Book Review – Domestique

The world’s professional cycling season starts literally 250 metres from my home with The Tour Down Under.

Tour Village

Tour Village

It’s January, the weather is awesome and the sense of anticipation about what is about to unfold is evident. As a keen cyclist it is one of my favourite weeks in the year as rather than having to sit up all night to watch the best cyclists on TV, they are literally at my doorstep.

Sellicks Hill - 50kms from Adelaide

Sellicks Hill – 50kms from Adelaide (Stage 4)


As usual the race did not disappoint with Aussies filling the Top 3 positions (and a South Australian winning the race). To see Cadel Evans final race was special and Richie Porte blowing the field away, hopefully sets the scene for a great year.

I watched all of this whilst reading a book, Domestique – The Real Life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro By Charly Wegelius. This is a book written by cyclist who was never really in the limelight. Someone that Wegelius himself notes the voice of cycling, Phil Legett, commented only in passing upon as he went to the front of the bunch when the going got tough. He was a true Domestique and not glamorous at all.

Pennys Hill - Willunga Stage 5

Pennys Hill – Willunga Stage 5

Wegelius’s book is the complete antithesis of my usual cycling reads that normally involve the intricacies of cycling technique (wasted on me!), Grand Tours, or drugs in the sport. The Domestique is about the slog that is professional cycling – it’s gripping, depressing and never exhilarating all at once. Starting out with his early years in the sport and moving through his time as an amateur, junior pro, member of team GB, and then his advancement to major teams, its a very personal insight into what being a very good (I’d say outstanding) but not “megastar” cyclist is like. Its one of those books that calls it like it is without being an expose. There are no dirt files, which is refreshing, nor constant reference to drugs in the sport (a topic I for one am now heartily sick of). I enjoyed the references to Marco Pantani, Mario Cipollini. He also makes some not so glowing references to, an Aussie icon, Cadel Evans. They all give context to a very personal story.

These is no effort to gloss over the numerous challenges, injuries, and impositions upon his personal life that pro-cycling made. He also makes constant reference to those fans who idolise professional cyclists, as well as people just like me who have a career outside the sport and love to ride; doing so in a fashion that makes it clear that what we imagine the life of a professional cyclist and the reality are genuinely poles apart.

This is a book for those who love the sport. I do and I loved it.
Thanks Secondrate Cyclist for blogging about this book as I would not have found it without your excellent review.

image

Here is a link Amazon.Com

bloglovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I spent days trying to work out how to “Claim my Blog on Bloglovin and found this Daily Post that was really useful What the Heck is Bloglovin’, and Do I Need IT?

Accepting upfront that when it comes to anything slightly techie i am immediately out of my depth, the trick was to understand that I needed to add the RSS feed address in the Claim Blog section.

The only thing you did was “Yesterday”

Paul McCartney is reputed to have composed Yesterday in his sleep and for a considerable period afterward to have been sure that he was guilty of plagiarism.

My wife tells me that Yesterday is the song most selected as the one that songwriters wished they had written. I am not sure if that is true but it certainly has a list of accolades that supports the view and it surely ranks as one of the greatest songs ever written.

Wikipedia notes

  • there are over 2000 cover versions
  • it was voted the best song of the 20th century by listeners and music experts in the BBC 2 Radio Poll
  • both MTV and Rolling Stone voted it the best song of all time

    Beatles bible.com notes that according to the Guiness Biok of Records it is the most covered song of all time.

    So if John Lennon was correct in his sledge of Paul McCartney in How do You Sleep from the truly momentous album Imagine that

    The only thing you done was yesterday

    then that would for most people be enough.

    I was lucky enough to see Paul McCartney when he fronted Wings sing it as a solo in 1975. Just thinking about it now sends goosebumps down my spine. It was awesome! It was one of my most memorable concert moments.

    I find it incredible that apparently The Beatles were afraid it would tarnish their image if it was released as a single only being released I the UK many years later. It appeared on Help and was released as a single in the US.

    So often I hear that my favourite Beatle was John, Paul,only wrote silly love songs. Certainly the music primarily credited to John in the Lennonon McCartney partnership was sharper however MCCartney’s ability to write a pop,song is perhaps unparalleled.

    As you find yourself reflecting on The Beatles and perhaps considering who was the most talented (what a pointless task when you consider George’s list of credits and Ringo who according to Mark Lewisohn was sought after to join the greatest band of all time) is it possible to go past The Beatle who wrote Yesterday?

  • Steven Gerrard – Retiring at the Top

    Source : www.telegraph.co.uk

    Source : www.telegraph.co.uk

    There has been so much attention in the football (soccer) world about Steven Gerrard’s recent announcement of his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.

    The BBC Five Live Team saying over and over again, surely Liverpool,should have done something to keep him. Other sports commentators have said the same. The pervading view being he must stay.

    Gerrard has other ideas. Apparently no longer guaranteed a starting place in all games, he’s made the decision to play out the balance of his career in the US. No doubt he’ll make a fortune playing less games and continuing to be acknowledged as a giant of the game. Good on him, I say. He’s taking the same route that fellow Merseysider Tim Cahill took a couple of years before.

    To Gerrard’s absolute credit, he has made it clear that he will not continue in the Premier League with another club. He’s a Liverpool legend and to put on another shirt would be unthinkable.

    He will also retire from the EPL in good form. Memories of him in his final season will be littered with strong performances as evidenced by his two goals in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup, where he was judged BBC’s Man of the Match.

    So many outstay their welcome, playing that one or two seasons too long. Gerrard won’t. He’ll leave on top and at a time of his own choosing. This is just the way it should be for someone who has been a true champion of the game.

    Author Declaration – I am a “dyed in the wool” Arsenal supporter!

    My New Veggie Patch

    A few weeks ago we were walking to our favourite coffee shop and noticed in a courtyard of one of the apartment blocks crates with wheels and veggies growing in them. They looked really cool and we thought we might do the same in the courtyard of our apartment block.

    After a bit of research we found The Little Veggie Co Website. They had a useful blog and lots of books, but couldn’t get the crates delivered to us before Christmas. We were however able to source crates from elsewhere as well as the requisite supplies. All were delivered before Christmas and made a great present from the family.

    image

    With the Boxing Day Test Match, Australia v India, in full swing and the radio on (what can be better than listening to the cricket on the radio?), I set about filling my crates with sugar cane straw,compost/soil, pea straw, slow release fertilizer and worm castings. This apparently makes a bed which does not require any form of digging.

    image

    Having filled the boxes it’s time to let it all settle for a few days and decide what to plant. Maybe some Basil, Spring Onions, Radishes and Lettuce to get it started.

    image

    image