In Reading the Race, race announcer Jamie Smith and veteran road captain Chris Horner team up to deliver a master class in bike racing strategies and tactics. Armed with strategies and tactics learned over thousands of races, cyclists and cycling fans will learn how to read a race—and see how to win it.

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. Starting breaks, forming alliances, managing a lapped field, setting up a sprint—on every page, Horner and Smith reveal new secrets to faster racing and better results.

Smith and Horner dissect common mistakes, guiding riders with lessons learned from decades of racing experience. Reading the Race reveals the veteran’s eye view on:

  • Assembling the best possible team
  • Crafting strategies around the team, course, and rivals
  • Reacting instantly to common scenarios
  • Making deals and combines
  • Breaks, echelons, blocking
  • Pack protocol and etiquette
  • Finishing in the prize money or on the podium
  • Winning the group ride

Whether you’re a new racer, an aspiring pro, a team manager, or even a roadside fan, Reading the Race will elevate your cycling IQ for better racing.

Paperback with illustrations throughout.
7″ x 9″, 256 pp., $18.95, 9781937715106

Jamie Smith offers his thoughts on bike racing strategy as witnessed in real life at his blog That’s Bike Racing.

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 See the table of contents

PREFACE

CHAPTER 1: WHAT’S MY MOTIVATION?
Why Do You Race?
The Pro Game versus Our Game
Euro Pro
American Pro
American Amateur
Mistakes Amateur Teams Make
How Tactics Have Changed
Tactics in Other Sports

CHAPTER 2: BASIC TECHNIQUES
Basic Training
Bike Handling
Cornering
Drinking and Eating
Looking Over Your Shoulder
Braking
Standing
Stretching
Shifting/Gearing

CHAPTER 3: ADVANCED TECHNIQUES
Riding in the Rain
Holding a Steady Speed
Bumping Others
Pacelines and Rotating Pacelines
Echelons
Economy of Motion
Peeing While Riding
Handling Speed
Descending
Self Made Speed
Intervals
Seeing Movements
Climbing
Recon the Course
Getting Psyched Up (or Out)
Pack Riding
Playing the Accordion
Gaining Position
Claustrophobia
Avoiding Crashes

CHAPTER 4: ATTACKING
The Breakaway
Slingshot
Broadcasting Intentions
Faux Attack
Bungee Attack
Size of the Break
Working with a Teammate
Breakaways That Don’t Work
Blocking
Gatekeepers
Chasing, Bridging, Reeling, Catching
Bridging Distance
Chasing Your Own Team
Not Caught ’til it’s Caught
Division of Power

CHAPTER 5: WINNING AND OTHER LOFTY GOALS
Joop
Reading the Race
Overfamiliarity
Patience
Working the Break
Roll Call
Getting Rid of Them
Should I Stay or Should I Go?

CHAPTER 6: SPRINTING
Measuring Distance
Positioning
Lead Out
Form
Communications
Get On My Wheel
Combines
Picking the Right Strangers
Sharing the Booty
Going Solo

CHAPTER 7: TIME TRIALS
Knowing the Course — Intimately
All Wind is Not Created Equal
Climbing and Descending
Man and Machine
High Alert
Heavy Wind

CHAPTER 8: DECISIONS, DECISIONS
Caught
When a Crash Occurs
Cloudburst
First 5 Laps, Last 5 Laps
When to Relax
Suffering, Tail gunning, Punching Tickets
Front or Back?
Helping a Brother Out
DNF versus Finish at all Costs

CHAPTER 9: ASSEMBLING THE PERFECT TEAM
Club versus Team
Recruiting
Chemistry
Sacrifice
Practicing as a Team
Assessing Strengths and Assigning Roles
Practicing as a Team
Group Training Rides
Picking the Right Ride
Finding the Ride
Worlds
Making the Grade
Working as a Team in an Open Group Ride
Racing as a Team
Goals
Team Meetings
How to Win, Place, or Show
Going for It
Luck
Splitting the Winnings
An Honest Assessment of Your Contribution

CHAPTER 10: GO RACE


 Praise for this book

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

Bike racing is known as a rolling game of chess, and who better to learn advanced moves from than 2013 Vuelta a España winner Chris Horner, long known as one of the sport’s most cerebral in-race tacticians. Along with race announcer Jamie Smith, Horner reveals the strategies and tactics he’s learned over thousands of races. In Reading the Race, he’s 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.

RoadBikeReview.com

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 successfully accomplished. But the book’s winning smile is undoubtedly Jamie Smith’s well-judged sense of humour. I would wholeheartedly recommend that anyone who considers themselves even remotely interested in cycle racing of any flavour, ought to acquire a copy of Reading the Race. If nothing else, you’ll at least reach page 269 with sore sides from laughing.

The Washing Machine Post

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