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Stay Away from the Buttercups: Journey of the South Downs Triple [Paperback] Paperback – 7 Jul 2013
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I didn't buy this book for the cycling info, I bought it mainly on the strength of the other Amazon reviews and the fact that it was inexpensive and well worth a try.
I wasn't disappointed at all. Considering this is Richard's first book, I was very impressed with the writing and the way that the book was structured.
This book was very easy to read and although I am a slow reader, I finished the book in about 5 hours which is a fraction of the time it usually takes me to read most books.
After reading this book, it reminded me that, about 17 years ago when I was a teenager, I read a book called something like "How to become a millionaire". I can't remember who the author was. At the time it was (at least apparently) the only "millionaire" motivational book around but today there seems to be hundreds of copycat books on Amazon. Perhaps you have already guessed, the book didn't quite live up to it's title for me. But it did teach me a few important facts about how the top business leaders achieve such success: they have an unwavering confidence and belief in there own future success (despite all of their setbacks), and also the realism to seek out their own group of experts (or mind group) to guide them to their success.
As it was so long ago since I read that book I had forgotten all about it. But when I read "Stay away from the buttercups", I could see a detailed example of how this has been meticulously planned and executed. There is no explicit here's how you can do it" section but then there doesn't need to be. When reading this book you can easily adapt what is said to understand what sacrifices are needed, and get a glimpse into the planning process needed in order to achieve your most ambitious goals in life.
The book articulates how meticulous Richard was in preparing himself and a support crew for his challenge and his utter determination to achieve his goal. There is no doubt that a weak mind would have failed, no matter how well prepared the body was. If you have any plans to achieve a sporting goal that is well outside your comfort zone (as I currently do) this book will be an inspiration. Moreover, if you plan to do the South Downs Way on your bike, this serves as very good preparatory reading.
As a book, personally I wanted to get inside his head more and get more of a feel for what he was going through, although I would imagine after such a difficult challenge it may be difficult to recall such things. Personally I found the reproduction of the Twitter and forum feeds a little distracting from the story, but I guess it gave a feel for what the cycling fraternity thought of his incredible effort.
Overall, though, as an achievement it is truly staggering and I doff my cap to the man.
Once i realised he was bringing out a book, buying a copy was a no-brainer for me!
The training, planning and effort that went into the ride was obviously huge but reading about it seemed to help with realising the enormity of what he achieved.
After initially planning for a sub 12 hour SDW attempt this year myself, reading Richard's book has inspired me to think bigger and possibly better for my own attempt and ideas of a South Downs Double of my own are now floating around my head.
The book is both informative and inspiring, as much as I hate it when I see it in a review of anything, it really is unputdownable!
This is not just an epic story of endurance, fortitude and an example of what the human body can do, it's about having a crazy dream, something so audacious and out there no one believes you can do it. It's about what it takes to achieve that dream - meticulous planning, complete and unwavering focus on getting in the best physical shape you can be and having a support team that's as much up,for the challenge as you are and of course is as prepared as you are and knows what to do.
It's an inspirational story, one not solely for mountain bikers (I'm a roadie and think I'll stick to the hard stuff) or indeed cyclists but anyone wishing to achieve something extraordinary in their life, sporting or otherwise. Can't wait to see what he does next.
Reading how Richard prepared for his ride and did it, how his support team worked to enable him succeed and how he got through some pretty dark moments is inspirational to say the least. His book shows what can be done with the right preparation, planning and attitude, linked to a lot of hard work and support from a team.
Even if you only go out on your bike occasionally, this is a book you should read which will inspire you to greater challenges and fill you with awe for what Richard sherry achieved to be able to write this book.
I would have liked to see more in the way of kit list, logistics planning etc as appendices as these would be really helpful for anyone hoping to to try and do even a third of what he achieved!
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