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Notable Book: Boy Racer

With the Tour De France just days away (Saturday, July 3 is the 2010 start), publishers are releasing their new titles on cycling.  So far this month, I’ve read a book on Lance Armstrong, one by Michael Barry, and this one by Mark Cavendish.

Boy Racer, Mark Cavendish’s autobiography (even though he’s only in his 20’s) details his rise to become one of the best sprinters in cycling (along with the one of the more loved and hated riders of his day).  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this book, for one I’m not crazy about sprinting in cycling, and two, he’s only in his twenties (what could he have to say?).

Cav doesn’t disappoint  (one of the reasons he’s loved and hated is his outspoken- some say blunt- nature).

I may never look forward to the sprint finish of a race, but I do have a newfound appreciation for sprinters.  Additionally, I found a new respect (maybe even admiration) for Cav.  Refreshingly, he rarely seems to hold back in his assessment of other riders and their abilities and personalities (the practice of political correctness or tact seems to be lost on Cav).  The shoot from the mouth Cav that you see in interviews is the same Cav in this book.  Yet, he seems to realize that when he shoots from his mouth he can offend people, and in these pages, he does express some remorse (for some of the things he’s said, for others he stands behind them).

One thing is for sure, Cav is passionate.  That passion propels him as a sprinter, gives him the courage to speak up and out against coaches and trainers, and to trust in himself more than any other.  Cav expresses his disdain for the science of cycling (power meters, VO2 testing, etc), knowing from his own experience that he tests poorly yet wins in bunches (which is what people care about- did you win?).

I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would, and it made me realize that I had bought into the caricature of Cav more than the person or the cyclist.

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