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This cycling memoir, written by the coordinator of the NCAA "March Madness" basketball tournament, begins in 2001, when Hancock's son, Will, died in an airplane crash, along with several members of the Oklahoma State basketball team and its staff. Grief stricken, the author and his wife stumbled through their daily routines, unable to conceive of anything that would bring them back to some sort of normality. Then inspiration struck. The author decided to follow through with a project he had been planning before his son's death: a cross-country bicycle trip. With his wife as his SAG (a biker acronym, meaning "support and guidance"), Hancock embarked on a journey that would take him from shore to shore and from numbing grief to new life. Much more than a sports book, this is an exploration of desolation and the incredible lengths we sometimes have to go to conquer it. Only the very cold reader will get through this one without shedding a few tears. David Pitt
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About the Author
Bill Hancock is a grandfather, musician, writer, outdoorsman, marathon runner and former director of musical-theater productions. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Hancock works as an administrator of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. He also served in various administrative roles at the University of Oklahoma and the old Big Eight Conference, and so his ties throughout college sports are extensive. He has volunteered for the USOC at six summer Olympics games. This is his first book. Bill lives in Prairie Village, Kansas, with his high school sweetheart, Nicki, an award-winning high school English teacher.
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I found myself grabbing a highlighter as I read through this book marking off all the passages and reflections that were so very familiar to anyone having experienced the grieving process in the “early days" of grief (his bike ride took place only six months after his son Will was killed in a plane crash). From all the volumes written about loss, this is a work that I definitely recommend and one I dearly appreciate.
NOTE: I heard of this book from "Outside the Lines" the Espn weekly show which discussed the 10 year anniversary of the OK St. basketball team plane crash. Bill was on the show and the title of his book was mentioned. You can tell from his short time on the show that he was a man of character and humility. Next time you decide to ride your bike across country Bill, don't do it cold turkey. At least train!