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A few years ago, the closest Mike Magnuson thought he would get to participating in a sporting event was sitting in the local bar, slamming pitchers of beer and watching the NFL playoffs on TV. He was thirty-eight years old, smoked a pack a day, drank a case or two of beer a week, and carried 250 pounds of weight on his five-foot-ten-inch frame. Getting on a bicycle for a peddle around the block could have been dangerous in his condition, let alone trying to keep up with a group of racer-fit riders for forty-five miles at a clip, but that is just what Mike decided to do. He was sick of it all—the booze, the cigarettes, and the heft. He could have been seriously hurt. But he wasn’t. In Mike’s words, he was merely “handed his proverbial fat ass on a platter” three times a week and kept coming back for more.

Heft on Wheels charts in hilarious detail every curve in Mike Magnuson’s 180-degree journey from the big guy at the back of the pack to the lean, mean racing machine setting the pace for the group. Along the way we meet his friends, colleagues, and family and learn how even a healthy obsession can have its uphill climbs. For a start there’s the starvation diet and the nicotine patches, not to mention the skin-tight XXL cycling outfit and the insanely unrealistic goal of completing the Bridge to Bridge Incredible Cycling Challenge—proudly billed as “100 Miles of Pure Hill”—within the year. Yet, through it all, Mike never loses his sense of humor (though after having a quick conversation with God on one particularly grueling hill, he does believe he has come within spitting distance of losing his mind).

Filled with triumph, heartbreak, and hilarity, Heft on Wheels is an unforgettable book about getting from one place to another, in more ways than one.


From the Hardcover edition.

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