Riding with the Blue Moth By Bill Hancock Sports Publishing; $24.95 Drenched in sweat and tangled within blankets, Bill Hancock woke in his Indianapolis apartment feeling panicked. He had just dreamt that his 31-year-old son, Will, had been killed in an accident. Hancock wept with joy upon realizing that it had only been a nightmare. A week later, Hancock’s awful nightmare became a reality when a jet carrying members of the Oklahoma State University basketball program crashed in Colorado. All 10 passengers onboard were killed, including Hancock’s son, who worked as the program’s publicist. He left behind a wife and infant daughter. Hancock begins his memoir, Riding with the Blue Moth, by recounting the night of his son’s death and the somber days that followed. Hancock writes of his unconditional love for his son and describes how Will’s death sent him spiraling into a state of grief and despair, a condition he calls the “blue moth.” Hancock admits that he considered suicide as a means of ending his pain. Ultimately, though, he resolved that, for the benefit of his family, he needed to try to embrace life once again. To that end, he took a leave of absence from his job as coordinator of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and embarked on his long-held dream of bicycling across America. Hancock began his trip by dipping his bike tire in the Pacific Ocean in Huntington Beach, Calif. From there, he took to the open road with his wife trailing behind in a van. Pedaling across America, he endured blazing heat and steep mountains, dodged dead armadillos and tenacious dogs and tried, in vain, to outmaneuver the blue moth. Thirty-six days and 2,746 miles after beginning his journey, Hancock rolled the front tire of his Cannondale bike into the Atlantic Ocean in Georgia. By trip’s end, he had come to terms with his constant companion: “Now, finally, I realized that the moth had forced me to grow in strength, understanding, and compassion.” Riding with the Blue Moth reads like a diary, with plain-spoken prose that’s honest and heartfelt. The book should appeal to bicycling enthusiasts, but it also serves as a comforting guide for anyone coping with the death of a loved one. Hancock shows that it’s possible to cope with such a loss. “I would have a Will-sized hole in my heart for the rest of my life,” he writes in the book’s closing pages. “But I could live again.”

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