|Jason depicted with non-ANSI/Snell approved helmet|
Now, I should note that in 1997 I was not yet a father and I didn’t own a home or a bicycle. I was married, had a full-time job and played a little softball, but I had tons of time to fill and books were a great choice. My reading pace has slowed in recent years as other responsibilities and interests have demanded more time. In those early years I read a lot of science fiction and a lot of “English class” books that I had failed to appreciate or had entirely missed during my formal education.
The inevitable happened in April 2005: I read my first cycling book. It was called Fitness Through Cycling and I honestly can’t remember anything from it. I followed that with LeMond: The Incredible Comeback of an American Hero. In 2006 I read my first piece of cycling-themed fiction: The Memory of Running, by Ron McLarty. Then came French Revolutions and Lance Armstrong and the 1999 Tour de France, each of which—I feel sure—also contains a fair amount of fiction of a different sort. For Christmas I received The Rider, by Tim Krabbe. It’s an excellent look at the mindset of a road racer. I also received Bob Roll’s Bobke II, which is a lot of fun. Then I read Michael Barry’s Inside the Postal Bus, which came off as an attempt to capitalize on Armstrong’s fame. In 2009 I read Blazing Saddles: The Cruel and Unusual History of the Tour de France, by Rick Yancey—entertaining stuff, and still my most-recent cycling book.
Since 2009 I have gone back to my old habit of filling in the holes of English classes past: Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, and so on. But as Christmas approaches I’m counting on Santa to deliver Team 7-Eleven, by Geoff Drake. Released earlier this year, it’s an in-depth look at the first American team to challenge the European cycling establishment. That’s a piece of cycling history I don’t know very well. Must get through Jason and the Argonauts soon to ensure I can unwrap my new book on Christmas and begin reading it immediately.
Jason, by the way, is on a quest for the Golden Fleece. I suspect he’s going to find it hanging with the skinsuits in Mario Cipollini’s closet.