For my first 10 years as a sportswriter I was living the dream. I focused on the inspirational side of sports, searching for stories of triumph over trials. My mantra was simple: Dreams do come true. I knew it because I lived it. No athlete I covered exemplified that better than Loyola Marymount basketball star Hank Gathers. I had the pleasure of covering Hank, and getting to know him quite well while working on a story about his life. His story told of a climb from the ghetto of North Philadelphia to a sure-fire first round draft pick. The day Hank Gathers collapsed on the basketball court and died, my beliefs were shaken to my core. I found myself adrift, and slowly morphing into a cynical sportswriter that I had fought hard for years to avoid. I wrestled with myself, searching for answers on bike rides along the Pacific Coast Highway. Then, by twist of fate, cycling became more than my escape. It became my beat. "A More Simple Time: How Cycling Saved My Soul" chronicles my years covering cycling in the US from 1989 to 1996, when I rose to become the most respected American journalist covering cycling. I became intimately close to some of the most extraordinary people I've ever met. They graciously allowed me access into their lives, and shared their tales. I feel privileged to be able to tell their stories.
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About the Author
Born and raised in Wisconsin, John Rezell has visited 44 states, lived in seven, and calls Oregon his home.
He began his newspaper career in high school, writing for the sports section of The Brookfield News.
While studying journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, he wrote for the student newspaper and worked for the Janesville Gazette.
Once out of college, he began a career of climbing up the newspaper ladder, beginning with smalltown journalism at the Jefferson County Daily Union in Fort Atkinson, WI where he was a do-it-all sports editor — writing, editing, layout pages and taking photos.
From there he crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa to work for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. Continuing his Westward march, he spent the bulk of his newspaper career at The Orange County Register in Santa Ana, CA. There he created the weekly cycling column, as he focused on off-beat sports like beach volleyball, surfing, running — any assignment that might include bringing suntan lotion.
After a freelance career establishing himself as the premiere cycling journalist in the US, he became editor of VeloNews magazine. Later he started the e-magazine bike.com, and eventually came full circle back to newspapers as an outdoor columnist for The Register-Guard in Eugene, OR.
In 2015, he will publish three ebooks.
Two of the books (Taken for a Ride and A More Simple Time: How Cycling Saved My Soul) chronicle his early days of covering bicycle racing, including his relationship with a young Lance Armstrong (Taken for a Ride).
The third book, You Can't Cook a Dead Crab and Eat It, is the life-changing story of how John and his wife Debbie decided to find the perfect place to raise their daughters. In 2005, they sold as much of their belongings as possible in an endless Moving Sale, packed the rest into storage and spent 85 days traveling 8,000 miles while living in a pop-up camper as they explored the American West in search of a place to call home.
John is working on his next book, based on his outdoors column he wrote for The Register-Guard that focuses on adventures in nature with his family in Oregon and many National Parks.