Great Children Don’t JUST Happen

stick-familySacrifice and focus and prayer are three major factors. Many, many times my wife and I have been told how great our adult children are, and this is usually followed up with either how did you do it or how the couple wishes that their children turn out like that. It doesn’t just happen. Here are ten key factors

  1. Admit when you are wrong. Apologize when you display or act in some way that should not have happened, and expect it from your children when they make a mistake as well.
  2. Spanking does not cause emotional damage; albeit,  it is not always the go-to punishment. There should be levels. Let me be clear: Abuse is wrong and should never be tolerated. What’s the difference? Personally, we never spanked our children when angry. Spankings were set and ordered structure with a discussion of why attached in the end . . . always. Speaking of discipline, the punishment should be attached to the violation, i.e. if the child breaks curfew, don’t take the television in his room. He should lose the car for a week or his cell phone for not calling.
  3. Do not be your child’s best friend. They will have plenty of friends in school. There is a parent/child friendship to a degree, but there is a line. If you do this and then try to be a disciplinarian, you will not be respected and the child will feel betrayed by you . . . as his “friend.”
  4. Give your child a safe place to make decisions. No, not where he wants to eat but difficult decisions based on his age. When a decision is made by the child, he will have to live with the decision. Bailing your child out of bad decisions is close to the number one failure of parents.
  5. Be positive when it comes to learning. Create a thirst for learning. Read to your child and read with your child. Create wonder in your child. Point out the beauty around him. Ask him complex questions and give him time to think. Research things and have good answers to the tons and tons of curious questions.
  6. Do NOT wait until your children are pre-teens to start parenting. It must start from the start. Infants needs tons of love and affections and have a feeling of security from you. How you parent an infant is obviously different from how you parent a teenager, but the act of parenting should have always been  in the picture.
  7. Fight the battles. Avoiding confrontations with your child has horrible consequences. Stand for what you believe is correct, and guess what? You don’t have to explain yourself.  It is perfectly okay to have an explanation with your decision, but you should never feel like you have to prove that your good decision is a good one.
  8. The core is the family. The home is the safe zone. If this is true, it will be the return spot for your children and conversation will blossom. Have family time  . . . from the start! This is essential for the years to come.
  9. Raise your children to respect others. Everyone has something to contribute. Teach your children to listen and be willing to adopt a better idea from others. Demonstrate your respect as a husband to his wife and a wife to her husband. It all starts in the home.
  10. Soft skills are a dying art. Teach your children to have manners. Please, thank you, you’re welcome, how are you, good morning and others are becoming a foreign language. Personally, my wife and I also taught our kids to use “sir” and “ma’am” when speaking to an adult. Heck, I still use it today when talking to my parents or an elder in the community.

Parenting is an ever evolving thing. How you parent your toddler will not work with a ten-year old. Teenagers are a whole different thing within itself, and it’s tough . . . but you have to stand firm. You will question yourself and hate the wrong decisions you made, but your efforts will prove to be for good in the future. Your children will understand that you were trying to do the best you could. Effort is key. You WILL sacrifice. You MUST focus intently. You HAVE to pray hard.

Train . . . don’t just ride

8d0c339d17a61bfcaf3adf21bda95d67This is perfect time of year, when a rider is mostly alone, to work on things. One of the worst habits a cyclists can get into is just putting in miles . . . worsening bad habits. Slow down and think about what you are doing. If getting better is the goal, a cyclist must train to be that way. How? Observation is one of the cheapest ways. The Tour de France is still on most of our DVRs. Watch a sprint. Watch a climb. Put it in slow motion and watch body position, head position, bike position, hand position, try to make out the gearing, and keep a close eye on pedal stroke.

Here’s something of what I am attempting to make better: climbing. Just the word will cause some people to hyperventilate. The Secondrate Cyclist was one of those people, but it is this “off season” where I have decided to do what I hate the most and NOT just climb hills . . . but learn how to do efficiently and with more confidence. As I train, there are five things on which I am focusing:

  1. Cadence: I am very aware that gradient will cause a fluctuation, but I am staying within 80-90 rpm. Seated vs. Standing will cause a small variance, but that’s the numbers for now.
  2. Seated Power: For a longer and more steady climbing endurance over a longer period of time, I plan on climbing with my butt on the saddle. Yes, I will stand to bring my cadence back up or hit different muscles for a moment or to provide power in a quick pitch in gradient.
  3. Standing: Speaking of which, I will make sure to keep my hip bones over my pedals and not lunge out into a sprinter’s stance when climbing. Chest up. Head up.
  4. Full and Rounded Pedal Stroke: Moving away from stomping the down stroke on a climb, I want to focus on pulling through and over the top of the stroke. I catch myself stomping down and pulling up, but not swiping through the bottom and pushing over the top.
  5. Breathing: Many cyclists fail in this cause for two reasons . . . blowing like a fat man in a 5k or, in the heat of a hard pull in a steep pitch, holding their breath for a second or two. Watching my threshold and adjusting my cadence (higher cadence will lower heart rate a bit) and shifting properly will allow me to have a steady breathing rhythm.

