Chased by Pandas: My life in the mysterious world of cycling

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Chased by Pandas: My life in the mysterious world of cycling

Chased by Pandas: My life in the mysterious world of cycling

RRP: £20.00
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The book came as a 2022 Christmas present from my son, very fitting and of special interest for me, I used to follow Dan as a rider through the racing season. Many anecdotes get a paragraph or two but could be a whole chapter although the hardback already runs to 300 pages. Dan is unashamed when it comes to exposing these dark feelings, his weaknesses and how he tried to deal with them, his attitude exemplifying Mark Twain’s quote: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear”. I preferred to be in touch with my body’s messaging, to feel where my limit was, so that I could more accurately balance on the tightrope that is the upper regions of performance. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others.

When reading such books about the life of a bike racer covering the key points and the stories of race successes, though for me the greater interest is within storyline of the detailed day to day of what went on within a team, the camaraderie with other riders, the management and organisation, the positive aspects of how well the team prepares in it’s approach to an an important race. He’s had an interesting column over the years with Pro Cycling magazine and recent media appearances, like The Cycling Podcast, are always worth listening.Biography: Born in 1986 in Birmingham to an Irish mother and an English father, Dan Martin is the nephew of Irish cycling legend Stephen Roche.

There are of course more constructive ways use one’s time than to read road cyclists’ autobiographies, but I dare say – even before I’ve read the book myself – that STS would be positively surprised if he bought (or loaned) the book and wasted a couple of hours of his time by reading it! To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average.I’d read in a book about the pass that his [the Tourmalet’s] name means ‘Bad little detour’ in the local patois, because the valley’s inhabitants were afraid of his ravines, his storms, his blizzards and even his bears. That was 2003 (if you’re one of those people who forever bangs on and on and on about 1989 – the year, not the Taylor Swift album – I’ll bet that makes you feel really old) and Martin was still British, not yet Irish (the following year, 2004, he came the British U18 national road race champion).

He enjoyed a glass of wine when he wanted to and didn’t obsess over every grain of rice on his plate.Twenty of the book’s 26 chapters have the word fear in their title (“The Fear of Doping”, “The Fear of Falling Off”, etc). Dan is unashamed when it comes to exposing these dark feelings, his weaknesses and how he tried to deal with them, his attitude exemplifying Mark Twain’s quote: ‘Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear’.

By that I mean a rider who rides his own race, for fun, as well as for winning, for the pleasure of racing ! As for dealing with pain, “I would take a paracetamol to help mask the fatigue and dull ache that three weeks of brutal racing inflicts on your body, but I then found out it was more of a placebo. So instead of going to Lourdes like everyone in Ireland, that Pyrenean holiday saw him and his family going to Luz-Saint-Saveur, 30 kilometres south and a shrine of a different kind, situated as it is at the base of the Tourmalet. The fallout from that incident would cast a long shadow over the early years of Martin’s career, the VC la Pomme days and the early days of Garmin.The opening chapter is about the fear of crashing and reprises Martin’s wipe-out on the final bend of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, he’d given his rivals the slip and was just about to overhaul Giampaulo Caruso only to slide out in sight of the finish line. What Martin is telling us in Chased by Pandas and what Martin told Kimmage five years earlier, they’re substantially the same, in both he’s telling us he hasn’t really used painkillers save for the odd paracetamol every now and again. Now, having retired at the end of the 2021 season aged 35 and no longer bound by the constraints of the racing circuit, Dan feels the time is right to tell his story in the same forthright and honest manner that he rode his bike. The book is packed with anecdotes to the point where some are almost mentioned in passing, his decision to change nationality gets less than page when it could be a bigger deal. I read in CN the excerpt about the way he left Vaughter’s team and it really raised several big question marks about the way that team was being managed and how did it change so much (did it?



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