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Reading the Race: Bike Racing from Inside the Peloton Paperback – October 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Horner's anecdotes make Reading the Race a worthwhile read for those whose primary interest is the European pro peloton, but really the book isn't aimed at the armchair rider, it's a practical manual for those who want to learn the tricks of the trade.” — Podium Café

“The descriptions of specific group tactics, such as pacelines, echelon riding and the like, are clearly illustrated and annotated. If you have any doubts as to how any are to be implemented in real life, these leave no doubt as to how each ought to be successfuly accomplished.” — The Washing Machine Post

“In the Reading the Race, [Horner and Smith have] outlined the key mechanics of reading a race — and more importantly, how to win. Starting breaks, forming alliances, managing a lapped field, setting up for a sprint, it’s all there.” — Road Bike Review

From the Back Cover

Bike racing is called a rolling chess game for a reason. Sure, a high pain threshold and a killer VO2max are helpful. But if you’re in it to win it, you need race smarts.

YOU NEED READING THE RACE.

Jamie Smith and Chris Horner team up to deliver a master class in strategies and tactics. From the basics of cornering, climbing, and descending to the subtle art of finding the fast line through the final corner, Reading the Race will elevate your cycling IQ.

Setting up a slingshot attack, blocking from the front, managing a lapped field, gapping a wheelsucker out of a breakaway, assembling a winning team—every page reveals new secrets to moving forward in the peloton and putting time into your rivals.

Whether you’re a new racer, an aspiring pro, a team manager, or even a roadside fan, you’ll find new insight and the keys to victory in Reading the Race.

Thirty years of criterium racing have given race announcer and coach Jamie Smith a rare ability to see, describe, and critique the tactics in the American peloton. This book is his way of paying it back.

Three-time NRC champion and Vuelta winner Chris Horner began his dominating pro career in 1995. His photographic memory has cemented his reputation as one of the smartest road captains in the sport.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Velo Press (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937715108
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937715106
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jamie Smith began writing while serving in the USAF guarding B-52s at a remote northern base. He wrote to alleviate the boredom then immediately burned the pages in order to stay warm.
He spent 25 years writing boring press releases for a sleepy Detroit suburb. The fact that they were sleepy had nothing to do with the press releases Smith wrote.
He also spent 25 years as a bike race announcer working at cycling events in 46 different states. His first work, Roadie - The Misunderstood World of a Bike Racer (VeloPress), was named a 2009 Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan. His second effort, Reading the Race, includes sidebar commentary by 2013 Vuelta a Espana winner and 2012 Olympian, Chris Horner.
Smith lives and surfs in the Great Lakes area.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scott Braden on October 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been racing off and on since the 1980's and I have read almost every book written in English about the tactics and techniques of the sport. This is one of the best, and for the typical American amateur racer, the best manual about "how to race bikes".

The author covered just about everything, and did it well with humor and stories. Especially the last few chapters on teams and goals, great reminders about what's really important.

Unequivocal recommendation. Buy it. Read it. Get your teammates to read it. Require any new teammies to read it. Have a test.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By New England Dad on November 6, 2013
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I love this book, it hits it right on with inside secrets on how to race your bike. If you want to get the jump on your competition and have some usually-only-learned-by-doing insights, pick it up!

The only negative I have is that I expected the contributions by Chris Horner to be larger and more frequent. As it is the ones that are in there are great though.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By VTConline on December 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Things I had taken for granted over the years are explained so well in this book I will be asking ALL my athletes to read it... Enjoyable to read as well...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Margie on October 2, 2013
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It's a very funny and very useful explanation of cycling tactics. Hard to put it down, I read it in a day. There's humor on every page, yet he always has respect for bike racers.

I've read both of his books and he REALLY knows how cyclists think and behave. Buy this book if you want to be a better racer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hopwood on October 16, 2013
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some experienced racers might find some of the guidance obvious but for someone like me, it is always great to learn more about the thinking aspects of racing and teamwork.

The author's writing style is casual, self deprecating, but sometimes funny. The Chris Horner stories are a great add to make the points - just wish there were more of them.

I really enjoyed reading this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Doctor Moss on July 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is an informative, well-illustrated, easy to read book on the fundamental skills, tactics, and etiquette of bike racing.

The primary author, Jamie Smith, is an experienced amateur racer and race announcer. The book reflects Smith’s experience in American amateur racing, with its focus on criterium racing.

Smith starts with the fundamental skills — cycling in a paceline, an echelon, or a pack, finding the draft behind and to the side of other riders, cornering, attacking, and contributing to a team. He also covers tactics — when to attack, how to read the intentions and capabilities of other riders, etc. Equally important are tips on what not to do — actions that will anger your opponents or destroy team structure and frustrate team goals. Indispensable stuff.

Chris Horner’s contributions are really separate from the body of the book, set off as inserts or sidebars into the text. Primarily what Horner adds are stories that serve as illustrations of the points being made by Smith. Personally, I would have liked to hear more of Horner’s perspective and guidance, integrated into the structure and main text of the book itself.

If you are a new or relatively inexperienced racer, this could be an especially valuable guide to what you need to do to become a true racing cyclist, and if you are an experienced rider, this will fill the gaps for you and provide some insights you probably haven't gained on your own. If you are like me, your racing days behind you, it’s an enjoyable read, with the self-effacing tone that so many cyclist-writers seem to favor (e.g., racers like Phil Gaimon and cycling culture writers like BSNY/Eben Weiss).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Manny1 on November 16, 2013
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Excellent book. Explains a lot about racing. I learned a great deal from this book. Anyone can benitfit from reading this book you do not be a racer. Even If you enjoy watching cycling on TV this book is for you. Chris Horner is great in the book he explains his personal racing experiences in book. Horner is the man. He makes the book very fun and way more interesting. I would highly recommend this book to any cycling fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As someone who rides for fitness, but doesnt race, this was a great insight into the tactics employed. Very interesting and easy to read, with good anecdotes.
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Reading the Race: Bike Racing from Inside the Peloton
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