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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 (10 ratings)

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Publisher's 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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  • H. Bacon
  • 11-09-15

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 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Chalkie
  • 08-29-17

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • nick
  • 05-19-17

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Craig Duncan
  • 10-22-16

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • RedReader
  • 11-02-15

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-17-19

Brilliant

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

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  • RG
  • 09-26-19

Moved to tears. A brilliant story.

Ok, I'm a cycling fan.. The Grand Tours of 2019 have kept me together during a period of intense retraining for a shift in career, and of course, David is a big part of the coverage. I wanted to know more about his life prior to entertaining us with Ned etc.

John Sackville makes a great job of narration - his voice and intonation is such that I thought it was David speaking at points.

I'd recommend this to anyone, not necessarily just cycling fans, but anyone who wants to hear more about human performance, limitations, self-belief and the general ups and downs of an athletes journey.

This afternoon, listening to the final few chapters, I had tears welling up, such was the power of the story. That wasn't ideal, because I was near Birmingham on a busy M42...

My favourite audiobook for a collection of 30+ mainly in sports, psychology and human behaviour.

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  • Stevie Mac
  • 07-07-19

Honest and fun

Lovely this book. A true honest account told in a witty way, found myself bursting into random laughter.

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  • ADRIAN O
  • 02-03-19

The first cycling autobiography I've really liked

This is, without a doubt, the first cycling autobiography I've actually really enjoyed reading. Full of humility, plenty of interesting stories/facts, and very well read. I listened to most of it riding the rollers this winter, it was a good way to pass some time...

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-03-19

Great insight but a bit samey after a while

Really inspiring to hear David's insecurities, emotions etc. I actually enjoyed the reality of it - there's no big payoff, no big final hurrah. His career grinds to an end, like most of our lives, and I found that strangely uplifting. I would say that even as a pro cycling fan sometimes it gets a bit repetitive and I lost track of he was taking about the same race or another one towards the end.

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  • Wendy Ross
  • 10-24-19

entertaining

Quite enjoyed this . Again , learnt a lot of what goes on from the inside

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  • Gabriel
  • 04-11-16

good info

it a good way to get a view into a cyclist, helps for motivation to get back on the bike