The Race A Novel of Grit, Tactics, and The Tour de France
Author: Dave Shields
Disclaimer: Reading this novel may raise your heart rate;
it may lead to a loss of time and work productivity until you can finish it.
Click for full cover image.
The Tour de France is the backdrop for a novel that,
although fiction, reads like a race report with descriptions of Le Tour and action that put you there in the shoes of a young rider facing the challenge of
finishing “The Race.” It is as fast paced as the pro peloton on a flat stage
with a tailwind, with as many twists as your favorite descent.
The main character is young professional rider Ben who is
within reach of his lifelong dream to race in and complete the Tour. The Race
takes the reader through the daily challenges that Ben confronts making his way
through the complex dynamics and tactics of a professional team racing in the
biggest sporting event in the world.
But Ben could never imagine the challenges that still lie
ahead. His greatest rival, a long time competitor who will stoop to any tactic
to win, is also in the peloton. To complicate matters, Ben is under the thumb of
a spiteful Directeur Sportif who is determined to wear him down and make him
Ben rises to every challenge, earning the admiration of
teammates. At a critical stage, he exerts superhuman effort to escort his team
leader into a tactical position beyond their highest hopes. Then disaster
What follows leaves the reader as white knuckled as a
cyclist plummeting down a serpentine descent. Ben rides to keep his word and
regain his honor, pursued by a past he cannot change.
The book reads like an adventure or spy novel, though you
find yourself wanting to slow down and enjoy each well written description of
the French countryside and the race action to savor each phrase or moment of the
adventure. It reminds me of James Clavell’s Shogun - it’s a page burner, a “can’t
put down” read. I started reading it on a Sunday afternoon and read until 3 am
when I couldn’t focus my eyes any longer and had to take a break. Monday morning found me
with a cup of coffee in one hand and the book in the other. I was compelled to
use a personal day off work so I could finish it.
As you can tell, I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.
I wrote Dave:
I just finished The Race a few minutes ago.
As usual after a great book, finishing is like saying good
bye to a good friend all the while wishing you could stay a little longer; and
already looking forward to your next visit.
As a writer the story was very "real" - I mean this as the
highest compliment. From the story line to the buildup of the characters, the
scenery and locations, it put me there. I think this is the greatest coup for a
writer to build a reality for the reader to carry the writer’s vision to the
heart of the reader.
The novel is cycling, a metaphor for life; the story is
not just about the race, it is about life and finding the key to overcome self
doubt and uncertainty. At every turn it entertained, enlightened and inspired.
Former U.S. Cycling Champion and two-time Tour de France finisher Marty
Jemison says, "The Race sent chills down my spine,
reminding me exactly what it feels like to compete in the world’s most difficult
endurance event. I devoured the novel in one sitting. The descriptions are epic
and spot on. I never dreamed such things could be put into words.”
"This book was all too real. I feel like I just completed
another Tour de France.”
-- Frankie Andreu, 2 time Olympian, 9 time Tour de France
I believe both cycling fans and non cycling fans will enjoy The Race. Those not familiar with bike racing will not only be entertained,
they will be enlightened about bike racing and find themselves becoming fans of
the sport. This book will read well among all age groups and I expect it to be
an introduction to cycling for many young readers in the years to come. I highly
recommend the book as a gift to a teenager you would like to introduce to the
I first met David Shields when he entered the prologue of The Race in the
Daily Peloton's Vuelta a Espana writing competition last year. So it is a
pleasure to introduce to you a fellow reader of the Daily Peloton and his novel.
Watch for an upcoming interview with Dave.
This story is about much more than a race - it is about life and finding the
key to overcome self-doubt and uncertainty. At every turn it entertains,
enlightens, and inspires. It is about cycling. Enjoy.
How To Purchase
Although the book is set for release on May 15th, David is making it
available to us a few weeks early with a limited edition cover. You can purchase
the book at
The Daily Peloton will soon be announcing its 2004 Lance
Armstrong Foundation Ride for the Roses (RfTR) fundraising game - those who
donate have a chance to attend the Ride for the Roses Weekend in October in
Austin, Texas. Look for that announcement soon. The good news is that Dave
Shields will donate five dollars from the sale of each book to the Daily Peloton's RfTR Lance Armstrong Foundation account in the purchaser's
name, which enters the purchaser in the game! Buy your copy now!