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 www.cycling.tv

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

21“Beryl Burton” Britannica Online Encyclopedia www.britannica.com

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

Bike Crashes

Posted in May-Day on June 10, 2011 by bethleasure

Crash Course

3bike wrecks make sure i know my place in this big screwy world…i’ve just had a small dose of my own mortality. i ride on, seemingly undaunted by the blood trickling down my leg or the pain in my shoulder, but a lot is going through my mind.

i am not invincible.
i bleed just like anyone else.
there are a million things out here that could kill me.
i am never promised a tomorrow.

the psychological effect is what is good for me in a bike wreck. i need this reminder from time to time. the physical pain is also good in its own way – it’s refreshing. it lets me know i’m alive…it’s better that i listened to what the bike wreck had to tell me.”  Jethro Bodine, Bicycle Impact Survivor

 

Now that's an endo!

Going splat against the pavement has a way of re-sensitizing us to violence, human suffering, and gratitude. Glad to walk away or be carried, we are still thankful to talk about it.

 

My worst crash I cannot remember as it involved a head injury with face plant. My most painful crash required multiple stitches in a French clinic. My scariest crash was caused by attack dogs. My angriest crash intersected an errant motorist. All these impacts and others left consequences beyond the body. My soul was searched in order to heal my body through these unplanned encounters with vulnerability, mortality, and philosophy.

 

It’s not a question of if but of when and how often riding your bike will result in a crash. Bike riding can be dangerous. One aggressive europro questioned about his superior descending skills said he never took risks in training. Yet cautious riding still leads to injury, and a few of my hardest impacts came at a snail’s pace. Sometimes those impacts come from moving obstacles – cars, wild animals, chasing dogs, tumbleweeds. Even gusts of wind can throw-down. It’s not safe out there.

 

Crash courses teach tuck and roll – something which may not be at all useful depending on the circumstances. Yet I recommend practicing this maneuver, doing skills work, gaining knowledge of traffic laws and gravitational forces, and using safety equipment. The best curriculum, however, is acceptance – working out your salvation energetically before God prepared and ready for what comes at you…hopefully fast, smooth, steady finish lines!

 

Prayer for Safety

“Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.” 4Psalm 16:1

 

We acknowledge cycling’s risks. We pray for preservation and salvation beyond the consequences of crashing.

 

Ponder Have I worked out my beliefs about destiny and eternity? Affirm I trust God with my cycling. Watch and be aware of dangers, yet ride with abandonment secure that your soul is in Greater Hands.

 

3“Bicycle Wrecks Are Good for Me,” by Jethro Bodine posted 10-26-2000 www.everything2.com

4Holy Bible, King James Version public domain

 

Pacing Strategy

Posted in What Would Cyclists Do? on June 7, 2011 by bethleasure

Cyclists Pace

1“The beauty of cycling is that you’re forced to think and to be so calculating at the same time as your body is in agony from hard effort…the important question is how you distribute that effort.” Dr. Stephen Cheung, Cyclist & Exercise Physiologist

Zabriskie zings the pace

Distribution of effort within a Pacing Strategy is a must for a competitor whose endeavor is a new personal best. Generally, when pacing is discussed among physiologists about road racing, the main focus concerns effort against the clock. Graphically, these efforts have many shapes. The most typical shapes tell a story, such as: the classic tophat silhouette of an even effort preached as salvation in the early days of powermeter analyses; a U-curve typical of self-paced efforts with a hard start then forced adjustment reducing average power output and last ditch punch in the final kilometer; and a tight sawtooth pattern reflecting a tough course with uneven efforts within a certain range. A winning ride isn’t based on a picture but on which of these or other patterns covers the distance in the least amount of time.

 

2Studies indicate subjective pacing without a powermeter tend toward slower times. Starting too fast is often the main culprit. Riders with pacing technology have a more complicated task devising a strategy that incorporates many details, such as air conditions, cadence, and terrain. There are subjective means to transverse that terrain based on rider strengths and intuition within a certain power output. There are objective measures using an overall average wattage coupled with time or speed splits at intervals, or max and minimum watt targets based on course features applied at starts, ascents, descents, corners, finishes etc. A mix of this time trialist intuition and the science of the numbers provides a winning formula for pacing.

 

Another factor to consider is 3feedback – a luxury for an amateur but precision science spoken to the rider by team staff during the event. While Pacing Strategy is applied most notably in a time trial, road races also require distribution of effort. Studies about pacing are few, but it is clear that riding like a brute out of the blocks isn’t the proper method.

