Sunday, February 28, 2010

racing tandem

eric is exhausted after a long ride with a couple on a tandem. he talks with mike about his idiocy. (this story is based on a true one told to the "real" mike while on a ride with a 70-year-old south of branson, missouri.)

my worst injury

john of dailymile said that today is the day we're all supposed to share our worst injury stories, so here is mine.

not too many years ago, the highway dept was repaving the highway through town. at the time i was often riding early in the morning with headlights while it was still dark. it was cooler then and the wind was less violent.

the lines had not yet been painted along the edges of the road and beside the hardened surface, the crews had dumped extra asphalt which was not compacted.

so one morning, riding at high speeds, i cut the corner from the highway onto my street. because i could not see the line between the hard and soft surfaces, my front wheel hit the loose asphalt and i went sliding. i slid clear across the street and hit the curb on the opposite side. my shoulder and knee were shredded. my bike was okay. all it lost was a front reflector. my derailleur was spared since it was on the top side during the slide.

i lay on the street for a few seconds. some nearby joggers asked if i was okay. i stood in response to their question, righted my bike and slowly rode home. a friend who was an EMT at the time saw the wounds a little later that morning and dressed them properly.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

the race to rose hill

the race to rose hill began for me just before 7:00am. the car was to begin the chase at 8:30am.

so i pushed it hard at first, riding into the slight northeasterly breeze. i was at 17.1mph by the time i was just three miles from town. my average climbed to 17.3 by five miles and then it started to drop. not sure my legs were completely recovered from the torture session i put them through yesterday. that and the wind conspired against a top notch effort.

so, did i beat the car to rose hill? no. did i win the race? well, sort of. i won and i lost. the car caught me before i got to rose hill, but not before i'd covered over 3/4 of the distance. i felt good about that considering the dull pain in my legs and lower back.

the ride could've been better...could've been worse. i'll take it! (40.93 miles @ 15.3mph)

Friday, February 26, 2010

race day

saturday is race day. i am leaving home as soon as there's enough light to see by. over an hour and a half later, our car will leave and follow the same route i'm taking. my goal is to get to the final destination before the car catches me. the driver of said car will be cheating and driving 55-65mph, so we shall see.

not feeling it

bike ninja's student does not want to ride. he is just not feeling it. bike ninja advises him on what to do when there is no want to in the student's heart.

step anaerobics

yesterday after my ride i decided i had enough steady state miles under my legs to form a good base to build on. so today i began work on one of my weaknesses. despite my xtranormal video alter ego's overdeveloped bravado, i have a few things that have held me back in past group rides. the main problem: i cannot accelerate with the pack. those silly 20-year-olds leave me in the dust when they pick up the pace 7 or 8 miles into the ride and i'm left struggling in the wind alone.

so today i worked on sprinting in an anaerobic state. i left my driveway around 7:30 (thankful the predicted snow missed my neighborhood entirely) and took it easy for the first two miles of my ride. i wanted my legs to warm up before i began to torture them. at two miles out, i leaped out of the saddle and sprinted for a quarter mile. i sat back down and spun for the same distance. then i was out of the saddle and sprinting again. this time i pushed it hard for a half mile. that done, i rested for a half mile. i continued on up the ladder. three quarter mile sprint. three quarter mile rest. one mile sprint. one mile rest. then i started down. i was back down by the time i reached mile ten. from there i rode an easy one and a half miles and turned around.

at mile thirteen i started over. same ladder. it was easier this time since the wind was at my back rather than in my face. i was able to push it up over 30mph several times and maintain almost 20mph during rest periods. when i got back to the bottom of this ladder, i did repeat quarter mile steps until i got back to town. that added up to four extra sprints.

i ended my ride an hour and a half after i started it. i had just under 25 miles under my belt. i averaged 16.6mph. i am now 1,000 miles ahead of last year's mileage. on february 26, 2009, i had only ridden 188.62 miles. today i am at 1189.66 miles. that many miles last year was august 3. (24.96 miles @ 16.6mph)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

driver targets cyclist

i've been yelled at by law-ignorant people while riding along minding my own business. ("get up on the sidewalk. bikes do not belong on the road.") cars (and trucks) have passed me legally, but a bit too close for comfort. (usually big cattle haulers.) but this is ridiculous!

february 2, 2010 - lancashire (uk) telegraph

a road rage teenage driver repeatedly targeted a cyclist and left him fearing for his life.

burnley crown court heard how unbeknown to benjamin harrison, 18, his victim was police inspector martin melvin.

nine times he almost mowed down DI melvin, aiming for him on the pavement, striking his handlebars, forcing him off his bike into trees, threatening to kill him and hurling stones and coins at him.

the victim had no escape route and had no choice but to continue his journey on the almost deserted road...

read more

gaining and losing fast

i gain and lose "friends" faster on dailymile than on any other social network. my twitter followers and facebook friends are fairly stable. my DM friends are an entirely different story.

today i went from 348 friends up to 352 and back down to 347. what's up with that? do i have BO? are some offended by my comments? do they fear the bike ninjas? do i post too many times? are they bored and just need to unfriend someone for a little excitement?

i will never know.

bike ninja purity test

are you a bike ninja? find out. take the bike ninja purity test online if you dare! it was designed by someone at MIT. must be legit.(update: i scored a 78. is that good?)

happy baiku day!

happy baiku day! (as in haiku about biking) the challenge is to write a 5-7-5 poem about your ride. bonus points if you write it in japanese.

here's mine.

i rode slow today.
the slope and wind hit me hard.
i will ride again.

want more?

one baiku a day?
thanks to scott gill on twitter.
your wish is granted.

