A London dozen books: A real chace for gold, by an American cyclist known as ‘The Blade’

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The book: “The Price of Gold: The Toll and the Triumph of One Man’s Olympic Dream”

The author: Marty Nothstein, with Ian Dille

The publishing info: Rodale, $25.99, 218 pages

Find it: At Powells or Barnes & Noble.

The background: “The Blade” won gold at the Sydney Olympics and silver in Atlanta in cycling. He lives today with his wife and two children in Trexlertown, Penn., executive director of the velodrome where he started his career.

Maybe you recall after he won in Sydney, he grabbed his 5-year-old son, Tyler, onto his bike for a victory lap.

How did he get there?

Chapter one, paragraph one: “I’m 25 years old when I arrived in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic Games. I’m a world-class track cyclist at the peak of my physical prowess. I stand 6-foot-2 inches and weigh 225 pounds. My quads measure 30 inches around, the size of a normal cyclist’s waistline. My shoulders, biceps and chest appear Herculean in proportion to the svelte carbon-fiber bike I race. In the weight room, I squat more than 500 pounds. In training, my explosive sprint, which tops out near 50 miles per hour, frequently demolishes bicycle parts.

“I twist handlebars into pretzels and fold chain rings like pancakes. I turn wheels into tacos. I’ve taught the millions of muscle fibers in my legs to fire, so that I may ride a bike faster than any human on the planet. The event in which I specializes, matching sprinting, is the equivalent to the 100-meter dash, but on bikes. Two racers go head to head on the track over three laps, the last 200 meters of which is timed. The first across the line moves on to the next round of the sprint tournament. The loser goes home. The gold medalist in the Olympic match sprint is considered the fastest cyclist in the world.”

From the first sentence of Part 2, Chapter 8, page 117: “I didn’t go to Atlanta for the silver. I get home and am single-minded about getting back on track, back to number one.”

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