As a former cyclist (though certainly not pro), I enjoy reading about athletic endeavors and can even appreciate a lot of the cycling jargon that is thrown around extensively in this book. The story of the race and the technical aspects of being a pro-cyclist, therefore, were probably more absorbing for me than they might be for most. I can see how someone who is not into cycling or even sports could get lost amid the new vocabulary, and at times the story faded and it felt like I was reading a fictional rendering of a “how to be a professional cyclist” manual. Lynch delves into all of the various complexities of a cycling tour, including drug use, sponsorships, fandom, heckling, and the like. Naturally, there are several moments in the book that are exciting to read and bring back memories of my cycling days. However, the story did not have much meat to it. Evan I found to be arrogant and oblivious most of the time, with a confusing inner dialogue I couldn’t always follow. One second he’s devastated about a fight with his girlfriend; the next, he’s checking out some girl who acts interested. Some plot lines were predictable, and other incidents that occur are followed without full explanation (so, did Dash dope up or not? I was still unsure at the end of the book!).
Some terminology bothered me—it’s kind of strange to read a book by a woman from a male’s perspective, talking about a teenage girls’ “rack” and more. Not that it’s not necessarily an accurate portrayal of how some guys think; it’s just a bit unnerving. Overall, I think this book may appeal to some die-hard athletes or those who are interested in pro-cycling, but for me, it left much to be desired.
By the time that the race took place I found myself excited to find out what happened next and how it would all end. The race itself in this novel was exciting and I was on the edge of my seat rooting for Evan and the pro athlete's that had him on their team. The novel does have some twists that I didn't see coming and they really added to the overall story.
I had a few issues with the beginning of this book. It starts out pretty slowly and I found myself trying to push my way through it. I didn't want to continue through the first half and I came pretty close to putting the book down and not finishing. I am pretty glad I stuck with it though. Another thing that I didn't like was the fact that Evan was pretty dramatic. It's like when something bad would happen to him, everyone was trying to crush his dreams and that really bothered me. He also put racing ahead of everything else, like his girlfriend, school and even his parents and that seemed kind of immature.
Overall, this book was quick read. Cycling and Non-cycling fans alike will find themselves understanding the story and enjoying the action that the Tour of California brings.