Encouragement is a gift...

“…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. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:3-8, NIV)

If encouragement is the one task to which all of us are called, the ways in which we serve the church in an encouraging way are determined by the gifts God gives each of us through his Spirit. Some of you will encourage best by teaching. Others of you will do it by showing mercy or giving leadership. A few of you will bolster the faith of others by giving generously. And some will encourage by encouraging.

Did you catch it? Encouragement is a spiritual gift. This is not an excuse to pass the task of courage building off to the gifted. We are all called to encourage. Even if we’re not great at it, we should try.

Thankfully, it’s not up to the worst encouragers among us to do the bulk of the encouraging. Those with the gift of encouragement walk around blessing others without even meaning to. There are some in every church who have this gift. Their words are nearly always positive and uplifting. They know just what to do and just what to say to strengthen the faith of others. That is their gift and we should thank God for giving us that gift of his Spirit through them. He has given that gift and every other gift for the benefit of the church.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

the slope and the wind

i was doing fine today until i hit nine-mile hill. then the slope and the wind, the visible and the invisible, conspired against me. i slowed to 10mph climbing the western ascent. it was awful. not that i'd been going fast anyway. it's just that the slow hurt now.

oh what a difference a couple of miles can make. i reached my turn around and headed back for home. with little effort, i rode over 20mph most of the way back. my average grew from 13.0mph to 16.1mph over the final 10 miles. the first two mph came back in the first four miles!

tomorrow, if the snow allows it, i will be riding my version of intervals. i'll explain then if it happens. (20.36 miles @ 16.1mph)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

nice chaps

eric and mike go for a ride over gnarly singletrack - if you can call a trail with one hill gnarly. as their conversation progresses, there are insults aplenty. their fighting ends with an accident of sorts.

happy birthday, miss m!

my ride today was dedicated eric m's youngest daughter who turned 18. "happy birthday, miss m!" i did my best to get my average speed up to 18mph, but fell just short. had a great ride anyway. hard pushing most of the time. faster than usualy coming back. no complaints. (26.07 miles @ 17.8mph)

Your come-to-church attitude...

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:19-25, NIV)

God wants us to meet together as a church so we can give and receive encouragement while we wait for Christ’s return. He knows life is rough for his children. He knows the people we rub shoulders with every day aren’t very positive about our faith, at least not in general. He knows that some of them are downright hostile toward us because of his Son. So he gives us our times together for refreshment.

Do you go to church every week looking for ways to energize the faith of your brothers? Do you think of yourself as a host or hostess to your sisters? The host at a banquet looks out for the needs of his guests. The hostess at a party is alert to opportunities to bless her friends.

Each of us should arrive at church each week with one goal: to become great in God’s kingdom.

Jesus said this to his disciples: "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all." (Mark 10:41-44, NIV)

If all of us come to church ready to serve, all of us will leave having been encouraged. Only if we all come together selfishly seeking our own good, can we not leave encouraged.

Do you need to work on your come-to-church attitude? Adjust it. Look for ways to spur others on to love and good deeds. To that one task all of us have been called.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

with a little help

as the beatles would have sung if they were cyclists: "i get to ride with a little help from my friend." wil came over today and helped me patch tubes so i could go on a rode ride. took us awhile, but we found the tiny holes in two tubes and sealed them up with brand new patches.

when we were done, i put the tube he patched on the front tire and, voila, cato was as good as new! i immediately got dressed and, as steppenwolf would have sung had they been cyclists, i headed out on the highway.

cruising speed on a road bike is so much higher than on a mountain bike. i rode out at a higher average mph than i ended with yesterday...and i stayed a lot cleaner.

when i got to the far edge of danville, i turned my back to the cold northwesterly wind and flew home, ending the ride at 17mph. (16.20 miles @ 17.0mph)

More than words...

“But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

“Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:8-15, NIV)

Encouragement is more than words. Look at all the actions this passage mentions. Respecting those who work hard can give others courage to redouble their efforts. Warning the idle has the same effect. At least it should. Can you cheer on the fearful or help the weak? Do it. And be patient. Bear with those who are less mature than you. Someone more mature is likely being tolerant with you.

“Love is patient, love is kind.” (1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV)

So share the love. Use your words and your actions every day to build up the members of Christ’s body, the church.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rachmaninoff at State...

My daughter played Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# Minor for the Kansas State Piano Contest last Saturday. She received a II rating for her performance. I was proud of her.

scale of fun to pain

this is the scale of fun to pain that measured my rough and tumble dirt ride as a wheeeeee!

rough and tumble dirt ride

i've been so focused on road riding over the past two years that i hadn't been on a real dirt ride for ages. today i made up for that. i took floyd for a spin through the muddy, slushy, dirty, slippery country side. it was a blast!

i rode on back roads i've never been on before. i skidded on slick mud. i caked myself with wet sand. i watched geese take off from a pond. i rode just behind a red-tailed hawk that took off at my approach. he was less than 20 feet from me flying just 6 or 7 feet off the ground.

i laughed. i cried. it moved me. (ok...i didn't really cry.) not very many miles, but on a scale of fun to pain, this ride was a wheeeeeee! wish you all could've come with me. (16.12 miles @ 12.4mph)

Encourage daily... is by far my favorite social network. It’s basically Twitter for athletes. I post my bike rides every day and my friends, most of them, post words of encouragement. When I have a good ride, Kris from Washington is there to say, “Way to go!” When I have a not so good day, Janeen from New York cheers me up. If I post an exceptionally strong workout, Eric Mason, pastor at Bethel Friends and my best DailyMile friend finds a way to poke fun at me. Our good natured trash talk is legendary on the site.

