I’m very proud to announce the release of American Pro, my third book from VeloPress.
It’s actually two stories interwoven. The first is of the rise and fall of the Astellas Pro Cycling Team which raced at the Domestic Elite and UCI Continental levels from 2012-2016. The second is of American cycling and the sponsorship model that fails so often.
Plenty of books exist telling of an individual rider’s experiences at the pro level. Bob Roll, Joe Parkin, Phil Gaimon, Michael Berry and others have told that story. VeloPress and I felt that the same sort of story should be present from the team’s perspective. American Pro follows the path from the very first thought to the last good byes, and a little beyond.
The main theme of the book is that bike racing is run from the bottom up. Grass roots. Ordinary people stepping up to make it happen, whether it’s the notion of starting a team or a club or the act of putting on a bike race. There is no overlord sitting on high waving a magic hand to make things appear or disappear; it’s up to us. And the model that we use to fund our dreams is broken. Or perhaps it never really worked. Maybe we just kind of made it work against it’s own will. And that needs to change.
So now I have three books available for you to read. And they kind of follow an order. It’s almost like I planned for them to be a trilogy. I didn’t. It just kind of happened that way.
1. Roadie – The Misunderstood World of a Bike Racer
This is a book for new riders. It’s also written for your friends, family, and co-workers who have no idea why you race bikes. It’s a fun read made even more fun by the illustrations of Jef Mallett, the creator of Frazz, one of my favorite comic strips.
2. Reading the Race
Now that you’re hooked on bike racing, you need a deeper dive into the strategies and techniques of actually riding. I avoid power numbers and training stuff. That’s Joe Freel’s realm. Reading the Race is more hands on.
3. American Pro
Deeper into the sport we go. This one explains more about the bike racing world and the struggles of team management.
A couple of notes about American Pro:
– I couldn’t possibly write about every single rider on the team. There were >40 riders who wore the Astellas kit. To include details about every one would confuse the daylights out of the reader. I had to choose stories that best told the story of THE TEAM. Sifting through hundreds of race results and stories meant finding the ones with the most bite to them. While I would have loved to have given each rider more space, it would have made the book too difficult to follow.
– I tend to inject some humor into my writing. My favorite authors are Douglass Adams and Bill Bryson who are both truly brilliant and funny. I’m definitely neither of them. I’m also not Chaucer. And I’m not Encyclopedia Brittanica. And it’s bike racing. Lighten up.
– I omitted an Acknowledgments page in American Pro. I did this because I knew I’d forget someone. I’ve forgotten people in the past, and I feel horrible about it. So this way, I neglect everyone and no one at all.
– My next book will be fiction. The amount of research required for a non-fiction book, even if the topic is one that I profess to know, is ridiculous. My head still hurts from this effort. I hope you enjoy it.