There are many other areas that will come, as the climbing work goes on and on. The point is that I must train and recognize bad habits. When a person gets extremely tired, muscle memory will revert to bad habits; that is why a cyclist must re-train the body to think differently. No, I am not making something that I love into a job. I am making something that is an aggravating part of my love into something I do better and enjoy.

Bon Velo!

3 Ways to Unsettle Your Isolation

3c8b77e23234724ca398ac6fe37d302cReality is setting in. The group texts have cooled off. A few riders pop up every now and then, but face it: the season is over and training should be in full force. Many, many cyclists use this time of year to “recuperate” and take some time off. These are the same riders, in March, who request a moderate pace because it’s early in the year. If you are serious about getting better as a cyclist . . . train like one.

This past week was my first official strength and conditioning week, with 40-60 miles tacked on to keep my legs turning. I must say it went well. Weight training has provided soreness which has caused me to wince and walk like a duck, but it just means I’m getting better. Many times the winter training time period can feel isolating. Here are three ways to pep up even the most arduous winter routine:

  1. New bike (sort of): using the time to breath new life into your seasonally-tired bike by changing a few things. Replacing the saddle, maybe a new wheel set (hey it’s cheaper than a whole new bike), different color pedals, or try a different color scheme (starting with the bar tape) are just a few ways to have the feel of a new bike.
  2. Cross training: trying a sport that you normally wouldn’t do is a great way to add some fun to your workout routine and give your body a wake up call. Have a goal, maybe actually seeing your abs when the new season comes in or by lifting a certain weight. Don’t fall back into your comfort zone. Find something different that gives your body a kick in the pants.
  3. Training Partner: the cold season can often make a big debate break out between you and yourself, mainly the subject of “should I train today.” The answer is yes, but sometimes you need that person who you know is expecting you to show up to give you a little shove in the right direction and visa versa.

Training in the winter is like opening a new business: you have to think long term investment. The time you put in will pay off next season. BUT you must have very specific goals in mind that you want to achieve. I am actually shooting for a more sculpted and stronger core that tops powerful legs . . . without letting my VO2 drop. Yeah, I shoot high. The idea is just to have fun while working hard. Don’t sit around and wait for the next season. Be the guy that other riders will notice next season.

Bon Velo!

Updated Cyclists’ Vernacular


074b775992f3897286169e97d136c0ceSuggestions keep coming in . . . there are so many out there! See if you can define the updated version of cyclists’ terminology. Becoming fluent takes time . . . comme moi apprentissage du français! :)

Off the front
Off the back
Saddle sore
Rubber side down
Crack Pipe
Tire Levers
Green/Pink/Red/Polka-dot Jersey
Bunny Hop
At Speed
Car Back!
Big Ring
Pure Sprinter
Mechanical or Mech
Spin Out
Top Tube
Hold a Wheel
Break Away
On the rivet
Bon Vélo!

Cycling Terms You Should Know

imagesThere are terms that only a cyclist understands. It becomes part of your vocabulary after a while. If feels as if it’s our own language sometimes and has a bit of “us” in the use of them. See if you can relate to a few of the words in this list; if not, Google them and speak the language:

  1. Squirrely
  2. Peloton
  3. Slipstream
  4. Bunny Hop
  5. Drops
  6. Hammer
  7. At Speed
  8. Drag
  9. Bonk
  10. Big Ring
  11. Cadence
  12. Domestique
  13. GC
  14. Pure Sprinter
  15. Classics
  16. Pull
  17. Threshold
  18. Fixie
  19. Spin Out
  20. Top Tube
  21. Hold a Wheel
  22. Gap
  23. Dropped
  24. Break Away
  25. Repeats

Of course, these are just a few. Can you add others?

Bon Vélo!

Married Long Enough to Know This

WP_20150622_005In the beginning, all the world is perfect. You have found that someone who completes you and truly understands you and actually puts up with your shortcomings; then you get married. After a few months, you start to wonder if you did the right thing. Is this the right person? The answer is absolutely yes. You’re in an adjustment stage . . . and will be there for quite a while . . . well, until you die. After 26 years, I have 10 tips to keep your marriage fresh, exciting, and loving:

  1. Pray together and for each other.
  2. Date her. Actually set a time, dress up, and go out.
  3. In a disagreement, do not start a sentence with you.
  4. Take time every day to think of something for which you appreciate her.
  5. Set, in advance, that divorce is not an option, and never use the word as a weapon.
  6. Touch her, without if having to lead to sex.
  7. Enjoy the journey of life  . . . together.
  8. When speaking to you, stop what you are doing and look at her.
  9. Give thoughtful gifts, not necessarily expensive gifts.
  10. Listen first, even if the problem has nothing to do with you.

