The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling – I bought this book in preparation for my 2009 goal of achieving the California Triple Crown, which is three 200+ mile rides in a calendar year. This book really helped me prepare, both from a training perspective, but in the many other aspects including clothing, nutrition and hydration. I consider this book a must-read for anyone looking to go beyond normal century rides. As I start thinking more seriously about Paris-Brest-Paris, a 1200KM race/ride, I am going to be re-reading this book in the Fall. This book also addresses the ultra-endurance rides such as PBP.
Bicycling & the Law: Your Rights as a Cyclist – Terrific, insightful book written by a former Olympic and professional cyclist-turned-lawyer. Bob Mionske was a former teammate of Lance Armstrong on the 1992 Olympic team, then became a lawyer after retiring from professional cycling. Entertaining, informative, and a cool cover that makes it a great coffee table book as well! Learn not only the history of bicycle law, but some entertaining stories (as well as horror stories) of what led to its creation. Learn some new words and impress your friends with your astounding knowledge of bicycle law, as well as some cycling history.
Lance Armstrong’s War – If you ever wonder what it’s like to be a tour-rider, then this book is for you. Written in such a way as to make you feel like a fly on the wall with Team Lance, during the peak of his 7-win streak. It provides insight into why Lance is so dominant, and what makes the tour-winning-machine around him tick (lots of Belgians). I started this book and the recommendation of a fellow rider, and could not put it down.
- If you want to know “the real Lance,” this is a terrific book. It brings you from his hardscrabble childhood, child of a single mother, up through his first Tour victories. Even if you are a Lance-hater, which I am not, this will give you some insight into Lance and hopefully some understanding of why he is the way he is — a mix of incredible genetic gifts, combined with an absolute iron will and competitive drive. It will show you that Lance is not only the kind of guy that will out-suffer anyone on the course, but likely out-think them as well.
Books Unrelated to Cycling
Three Cups of Tea – My friend gave me this book, and my first reaction was, “I will never read this book.” In a moment of boredom, I picked it up, and had a hard time putting it down. Guy fails in his attempt to climb K2, one of the highest peaks in the world, in Northern Pakistan. He stumbles into a remote village, and was cared for by the townspeople. To return the favor, he promises to return and build a school for the village. What happens next is a wild series of adventures that leads him not only to build that school, but to commit his life to the cause. Very inspirational and exciting (he’s kidnapped by Taliban, and thinks he’s going to be killed), he has fatwas issued against him, and on and on. Makes whatever you’re doing look pretty lame.
The Last Lecture – by Randy Pausch, if you’ve not heard of this, I consider it a must read. Written by a guy diagnosed with terminal cancer, it’s a concise summation of a life well-lived and recommendations for those wishing to do the same. I am always hungry for advice from people who have nothing to gain by giving it. What better source than a guy who wants to leave a lasting legacy for his children and the planet, and is enouraging you to do the same?