Whether you agree/disagree, like it or not, Lance Armstrong defines cycling here in the states. You can love him or hate him, but it's like being angry at oxygen or the old testament. That said, the last thing the world needed was another book about him. Regardless, Bill Strickland stepped up to the plate. His last book ,Ten Points, was like Ham on Rye with criteriums. Painfully honest and intense. Maybe that was the reason I picked this up. Maybe it was Lance-I was hooked since the 99 attack on Sestriere against Zulle and Escartin. I got into cycling as Lance set about defining it.My main excuse was I was going on vacation, but I started reading it immediately.....
The short review is get this book and read it. It manages to frame the ups and downs of cycling in a way anyone can relate to, but if you have suffered on the bike-you will be nodding your head incessantly. This is not just for Lance-aholics, it is a great book about cycling.
The first turn of phrase that really caught my eye was in regards to America's endless attempts to revitalize old heroes(Jordan for example) "Diminishment by repeated resurrection" was what Strickland called it and he nailed it.
The drama of the LA vs AC rivalry is well documented and there are plenty of juicy tid bits here in, but for me the greatness of this book lies in it's focus on universal nature of suffer and sacrifice that all cyclists face.
I am going to end this with a bunch of quotes and excerpts from the text, but believe me there are hundreds more for you to enjoy.....
"At the feedzone, Arvesen realized he couldn't lift his left arm to get his lunch out of the musette. Cancellara, who'd been able to stay in yellow seven days partly because of Arvesen's work for him, now took Arvesen's bag and, riding beside him, piece by piece fed his lunch to him."
"In the Tour de France, you can't coast into last place; you have to tear your self apart for the honor"
"...he gloried in the routine anti-glory of sacrificing his body, bike, and ,ultimately, any chance he ever had for fame. That year in the normal course of obliterating himself for his team...."
"I don't mind being beaten. What I hate is being beaten when I haven't tried"
"Miracles in cycling? There are none"