I discovered DailyMile almost accidently. I stumbled on it when someone I was following on Twitter posted a link to their profile. I clicked over to DailyMile and joined that day.

Since then I have posted dozens of rides and received hundreds of comments and words of encouragement that have motivated me to keep going. Without the encouragement of my “team” I doubt I would have made my mileage goal for 2009. Everyone just kept cheering me on, telling me I could do it. When you have to ride 572 miles in a month to make a goal, you need a few cheerleaders. DailyMile supplied them in spades. I met and even exceeded my goal.

And this year I’m well on my way to a higher mileage goal. The folks on the site keep spurring me on. They keep pushing me to greater gains.

I try to do the same for others on the site. I “speak” words of praise to riders and runners alike. No matter their experience or skill level I find myself wanting them to succeed. Their wins are my wins. Their losses are mine too.

There’s another social network, a real face-to-face one, that’s supposed to provide the same sort of things these virtual communities supply. You’re a part of this network – everyone of you who is a believer. I’m talking about the church of course. The body of Christ is supposed to be a group that dishes out the blessing of encouragement in large quantities. Giving each other the courage to keep following Christ is a major reason we’re to meet together. God is clear on this matter. He intends for the church to be a living, loving, thriving community. Over and over in the Bible we see him commanding or commending spoken words of love and overt acts of kindness. He reveals the purpose of encouragement in more than one verse.

Consider Hebrews 3:12-14. “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” (NIV)

Do you have a tendency toward sin? We all do. No matter how long we’ve been following Jesus, our flesh tries to exert itself. We have to fight against the urge to do what’s wrong.

Even Paul struggled with this. Look at what he writes in Romans 7:18-19. “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” (NIV)

I could write the same thing. You could too. We’re all in the same boat. So God inspired the writer of Hebrews to pen this command: “…encourage one another daily…so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

God knows we need the gentle corrective words of others to keep us from constantly wandering into sin. He knows the dilemma we face because his Son was tempted in every way, just as we are. (See Hebrews 4:15.) So he gives us the Holy Spirit who convicts us when we sin and he gives us brothers and sisters in Christ so we can encourage one another.

Have you encouraged anyone this week? The command is to do it daily. Maybe you need to increase the amount of encouragement we’re dishing out. Join me in speaking courage-giving words this week.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

Saturday, February 20, 2010

short report

a report of few words: cold. windy. wet. ice forming on tights. flat tire. lost tire tool. broken bike pump. defective tube. grrr. (18.63 miles @ 16.3mph)

Friday, February 19, 2010

spin class reprise

mike returns to spin class when julie asks him to. he destroys the class with his harsh words and is rebuked by julie.

spring is in the air

it looked like spring out today - dark rain clouds to the east, tinges of green in the brown grass, a robin flying off as the bike ninja approaches. my legs felt like spring too. to misquote thomas, a member of the dailymile team: "i WAS feeling it." from the first push on my left pedal to the very last stroke on the right, i felt good today. the wind was almost straight out of the south so it didn't slow me much on the way out and still helped some on the way back. my outbound average was 17.7mph. after the U-turn, i brought it up to 18.0mph. first time in two weeks that i've been anywhere near that fast. my only complaint, and not much of one, was the temp. it was a bit too warm for me at 38 degrees. (19.85 miles @ 18.0mph)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hitting girls...

Les Dangereux from RedForty on Vimeo.

I loved this little short posted by a friend on my favorite social network, DailyMile. We have a Bike Ninja group. This was, I'm sure, part of his search for material for the upcoming Bike Ninja versus Bike Jedi film.

a call from denise

the phone rings. caller ID says, "YMCA south branch." a sales pitch, i think. fair enough. i visited their facility. i'll talk with them.

when i answer, denise the group exercise coordinator is on the line. we exchange pleasantries and then she gets to the reason for her call.

someone from the metro wichita office read my blog post on monday's visit to the south branch. they sent and email to denise titled, "someone who didn't like the spin class at the south YMCA." i laughed. the internet has once again made the world a smaller place.

so we talked about the blog post. i explained that i wasn't trying to be negative about the south branch. the facility is top notch. i wasn't even being negative about spin classes in general. i was just stating how it was for me. awful!

denise said she read the post and watched the video at home. she was amused by my calorie consumption post workout. she laughed.

i invited her to join dailymile. (i've told my DM friends to be nice to her if she joins.)

we talked for a bit more. she invited me to come back for another class sometime. i said it was not likely since the south Y is about an hour from my house and i prefer outdoor cycling. we hung up on a positive note.

thank you medic 5

first off, i want to thank argonia's medic 5. she'll never see this, but without her kind help i wouldn't have been able to ride a single mile over the past three days while on call. thanks shirley!

on today's ride i decided to work on my "hill" technique. i intentionally stayed seated on every incline. on the tougher climbs i used a strategy i picked up from bicycling magazine a few years back. i pedaled hard with one leg for five counts then switched to the other leg. when it got really hard to stay seated on nine-mile hill, i did a self-invented variation. hard forward with one leg and hard backward with the other for five and switch. very effective.

the wind wasn't much to speak of - 5, 6mph. the temps were the usual - 26 when i left; 32 when i returned. a good day. (20.04 miles @ 16.9mph)

carmichael on spinning

q: will an indoor-cycling class at my local gym help me in the winter?

