I had heard lots about Sir Chris Hoy reading other autobiographies, and in the news. The strange thing is despite being a great athlete, ambassador and a celebrity there was never a bad word about him from anybody. Then I saw his own interviews and he came across as a gentleman and nice grounded sort of fellow. Could this really be Brittan's most successful athlete? Yes it can!!! I was so good to read a book that is so positive. I became a bigger fan of Chris Hoy after reading this book.
Chris show his scientific background and takes a very analytical approach to writing this book. Talking about how hard work will overcome talent any day of the week. The determination and sacrifice to become a great athlete, yet being grounded, relatable and respected enough by his peers and fans alike to become an ambassador and leader of his sport. Even better this book is extended to capture his London 2012 exploits and accolades.
In his recent retirement Sir Chris said he left it all on the track. He writes this book with the same kind of passion and commitment he show to his sport. As a reader I thought I felt all the emotion Chris felt in his races, without the pain or painful side effects. Coming from an endurance background I have been trying to learning more amounts sprinting to become more explosive in my training and exaction. This book covers everything from the physical to mental toughness needed to become an athlete. Great book by a great bloke.
Chris Hoy has been a massive influence on me and many other british cyclists. He is a likeable and humble guy who i respect and like very much. However, this book is probably the most dull, colourless and bland autobiography i've ever read. dry, slow, uninspiring reading that seems to do nothing but talk about track times and training. i actually gave up halfway though and didn't finish it. there are no funny stories, anecdotes, insights, material about his life outside cycling or who he really is......in short nothing to hold my interest at all. sorry chris.
Sporting autobiographies are often disappointing for many reasons. They are brought out too early, or too late, in an athlete's career and are ghost written for monetary reasons often by people with little or no insight of what it means to be a professional sports person. Chris Hoy's autobiography is different and of much better quality. Perhaps this is because while Hoy's achievement of three medals at the Beijing Olympics is not necessarily the pinnacle of his career, it was the culmination of 25 years cycling which, for a 32 year old, is a substantial part of his life.
Hoy started out in BMX racing as a seven year old, a sport he gave up seven years later when he realised he wasn't enjoying it. During those years he learned a number of lessons which, as a coach, I constantly try to get over to parents. Natural ability is not enough. Talent will only take you so far after which everything is down to hard work, mental preparation and self belief. As Hoy writes, "Talent, as far as I am concerned, can in some cases be a nebulous, even damaging, notion; it can be a hindrance rather than a help....It was my potential, rather than my talent, that excited and inspired me, driving me on." Winning as a youngster was useful, knowing there is always someone else to beat was better.
In addition to top class preparation - and the decision to locate the top performers in one location where there are first class facilities - Hoy acknowledges the psychological assistance he has received. Professional sport is about controlling the emotions (soccer seems to be an exception) in order to concentrate on the task in hand. There's also reference to nature of the physical effort involved in racing which doesn't come across on television. As one top class athlete said to me, "It's hard. The knack is making it look easy". Hoy's single mindedness was such that when his preferred event, the kilo, was removed from the Olympics in order to accommodate BMX at Beijing he set new goals and emerged as the world's best sprinter, equalling the British record of three individual golds set by Henry Taylor 100 years earlier.
The book is almost totally focused on cycling. People drift in and out of the story but it's all about Hoy and the bike. In that respect I'm unsure if those who do not share Hoy's commitment to cycling will find it as expansive a story as they would wish. Sports people in any sport will recognise it for what it is and be able to relate to it more easily than the general reader. There are other avenues of course. Reference is made to cases of drug taking, Hoy's own preference for the track with some interesting but largely uncontroversial observations on coaches and other cyclists.
In a wider context Hoy's uncle Derek is a prominent figure on the Scottish folk scene and one day, shortly after the Athens Olympics, Hoy went into a music shop in Edinburgh to buy a CD. " When the guy behind the counter took my credit card, he looked at the name and did a double take. "you're not...? and I thought: that's pretty cool - he's recognised me from the Olympics... "you're not Derek Hoy's son, are you? He's a legend". It's all a matter of perspective. Henry Taylor is only known now because Hoy equalled his record.
Hoy has not been affected by proposed changes to the cycling programme for the 2012 London Olympics. He could win another three golds as the events which will be removed from the men's cycling programme are not those he contests. As Reg Harris proved age is less of a problem for sprinters than it is for endurance cyclists. Based on his performances in 2009 Hoy will probably win more championship medals, although he knows he's being pressed by youngsters which, as ever, is what keeps him focused. Oh - and just for the record - he does eat bran flakes for breakfast!!!
Solid, straightforward and honest. That's how I would describe both this book and its author. One of the best autobiographies I have read. A lovely clear and very readable style brings out the occasions and the man. My admiration for the 'real McHoy' has only increased after reading the book - couldn't put it down. (And I've noted that we are the same height, same weiht, almost share the same birthday - but he has 30 years on me. No wonder I'm not as fast!) If you have the slightest interest in cycling, sport or the Olympics this is definitely a must read - and before 2012!
After the heat of Beijing last summer, British cycling has come now become one of our strong sports, coming into London 2012. The only top cycling who rang a bell in my head last year was Vicky Pendleton, who won the world Champion title last spring, but I only remembered Chris Hoy after he won his first gold of three last summer. His story is filled with so much lessons and disapointments which he has overcome over the years, including the time when the kilo event was scrapped after Athens 2004 and he had to turn around a new leaf and, eventually, turned into a cycling legend. A brilliant and inspiring read for any cycling fan (myself included) should take a leaf from. He really is the real deal!
I bought Chris Hoy's autobiography as a coming home present for my son, who has just broken the world record for cycling solo from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Chris has inspired my son in recent years and, I'm sure, many other young people in the UK, to really work towards their dream. The book is the story of an ordinary lad with an extraordinary talent and the ability to really graft hard towards fulfilling his own dream. I imagine Chris Hoy will continue to put every bit of effort into everything he strives for in the years to come, and I've no doubt he will succeed in every aspect of his life.
Really enjoyed this book. The man is very logical in his thinking when speaking about the sport he dominated for years.
The book doesn't have it's language watered down or the writing style changed from how Chris would tell it in real life and then written down. What I mean by that is that when reading the majority of the book I actually felt like I was hearing him speak if that makes sense, as if listening to a youtube interview of him..
I think the ultimate test to see how much you enjoyed the book, is the length of time it takes you to read it. On train journeys to work and after work at home this took me just under 2 weeks, whereas other books may have taken 2 months with lots of stop start.
Overall one of the better, interesting and well written autobiographies out there in cycling.