Posts Tagged ‘Time trial’

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“PUKING OVER PURSUED GREATNESS” – Feb 11

February 11, 2015

““…whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:6

 I want to be like Tony Martin… the cyclist, not the singer.  Tony Martin is a three time world champion and an absolute monster in the individual event where cyclists race against the clock.  The individual time trial is the “race of truth” since winning depends only on a rider’s strength and endurance.

I imagine being Tony Martin in the obscurity of my basement while spinning on my trainer.

Just like Tony Martin,…

I lie low over time-trial handlebars in a sleek aero-position.
I crank out intervals in my big chain ring.
I practice the Tony Martin open mouth “air scoop” breathing method.

I am a world champion time trialer… in my basement.

The sun shone brightly on a recent Saturday with temperatures above 40 degrees F and only a slight wind.  It was the perfect opportunity to turn my Tony Martin impersonation loose on the local rural roads. I kicked gravity loose and after a short warm-up, I was flying along in the practiced aero-position of a world champion that my mind imagined me to be.

Tony Martin had positioned me such, that only an extreme craning of my neck would allow sighting any distance ahead.  I had to content myself with watching the road a mere 5 feet beyond my front tire.  An occasional glance into the distance was my only assurance that the road actually continued before me.  The problem with this approach was that my focal point was upon a road blurred with speed.

I powered through some rollers but on the ascent of the last hill I began to feel a little queasy.  I held my aero-position thinking that the exertion was causing my stomach discomfort.  At the top of the hill, I slowed my pedaling and allowed my heart rate to fall.  One cough and then another brought me out of my aero-position.  A few coughs turned into dry heaves.

What is going on?  I am about to puke.

"The Way Way Back"I had not been riding hard enough to make myself puke.  “This is ridiculous,” I thought as I tried soft pedaling between wretches.  As I sat up on my bicycle, my head swirled and my stomach gurgled.  These symptoms were all too familiar from a childhood of relegation to the backseat of a station wagon.

I had made myself motion sick.
I had nearly made myself puke over a pursuit of greatness.

My Tony Martin impersonation had backfired.  I had failed at one of the three principles of a proper time trial fit – comfort.  (The 3 Priorities of a Proper Triathlon Bike Fit)

Needless to say, I have raised my handle bars and conceded, “I am not Tony Martin; at least not today; probably not tomorrow either.” He is still my example but I just can’t do some of the things he makes look so easy.  Subsequently, I have ridden this same route in my new more comfortable position.  Even though I am not as low as before, this new position allowed me to maintain an aero-position through the majority of a ride.  The result was that I was significantly faster and I never felt like puking.

We have a plethora of examples in our lives – especially our spiritual lives.  Paul encouraged us to follow these examples.  Therefore, following the example of another more mature Christian is not a bad thing.  It is wise to learn from the experience of someone who has walked deeply in the Spirit for years.

I have a lot of spiritual heroes.  I appreciate the gift of faith that these people have demonstrated by their lives and the glory to God that they have been blessed to participate in. However, my greatest example is Jesus Christ himself.  There has never been a better example of how to live than the life of Christ.

However, what happens when we don’t
achieve the same result of our example?

I learned that I cannot hold an aero-position like Tony Martin, but that does not negate the value of his example.  I demonstrated to myself that I will experience more success by following Tony Martin’s example to the best of my ability rather than giving up completely on riding in an aero-position.  Therefore, I am not going to abandon my Tony Martin impersonation.  I am going to tweak it.  I will continue to tweak it because I know that even a tweaked Tony Martin impression will be better than doing it my own way.  However, my goal will always be the perfect impersonation.

I have seen many folks make resolutions in their spiritual lives influenced by examples from the Bible or some other exemplar example of true faith.  They were great godly resolutions.  Yet, they abandon their resolve when they discover that they just can’t get it done like they had thought.

February is the month when most resolutions are abandoned.  Often, the optimism of a new year gets crushed under the practicalities of real life and we find that we just can’t do what we had hoped.  Many of us find that the activities of those we want to emulate are just too hard to pull off.  When that happens, there is a strong tendency to give up.

long_road-aheadI posted my resolution for 2015.  I am already behind on several of them.  For one, I know that I won’t be riding like Tony Martin by August.  However, it would be silly for me to abandon my plans just because they are not working well in light of my everyday life.  Therefore, I am going to do a little tweaking and continue until I get something that works, because I know that it will be better than going back to my own way.

There may be a whole list of legitimate and illegitimate reasons for not doing what seemed so tangible in January.  Yet, it is good to remember we are on the long road of perseverance.

Just don’t give up. 
Don’t make yourself puke over a pursuit of greatness. 

Tweak what needs to be tweaked in order for you to consistently do what the Lord has drawn you to do.  Few goals are ever achieved in exactly the manner we plan.  We are all individuals with our own strengths, weaknesses, and personal commitments.  It would be unrealistic to think that a resolution will not have to be altered under the pressures of life.

Striving after the Lord is worth it.  Following Christ in our tweaked, imperfect manner will always be better than going our own way.