this is a perennial question, and for good reason: every gym or health club has some form of indoor cycling class, and in the dead of winter it's tempting to jump in rather than face the elements or slave away on a trainer alone in your basement. there's nothing inherently wrong with these classes, but it's important to find one that will actually improve your performance on the bike. i encourage athletes to evaluate classes based on how well they address the core principles of training: overload and recovery, specificity, individuality and progression. i address each of these below.

overload and recovery classes generally fall into two categories: sufferfests and structured workouts. both have their merits, and i understand the psychology of the sufferfest fan's desire to reach the end of a class exhausted, but as a coach i prefer the latter approach. though a sufferfest might feel excruciatingly difficult, your actual power output may be too low to improve your fitness due to inadequate recovery periods. check in with the instructor: if the primary feature of the workout is that it's ridiculously intense, but he or she can't identify what you'll get out of it, find a different class.

specificity the fact that you're pedaling is a step in the right direction, but some classes have very little to do with actual cycling performance. and that's okay— i'm all for classes that burn calories and get people sweating. but if you're looking to improve your performance on the road or trail, you need workouts that target the energy systems and power demands of actual cycling. these classes can be harder to find because effective interval sets are often not the most entertaining, crowd-pleasing kind. the intensities are consistent and repetitive instead of all over the map, and while you may do some pedaling out of the saddle, no cycling-specific class will have you doing push-ups on the handlebar.

individuality this is where technology comes into play. the absolute best indoor cycling classes use power meters, whether that's in the form of computrainers, power- equipped stationary bikes or personal bikes with power meters. and the best ones also set individual power-training ranges for each athlete. the next-best scenario is a class that uses heart-rate monitors and individual training intensities. the self-selected "turn the knob to the right" method is fine, but not optimal.

progression progressive classes are pretty rare, and to find one you'll most likely need to go to a cycling performance center. to address the progression principle, a class needs to be designed with the idea that the same people will be coming back week after week, and that the workload will thus take into account the developing fitness of these participants. in the standard gym model, in which classes are accessible to anyone anytime, the programming tends to be static. (this is also partly why these classes often are sufferfests.) in a progressive class, some of the workouts may well be more moderate in intensity, and while that's good from a long-term training perspective, it's not as appealing to the intermittent class user.

then again... incorporating indoor classes into your winter training need not be an all-or-nothing proposition. there's nothing wrong with an occasional—even weekly—sufferfest. even cyclists following well-structured, scientifically based, progression-driven indoor programs sometimes should forget the numbers and just open the throttle.

but if all you do all winter is pummel yourself, your progress will be blunted. the best option: follow a scientifically based program, but incorporate some "hard for the sake of being hard" classes, just for fun.

chris carmichael on bicycling magazine's website

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

devil trainer

jeremy b, my friend on dailymile, posted this just for me after reading my report on my night of spinning. can anyone guess the tune?

Devil Trainer

I told my bike about it
I Told her about a great sin
my bike cried and forgave me
Then my bike took me back again
Said if I wanted my freedom
I could be free ever more
But I don't want to be
And I don't want to see
my bike cry anymore

DEVIL TRAINER let go of me
And leave me alone
I want to go home

my bike is waiting and weeping
Down in our shack by the sea
Even after I hurt her
my bike's still in love with me
Trapped no more by your charm
Cause I don't want to stay
I want to get away
TRAINER let go of my arm

DEVIL TRAINER let go of me
And leave me alone
I want to go home

Like the dark coral reef
Like the winds that bring high tides
You bring sorrow and grief
You made me ashamed to face my bike
my bike had the strength to tell
Skies are not so black
my bike took me back
my bike has broken your spell

DEVIL TRAINER let go of me
And leave me alone
I want to go home

Riding along by the seashore
Ruding as fast as I can
Even the seagulls are happy
Glad I'm coming home again
Never again will I ever
Cause another tear to fall
Down the beach I see
What belongs to me
The one I want most of all

DEVIL TRAINER let go of me
DEVIL TRAINER don't follow me
And leave me alone
I want to go home

riding with wil

finally found a time that wil, my neighbor and coworker, and i could ride together. it was a nice easy ride on a warmer day - 40 degrees when we started. enjoyed the company and the mostly favorable, hardly noticable winds. had the opportunity to teach wil how to draft a bit. since the wind wasn't all that strong, there wasn't as much need for drafting, but every little bit counts. hope we get to ride together again...sooner rather than later. (17.02 miles @ 15.0mph)

introducing TRS

this video introduces teamradioshack in an entertaining way. i loved it.

Forgiving love...

Do you remember what Peter did before the crucifixion, before Jesus’ death and resurrection? Let me give you a hint. Peter did something a friend should never do to a friend.

On the night before Jesus was sentenced to die, Peter, in fear, denied he even knew his Lord. Did it three times!

“You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” he was asked.

“I am not.”

The question came again from another: “You are not one of his disciples, are you?”

“I am not.”

“Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?” a servant challenged.

Again Peter denied it. Matthew and Mark both report that the last time he denied Jesus, Peter did so calling down curses on himself, swearing he didn’t know the man. Luke says Jesus turned and looked right at Peter after the third denial. Can you imagine that look? Peter, seeing that look and knowing the terrible thing he had done, turned his back on his master, went outside and wept bitter tears.

Jesus knew exactly what his friend Peter had done when he had the “do you love me” conversation with him in John 21. Knew exactly what he had done and still invited Peter over and over again to feed his sheep. Knew exactly what he had done and welcomed him back as a follower. Knew exactly what he had done and saw what Peter was about to become – a bold leader in the baby church.

