Book Review: Into the North Wind by Jill Homer

You know its been a long time since I did a book review post when I have NO idea what or when the last one was! (I just checked, it was back in August!) A month ago I felt the need to read a cycling book.

When it comes to cycling books, I am happy to read about any bikes. Trikes, road bikes, recombinants or mountain bikes. Racers, and those just seeing country are all fun. This one combined mountain biking racing AND crossing some serious country…

We have all heard of a the Iditarod. It’s an annual sled dog race to commemorate an emergency delivery of diphtheria vaccine during a winter of the Alaskan gold rush. The sled dog teams race across the route the 4 footed angels of mercy took back early in the 20th century.

I had known about the sled dog race since I was kid, but I did NOT know about the Iditarod Invitational. Which, from its website is:

The Iditarod Trail Invitational is the world’s longest winter ultra marathon by fat bike, foot and ski and follows the historic Iditarod Trail from Knik, Alaska over the Alaska Range to McGrath and to Nome in late February every year one week before the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

The author had completed some shorter legs of this event in the past, but she had always wanted to longer one, this book revolved around this attempt.

I love the authors back story. She was raised in a devote Mormon family. Per her own admission, destined to marry another Mormon, have a bunch of kids, and be a housewife.

Then, her dad took her on a hike to a top of a mountain, and she decided there was more to life than that, She moved on, met an ultra marathon competitor named Beat (yep that’s his name) and started competing herself.

Just as an aside I am VERY happy this happened. There is so much to see in the world, one should not be pigeonholed by family or religion expectations.

However, I will tell you, the author did annoy me a lot though.

First of all, in her pre big event work out, there were poor decisions made that resulted in serious health repercussions. Then, instead of letting herself heal, she competed again, making it worse.

This meant, in the big event, we heard time and time again how worried she was about her health, and how she knew she would not complete it. At one point I truly said out loud “Stop WHINING!”

But, on the positive side, she did a great job sharing photos! (Though I thought she was nuts looking for the camera when she lost it.

Part of the route was on frozen rivers, including the Yukon

Part was in the mountains

And part, hence the name, on a windswept snow-covered tundra!

I gave it a 3 star rating as she did a great job describing the conditions. I got very tired of the complaining, but she impressed me with her for not giving up. She is a pretty decent story teller, and she did something I would never do, but in the end, just not the best cycling book I’ve read.

Sounds like one helluva route though!

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Into the North Wind by Jill Homer

  1. Whew! I am glad to hear that you would never do this….I thought maybe….but no, you wouldn’t would you? Please don’t. But please DO keep writing book reviews, you do a great job. I don’t write book reviews because I read two biographies of John Charles Fremont and when I was done I did not know what I read. Who was Fremont again? sigh. Happy New Year!

  2. Nice write-up! With only three stars from Mountainstroh, and given all the books on my to-read list, I think I’ll pass on this one. Though I, like you, appreciate how she decided not to confirm to the expectations of how she should live, the whining would drive me nuts, too. 😀

    1. If it were just concern about the weather and elements and not knowing if she’d make it cuz it is a tough bad ass ride, I woulda been fine. But time and time again “What if my health goes south, I didnt train enough, I am afraid of the ice I am … I am… I am…….

      Yep annoying, BUT she does show no one is pigeonholed from their youth! I was very proud of her.

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