Where There’s A Will
Mr B's review
When Emily Chappell first attempted to complete the notorious Transcontinental – a 4,000km endurance bike race across mainland Europe – in 2015, she blacked out halfway and woke, exhausted and mentally shot, laying on her back in a field. A year later she entered again; this time she won. Chappell, who used to be a London cycle courier, tells the story of how she overcame physical challenges and crippling self-doubt to turn defeat to glory in this gritty, inspiring memoir.
WOMEN’S CYCLING WRITER OF THE YEAR at the Women’s Cycling Awards 2020
Shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year Non-Fiction Award 2020
Shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature 2020
‘Chappell is a gifted storyteller’ – Observer
In 2015 Emily Chappell embarked on a formidable new bike race: The Transcontinental. 4,000km across Europe, unassisted, in the shortest time possible.
On her first attempt she made it only halfway, waking up suddenly on her back in a field, floored by the physical and mental exertion.
A year later she entered the race again – and won.
Where There’s a Will takes us into Emily Chappell’s race, grinding up mountain passes and charging down the other side; snatching twenty minutes’ sleep on the outskirts of a village before jumping back on the bike to surge ahead for another day; feeding in bursts and navigating on the go. We experience the crippling self-doubt of the ultra distance racer, the confusing intensity of winning and the desperation of losing a dear friend who understood all of this.
Best Cycling Book chosen by Road
Emily Chappell is one of the most inspiring athletes on the planet. Humble, tender and alive with unimaginable grit, this book makes us see just how much is possible. — Chris Cleave, author of The Other Hand and Everyone Brave is Forgiven Her descriptions of what goes on in a rider’s head in the middle of a race are on a par with Tim Krabbe. Lyrical writing and compelling reading – a real treat. — Isabel Best, author of Queens of Pain A first class cyclist and an even better writer — Robert Penn, author of It’s All About the Bike For What Goes Around:
Chappell is a marvellous writer, and the book reads rather like a bike ride with its succession of turns and unexpected discoveries … The joy of cycling is at its heart, however; if any book could make you consider chucking in your desk job and throwing on some Lycra, this could be it. * DIVA * Fascinating * New Statesman * This memoir of a cycle courier and her love affair with the capital delivers the goods in style…Chappell is a gifted storyteller. She deftly weaves in a plotted history of couriering, from the explosion of the industry in the late 1980s…through to its gentle decline at the hand of email attachments, file sharing and electronic signatures…In and out of all this, fine words flow on the simple but profound pleasure of floating through the city on a bicycle – of the “strange sense of stillness”, and “the energy of sheer motion itself. * Observer * Emily Chappell is one of the most inspiring athletes on the planet. Humble, tender and alive with unimaginable grit, this book makes us see just how much is possible. — Chris Cleave
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