Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Draft Animals

Draft Animals: Living the Pro Cycling Dream (Once in a While)

Many "sports books" tend to be a bit formulaic: the hero starts out, faces some adversity, and then wins something big.

Phil Gaimon's book about climbing to the top ranks of professional cyclists is more interesting than that.  He's funny, adds a lot of detail, and perhaps because he's "only" really, really good at cycling, but one of the top guys, the ups and downs of his career feel a bit more real.

This book takes over where his last book, Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro
leaves off.  Phil has secured a spot to ride with the Garmin team, a part of the World Tour.

The book follows the ups (race win!) and downs: not having his contract renewed at the end of that season, dropping down a level for a year, then another season in the World Tour.

There is no Big Win, and when he winds up without a contract at the end of 2016, and decides to call time on his professional career.

He had what it took to be in the World Tour, but wasn't one of the best guys there, and his struggles related to that are what provide a lot of the tension in the book.

There's also a lot of (sometimes raunchy if that's a thing that bothers you) humor too, though, so the book bounces around nicely between thoughtful, funny, happy and sad.

If you like cycling, this book and the preceding one are well worth it.