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Dec 23, 2015 – It’s day 11 of the 12 Days of Dig, and we asked writer Ellis Bacon to give us his five favorite books about climbing. Enjoy Bacon’s best read’s for Day 11 of the 12 Days of Dig!
Ellis Bacon is the co-editor, along with Lionel Birnie, of “The Cycling Anthology” series, and has been writing about bike racing for a living since joining Procycling magazine as deputy editor in 2003. He has since written for a number of other cycling publications, and, since going freelance in 2012, has concentrated more on writing books. Those include “Mapping Le Tour” and the translation of Bjarne Riis’s autobiography, “Riis: Stages of Light and Dark,” from Danish into English. His latest book is “Great British Cycling: The History of British Bike Racing,” published by Bantam Press.
“THE CLIMB,” BY CHRIS FROOME.
His climbing style — all elbows out and cocked head — may not be pretty, but you can’t knock his efficiency. Here’s the immensely enjoyable story of Chris Froome — a rider with British parents, who was born in Kenya, and grew up there and in South Africa. It’s a real Boy’s Own adventure about what it’s like to climb to the very top of the Tour de France tree.
“BORN TO RIDE,” BY STEPHEN ROCHE.
Stephen Roche may not have been an out-and-out climber in the mould of his great rival Pedro Delgado, but the Irishman was the better time trialist, and it was this — and some nevertheless rather accomplished climbing — that helped him get one over on the Spaniard to win the 1987 Tour de France — the first Tour I remember following on TV in its entirety. Who could forget the genuine surprise in Phil Liggett’s voice when he gave us that “That looks like Roche!” commentary as Roche fought his way back to Delgado on the climb of La Plagne. Read all about it — and Roche’s illustrious pro career — in this entertaining autobiography.
“MOUNTAIN HIGH,” BY DANIEL FRIEBE AND PETE GODING.
Fifty of Europe’s best known, and most loved, cycling climbs spill out of this coffee-table book, from the Mur de Huy in Belgium, to the Angliru in Spain, to Mont Ventoux in France. The story of each climb is beautifully told by Daniel Friebe, accompanied by sumptuous, scenic pictures by cycling photographer Pete Goding.
“KINGS OF THE MOUNTAINS,” BY MATT RENDELL.
Colombian climbing has enjoyed a renaissance of late, thanks to the likes of Nairo Quintana, Carlos Betancur and Rigoberto Urán, which means it’s high time to seek out this wonderfully researched book about the past glory years of Colombian cycling and the country’s riders’ propensity for climbing.
“IN SEARCH OF ROBERT MILLAR,” BY RICHARD MOORE.
Richard Moore’s paean to Robert Millar plays on the Scottish climber’s elusiveness to tell an arguably much rounder story of his career and character than if it had been an autobiography. Millar remains the only British rider to have won the polka-dot ‘king of the mountains’ jersey at the Tour de France, in 1984, and remains, too, even in the face of Froome and Wiggins, Britain’s greatest-ever climber.