Two-and-a-half years after the inaugural edition of the Tour Divide, memories from my life’s greatest adventure remain fresh as a tulip in my mind. It helps that earlier this year the gorgeous award-winning documentary, Ride the Divide, hit the movie theater circuit. Now there is a book as well, of which I am a contributing writer to. Introducing Cordillera: Literature from the World’s Toughest Bike Race.
In putting together the Cordillera, editor (and Tour Divide racer) Eric Bruntjen had the following vision:
The goal of the Cordillera is not to give rote testimony to the twists and turns of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Nor is it our desire to document the records that, amazingly, seem to fall every year. Rather it exists to lend a polished voice to the spirit of The Divide and those who race on it. To get in the Cordillera a piece must have heart and a compelling story. Two things that The Divide has no shortage of.
After reading this 95-page book cover to cover, I believe this standard has been met. Excepting my story entitled “The Note on the Bottle” (which I will reserve judgment on), there is not one bad apple in this collection. It helps that several of the writers are professional journalists such as Mark Jenkins (National Geographic), Jon Billman (Outside Magazine), and Paul Howard (Two Wheels on My Wagon). The quality, vividness, and pure entertainment value of the tales are right up there with any book I have put my hands on within the last five years.
Now for a shameless plug: BUY THIS BOOK! If you or a loved one is a cycling enthusiast, an armchair quarterback or merely an appreciative reader of high-quality adventure books, definitely purchase a copy. It would make a great gift for the holidays or a friend’s birthday, in addition to being a deep source of inspiration for yourself in the new year.
The book is available in paperback on Lulu.com and Amazon, and in PDF format (for those who wish to download it within the next two minutes) from lulu.com. (Tip: Get 20% off lulu.com orders with coupon code REMARKABLEYEAR305. Coupon code expires December 31, 2010.) All proceeds benefit the nonprofit Adventure Cycling Association, which mapped the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (and others) in the first place.
Enjoy the read, and happy cycling.