Ten Points

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Overview

Of the eight million dedicated cyclists in this country, just 32,044 own amateur racing licenses. There's a reason for that: Racing is not only incredibly difficult, it's downright excruciating, with the possibility for public humiliation never more than one pedal away. So when Natalie, Bill Strickland's preschool-aged daughter, asked him if he could win ten points during one racing season — the bicycling equivalent of taking an at-bat against Randy Johnson or going one-on-one with Lebron James — a sensible man ...

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Overview

Of the eight million dedicated cyclists in this country, just 32,044 own amateur racing licenses. There's a reason for that: Racing is not only incredibly difficult, it's downright excruciating, with the possibility for public humiliation never more than one pedal away. So when Natalie, Bill Strickland's preschool-aged daughter, asked him if he could win ten points during one racing season — the bicycling equivalent of taking an at-bat against Randy Johnson or going one-on-one with Lebron James — a sensible man wouldve just said no and moved on. Instead, Strickland decided to try.

In the process, he discovered that he was racing toward the loving home life he cherished and, at the same time, trying to get away from something far worse — his legacy of horrific childhood abuse. Strickland's memoir is filled with lyrical insights on training and dedication, racing scenes packed with nail-biting suspense, and powerful reflections on the meaning of family. Because for Strickland, it's definitely not about the bike.

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Editorial Reviews

AirTran Airways Inflight Magazine GO
Every so often a book comes along that seizes the reader, like The Kite Runner and Tuesdays with Morrie. It happens again here. Magazine editor Bill Strickland places his own life -- traumatic roots and all -- in the context of a challenge and within the framework of an obsession . . . Often painful, this isn't an easy book to read -- or forget.
Publishers Weekly

The executive editor of Bicyclingmagazine explores childhood, fatherhood and cycling in this moving memoir about the legacy of child abuse and the healing power of sport and family. In Emmaus, Pa., in 2004, 39-year-old Strickland decided to take up a near-impossible challenge proposed by his preschool-age daughter, Natalie, to score 10 points in a single season; to do so, he has to place among the top four-10 times-in a local weekly race populated by Olympians and cycling legends. Alternating between present-day life and dispatches from his horrific childhood, Strickland introduces his sadistic father, a man who put a loaded gun in his son's mouth, made him eat dog feces and encouraged him to have sex with his babysitter, among other outrages. Strickland juxtaposes these episodes with scenes of his own shortcomings: unbridled anger with his daughter and marital infidelity with a colleague. It's only through numerous races (and missed points) that he learns to tame the inner demons that threaten his new family. Strickland's lyrical prose and swift pacing lighten the material's weight, but it remains a necessarily brutal read that goes several shades darker than most sports memoirs; though noncyclists may get bored during the race scenes (and there are plenty), anyone dealing with familial abuse will find Strickland's journey an inspiration. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A promise to his daughter impels the author to revisit his horrific childhood. It seems natural for cycling writer Strickland to use his bike as the metaphorical basis for a book about struggling to overcome memories of abuse by his father while trying to become the perfect husband and parent himself, even if the connection isn't always as smooth as the gear-shifting on his $5,000 carbon bicycle. The narrative centers on his quest to obtain ten points in the Thursday Night Crit, a weekly 30-mile race that offered professional and top-flight amateur riders the opportunity to earn points during periodic sprint laps. After classifying the task as "impossible" to his preschool daughter, he set out to prove to her that nothing is impossible if you truly believe in it. Strickland's marathon training sessions and continual near-misses in the Crit serve as windows through which to examine his relationship with an abusive father and the constant fear that he might become the same. The author unflinchingly describes gut-wrenching moments like the time his father forced him to eat feces at gunpoint. Transitions between these memories and the highly dramatized bike races (whose nuances may be lost on readers unfamiliar with cycling) are occasionally jarring, but the author manages to create sufficient tension even for those who don't know Lance Armstrong from Lance Bass. Uncomfortable, but ultimately satisfying. Agent: David Black/David Black Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401302580
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 6/27/2007
  • Pages: 256

Meet the Author

Bill Strickland is the executive editor of Bicycling magazine, and has been writing about cycling and fitness for over 20 years. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Men's Health, Men's Journal, and Parenting. He's commented about cycling on such television programs as Good Morning America and CBS's The Early Show.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2007

    Well Spun Memoir

    A quick read! Lighter than reading David Pelzer - and funny but not as continuously funny as reading David Sedaris. It was very well written. Balancing horror stories of growing up with his abusive father with anecdotes of life with his own wife and adorably, insightful five-year old daughter. The tales are woven together to create a shockingly honest account of a man struggling to fight his own demons and become a better father.

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    Posted November 29, 2008

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    Posted March 20, 2011

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