17 Hours to Glory
Extraordinary Stories from the Heart of Triathlon
by Mathias Müller with Timothy Carlson
Velo Press, www.velopress.com, Retail $21.95 Paperback
A tribute to the athletes who dare to believe that Ironman is possible, 17 Hours to Glory is an inspirational page turner from Chapter one. Profiling well known athletes like Chrissie Wellington, Julie Moss and Mark Allen, the book also lets you into the lives of inspiring athletes you may not know. Taunted as a child for her prosthetic leg, Sarah Reinertsen refused to give in when life was dealing her a hefty dose of disappointment. After a chance meeting with her future mentor, Sarah finds the kind of hope that many of us have been offered in triathlon. Through tears, failures and seemingly endless setbacks, Sarah finally found herself with arms raised crossing the line on Ali'i Drive. "While being interviewed for the television program Nightline, she shook her head over able-bodied couch potatoes: "What a waste of two legs! You have them and don't even use them."
Whether you're considering your first triathlon or peaking for your next Ironman, 17 Hours to Glory will fill you full of the kind of motivation that gives you the strength to stop hitting the 'snooze' button at 5 a.m. Chrissie Wellington summed it up best, "I never want to look back on my life and wonder 'what if?'"
The Power Meter Handbook
A User's Guide for Cyclists and Triathletes
by Joe Friel
Velo Press, www.velopress.com, Retail $16.95 Paperback
The ridiculously, underutilized power meter finally has a handbook to help you get the full benefit. Packed full of specific, useful information, if you own a power meter this book is an absolute essential piece of equipment. Split into three parts, Friel spends the first chapters detailing in full why a power meter can be so useful. He explains that making your training precisely match the demands of your race, is "undoubtedly the most important reason for using a power meter."
He also builds a strong case for why training by heart rate, speed and feel are far less effective in comparison. Next, the book details the basics of power and how your meter works. While seasoned athletes who have a power meter may be tempted to skip the middle chapters, by putting in the time to read, they'll quickly find that they've been missing a lot of potential. In the final chapters, Friel helps the reader unlock the secrets to using the meter for specific races; road races, triathlons and century rides to name a few. Joel Friel has the experience and knowledge in spades when it comes to training and this book is another great example. With specific training plans and detailed explanations, The Power Meter Handbook is an essential addition to any triathletes' book shelf.
Swim Speed Secrets for Swimmers and Triathletes
Master the Freestyle Technique Used by the World's Fastest Swimmers
by Sheila Taormina
Velo Press, www.velopress.com, Retail $18.95 Paperback
As a four-time Olympian, gold medalist and triathlon World Champion, Sheila Taormina's years of experience training and coaching culminate into this invaluable tool for triathletes and swimmers. In the months I've had Swim Speed Secrets, I've poured over it more than once, highlighting and marking the pages. The biggest mistake I made, was lending it out. It took me three weeks to track down the book's location since it kept changing hands. Written with a common-sense approach, Taormina breaks down swimming into basic, fully-digestible pieces complete with pages of pictures and online links, to appeal to every kind of swimmer. Spending a big part of the book on the "vital element", she goes into detail about the importance of the pull. "Conditioning and strength are very important in swimming, but they will not get you far without good technique."
The book reads more like a conversation with a trusted coach and less like an instruction manual, making it an easy read you'll go over again and again as a refresher. While I've spent the last few years training under a fantastic coach, there were still some key elements that didn't 'click' until I read this book. Having been on a plateau for some time, my swim has improved immensely within a few weeks. She goes on to say, "Last, and perhaps most important, let's keep everything in perspective- we are not solving any world crisis here. Let's have fun."
As the Crow Flies
My Journey to Ironman World Champion
by Craig Alexander
Velo Press, www.velopress.com, Retail $39.95 Hardcover
This is not your typical book about triathlon. As the Crow Flies is full of stunning photography, following the journey of one of the greatest triathletes of all time. In first person, Craig describes his life as a world class athlete, father, and husband. Not only does this book talk about his training and his home in Australia, but he focuses on his 2011 course record in Kona and everything leading up to that incredible moment.
As the Crow Flies, takes 218 photos to show with awesome detail the amazing career of one of triathlon's greatest champions. Included are photos of his home training grounds and I especially like the pictures of him paddle boarding with his children and chatting with his wife in the kitchen. This book takes an incredible athlete and creates a window into the real life of this remarkable athlete. The book beautifully provides the story of what Craig Alexander did before he achieved greatness and what he knew he had to do again and again to become a world champion.
In the book, Alexander describes the moment that he realized he wanted to win the 70.3 championship and then win Kona in the same year. He knew exactly what he needed to do to reach his goal. He talks through the training process, nutrition, family life, and how it all came to be a phenomenal year. One of my favorite parts of this book are the captions and quotes under many of the photos. My favorite quote is, "It's not just about winning. It's about doing all of the little things, putting the processes in place for that positive outcome-a good race-day performance."
As the Crow Flies, in it's entirety, displays a story that is truly representative of a champion.
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