I know that many times I write about things that are a bit “old news,” but I get so far behind on my reading and there are so many good things out there to read that I just . . . well, get behind. I just closed the book on the Charly Wegelius’s book Domestique and found myself in a bit of a quandary. I have always wondered, and should I dare say dreamed, about being being a professional cyclist. My Feedly is chocked full of cycling news, and I record anything that comes on the television that has been tagged as cycling. Can I be honest and look kind of silly? I have gone as far as thinking that I am on a team from time to time, during a sprint in a club ride, and giving it all for the stage win in the Tour, or if it’s nasty weather, the Giro. I know. You don’t have to comment on my instability.
Charly Wegelius’s name, I am quite sure after reading his book, causes many people in various countries (especially the UK) to cringe and/or cheer. His raw admittance to things that he is not proud of is stunning as well, while at the same time rather noble of him. By his own admittance, Charly is not a “silver lining” type of guy and views many things in a negative light. The book holds gloomy feeling, as Charly relays his views. It doesn’t affect the book all that much, although it can be downright depressing at times. It is still a MUST read for anyone who loves to pedal a bicycle while clad in Lycra. The book left me with many questions that I wanted to ask, and it was frustrating at times that the book would leave something hanging, i.e. he and his father’s relationship, United Healthcare team being a sham, ect.
In light of being a professional, after reading this book, I don’t think it would be all that great. Maybe it was just Charly’s perspective, but in the raw message of the peloton life, it is far more miserable than exciting. Yes, I am aware that the life of a domestique isn’t as eye-catching as the team leader. But in this book, Charly breaks down the understanding of the various roles and all roles seem incredibly difficult to maintain. Here’s what separates this books: Charly never won a professional race. It’s not about his accomplishments. The book is more of what we as the fans don’t see among the glitter of the big GC races and what a person has to go through to get to that level. Ignoring all of the nominative and objective pronoun errors, I recommend this book to anyone who wants a peek behind the curtain.