Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wow (In The Negative Sense)

I just finished reading a book called "Iron Ambition - My Journey From Seat 2A to Ironman", by John Callos, a successful business executive. John, like many of us, found triathlon in middle age, as a way to fill a void, take on new challenges, and get in shape.

My advice? Avoid this book.

I'm going to give this guy credit for his accomplishments, clearly he has worked hard to compete in an Ironman. However, if you are looking for inspiration, (or how-to tips and practical advice) you may be better off having a meal at Del Taco, feel guilty that you just ate 1000 calories in 5 minutes, and use that guilt as motivation to go for a run. Because Mr. Callos uses this (by the way) poorly written book about "Triathlon" as a meandering personal metaphor in an attempt to convince someone, probably himself, that he has some self worth.

Which is too bad, because all indications confirm that he does in fact have self worth. According to him, he's got a supporting and loving family, a successful business, supportive friends, apparent good health, and everything else you could possibly want. I also have no doubt that he earned everything he has, and if he can afford 7 road bikes and a special triathlon bathroom in his house, he should have them.

That said, most of us don't care. I believe that. Regardless of how many bikes (or bank accounts) we have. Certainly amongst age groupers, triathlon levels the sociographic and psychographic playing field. And we like that. In a book, we are looking for that little bit of insight, athlete to athlete, about the lower common denominator issues in our sport. Like going faster and going farther, and how to do it. I'm stoked if you went out on a ride today and average 25 mph over 10 miles against a headwind for the first time. I'm not sure I care what bike you did it on, past maybe some technical/component type things, and I certainly don't care what price point your bike was, or if it's number x in your stable of 10 bikes.

The title bothers me too, especially the words "2A". Mr. Callos lets it be known early in the book that this is his favorite seat on an airplane. Cool man, he kicks back in first class. Cool, he travels a lot. Guess what? I do to. I also know where seat 2A is. But I'd be ashamed to say it in the context of a "how-to" book, especially if my stated goal was to help other athletes who, let's say, are looking for race day nutritional tips, not the choices on the first class snack menu. Save that talk for the Red Carpet Club at O'Hare when you are waiting for a connection.

By the way, I'm sure he's been beat handily many times by a guy who makes $10.00 an hour. And on race day, I'm not checking out your car or your brand new transition bag, I'm checking out your quads.

There are so many better books on triathlon out there.


Anonymous said...

you should write a book about using bitterness to fuel your run! lol

Jennifer said...

Wow (in a good way). I'm liking the review and your acid honesty, maybe I'm weird too but I was chuckling pretty good.


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