the escape artist - Matt Seaton

book coverIt was with some trepidation yesterday as I went down to the gym to spin for a couple of hours, I took this book with me. My Mum bought it for me for my birthday because it had a cyclist on the front as much as anything. Heck, she’s my Mum and in her seventies now.

IT IS BRILLIANT! I've learnt more about cyclists in this 185-page book than 6-years on the road. I can recognise or understand everything he says. It is an autobiography ala Lance, rather than a novel ala Steve Trew. I'd never heard of Matt Seaton before but now I think he must of been one of the guys at the cycling club I didn't understand, but now I do.

Interestingly Seaton mentions two things that were close to home for me. One is Rob Knight, remember him? Wasn't he the Black knight from the old triathletes-uk egroup? It should be, it sure reads like him. And then he discusses Shaun an ex-triathlete. He deals with triathletes as follows:

"In real life, Shaun was a postie. He had also been a triathlete. This seemed to explain his tireless will to train. Triathlon tends to attract obsessive-compulsive types for whom supreme fitness in one discipline is not enough. They are stamina fetishists with abnormal ability to withstand not only the annihilating pain of extreme endurance training, buts its crushing boredom as well."

"You would meet these guys from time to time. Elite triathletes often used road-racing as part of their training programmes. Their strength and fitness were phenomenal, even by the demanding standards of first-cat club racers, but they tended to be tactically naive." [MC:Triathlon training boring? Compared to just cycling??]

This book should be mandatory reading to all new road cyclists, and anyone with a partner or family who doesn't understand their dedication. Unfortunately though the book doesn't end happily and bought more than a few tears to my eyes.

It's available for £6.99 from the Guardian bookshop, I think Seaton works for the Guardin as a writer. An extract from the book called "Hot pursuit" is available here. Interestingly, while looking for some good links to accompany this post, I came across www.bikereader.com where there seem to be a number of good articles.

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The Black Knight
(Anonymous)
Hi Mark, how's life?

The Black Knight was Rob Lewis. I think he ended up in Aus or NZ or something.

Clive Jones.
Re: The Black Knight
Ah yes, you are of course right. I'm doing fine thanks, long time no see. I'm headed back to Austin next w/e for the LAF/Armstrong Ride for the Roses century.

If you want to post your email address here, I'll keep it screened so it can't be read by anyone else. Would like to catch-up with you sometime.