Bill Strickland believed he was cursed. No matter how secure his life outwardly seemed, the happiness he had attained with his wife and daughter hung by a thread — threatened by the monster Bill lived in constant fear of, a demon inside him that had been created by horrific childhood abuse.
A lifelong but decidedly average bicyclist, Bill was challenged by his daughter to score ten points in a series of weekly races dominated by pro racers, national champions, and legends of the sport. He hoped that if he could achieve this impossible feat, he might similarly triumph over the indestructible demon that haunted his life. Weaving together the story of the races and Bill?s struggle to overcome a legacy of abuse, Ten Points is an insider?s look at the world of bicycling and the healing power of sports.
“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.” —GO, AirTran Airways Inflight Magazine
?You don?t need to care about bicycle racing to find yourself captivated by this book. The real drama here is not so much a man?s quest to win bicycle racing points but to outrun the buried demons of child abuse before they consume him and those who love him. Strickland knows how to tell a tale, and the story sings along like a racer on the way to the finish line.? –John Grogan, author of Marley and Me
“As this memoir begins, the reader might feel he’s chanced upon a charming, elegantly written sports book, certainly payoff enough. But soon there’s a sense of something lurking, and ultimately the reader’s reward is much richer. Who Bill Strickland is — more importantly, who he was — lends his quest a consequence beyond measure. Written with great style, wit and candor, this is, by turns, a fun or funny, dramatic or daring book. Above all, it is a triumphant book.” –Robert Sullivan, author of Our Red Sox
“Brace yourself. Bill Strickland¹s meticulously-written memoir travels very dark territory — scenes that will wake you from a dead sleep. Strickland?s horrific father is no kind of role model for anyone who strives to be that most human of parents: a family man. Strickland achieves this in the end, but he has to do it the hard way, working his way through a punishing cycling obsession and memories he¹d rather not disclose, all the way to an inspirational ending. It took balls to write this story; it took discipline and elegance to write it so well.” –Robin Chotzinoff, author of Holy Unexpected
?Bill Strickland?s Ten Points is to cycling what The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is to running: a story of grit and determination that transcends mere sport and in the process exorcises the demons of the past and finds redemption in the simple act of going forward in life. Read Ten Points first for the inspiration. Read it again for the music of its language and for its heartbreakingly honest portrayal of human beings struggling to do the best they can. Strickland has written an unforgettable book here, one that discovers joy at the end of agony and that helps us understand the ticking of our imperfect hearts.? –Mike Magnuson, author of Heft on Wheels
?In Ten Points Bill Strickland takes you farther into the bodies, the heads and hearts of serious cyclists than you?ve ever been before, where you hear the click of gears, the arrow of pain in your legs. But he does something far more important. You learn about nightmare encounters with fathers and drugs, the tenderness of fatherhood, and why in the end, the devil drives. A stunning debut.? –Paul Cody, author of So Far Gone and Shooting the Heart
?Sports can teach a lot of lessons, and so can parenting, and Bill Strickland has been paying careful attention. If you’re a father or an athlete or both, this is a book you need to read; it’s not always easy, but every page is powerful and rewarding.? –Bill McKibben, author, Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously
“Note to bookstore staff: Do not shelve under Sports. Put this book next to Mary Karr or Dorothy Allison. Put it on the shelf marked: Wrenching, Unflinching, Utterly Compelling Memoir Written in Shining Prose and Jewel-like Detail (That Happens to Include Some Nice Bicycles).” –Mary Roach, author of Spook
“When Bill Strickland writes about cycling, he takes you on one of the most intense, most unforgettable rides of your life.” –Lance Armstrong
?Honest . . . brutally honest, and beautifully written, Bill Strickland?s Ten Points is a mesmerizing, one of a kind read. If you were moved by Lance Armstrong?s It?s Not about the Bike, you?ll find in these brave pages something equally powerful: a quest not for yellow jersey greatness, but simple goodness. Strickland?s race is no less odds against, and certainly no less dramatic. Every Thursday night he’s hurtling forward at 35 mph, elbow to elbow, bike to bike, furiously racing to save his young family and to find, in the pain and fury, a bit of grace he might just pass on. This is an incredible story.” –Todd Balf, author of The Last River and The Darkest Jungle
?When Bill Strickland writes about cycling, he takes you on one of the most intense, most unforgettable rides of your life.? –Lance Armstrong
?Sports can teach a lot of lessons, and so can parenting, and Bill Strickland has been paying careful attention. If you?re a father or an athlete or both, Ten Points is a book you need to read; it?s not always easy, but every page is powerful and rewarding.? –Bill McKibben, author of Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously
She was shimmying around on the toilet there in her bathroom, my daughter, and swinging her feet against me as I sat on the floor, still sweaty in my cycling clothes. I was propped back on my arms, my legs stretched out
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