“The Race” and “The Tour” Book Review

The Race and The Tour are a pair of fictional cycling novels that chronicle an American named Ben Barnes and his exploits racing the Tour de France.  The Race focuses on Ben’s background and his current situation as a super domestique for a big time European team.  “The Tour” continues right where “The Race” ends with Ben making an effort to win the Tour de France.

These two books have been read more times then any other books I own, except for maybe The Hobbit, I’ve read them twice and I loaned them to a friend to read, he loaned them to a friend, and he loaned them too another friend.  It says alot about the quality of these friends that I eventually got the books back and they are in great shape. 

Strictly speaking Dave Shields has written The Hobbit of bicycle racing, what I mean is these books are fantasy, a Cinderella story, and yet they feel like they could be real.  One friend was awestruck when I told him they were fiction.  Dave Shields writes about bike racing with a passion and knowledge that rivals, or probably bests any real proffesional.  He writes as a fan, and not as a jaded x-pro. 

The books are quick page turners,  once I started reading them I couldn’t stop.  This is how I imagined a good cycle racing book would be and there is a good reason for this.  Dave Shields has never been a pro racer, he’s just writing what he thinks a good cycling racing novel should be.

Even if “The Race” and “The Tour” do seem more like a fairy tale then reality the race action is very realistic and for anyone interested in bicycle racing I’d say they are required reading.

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About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
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