As the Tour of Britain comes to an end this weekend and fans watch to see who emerges victorious at the finish line, enjoy this excerpt from John Forester's Effective Cycling on the art of bicycle racing and what it takes to win:
Bicycle racing is one of the most demanding sports in the world. Not only does it require the most energy of all, but a winning cyclist has outsmarted the opposition by taking advantage of the help of both friends and enemies, has watched the performance of every contender and decided whom to help, whom to ignore, and whom to wear out at the crucial moments. The winner has understood the road and the weather to know where others are better or worse. The winner has jumped fast to stay with the leaders, relaxed in the pack when possible, organized and spark-plugged a fast breakaway group at the crucial moment of the race, and finally, somewhere along the route, 70 miles or 70 yards before the finish, has driven ahead and stayed ahead until the line….No other sport requires this combination of strength, power, endurance, control, and intelligence. I love it.