That story of love encourages me. If Jesus can forgive Peter and use him, he can do the same with me. He can do the same with you too.

There isn’t any sin that you’ve committed that disqualifies you from following Jesus. He accepts even those who have wounded him deeply.

Remember his words on the mount of crucifixion: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV)

That’s love! I’m pretty quick to forgive, but Jesus’ words blow me away. I’m not that forgiving.

Do you have a forgiving kind of love? Could you do as Jesus did with Peter if a friend, in fear, denied you in your most desperate hour? I’m willing to admit that it would be hard for me. You know it would be for you too. Suddenly forgiveness isn’t just a word. It’s a crazy concept that makes no sense!

That’s why forgiveness, for me, says, “I love you!” It’s an incredible gift. It costs the giver so much. Jesus gives this gift to us on the cross, but he does it on the shores of the seas of life too. He gives it as we walk along and remember the dumb stuff we’ve done. We recall an incident from the past and he says the most amazing things to us.

“It’s okay. I forgive you. Follow me. Feed my sheep.”

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

a quick 1000

this year i reached 1000 miles faster than any other year in my seven-year biking "career". the earliest millenium mark before this was the end of march. did that twice before. other years it happened in may, june, even august.

this year is my year for high mileage. 4020 won't be enough. i'm going for my PR! watch out DM!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

i hated spin class

after taking in a spin class at the south wichita YMCA on monday, february, 15, 2010, mike n of reports. (just for clarification purposes...this video is in no way a rant against the south wichita Y. the facility is great and the people were kind and helpful. i just don't like spinning. that would've been true at any facility.)

United in prayer...

A prayer at center court. Basketball fans are still talking about what happened at a high school game Friday night. It's not because of a great play, but because of the way two teams came together after one player was injured.

There's a player missing from Monday's practice at Wichita's East High. Although from his bed at Wesley Medical Center, Randall Rogers still manages to work on his shot.

"He's our senior leader. Man, he loves the game of basketball," said Demetrius Johnson-Reed, Rogers' teammate.

It's Rogers' senior season as captain of East's basketball team. Friday night it was the Blue Aces versus Maize South. Deb Phillips, a Maize South parent was filming the game as Rogers stole the ball and went up for a lay-up. He came down wrong on his right leg.

"It was obvious it was a serious injury," said East Coach Ron Allen. "It dawned on me that I had heard the snap."

"First it was a scream," said Bob Love, East High parent. "Everyone screamed, and then there was dead silence."

Then a voice echoes through the gym.

"I just had to shake the nerves, and call on God, and he would answer hopefully," said Johnson-Reed.

In a circle near center court, he started to pray. Blue jerseys stood next to white jerseys, hands locked together.

"Everyone bowed their heads, and said 'Amen' together as just one big unit," said Johnson-Reed. "It wasn't just East and Maize South, it was everyone together."

"Me, an old man, I teared up myself it was so emotional," said Love.

"It was a good feeling. It took my head off of being injured at that moment," said Rogers.

The crowd cheered as Rogers left on a stretcher. His leg is broken in three places. Three days later, he's groggy, but in good spirits.

"I have a metal rod down my shin and two pins in my knees and ankle," said Rogers.

The worst part is knowing that his senior season is over, but Rogers says he'll lead from the sidelines for the team that picks each other up when one of them goes down.

East High went on to win the game Friday night. Rogers should be out of the hospital by Tuesday. He still hopes to play college basketball next season.

By Denise Hnytka (WICHITA, Kan.)

honoring stephanie

today i rode OUTSIDE in the COLD (21 degrees) and WIND (15mph) in honor of '0 to ultra' girl, stephanie. my 19.96 mile out and back put me over the number of miles i had in the first seven months of 2009. last year on july 31, i had ridden 1009.93 miles. as of this morning, i have ridden 1010.41 miles in 2010. here's to you stephanie! (19.96 miles @ 16.1mph)

Monday, February 15, 2010

south wichita spin class

i took in my first real spin class tonight at the south wichita YMCA. i was a bit nervous, of course. didn't know what i was getting myself into. i arrived pretty early. it was a good thing too. by the time i changed and got lost in the building twice, it was only a few minutes before the 7:00 start time.

i rolled my bike out of the closet and spent about five minutes adujsting it to suit my tastes. (that means making it feel like my real bike.) that wasn't too hard. the only trouble i had was figuring out how to move the seat forward on the rails. the "old" lady next to me was kind enough to show me how it was done.

with everything set and locked in place, i began pedaling. i was grateful that they had SPD pedals, so i could clip in. much better than the strapless pedals at the ambulance barn. i warmed up my legs while figuring out the crazy resistance adjustment lever.

one thing i was a bit surprised about was the lack of an odometer of some kind. i don't know how anyone figures out how many miles they ride or how fast their average was. i'm guessing entirely at this point on my figures. if someone can tell me the formula for miles per hour on these torture devices, let me know.

so the class began at 7:00pm. amy, our instructor, talked us through our warm up. we stretched. we pedaled. we smiled. then the "fun" began. we increased our resistance as we climbed a low "hill" during the first song. about half way "up" the "hill" was started jumping. not like normal jumping. we stood for four counts. sat for four. stood for four. repeat and repeat and repeat. i was sweating up a storm by this time. it was awful, but i kept going. we finally stayed seated and spun out a bit.

