Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter reading

Søren Kiergegaard, a notable 19th century Danish philosopher once wrote: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” It's a principle that has been adopted in modern culture. In school, we spend years learning and memorizing American (and to a very limited extent, world) history... I'd always assumed the intent being that those lessons would someday come to influence an important decision... Was the Affordable Care Act indirectly influenced by the UK's National Insurance Act, has our fascination with the past really impacted the decisions of the present? And while we're on the subject - why not spend more time learning about the fabrication of the world? The British, French, Chinese may all have a thing or two to teach us...

Seeing that as a Canadian native I can't be President, and the small but unavoidable fact that I have a certain infatuation with the sport of triathlon, I've taken inspiration from Kiergegaard and used his words as an excuse to dig into our sports storied past. Given how green I am there's no question I'll learn a thing or two about training and racing!

I'm starting with the classics and working my way back to the famous Iron War of 1989 when I was just 3 months old. All the titles link to the books' respective kindle pages, so have hopefully saved a curious mind some trouble. Learnings to come and a small plea to lurkers: please comment with additional suggestions. I'm a voracious reader and unless the training reaches extremes I expect to get through this list rather quickly.

A Life Without Limits: Chrissie Wellington's autobiography.

As the Crow Flies: Craig Alexander's autobiography
*note: not on kindle yet, so tabling until his pubs get to the 21st century

I'm Here To Win: Chris McCormack's autobiography.

Iron War: 3rd-party account of the greatest race ever run. Mark Allen and Dave Scott's infamous, record-breaking duel in the Kona lava fields in 1989.

Boy Racer: Marc Cavendish's journey to the top of the Tour. A guy written off on athleticism, but who's fearless determination took him to the top. Sounds a bit like where I want to be. Very excited to read this.

The Secret Race: Admit it, you're curious. Tyler Hamilton's widely debated inside look into the TdF and what "really" happened in its golden age.

As Good as Gold: A first-party account of ESPN's parlay with Kathryn Bertine to make the 2008 Beijing Olympics, in 2 years.


  1. Chrissie's book is really very good - I'd read it again (there is a very short list of books of which I say that). I could not believe the training regime of Brett Sutton and Chrissie's reaction to it - it makes you wonder whether Kevin is tough enough on us! It takes a certain kind of person to go through what Chrissie did and come out the other side the athlete and person she is.

    A little controversial but I would put Lance's 'It's not about the bike' on the list. Whatever your feelings about him and whatever he did or didn't do in terms of doping, I still think there is a lot to learn from what he has to say. Sian

    1. Thanks, Sian! I'd also heard that of the three auto-bios, Chrissie's was the best. Guess I should get through it quickly to have an excuse to train more! With your rec I'll add the LA book as well. Controversial, but so were Marx and Margaret Sanger at their respective times, and we've certainly learned a thing or two from them.

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