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The Racer

Life on the Road as a Pro Cyclist
Narrated by: John Sackville
Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (398 ratings)

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Summary

What is it really like to be a racer?

What is it like to be swept along at 60kmh in the middle of the pack? How does it feel to be reeled in from a solo breakaway metres from the line? What happens to the body during a high-speed chute? What tactics must teams employ to win the day, the jersey, the grand tour? How does a domestique keep going to the end of a stage once his job is done and his body exhausted? How does a time trialist maintain his form when every muscle and sinew is screaming at him to stop? What sacrifices must a cyclist make to reach the highest levels? What is it like on the bus? In the hotels? What camaraderie is built in the confines of a team? What rivalries? How does it feel to be constantly on the road, away from loved ones, tasting one more calorie-counted hotel breakfast?

David Millar offers us a unique insight into the mind of a professional cyclist during his last year before retirement. Over the course of a season on the World Tour, Millar puts us in touch with the sights, smells and sounds of the sport - the barked instructions of a road captain in a sprint chain, the silence of a solo training ride.

This is a book about youth and age, fresh-faced excitement and hard-earned experience. It is a love letter to cycling.

©2015 David Millar (P)2015 Random House AudioBooks

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding!

I've read quite a lot of sports autobiographies and often been left wondering why I bothered - they're elite athletes that train, eat and rest... why was I expecting it to be entertaining!?

And then I read this. It's insightful, funny, moving, heartfelt, inspiring and thoroughly entertaining throughout. The trouble with a book as good as this is that others will surely pale in comparison!

The narration is excellent and captures the emotion and personality with which the book was written.

This is surely destined to be a classic cycling book - essential reading for any cycling fan for the next 50 years!

6 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

Liked David Millar's first book, this was also great. Interesting perspective on the sport and not the usual fairy tales associated with sports biographies.

1 person found this helpful

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Absolutely Brilliant!!!!

Having been a fan of road racing for a number of years this book allows access to what it is actually like to be a world class cyclist over the period of a year!
The flashbacks to previous years are a welcome historical reminder of Davids previous experiences and fit in extremely well!
Laugh out loud moments contrast with 'watery eye' time as we get to fully understand the intense competition involved at this level together with the respect and camaraderie that such intensity at this higher echelon brings!
Superbly written and perfectly brilliant narration make this one of the best books that I have ever heard/listened to!
I cannot rate or recommend this experience highly enough and want to listen to it again immediately!

1 person found this helpful

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A look inside the closed doors of the peleton

Where does The Racer rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

A well-written insight into life in the top-tier of world cycling, Millar paints a detailed picture of the ups and downs, the complexities and intricacies of a life spent racing bikes. The book is written with an intelligence and self-awareness that is often missing from (especially sports) biographies. As someone who has followed Millar's career and always suspected him as having one of the most highly strategic and tactical minds in the business, those suspicions were pleasantly confirmed with a book full of beautiful nuggets of analysis, which he explains in an easy to understand manner.

What other book might you compare The Racer to, and why?

There are a number of excellent books written about the world of cycling or its individual personalities - 'Blazing Saddles', 'The Flying Scotsman', and 'Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape' to name a few, but few put you into the mind of the rider in the same way as 'The Racer' does.

What does John Sackville bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Sackville sounds very much like Millar. He has the same timbre and intonation, but added to this the skills of a vocal actor. You could be convinced that it's Millar himself reading the book.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Irrelevant question.

1 person found this helpful

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Its OK.

Racing through the Dark is much better and recommended. This is just OK.

Narration is annoying unfortunately. I may have enjoyed it more if not for this.

1 person found this helpful

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A true love of cycling

If you love cycling you will love this book. It took me a little time to get into it but if you stick with it you are reward with a true heartfelt story of David's final year. What a gent.

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  • GP
  • 10-03-20

Honest, engaging, satisfying

A really engaging story of the very mixed last hurrah of a pro-cyclist who did almost everything in the sport, and has come through it with scars. It feels honest, but also that there's plenty to read between the lines (yes I know it's an audiobook!)

The reading is good, although some of the more weird and wonderful names and places are mis-pronounced. I would have rather had Millar read it himself, but Sackville is a very good match nonetheless.

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Awesome read awesome listen

fantastic insight into the life of a racer, thank you David for sharing your memories

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great book about a cycling hero

very honest insight into the world of cycling. goes deep into the world of cycling and the dark side and dark mindset that Dave went through but then found the light.

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Brilliant

A brilliant insight into what life as a Pro rider must be like. David describes the events good and bad superbly. Chapeau!