PRAYER: Lord, you know that I need a lot of tweaking.  Forgive me for the imperfect manner in which I strive to follow you.  Help me to follow better.  Help me to not give up on what is good for my soul.  Help me to desire you more than anything else.  Lead me in way of following you in obedience and joy.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

 

 

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REVELATIONS FROM A BAD RACE – April 1

April 1, 2014

““Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

In my last post (Race Day), I was in the midst of pre-race excitement and the unknown of never having competed in a cycling event.  I am now in the haze of reflection on a weekend of bicycle racing.

 

ToO Road Race 2014

I now know that my day-dream of standing on a podium really was a silly fantasy.
I also know the dreaded realization of being crushed by  “real” cyclists.

Time Trial:

I knew I was in trouble as I watched the other riders warm-up. I was impressed by the degree of aero-equipment that whizzed past me; TT bikes, aero-helmets, aero-wheels, and skin-suits of every variety and shape.  The vast majority of my competitors wore the gear of a cycling team and looked very fit.  I did not see any newbies, like myself.

The actual race confirmed my fears. They release competitors individually, in one minute increments. I was passed by three racers. In fact, I was passed within the first two miles by the guy who started immediately behind me, after I had been averaging over 23 mph.  I finished 10th…out of ten, in my age group, 76th out of 87 overall. However, I had personal bests on both climbs and I maintained my heart rate between 155-165 bpm. It was probably the best I could do.

I am satisfied with the race since my finish was strong (for me).

Criterium:

The crit course is located in the downtown section of a local town, in the form of a rectangle with two block straight-aways and 90 degree corners. It is flat and fast. From the whistle, we were immediately up to 25 mph. I managed through the first and second corners.  On the third corner, I was set up on the outside of the turn. I could not see very far ahead due to the group so I set my line base on the rider inside of me. We all leaned into the turn but I quickly released that I was being pinched into the curb as we were coming through the turn. I grabbed my brake a little too hard and felt my back tire slip toward the curb at which point I felt this sense of weightlessness. The next thing I knew I was standing in a grassy area adjacent to the course, inspecting my bike.

I had crashed in my first lap. Fortunately, I landed on the only grass aligning the whole course.  A rider with better bike handling skills and experience probably would never have crashed. I am a little disappointed that I did not get back on my bike and finish the crit – I probably could have. The crash rattled and scared me.

I did not finish well. In fact, I did not finish.

Road Race:

I didn’t want to do the road race after my experience with stages 1 and 2. I had been humbled and outclassed. I had done the pre-race ride and knew what a day on the road race course would be like.(Strava-Like Community)   A few friends encouraged me to continue and consider the road race as an opportunity to train and gain experience. I had no answer to their encouragement so I sucked it up and went for it.

To my surprise, I hung with the group until the climb at the end of the first lap when I was dropped and the group was gone. I rode in solitude for the next two laps, as I had expected, finishing 12th …out of twelve, in my age group, 49th out of 58 overall. I am happy that I persevered through the race even though my time was not competitive.

Measure the Heart
I was thinking about Paul’s encouragement to compete in a way to obtain the prize.  Thankfully, God does not judge our faith by outward appearance. He knows our heart. He knows the blessings and abilities that He has granted each one of us. He does not grant the prize based upon the external accolades from this race we call life.

God judges us based upon our heart.

I may have exhibited more heart and determination than my weekend rankings may have exhibited. I have not been blessed with much of the youth, experience, strength and athleticism on display by those real cyclists. I don’t have the luxury of time to put into dedicated cycling training necessary to achieve the sort of cycling fitness and power that I saw this weekend. But given where I am, I might not be in last place if heart were a category.

God judges us based upon our heart and what our love for Him motivates us to do with all the blessings and abilities He has given us. That is why we should not judge other people by their actions. We never know how competitive their heart really is. They might actually be running a better race of faith than I am without many of the advantages I have been given.

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Race Well
We are all in a race. The goal of this race is to persevere and finish strong in our faith. We should all be striving to hear the words, “well done, good and faithful servant”.

We may feel outclassed by other people’s faith and dedication.
We may have crashed our faith due to inexperience and poor decisions.
We may be rattled and afraid of where following Christ might take us.
Bad experiences may have us at the edge of wanting to give up.
We might feel discouraged as we slog along in solitude.

Remember, God does not judge the external results of your faith. He judges your heart. He knows the gifts He has given you. He knows the disadvantages you are overcoming. He knows the faith He has given you. He has you exactly where He wants you. He is providing you with experience and training so that you will persevere to the finish line.

So, don’t give up; look to other real faith racers as examples of what is possible. Take heart in knowing that God has given them the strength to follow Him as they do. He can do the same for you. Most likely, He is already doing it as long as you continue to show some heart – a heart dedicated to loving God more than anything.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the opportunity to race this weekend. Thank you for showing me how important heart is.  Thank you for giving me grass to crash into.  Thank you for the faith that you have given me.  Thank you for the experience and training that you are putting me through.  Lord, examine my heart.   Give me examples to follow and be encouraged by.  Help me to suck it up and continue when I feel like giving up.  Remove all fear of following you with a wholly dedicated heart.  Help me to keep the prize of living well for your glory in sight. I want to embrace the hope of obtaining the prize. Grant me a spirit to race my life well. I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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