There was a time in my life when I was a card-carrying fanboy of Lance Armstrong. His heroics on and off the bicycle were a source of great inspiration for me. I must admit that I bought his story hook, line, and sinker. When the truth came out concerning his use of performance-enhancing drugs, along with the pervasiveness of such drugs in the pro cycling tour, I kind of quit following him and the sport all together. This book served to remind me why I no longer pay much attention to Lance. His sophisticated program of doping on the pro tour more closely resembled a mob ring than a training program. In some ways, Lance and the other riders were victims of a corrupt system that encouraged the use of performance enhancers. However, Armstrong’s bold-faced denials and attacks on the sport’s whistle-blowers blew any chance of sympathy on my part. I recommend this book for anyone interested in Armstrong or professional cycling. Be warned though that Lance and his buddies have a bad case of potty-mouths.
Title: Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180
Author: Mike Magnuson
Completed on March 20, 2012
In his memoirs Heft On Wheels, cyclist Mike Magnuson tells the story of how he replaced an obsession with cigarettes and booze with an obsession with all things cycling. In the process, he dropped somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 or 90 pounds. Throughout the entire book there is the feeling that one bad spill or stressful day is gonna send Magnuson right back to the bar stool.
I enjoy this book because it is real. Magnuson is inspirational without trying to be. At nearly 300 pounds at the beginning of his journey, when Magnuson writes of being spit off the back of a pack of riders you can feel the persistence and stubbornness his passion for riding required of him. His journey is inspiring even if it isn’t necessarily healthy.
Ultimately, this book is about balance. I appreciate it because I possess the same kind of obsessive personalty as Magnuson. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy and it takes a tremendous amount of effort for me to obsess over the “right” things.