then it was time to "sprint" to some perky tune. we rode at an incredibly high cadence. "faster, daddy! faster!" amy shouted. (okay...that was a joke.) but she did make us ride faster and faster and faster and then she threw in that "jumping" garbage again. grrrr. i don't know amy enough to hate her, so i will just say i dislike her a lot. she did eight count jumps and then we started doing squats on our bikes. this is not fun! not in the least. everyone was smiling except me. they'd done this before. the "old" lady next to me pedaled happily while...well...i hate to admit it...but...she pedaled while i bonked. i bonked...seriously. while everyone else was "jumping" and crunching, i was spinning and trying hard to breath.

that was pretty much what the remaining thirty minutes was like. major "hills" followed the sprints and "jumps". the major hills were followed my lesser "hills" and then more sprints. occasionally i was able to do just want the executioner said. most of the time i told her off in my head and did what my body would allow.

i didn't die. that is the most positive thing i can say about this class. oh, that and i got in free thanks to starburst newton, the lady i emailed ahead of time. she comped me the class thinking i'd be so enamored with spinning that i'd return. she lost money on this deal. i'm not going back.

listen! i'm only going to say this once. 80 degree rides in the dead of winter are not natural - at least not in kansas. i'll take 20 degrees with a 20mph headwind over spin class any day.

i am have a beard. i am a man. i am really, really tired. please don't tell eric. (15.00 miles? @ 18mph?)

clarification: this video is in no way a rant against the south wichita Y. the facility is great and the people were kind and helpful. i just don't like spinning. that would've been true at any facility.

grouchy ninja

i logged onto dailymile this morning and was met with this pic. below it, melissa m, had written this message: "mike n. - i found a mask..... can I join the ninja club?" what do you say? i responded: "i suppose if you were confronted by another bike ninja, you'd win the battle. they'd be laughing so hard, they'd be defenseless. you're in." so i guess she's in. hope she doesn't get grouchy on me.

riding the invisible hills

it was WINDY today. fought my way "up" the invisible hills on the way out. saw 23mph winds on the weatherbug just before my ride. sometime during they day there was a gust of 36mph. i didn't get in on that...thankfully! temps were in the low 30s.

the way back, of course, was a piece of cake. rode hard and brought my average up from 13.6mph to 15.8mph. i hit my max speed of 36.3mph on a flat northbound section of road. that was super fun! (20.35 miles @ 15.8mph)

Love keeps no records...

What is it that says love to you? For some it might be acts of service. Your husband takes the kids to the park so you can have time alone…finally! You feel loved when you’re pampered. Others of you feel most loved when someone spends quality time with you. A fifteen minute talk over coffee with a friend is worth more to you than just about anything. You feel loved when you connect. Maybe you are encouraged by a caring touch. When your daughter offers a hug after an especially bad day at work, your heart melts. You feel loved when you receive personal contact. What is it for you? Words of affirmation? Thoughtful gifts? What says, “I love you,” like nothing else can?

For me, one of the most loving things anyone can do for me is offer forgiveness when I’ve messed up. I get things all screwed around on a fairly regular basis in just about every relationship. I respond to an email less carefully than I should and find myself in hot – or at least lukewarm – water with a friend. I hyperfocus on some unnecessary, but fun-to-me project on the computer at night and don’t listen intently to my kids. I remember at 11:00 that I promised a church leader I’d stop by at 9:30 for a visit about an important matter. I make an erroneous assumption concerning an event I was not directly involved in and stick my foot in my mouth. All these things I have done in the past few months. And in every case, after I’ve been corrected and have offered an apology, I have been forgiven.

I am grateful to have such kind friends and patient family members. I am thankful my church is full of wonderful, caring, godly forgivers. That’s as God would have it among his people.

You know, when Paul defines love in 1 Corinthians 13, he says that forgiveness, or something close to forgiveness, is part of the package. He’s writing as the Holy Spirit guides. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (v. 4) He gets a few more words. “It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (v. 5)

There it is. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love and forgiveness are tied together. They’re inseparable. You can’t have the one without the other.

Who do you need to love today? Is there someone to whom you need to offer forgiveness? Do it! Love keeps no record of wrongs.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

Saturday, February 13, 2010

a bit more

finally! i had time for a longer ride this morning. i got all my wife's honey-do list done before 7:15 and got on my bike before 7:30. i rode toward harper thinking i'd just ride there and back. when i got there, i decided i had time for a bit more, so i rode south a mile and a half and turned around. i raced back home and made it before 9:30, leaving me a half hour to get ready to go to my daughter's basketball game. added note: i passed the 3000Km mark on dailymile today. wouldn't have noticed that except that bharani pointed it out to my yesteday. thanks, mr. b! (35.07 miles @ 17.0mph)

Friday, February 12, 2010

happy legs

legs felt better today despite the colder start - 22 degrees. must've been the sun in the sky that made them happy. pushed hard on the way out into the wind. turned around just past evil dog's house averaging 15.9mph. pushed a little less hard on the way back and still brought my average for this nearly-18-mile ride up to 17.1mph. can't wait for warm weather and warm legs. (17.97 miles @ 17.1mph)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

126.6mph on rollers

great video of a world record breaking ride on rollers. pretty impressive! can't imagine what would happen if he or his bike left the rollers! yikes!

How to pray for pastors...

Let me talk to you about how you can pray the pastors you know.

Pray that we would all deliver God’s Word every time we speak.

Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (NIV)

No sermon or lesson will be effective in winning the lost, reclaiming the backsliders or sanctifying the believers who come to worship each week unless the words being delivered are God’s words. Only his words accomplish what he desires. Only his words achieve his purposes.