A marriage dies when the blood supply is cut off. Pressure of life can be a tourniquet. Be each other’s refuge against the storms. After 26 years, I’m still excited about see her at the end of the day. Nope, it’s not my anniversary. This is a subject that I believe should be talked about more, with marriages dissolving at an alarming rate. Even if the blood flow is barely trickling, try some of these things. Sit down and have a conversation.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13:4-13

What Cyclist Think About

https__vk_com_gif_fak (5)Miles after mile, cyclists have so much time to think about things. Here are the top ten things a cyclist thinks about while turning the pedals:

  1. Did I put on enough chamois lube?
  2. Why is the wind always coming towards me, even if I turn around and travel down the same road?
  3. I hardly ever see that guy out riding his bike, but he always seems in top form.
  4. (After spotting a rider in front of you at a distance) I must pass him.
  5. Gosh, I need to wash this kit on hot . . . a few times.
  6. I have so much to do when I get home.
  7. When I hit the lottery, I’m gonna get a stable of really cool bikes . . . and kits . . . and gear . . .
  8. I can’t remember the guy’s name, but I know he rides a Dogma with an Enve wheel set and Dura-Ace Di2 groupset.
  9. I don’t feel like doing 60 miles today.
  10. Dang, I’m sure glad I got in 60 miles today.

Bon Velo!

Time to Stand

WP_20140524_00120141107164319I understand that the majority of my blog consists of cycling things. Yes, I’m still training. I’m riding. But I am concerned. Better yet, I am troubled deeply with the state of my country. I took an oath to God on a September afternoon in 1988 and swore to protect and defend this country against enemies, both foreign and domestic. Here’s the problem in a nutshell: the enemies are at the gates and my “leaders” want to talk about global warming.

It was the war with Korea where our enemies began to blend with the population. It was difficult to tell the difference in the farmer by day and soldier by night. Result? Stalemate. In Vietnam, the trend continued. Result? Defeat. Call it what you want, but it was a defeat . . . not because of the efforts of thousands of brave men, but political bull $#@@ that bogged our military down. It was becoming obvious to the enemies of the United States and her allies that it was a good way to defeat a powerful military force. Come to think of it, the American colonists did the same type of tactics against the most powerful military in the world and defeated them . . . without an infrastructure and no real navy! Now, the tables have turned. Our enemy is using the same tactics and counting on liberal politicians to allow entry into “secure” countries.

I am only one voice, a tiny little voice at that. I have no radio or television program. I am not a politician (thank God). I feel like I am the only one seeing the ground coming faster and faster through the airplane windshield. I’m screaming, “Is anyone else not seeing that we are going down?!” A huge majority of the passengers are just sitting back, drinking and laughing and not doing anything. Well, let it be known that when we hit the ground I was still at the controls, doing what I could do to right the ship. Many lives have been given in the name of freedom, on the shores of France, the deserts of the Middle East, the mountains of Germany, the plains of Virginia, the jungles of Southwest Asia, the cold peaks of Korea, in desolated islands of the Pacific, and some places that will never make the news. This is not an American patriotic post. This is a post for all lovers of freedom to stand. Resist the namby pamby speeches of weak-spined politicians and the “lets all hold hands” community. War is ugly. If you are squeamish, just keep your eyes and mouth closed, and let the dirty business be handled by the professionals. Yes, there will be inadvertent deaths, displaced people, damage to property, and loss of life for those who stand to fight . . . but it is necessary for the future of our children.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  –Thomas Jefferson


A Word of Hope in Darkness

imagesAfter recent events in Paris, most of the world still stands with a wide open mouth and fear for what the future holds. This is not the first time in history that terrorists have attempted to use fear as a weapon to impose their ideology and beliefs, nor will it be the last. There will always be animals, posing as humans, who are filled with hatred for others and kill for no apparent reason. Among these many times in history when terrorists were confronted and defeated, an American president addressed a nation on March 6, 1946 in the Deshler-Wallick Hotel in Columbus, Ohio. The address was carried on a nationwide radio broadcast, and the words are still applicable today:

We have just come through a decade in which forces of evil in various parts of the world have been lined up in a bitter fight to banish from the face of the earth both these ideals–religion and democracy. For these forces of evil have long realized that both religion and democracy are rounded on one basic principle, the worth and dignity of the individual man and woman. Dictatorship, on the other hand, has always rejected that principle. Dictatorship, by whatever name, is rounded on the doctrine that the individual amounts to nothing; that the State is the only thing that counts; and that men and women and children were put on earth solely for the purpose of serving the State.