 

Pacing varies its energies throughout the year for racing, training, psychology, goals, spiritual growth, resources – all of which must be distributed well for optimal performance.

 

Prayer for Pacing Strategy

“The Lord your God…directs you in the way you should go.” 4Isaiah 48:17

 

We ask for wisdom in recognizing our governors for optimal pacing.

 

Ponder What am I using to set pace? Affirm I let these markers propel and not prohibit me. Watch the details and determine pace for full potential.

 

 

1“Toolbox: Time Trial Pacing Strategies,” by Dr. Stephen Cheung, PhD posted on April 15, 2008  www.pezcyclingnews.com. Stephen Cheung is Canada Research Chair at Brock University, with a research specialization in the effects of thermal stress on human physiology and performance.

2“Pacing strategies during a cycling time trial with simulated headwinds and tailwinds,” by Atkinson & Brunskill published in Ergonomics 43:1449-1460, 2000

3“Effect of distance feedback on pacing strategy and perceived exertion during cycling,” by Noakes, Lambert, Gibson, Albertus, Tucker & Hampson in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, WK Health 0195-9131, 2005. This measures negative feedback and concludes perceived rate of exertion and heart rate did not change. I submit that any feedback, even negative or incorrect feedback, acts as an encourager but that proper feedback that includes more than RPE and HR makes a measurable difference, and would love to see a study on it.

 4The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Cycling & Emergency Personnel

Posted in May-Day on June 3, 2011 by bethleasure

Cycling’s Samaritans

7“I love marshaling bike races, hours of sitting with something to really watch.”  Police Officer marshaling the district criterium championship

Some of our protectors like speed too

Hanging out at a bike race in any official capacity to monitor and manage safety is an interesting vigilance. Official government and civic community support is essential. From funding road infrastructure to medical assistance, our ability to ride depends on the interest and activities of many behind-the-scenes professionals and volunteers.

 

From ensuring pedestrians don’t walk in front of riders to ministering medical assistance, the calls for help are heard in every event and answered by these hidden Samaritans. Often these are the people we look through as riders. Until they’re needed, we don’t really want to see them: certainly not misdirecting a sprinting pack or stopping short on a moto. Yet these guardians are often our first comforters in any incident. Examples include: a cycling doctor chose emergency medicine to have more ride time and relevant experience as a team doc; a marshal previews courses to sweep for debris and survey potential hazards; a hospital arranges for an extra helicopter on call while a major race comes through town; an ambulance crew sits by hoping nothing more is needed than some water as they wait.

 

Like the Good Samaritan who crossed the road despite inconvenience, we are humbled by their care so we can ride. Once a French fan pressed a few francs into my palm as I moaned on the road cradling a bashed elbow full of grit. I’d crashed just across the street from him, and his energy to cross and sympathize was much appreciated.

 

Prayer for Emergency Personnel

“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds….made him comfortable.” 8Luke 10:30-37

 

We are grateful for caring and competent support. We confess we take these services for granted. We ask blessing upon all officials and emergency personnel whose aim is to ensure safe riding and rapid response. Bless those who comfort us while monitoring our safety.

Ponder Do I extend the same mercy to others that is given to me? Affirm I give behind-the-scenes thanks and offer hidden care.  Watch when you’re off your bike at an event, all the people somewhat surreptitiously in place ensuring your care.

 

7Conversations with a course policeman. Actually it was I who offered him a donut. I was so happy about winning, I wanted to share it with everyone. So I tried to thank everyone on my victory lap.

8The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

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

German Cycling

Posted in Spring Classics on May 27, 2011 by bethleasure

Ab und Zu      On and Off

41“I missed cycling while I was away from it. I had to put it in right order in my priorities. I returned to cycling convinced that it was God’s plan for me.” Klaus Jesse, German Cyclist, Team Director

Doping no thanks

 

Germany has been a country of two histories. My preferred Germany is not the notorious nation in world history; it’s the land of forces central to important issues and the spirit of total resolve in a fight. Known for emotional reserve, German unrelenting passions sometimes burst spilling over into a world pressed to respond. From the 42theses atWittenberg to the Berlin Wall, we take notice. A line is drawn and meant to be crossed.

This public pendulum – its syncopated rhythm is not unlike my best German cycling memories. All my riding time there came after Colorado winters endured by long miles at one speed on the bike. A March group ride inGermanyshocks you into geardom, its on-and-off pace marked by extremes of intensity. There are many quaint German villages announced by charming town signs – all sprint lines in the minds of German cyclists. I surged more on a Saxon ride than I did all race-long in a cowboy criterium back home.

