Capturing the essence of cycling in 150 pages is a feat, but Krabbé has deftly managed it.
People constantly ask me "What goes through your mind when you are on the bike for all those hours." and there is no way for me to explain, not in a simple sentence. Now, for lack of a better way to express that, I will suggest they read The Rider.
The Rider follows our hero Tim Krabbé during a 137 km race in The Tour de Mount Aigounal. During that 137 kilometers Krabbé (who is also the fictional main character) rides his way into both delirium and metaphor and all the way back. Going through the thoughts, emotions and mental state of The Rider, this book travels through a stream on conscience blur of what cycling can be and what this race could/can be. The dreams, aspirations, training that go into bike racing are splayed out across 150 pages as Krabbé tells a would-be personal tale of how the life experiences of a person affect their choices and strategies in racing.
All the thoughts that cyclists think come to materialize in print in an exposingly intimate manner as Krabbé (the author) captures the thoughts, feelings, ravings, ramblings and lunacies that make up the mind of a cyclist. One is almost shy to admit the truths and insanity that can manifest itself after hours and hours on the road or trail. That shyness peels away when you realize that it is euphoric clarity that is achieved rather then separation from it.
In a mere 150 pages battles are fought, wars are waged, there is victory, defeat, destruction, rebirth, alliances, hardship, and ultimately a strange bit of realism in this fiction. Krabbé (the author) captures all this that is the life of the sporting spirit. All while Krabbé (the rider) spins on toward his own journey of exploration of sport as life.