Jorge from Santiago emailed today to ask who it was that I took inspiration from or had influenced me as a writer. Given that I write for pleasure only about two primary topics (competitive cycling and international affairs), I name three influences [and belatedly add a fourth].
Sam Abt (especially his book, “In High Gear” – I see there is a used copy available for $4.01US – someone should buy this!)
Bob Roll (when he penned a column for VeloNews and forever sold me on Tag-Heuer watches with his story of losing in winter and then finding in spring his 7-Eleven team-issue Tag – even anyone has a print copy of this column and would scan it for me, or a digital one – I’d love to have it for my archives)
Ernest Hemingway (particularly “A Farewell to Arms“)
Roll, when he wrote about his adventures on the road with 7-Eleven and Motorola, gave me the impetus to write about my own experiences on the bike in a manner very different from the formula-like “Race Reports” that had become popular after Bobke’s career ended. John Lieswyn was the one diarist for Cyclingnews.com who I always admired and hoped to equal in capturing the readers’ interest. I don’t know that I ever did, but – add John as a fourth influence.
I think Roll was a better writer than TV commentator. I think Lieswyn was an amazing rider and equally gifted with a pen (or laptop). Hemingway … is Hemingway, and Sam Abt is one person alive (I hope?) on the face of the earth who I’d like to meet if ever given the opportunity to “meet any person alive on the face of the earth of my choosing.” (lol) Anyone have his email address?