Written with verve and enthusiasm, A Higher Calling explores why mountains have such a magnetic appeal to cyclists the world over. Max Leonard, himself an accomplished amateur cyclist, does not forget the pain, the glory, the sweat, and the tears that go into these grueling climbs. Many books tell you where the mountains are, or how long and how high. None of them ask why.“This is real cycling, where the glory is and where dreams come true,” according to Bradley Wiggins. Mountains are where cycling's greatest heroes have made their names. Every amateur rider wishes they could climb better, too. Are all these people addicted to the pain? To the achievement? Or to the allure of the peaks? Some spend their weekends and holidays cycling up mountains from start to finish. But how does a rider push themselves beyond their limits to get up a 10% gradient on pedal power alone? What is happening when they do?Blending adventure and travel writing with the rich narrative of racing, Max Leonard takes the reader from the battles that created the Alpine roads to the shepherds tending their flocks on the peaks, and to a Grand Tour climax on the “highest road in Europe.” And he tells stories of courage and sacrifice, war and love, obsession and even elephants, along the way.