Review – The Hour: Sporting Immortality The Hard Way

 

The Hour

Sporting Immortality The Hard Way
by Michael Hutchinson

 

TheHour-MichaelHutchinsonCyclingShortsReviewThere’s an attractive simplicity to the hour record – one man, one bike, sixty minutes, away you go. As tests of human endeavour go, it couldn’t be simpler, but Michael Hutchinson’s account of his attempt is a long, long way from being an anodyne account of a simple record bid. Part autobiography, part history, part non-fiction drama, it wears a great many hats and (not unlike the author) covers a lot of ground in a very short space of time – it covers his own life story, of course, but also hosts a vast array of anecdotes concerning cycling past and present, road racing, time trialling, training, drugs (inevitably) and the hour record itself. So it’s for anyone with an interest in cycling, because it casts the net far and wide.

But I suspect that it might also be a good book for anyone not that interested in cycling, because Hutchinson is a great writer. Self-deprecating and wonderfully dry of humour, he wanders seemingly aimless across the landscape of cycling, touching on a historic fact here, a biographical note there but always linking the narrative together seamlessly and at an easy pace. As the book continues, the spotlight focuses more and more upon his own attempt at the record, and the result is a fantastic portrayal of the almost claustrophobic build-up of stress and intensity.

I won’t spoil the ending, but Hutchinson is well qualified to have a tilt at it – with over fifty national time trial titles to his credit, not to mention three British Time Trial Championships, a brace of Irish Time Trial Championships, a British pursuit crown, and let’s not forget his victories in the Brompton World Championships (a title which the UCI seem strangely to have yet to award a rainbow jersey for), he’s as successful as any domestic male cyclist has been. But he’s also a PhD, and a successful writer, Cycling Weekly columnist Dr Hutch and author of a book on sailing – this is a man with many strings to his bow. However, there’s no ego out of control here – his ability at time trials is, he freely admits, a simple quirk of genetics, and even discovering cycling was an accident; otherwise he’d likely be a frustrated academic to this very day. Moreover, sometimes cringingly self-aware, he has no problem with – indeed, almost rejoices in – poking fun at himself.

If there’s a criticism, it’s that it’s too short; not in terms of value for money, because at a retail price of nine quid in paperback it’s pretty good on that score – I just wish there was more to it than the 288 pages, because he’s never dull, never lingers long on any one topic. As a result it’s an easy-going page-turner that takes you on a compelling journey that’ll have you laughing out loud and gnashing your teeth, sometimes at the same time. In turns both very funny and painfully honest, The Hour just might be the most entertaining book on cycling I’ve ever read.

CyclingShortsRating-TheHour

 

Title:
The Hour – Sporting Immortality The Hard Way  

Author: Michael Hutchinson    

Published by Yellow Jersey Press

Available in Paperback & eBook

Price:
RRP £8.99 (Paperback), RRP £8.99 (eBook)

 

Eurosport documentary seeks subjects for ‘Race of Truth’ documentary

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Spokesmen Ltd, the UK based Media, PR and Television Production company responsible for TV coverage of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup, has been commissioned by Eurosport and Cycling Time Trials to produce a 30 minute documentary on the art, science and psychology of time trialling, to be aired on British Eurosport this summer.

Spokesmen, headed up by David Harmon, has joined forces with renowned Channel 4 documentary film maker Dan Edelstyn (How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire, Subverting the City and No Good Deed goes Unpunished) and Executive Producer Michael Hutchinson to go in search of what makes time trialling the bedrock of Britain’s cycling success.

Taking the viewer inside the discipline of the professional rider will be time trial champion Alex Dowsett and we are now inviting other time triallists to be part of this innovative documentary.

We need another two subjects to be followed through the experience of their race of truth. Whether you’re entering your first club 10 or challenging for the yellow jersey of the Tour, time trialling is unique in its mental and physical demands.

We want to know what motivates you, why do you do it and what do you get out of it? What brings you back to the road again and again, what are the great highs and lows?

What’s important is that you love the sport, feel passionate about cycling – come rain, hail or whatever Britain throws at you – and that you are happy to be filmed to advocate time trailling in the UK.

If you would like to be considered as a subject for the film, Spokesmen would like to hear from you.

Send us a YouTube or Vimeo link or file of a self produced video of up to 2 minutes, that will give us a flavour of who you are and what time trialling means to you, not just as a rider but within your life. Submissions are particularly welcome from junior and veteran riders.

You must be available for filming for at least two days during May & early June. Videos need to be submitted by Friday 3 May by email to hello@spokesmen.co.uk The programme will air during the Tour de France on British Eurosport.

 

 

 

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