Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Little girl on the the hill to the Queen of the hill.
on 15 April 2013
This is a great autobiography, open and honest. I enjoyed the book a lot more because of Victoria's honesty. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. I have read a lot of autobiographies from the male cyclists and have to say aside form a couple of mentions I did not know a great deal about Victoria Pendleton (VP). So I can see and understand how she can feel slightly undervalued despite her great and many accomplishments. The thing that separates this book is that it is VP's whole career and more importantly life to this point. This allow VP to spotlight some problems other athletes could be facing today, and let them know they are not alone and can get help.
The books starts at the Beijing Olympics 2008 and VP getting ready for her for the Olympic final. She mentions the people are around her and the mental preparation she need to ride and win at the elite level. From here on I was hooked into this book. The book then goes back and follows a more chronological order with VP being the little girl riding after her dad up the hill, trying to keep pace with him. She credits these rides as the foundation for all her future success.
The book is very emotional, (which I prefer to an author just throwing facts at me), and allows a reader to be part of VP journey, and understand how she is feeling in the moment. It does not just cover the gruelling physical training needed to become an athlete, the mental aspects, the sacrifices, the rewards and the emotions toils and highs. Probably as this book is written after VP's career has ended she is able to talk about issues and people she might now have been able to speak about if she was still competing.
Bradley Wiggins (BW) said writing his first book In Pursuit of Glory: The Autobiography was very therapeutic for him as it allowed to him to put some ghosts to rest and getting his thought on paper allowed him to reflect on aspects of his career. I certainly hope this book allow VP to do the same. There were many emotional low for her. Probably because of her honest and open writing I was drawn even deeper into the book and was really rooting for her to break out of them. As she puts when problem like these arise it is not a simple matter of saying I have a job to do I am going to get on with it. They need to be worked through and in some case harnessed for fuel or motivation. I would like to say being emotional does not mean VP is in any way whinny FAR FROM IT!!!! She is a tough fighter of a girl who is not shy about the issues she faced, but used them to become the athlete/person she is now. She gives full credit to all the people who helped her in anyway. I don't think she is overly critical on people who treated her a bit rough. She even acknowledges the help these people had given her in the past.
VP like BW did also find herself the focal point about certain issues in the sport. In BW's case his anti-doping views, and in VP's the discrepancy between the number of event for women and man. BW did also mention this in his second book Bradley Wiggins: My Time: An Autobiography.
Sometimes I get annoyed when top athletes and over the top personalities say how shy and insecure they are then in the next minute are back in "character". This does not happen in this book. VP's writing makes me feel that she is someone quite insecure who found the mental aspects of elite cycling harder than the physical aspect and her journey, (trials and tribulations), of overcoming this. This is a great book by a great athlete, the only thing missing I think from this book that was in other athletes book is there is no glossary/summary of achievement or results at the end of the book, the racing passages of this book are so gripping it make me feel like I was there watching. Great book buy it you will not regret it.