Rough Ride: Behind the Wheel with a Pro Cyclistby Paul Kimmage
A frank account of what life is really like in the world of professional cycling, from one who discovered the truth about gruelling defeats, complete exhaustion and the drugs that would simply enable you to finish the race and start another day.
- Random House UK
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- 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x (d)
Meet the Author
Paul Kimmage is a respected sports journalist. Currently chief interviewer for the Sunday Times's sports section, he is also the author of Andy Townsend's autobiography and of the highly acclaimed Full Time: The Secret Life of Tony Cascarino.
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What¿s it like to be a wonderfully talented amateur bicycle racer who gets thrown into the meat-grinder of professional cycling? Kimmage answers the question in honest yet depressing detail. An example: This book explains that the fatigued riders who did not place in the final stage of the Tour wouldn¿t be tested for dope, so they were free to take amphetamines. Reading ¿Rough Ride¿ is a lot like driving by a car crash. You really want to avert your eyes but can¿t. Kimmage¿s story of life as a cycling domestique is fascinating. Kimmage makes it very clear that he is only telling his own personal story and not accusing any other rider in particular. But the practices he exposes clearly indict the entire profession. His revelations of the culture of doping within the peloton brought him withering criticism. He wasn¿t the first to get in trouble for revealing cycling¿s nasty underside. Bernard Thévenet almost died of liver failure from overuse of corticoids. When he confessed that doping was the cause of his health problems and that doping was a common practice within the peloton, the 2-time Tour winner suffered terrible opprobrium from the press, his sponsor and his fellow racers. I believe Kimmage¿s book is the first (at least in English) to detail at length what life as a professional truly entailed. Since then former professional Erwann Menthéour has also written a memoir about doping in cycling which, to the best of my knowledge, has not been translated. Both he and Kimmage explained that the term for revealing cyclists¿ doping to the public is called ¿spitting in the soup¿. Menthéour¿s (who was caught using EPO) reply was 'People are saying I am spitting in the soup, but it is necessary when it is poison.' In the last year the wall of silence regarding doping has come tumbling down and several famous racers have confessed their misdeeds. Yet Kimmage¿s book is the seminal tome and writing it was an act of courage. The book is more than about doping. It details Kimmage¿s own failure to properly train and prepare for some seasons. He also describes the gut-busting exhaustion that the lesser riders suffer as they work at their limits for their more talented team leaders. ¿Rough Ride¿ is a well-written book about racing in the 1980s but its lessons apply to the present. It is important reading for any cycling fan with an interest in what it takes to produce the spectacle we so enjoy watching. - Bill McGann, Author of the Story of the Tour de France
This is a great book illustrating the pressure that pro cyclists are under to win by any means possible, from blood boosting and amphetamines to EPO. Kimmage got a lot of critism from the powers that be after this book was first published in the late 80's, there were blanket denials from all sides (nothing new there!). This book is a must for anyone interested in any professional sport not just cycling. It's torturous to read how someone devotes their youth to training to become an athlete, only to realise once they make it to the pro ranks that just about everyone is boosting their performance to win. A sad endictment of professional sports, but a great read.
This book is not as much an expose' of doping within the peloton, but more of an emotional rant-venting on the part of a bitter man. Having mediocre ability when compared to other professional cyclists is somewhat beyond the author's control. Having bitterness, unforgiveness and unbridled resentment is within his control. Mr. Kimmage believes that David Millar should have been banned from cycling for life, yet he allows himself grace in spite of his personal use of amphetamines!?!? He blames others for his succumbing to temptation. Wow dude, get over it and quit complaining. Acknowledge your guilt and be a positive influence as Millar has attempted to be. IMHO save the money on this one. His rehashed rants are still in the news due to the LA debacle, so........