Talk about snap, witness the decisive action of a pro like Jens Voigt who 43once bragged that he’d race like three men. I can attest it takes three pairs of legs for the uninitiated to hang with the German form of attacking. That the blitz against doping is full on in Germany fits with a cultural bent to switch gears decisively. Remember at one time there were two Germany’s whose decisive action toward unity inspired walls of division to fall in its own nation and in others. German reaction and single-mindedness about clean cycling is an inspiration, doping nein danke.

Prayer for German Cycling

“A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” 44James 1:8

 

We are thankful that each nation has unique strengths that can be emulated in life and sport. We confess we sometimes misuse our strengths and seek wisdom for its proper uses. We pray that German dedication to ideals bear a positive world influence and ask blessing upon our German cycling friends.

Ponder Is there any time when I speak or act inconsistently? How can I shore up unstable areas in my life? Affirm I make a decision and stick with it and if not a good one, I can switch gears. Watch well thought-out single minded resolve be a barrier to defeat.

41Conversations with Klaus Jesse, whose authentically-lived faith in God and racing abilities inspired an international movement and several new organizations to merge spiritual life with love of cycling, such as International Christian Cycling Club. This faith came with a struggle to sacrifice, if necessary, his dreams of cycling for what was best. Many are pleased about his determination to keep cycling second to his values. Klaus has worked with many athletes, clubs, and teams, including the German national team and Team Nurnberger.

42The posting of 95 Theses by Martin Luther atWittenberg catalyzed the Protestant Reformation. The tearing down by its citizens of the Berlin Wall signaled the end of The Cold War. The Iron Curtain melted by many warming trends including forces of unity between West and East Germany, gave all of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics access to one another and the west after decades of division. German contribution was significant to this occurring.

43Jens Voigt explaining his plan for that day in the 2004 Tour de France, Team CSC’s documentary directed by Tómas Gislason, “Overcoming.” Voigt’s plucky optimism and oft-successful attack style make him a favorite to watch. 

44Holy Bible, King James Version, public domain

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 Causes & Charities

Posted in In Like A Lamb on May 20, 2011 by bethleasure

Gray Sheep

7“…give a contribution, not only economically…but also with my image…There are a lot of organizations in the world but I think it is important that if you can help some or at least one organization, that is good.” Ivan Basso, Pro suspended but giving time without appearance fees

Zero tolerance cycling cause

Often our behavior is not black or white. We can be gray like woolly sheep in need of cleansing atonement. Even a suspended, unpaid rider volunteered time and talent as treasure for a good cause. One benefit was some effective public relations all around but the motivations can be many.

Take the quality of self-sacrifice used in a team scenario and now apply it to other parts of your life: your family, relationships, team culture, sponsors, charities, governing organizations, and social causes. Even the poorest rider can offer themselves without an appearance fee to lead a charity ride, speak about safety to school kids, advocate bikes to transportation authorities, volunteer, do the right thing and help a great cause. Some give themselves pro bono as coaches, team management, or event marshals.

Opportunities for benevolence are plentiful: charity rides to raise money for – medical research, disease prevention or awareness, organizations that help the oppressed, the environment, or a memorial fund; donations toward junior, collegiate, or national team funds; trail maintenance or litter patrols; or donating equipment to others in need. Other ways to give is to help the sport in its fight for systematic fairness in anti-doping, prize money parity, or some other problem that needs solved from those within whose influence is without.

 We can all give without excuse. One way to choose a cause is to seek the object of your strong emotions. This is the clue to your giving assignment. Where are you bitter, angry, outraged, sad? Cure it by helping another who hurts like you, righting an injustice that’s wronged you, give back where you’ve most had need. Take the blackness of life, mix it with what’s purest about bicycling and as you give back, paint yourself in new shades of mission.

Prayer for Cycling Causes & Charity Rides

“We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way…He took up the cause of all the black sheep.” 8Isaiah 53:6, 12

 

We are glad that the world’s problems are solved through community. We confess we hold ourselves apart at times from the causes we most understand because of painful remembrances. We ask for the means to give to others less fortunate and blessing upon charity rides.

Ponder Who needs my time, talent, treasure? Affirm I donate my love of cycling to good causes. Watch what’s least fortunate about yourself become what’s most fortunate for another.

7“Basso gives back with Intervita,” posted by Tom Hodges December 26, 2007 www.recovoxnews.blogspot.com<

8The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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 www.news.bbc.co.uk

51James 4:2-3 www.biblegateway.com

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

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