In that long struggle between these two doctrines, the cause of decency and righteousness has been victorious. The right of every human being to live in dignity and freedom, the right to worship his God in his own way, the right to fix his own relationship to his fellow men and to his Creator–these again have been saved for mankind.

The fight to preserve these rights was hard-won. The victory took a toll of human life and treasure so large that it should bring home to us forever, how precious, how invaluable, is our liberty which we had just begun to take for granted.

Now that we have preserved our freedom of conscience and religion, our right to live by a decent moral and spiritual code of our own choosing, let us make full use of that freedom. Let us make use of it to save a world which is beset by so many threats of new conflicts, new terror, and new destruction . . .

If men and nations would but live by the precepts of the ancient prophets and the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, problems which now seem so difficult would soon disappear . . .

This is a supreme opportunity for the Church to continue to fulfill its mission on earth. The Protestant Church, the Catholic Church, and the Jewish Synagogue-bound together in the American unity of brotherhood–must provide the shock forces to accomplish this moral and spiritual awakening. No other agency can do it. Unless it is done, we are headed for the disaster we would deserve.

Any war against barbarians is never easy. The President recognized the loss of life as something that cannot be avoided. Words are nothing to people who only understand killing; and for a group of animals who only understand physical violence, we, who love and adore freedom, must speak their language. Please be aware that the President’s speech came after the victory. Note that the united forces (from multiple nations) who defeated the evil entities of the Nazis and Japanese had a single, laser focus on the objective. There was no wringing of the hands and crying over what to do until a goal was reached: a total defeat of the enemy, with a conversation that probably went something like this at one point:

“How many soldiers will it cost us to take the Japanese mainland?”

“About a million, Mr. President.”

“How many people will die if we drop it?”

“That is unsure, sir, but about 60,000 people will instantly be evaporated . . . maybe more.”

“They leave us little choice . . . drop it.”

. . . and now . . . Benjamin J. Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national “security adviser,” said the United States would work with France and other allies to “intensify their efforts” against the Islamic State . . . but only within limits.  “We don’t believe U.S. troops are the answer to the problem. The further introduction of U.S. troops to fully re-engage in ground combat in the Middle East is not the way to deal with this challenge.” Yeah, that’s probably factual . . . in the mind of a person who has NO military experience who advises a man who has NO military experience for a President who has NO military experience. Yes, there have been other Presidents who have had no experience, but they leaned heavily on military advisers and trusted their experience on how to defeat the enemy. Guess what? It worked. The wars fought after WWII, on a whole, have been political and ended badly (i.e. Korea and Vietnam).

Please understand that I am a U.S. Army veteran and hold the lives of our soldiers probably more precious than most, but the “war on terrorism” is being fought under political advisement. Our military is doing the best job they can possibly do with the parameters that are set in place and changed on a daily basis (and there are MANY). Don’t believe me? Here’s just a tiny example: article. If I were to go to a jungle and track down a silver back gorilla and spend weeks trying to discuss how life can be so much better with a few changes to his life, he will not do one thing that I suggest. Why? He’s an animal that cannot reason. As a matter of fact, if I annoy him enough, he will rip my arms off and beat me to death with them . . . and I was just trying to help. These sub-human species are no different.

It is time to draw a REAL line in the sand, not an Obama one, and let these animals feel the FULL might of a combined effort of military might. Hunt them and eradicate every vermin from the face of the earth. Put the fear of God in the hearts of anything that is even associated with them. Want to leave the United States, Great Britain, France, or anywhere else and become a terrorist? Fine. You just signed your own death warrant. The time for counting on the civilized world to be passive is over. We will hunt you like the animals you are and annihilate you.

There is a time for lighting candles and praying that we’ll all be safe, but now is not the time. It is time to hunt. No, not talk about it and put on a hard face. HUNT.

The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates


Posted on the Conservative Cyclist’s page, I could not agree more with Mark Steyn’s view. This is WAR that cannot be won with talk or negotiation. During WWII, we would never be able negotiate with barbarians like the Japanese; there was only ONE alternative.

Originally posted on the conservative cyclist:

As I write, Paris is under curfew for the first time since the German occupation, and the death toll from the multiple attacks stands at 158, the vast majority of them slaughtered during a concert at the Bataclan theatre, a delightful bit of 19th century

Source: The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates

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