Believe me, keeping personal words, personal opinions, personal thoughts out of sermons and lessons is no easy task. My deepest desire is to speak only God’s words, but sometimes I mess up. Sometimes I speak Mike’s words.

Please pray that your pastors would be delivered from the temptation to say what they want to say rather than what God wants. Pray also that they would be faithful to God’s word so that you can hear God’s words undiluted.

Along with that, pray that every pastor would proclaim boldly what God has given them to say.

In Ephesians 6:19, Paul pleads with the church,
“Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time...”

Friends, let me plead the same on every pastor’s behalf. Pray that we’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time. The pressure to say the safe thing instead of the right thing is always present. The temptation to tickle ears with people pleasing messages is powerful.

Pray also that your pastors would be given wisdom from God to lead the church.

When God asked Solomon what he wanted more than anything else, he replied, “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10)

Sometimes I feel the same way about leading the church. “God give me wisdom. I can’t lead this great people of yours.”

Please pray along with me that every pastor would be given God’s direction. Pray that we would have time to talk to and listen to God. And pray that we would hear his voice clearly.

Along with words to deliver and boldness to deliver them and wisdom to lead, pastors need prayers for protection from the evil one.

Satan attacks pastors. He attacks them with discouragement. He attacks them with distraction. He attacks them with disillusionment. He attacks them with whatever it takes to render them useless and ineffective; whatever it takes to make them give up and quit or give in and sin.

There is nothing Satan would like better than for me or some other leader to fall into sin. He knows that if he can knock off a public Christian, he can keep a whole lot of lost people from being saved. He might even be able to destroy the faith of a saint or two. Pray that pastors would be delivered from every attack.

Finally, pray that our every contact with people would bear fruit.

“This is to my Father’s glory,” Jesus said to the twelve one day, “That you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8)

Fruit bearing still brings glory to God. So pray for each pastor you know. Pray that as they talk with people, some would find salvation. Pray that as they counsel, God would heal hearts. Pray that as they visit the saints, they can bring comfort and encouragement and that as they pray with people, your friends would find courage. Pray that as God’s Word is taught, people’s lives would be changed forever. I’d love it if every contact I had with people, both those inside and outside of this church, produced some kind of lasting fruit. Your pastor and the pastor down the street would love the same thing.

Pray for pastors!

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

shut up, legs!

wish i wasn't such a tightwad. i'd own this shirt. i fell in love with it the first time i saw it. it's a quote from jens voight of team saxobank. he told a report this is what he says to his legs when he's climbing a hill and they want to give up. quite funny. so i'll just look at the picture of the shirt and wish i was willing to part with the $65+ it would take to bring it to my home from australia. international shipping! bah! (if you're feeling generous and want to buy one for me, i wear XL.)

sore and stiff

i played basketball (off and on) for two hours last night. i felt every minute of play this morning in my legs and lower back. i was stiff and sore. i tried channeling jens. i shouted, "shut up, legs!" they didn't listen. so i ended my ride a bit slower than normal. didn't feel good at all. at least it was a warm 27 degrees and the wind wasn't too bad. (18.06 miles @ 15.6mph)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

victory salutes 101

bike racing and cycling is filled with unwritten rules and etiquette. above all, style is paramount. all else is of little importance. you’re only as good as your last race. i regularly get ridiculed for all my unwitting blunders. however, i know full well that it’s part of the cyclists’ code to mock the ignorant.

for those of you who have been holding back on winning races because you just don’t know what you would do when crossing the finish line, allow me to give a few pointers. after you master these important tips, it’s off to the pro tour you go.

victory salute like a pro

the solo victory

1. ensure one’s jersey is fastened to the top and shall be perfectly aligned so all title sponsors are clearly visible.

2 one shall take a quick look behind prior to victory to gloat at the peloton’s futile second place sprint.

3. one shall prepare far in advance (preferably in front of mirror) for thee victory salute that shall be unleashed. one shall look 100% confident that this has been done thousand times before.
4. one shall cloak all signs of fatigue at any cost. A war-cry of aggression is acceptable emotion to be displayed.

5. one shall hold the victory salute for minimum of 20 seconds and heed placing hands on bars until soigneur approaches with towel and waterbottle directly before post-race interview.

the sprint victory

1. in a sprint finish, one often does not know if the race has been won or lost until centimeters before the finish line. even so, one’s victory salute still requires to have been thought out and practiced. preparation is key. omit training sessions if necessary. sprinters do not train. it is a sign of weakness.

2. it is preferable that one will cross the line with victory salute displayed well before or during the sprint to the finish.

3. never will one go past the finish line without having a victory salute for the cameras. this is a sign of humbleness (and mistaken for arrogance) and is as good as coming in last.

4. again, all signs of fatigue are forbidden.

more pictures and info at

a ride in the rain

bike ninja advises his young student concerning a girl who has asked him to visit a museum rather than ride.

burning cheeks

a cold ride to be sure - 21 degrees - but enjoyable. my cheeks are burning as they thaw out. put in a little more time on the bike today since i had a couple of hours of overtime at work last night. ended up not riding all that much more time than normal, but got in some extra miles. glad i didn't have to ride indoors. (25.36 miles @ 16.8mph)

trainer baby: a preview

a music video i'm working on for all my trainer baby friends on dailymile. the music will (hopefully) improve greatly with the final version, but i wanted to post this sneak peek. (i'm not very good at keeping secrets!) hope listening and watching is as enjoyable for you as recording and singing it was for me.

