Top critical review
A very unusual book - not for me
26 July 2017
I have to be honest, I was sure I was going to love this book. As a road cyclist who loves cycling up hill and who just returned from the alps and as an avid reader who devours cycling biographies, how could I not? Love the title, the hardback has some very cool art work and a high quality sleeve.
The author writes well, and with the book jacket promising to explore "why?" we climb mountains, I was hoping for an exploration of the cycling psyche, mixed with some heroic tales. As I ploughed through the first chapter, which was all about clearing snow from the mountains, it was clear this book wasn't for me. As the book went on, it revealed itself to be a very unusual mix. There's a bit of history in there (first cyclists up Tourmalet), a bit of insight into the life of a pro, and all sorts of fairly random anecdotes from driving up a mountain in a 2CV to a meeting with a shepherd.
One of the other reviews describes this as a mix that just works. For me it didn't - despite the well written prose, I found it really hard going and sadly not very interesting. If you want history, there are plenty of better books. If you want some insight from pros, or tales of classic mountain battles - there are loads out there which would get my vote.