                  Translation:         He really could’ve done better.

maght ah dun yeah  Translation:But since he didn’t, let’s tell you what we think he should’ve done.

ah bit-ah faahya-pow-hya   Translation: He needs  power/courage / strength/speed/brains

British-isms from two Race Announcers speaking one form of English


Dans la tape (said with 2 fingers pressed against your jugular then exhale puhhhh.) Translation: In the Tape/On the rivet/Maxed                                                           Québécois Cycling Slang

Beryl Burton dans la tape


Wish my translations were as witty as a Brit’s. Isn’t it great that English is becoming another language of the peloton? Our English-speaking cousins and French-speaking friends from Canada bring a remarkable contribution to competitive cycling – from the refined streets of posh Londoners poised to teach the world how to time trial to the Scottish highlands of famous hors catégorie specialists to the rugged regions of western Canada known for epic riding to eurocool Québéc, an enclave of cycling culture. So many stories, characters, achievements, interesting tid-bits too great for this one run-on paragraph.


These are ways of winners whose language we want to speak, and dialects we wish to understand! I acknowledge and ponder and praise the peoples of these areas today with a story from each country:


Svein Tuft, World TT silver medalist based in 20back country, mountaineering for several years before taking up competitive cycling, but not before pedaling a bike trailer as he trekked through snow – tough, but demure off his bike. That’s impressive, Eh?!


From across the pond, British Time Trialist 21Beryl Burton was introduced to cycling by her husband. She won 100 titles over 30 years of racing. She earned the distinction of Best All-Arounder by winning 25, 50, and 100 mile trials and reserved the title for 25 years. She set several national records and won seven world titles. Her distance in the 12-hour time trial was over 5 miles more than the men’s record.


Two warriors of the sport from separate continents represent the shared language of a universal passion. Both nations’ cycling histories deserve books, and more, this prayer.


Prayer for Canadian & British Cycling

Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.” 22Zechariah 6:8


We ask blessing on Canadian and British cycling.


Ponder Who are my favorite Canadian and British cyclists? Affirm I think both countries rock as far as cycling enthusiasm. Watch these places for more great riding and glib speech to come.


19Two unnamed British race announcers, lovable and understandable enough calling a race on

20“An interview with Svein Tuft: From survivorman to cyclist,” posted September 24, 2007

21“Beryl Burton” Britannica Online Encyclopedia

22The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society