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Tough time in Texas

In my last posting, I was grateful for having no slush while fat biking. Well, my good friend Jeff also had no worries the other day when it came to partially melted ice; he just had a ton of snow. This past Monday, he texted me photos revealing six inches of the white stuff covering the ground, while indicating a temperature reading of 8 degrees.

You might be thinking, not a big deal. That is certainly true, however, it is if you live in Austin, Texas. I replied, "No riding on your Cannondale bike today!"

When I asked him what were the coldest conditions he had ever ridden a bike in, Jeff said, "It was 15 degrees in New Mexico and I cycled only five miles. That was in 2011." The Texan is older and, I'm sure, much wiser now, so I'm guessing he's stayed indoors this time.

Book report

I recently finished reading two books dealing with — surprise, surprise — cycling. I highly recommend both titles.

When not cycling, I enjoy reading about it.

"Greg LeMond: Yellow Jersey Racer" by Guy Andrews (Rapha, 2016)

A coffee-table book with a year-by-year description of the American's career, as told through interviews with former teammates and others. It follows Greg's path from amateur racing, the early years in Europe, and his three yellow jersey victories in the Tour de France. It also goes into great detail of when he was accidentally shot by his brother-in-law while turkey hunting in 1987, a year after his first Tour win.

Like many of my cycling books, it is chock-full of photos throughout its 304 pages, covering all aspects of his life and career. One feature I especially enjoyed was a section showing and offering specifications on bicycles from Greg's personal collection, many of which played a big part in winning races.

"Magnum Cycling" by Guy Andrews (Thames & Hudson, 2016)

Years ago, during my journalism days, eye-track studies would be conducted to see how readers would navigate a newspaper page. Grabbing their attention first, most likely, would be photos, followed by headlines. I also enjoy gazing at photos, so this book easily found a place on my library shelves.

The whole focus of this 256-page book is on the people snapping the cycling photos. The author interviewed photographers — the ones still alive — and highlighted others who were members of the Magnum photo agency, which was founded in Paris in 1947.

The photos — there are more than 200 illustrations — bring to life such events as the 1939 Tour de France, six-day and cyclo-cross races, velodrome racing, winter training by the professional teams, and a really cool section on just the spectators themselves, who gather to watch this high-speed sport.

While riding a bike is the most fun part for me, reading about cycling and viewing related photos are a close second. One more thing, the season is fast approaching, so get your bike tuned up!

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