Bike racing skills and tactics for American amateurs

I really wish I had something like this in the early 80s when I first got vaguely “serious” about cycling. This book is simple enough that even sports marketing majors can understand how to psych out their opponents in the rolling chess game we call a road race.

Reading the Race by Jamie Smith with Chris Horner

Veteran racer and race announcer Jamie Smith puts his 30 years of amateur racing and pro race announcing experience to pen in this highly accessible guide to road racing with his usual humor. Chris Horner adds vignettes from his time as a professional cyclist, both in the United States and overseas.

He begins with the basics: bike handling, pack riding, and speed, then works up through the specific tactics that help you to do anything from staying with the pack all the way through crossing the finish line in first place, if that’s your goal (and who doesn’t like to win every once in a while?)

There’s nothing spectacularly secret or tricky — well, okay, there are a few tricks of the trade you can learn. Smith’s chapter on “Winning and Other Lofty Goals” includes a liberal sprinkling of anecdotes about head games to play to force your opponents into expending more energy than necessary at the wrong time in the race.

This book is for those racing with solid teams as well as those who ride solo or with dysfunctional dynamics.

Even if, like me, you don’t race, this book will help you give a good read the next time you watch your friends in the local criterium, and you might even anticipate the moves the pros will make as you watch your next pro racing webcast.

Available in paperback and Kindle editions. Reading the Race: Bike Racing from Inside the Peloton by Jamie Smith with Chris Horner.

One Comment

  1. I think anything to better understand this sport, outside of participating, would be helpful. I’d also like the scientists to continue with brain scan technology, to help us understand why we really do it to begin with. Oh yeah, that’s right…it’s the glory!

    I found this article from the Livermore Heritage Guild on Livermore’s cycling history, most interesting …

    I’ve ridden the Livermore roads over the years and had no idea of their historical cycling significance. These days, one of the group rides goes out (from Danville) to n.Livermore road. Most times, it’s a pack (peloton) of over 50 riders, with the intent to go as fast as we can down this long wide stretch. Reaching speeds over 35 mph…rotating paceline, breakaways, trying to hang on wheels, with the intent to stay with the pack and make it to the final sprint at the top of the hill. Some of us, just have a need for speed…

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