So, as Christmas has now been and gone, I'm sure many of us had our stocking filled with the cycling books from Waterstones or Smith's, the tales and autobiographies of racing through France and Olympic victories on road and track and drug cheating Americans.
But, correct me if I'm wrong but, apart from wunderkind Louis on the track, roadracing, however interesting and good for British Cycling isn't quite at the muddy core of VeloCake.
If then, like me, you're looking for a little diversity in your cycling literature I have a couple of suggestions that you might like to add to your reading list.
First up is "Behind the Stare" by Geoff Proctor.
Proctor is in charge of U.S. cyclocross and as part of that, spends a lot of time in Belgium, organising Euro cross camps for the up and coming youngster from over the pond.
Whilst spending many years over here he has become close friends with Sven Nys.
I'm sure Sven Nys doesn't need any introduction, you all know who he is don't you.
The book is about Sven's career through past seasons and the one when the book was written, revealing his training and personal life. It's not War and Peace, but it is well written and keeps you interested to the end, whilst passing on some of Sven's techniques.
The next book is "Mud, Snow and Cyclocross" by Molly Hurford.
Molly is the editor of Cyclocross magazine and website, and writes for many other publications.
This book just deals with the growth of 'cross in America, so it might not be a turn on for the Flandrian purists amongst us. However, as the Worlds are in Louisville at the end of the month, and America having the huge New England and Portland areas that are cross mad, cyclocross is definitely big in America.
Obviously the Americans do 'cross very differently to us in the U.K. and in Europe but certain things are starting to slowly appear over here. Heckling, cow bells, beer tents, Elvis have all been at various races around the country in the last few seasons and the U.S. influence in cross as in life, is beginning to be obvious.
Molly's book starts at the roots of the sport in the '70s and comes right up to date with the Worlds and corporate sponsorship. All the famous American riders are interviewed and have their say about the state of cross racing in the U.S.
It's well written and is an interesting read about slightly different take on a familiar subject.
In the mood for a nice big coffee table photo book? I have just the thing.
Cyclocross 2011/12 by Balint Hamvas.
The previous incarnation was a small paper backed book, the new seasons version is a great big hardbacked book. Hamvas is a brilliant photographer and considering the book is pretty much all done off his own back, as far as I know he's not been in any established cycling magazines etc.. it's an impressive book. If you'd like a peruse have a look at his website. www.cyclephotos.co.uk He has extensive photographs of every cross race of the season on there.
You can get your local independent bookshop to order the books in for you or go to the appropriate authors websites and buy direct from them.
Finally,if you're wanting to colour co ordinate your riding apparel, the VeloCake socks are still in the development stage following on from Kelly's wonderful design, but in the meantime, Prendas Ciclismo have socks in the rather fetching black, white and red of the Matrix Prendas team. Not only are they nice looking socks, you can support the women's team as well.