Pray for your pastor...

How many pastors have you heard of who have fallen into sin? How many pastors do you know who have burned out and given up? How many pastors that you’re familiar with have lost their fire and settled for mediocrity?

These are very real dangers, threats to the success of the preaching and teaching and counseling that are a part of a pastor’s responsibilities in the church. Without God’s help, every man or woman of God charged with equipping the church for ministry will fall into these traps. Without the prayers of the saints, every pastor will be less effective in his or her work.

Look at Paul, the apostle. He was a great preacher. He served helpfully and spoke powerfully to believer and non-believer alike. People were blessed by his ministry. We idolize him, but he was not without needs. Over and over we find him asking for prayer. He understood his need of support better than most. Listen to him.

In Romans 15:30-32 we read his plea. “I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed.” (NIV)

Again in Ephesians 6:19-20 we find him begging for prayer. “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (NIV)

Philippians 1:18-19, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” (NIV)

To the Thessalonian church he writes asking for prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:25, “Brothers, pray for us.” (NIV)

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2, “…brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith.” (NIV)

And finally, assuming, as many do, that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, we find these words in chapter 13, verses 18 and 19: “Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.” (NIV)

Over and over again, we see this leader in the early church asking for prayer from God’s people. If Paul needed prayer, I need it. Your pastor needs it too. Pray for those who lead your church. Do it right now!

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

Monday, February 8, 2010

wet white stuff

i wasn't smiling the whole time, but i enjoyed most of this morning's ride in the wet, wet snow. if i hadn't encountered a few dicey spots where the white stuff ventured out onto the shoulder of the road, it would've been like a pleasant ride in the rain. i was cold and wet, soaked really, when i got back home. my clothese were covered with the grit that my tires threw up on my backside. everything's in the laundry now and i'm warm and dry. time to head to work. (20.11 miles @ 16.4mph)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

awful...just awful!

i feel all dirty. like i've done something wrong. because of my schedule today - leaving home before daylight, getting back after dark - i gave in and rode on a stationary bike for an hour this morning. it was awful! i don't know how else to describe a ride on an ill-fitted bike in a blazing hot room with not even a breeze. awful fits! those who know my disdain for trainer baby miles, know that the awful goes deep into my soul. hope i don't have to do that again for a long time. (19.40 miles @ 19.4mph)

Friday, February 5, 2010

a snow fall

bike ninja's young apprentice comes to his master with concerns about riding on a snowy day when the roads are slippery.

blah, blah, blah

i flatted less than two miles out of town. got my road bike back to the garage and took off on my mountain bike. had to stop three times to adjust the seat height. not sure what was up with that. slow riding on the way out. rode into some fairly dense fog. turned around and rode 18-19mph on the way back. legs felt sluggish in the damp coldness. glad every day is not like this. (18.35 miles @ 15.5mph)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

spin class disaster

mike sneaks off to take in a spin class. everything that could go wrong does. afterwards he chats with the instructor about the problems he encountered.

pop quiz time

today's ride report is followed by a multiple choice question, so pay attention.

mike rode 17.53 miles at 14.0mph. it was 29 degrees outside with a wet wintry mix of snow and sleet falling from the sky. thirty percent of the cars that passed mike on the road sprayed dirty slush on him. mike had to stop for one car at an uncontrolled intersection. mike rode through a parking lot and down a sidewalk to avoid two stop signs.

which of the following is true of mike following this ride? (choose one or more answers and explain each.)

a) mike is happy as a lark and grinning ear to ear.
b) mike is crazy as a loon and ought to be committed.
c) mike wishes he had a trainer so he could ride indoors.
d) mike is rotting in city jail after running four stop signs.
e) mike is making a new 'eric and mike' video to mock trainer babies.

(17.53 miles @ 14.0mph)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

i hate stop signs

have i ever mentioned how much i hate stop signs? i don't think i have. so let me tell you. i hate stop signs! all they do is slow you down. they ruin a perfectly good starting speed. suck the life out of you. i had to stop at one today. just thought you'd like to know. (end of rant.)

my ride was pretty enjoyable after i got over the stop i had to make early on. i stayed warm under my layers and my legs felt good. rode to the top of nine-mile hill and back. (18.08 miles @ 16.7mph)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

not mike's day

mike and eric discuss mike's terrible day on and off the bike. eric seems sypathetic, but is he really?

Cadillac jersey arrives...

My Cadillac jersey finally arrived in the mail today. It was more than three months later than they said it would be arriving on the card I had to have filled out after test driving the CTS back in September, but hey! It's here and it looks good! And my integrity is still intact. I can't wait for warmer weather to wear the jersey! (See why this is a big deal by reading An ethical dilemma...)

quick out and back

it was warm and sunny today! 38 stinky degrees! i felt great and pushed hard. wish every day was like this! fun! got my cadillac jersey from bicycling mag today! (14.17 miles @ 18.1mph)

Monday, February 1, 2010

a balmy 28 degrees

it's scary to think that i actually thought it felt warm today when the thermometer read 28 degrees fahrenheit! i guess after the after a couple of days in the teens, 28 is pretty mild.

my legs responded to the good vibes concerning the weather. i pedaled out at just over 16mph and returned at a decent pace, ending with a 17.0mph average.

so a new month begins. don't think i'll pile up 700 miles this month, but i'll blow past the 1000 mile mark with little effort. i don't think 4020 is going to be much of a challenge. i may have to revise my goal mid-year. we'll see.

for now...happy riding to all my bicycling friends! (24.21 miles @ 17.0mph)