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on 24 April 2014
If you're a runner, a triathlete, or especially a cyclist, this is the book for you. The legendary Dr Hutch walks us through the art and science of producing a world class cyclist, with frequent references both to the author's own experience as the dominant athlete in domestic time trialling in the UK for many years and to the extraordinarily successful British Cycling approach which scooped almost all the Olympic track medals, a good proportion of the road medals and a couple of Tours de France over the last few years. For a book about the science of training this is amazingly easy to read, and the authors self-deprecating sense of humour really shines through as he takes us through the basic biology of performance, training, nutrition, coaching, psychology and genetics.

This isn't really a book on how to train, or a sports science book. It's really an overview of how the whole fits together, and an explanation of the philosophy that's been so successful for the GB cyclists, often contrasted entertainingly with the author's own home grown attempts to do similar things. You won't come away from this book knowing what to eat and which interval sessions to do three weeks before your A race, but you will have a much better understanding of why you need to think about these things and how they contribute to your overall performance.

If you are interested in endurance sport, or in how to make a faster cyclist from a slower one, you should read this book, if only so that there are fewer people who annoy me by talking rubbish about lactic acid.
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on 28 March 2014
Absolutely delightful read. It's fascinating for anyone who has ever wanted to go faster because Hutchinson has tried it all and he writes incisively about what works and what doesn't. But it's not a training manual for cyclists, though there is plenty of tips to be found. It is a a witty expose of a lifetime obsession, enlivened by hilarious observations about the crazy things cyclists do. This had me laughing out loud on the bus and reading paragraphs to my non-cycling wife. I loved the book and immediately ordered The Hour when it was finished.
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on 28 April 2014
I would recommend this to anyone even vaguely interested in cycling. Whilst some of the technical details might be more interesting to the competitive rider, the narrative and humour is always made entertaining and interesting. Hutchinson is not only a brilliant wit but an accomplished and experienced athlete and this he uses to the best effect in this book. Buy it!
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on 27 July 2015
This is one of those books that reads far better than it has any right to given the subject material. I think the first thing to say is that this book is not a coaching program for enthusiastic cyclists to follow, it is rather a study of what makes some cyclists faster than others. Although the book looks at a lot of complex subjects including physiology it is remarkably accessible and most readers should be able to follow the explanations and arguments contained within the book. Think of it a bit like TV science documentaries which explain how things fly or the theory of relativity in conceptual terms but which avoid the mathematics and deeper theory and related learning so as to allow a basic understanding of a complex subject and you won't be too far from the level at which this book is pitched. The book is not an academic text books and is a fine example of a popular science book in raising awareness of concepts which are usually the preserve of exercise physiologists, coaches, engineers (cycling equipment) and elite level athletes. The book looks at the human body, how oxygen is taken in and transmitted around the body and used, how muscles work and the different demands of different cycling disciplines. The book moves on to consider diet, psychology, cycling equipment, coaching and the role of genetics. If that all sounds a bit dry and intimidating the writer has a real gift for making his subject accessible and for those who have read "The Hour" by the same author this book is blessed with the same dry, observational wit. Michael Hutchinson clearly has a deep passion for his subject but he also retains a sense of perspective and whilst engrossed in his subject also see's the absurdity of aspects of what he write about, that is really rather unusual. Michael Hutchinson was a fine cyclist and he is a wonderful writer, passionate about his subject with a real gift for communicating complex concepts in a comprehensible and engaging way and with a sense of humour that whilst dry does not fall into sarcasm. A wonderful book, 5*.
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on 3 May 2014
Fabulous read for anyone with an interest in endurance sport. written in the lively self deprecating manner that readers of Cycling Weekly will know and love. Lots of current research on physiology etc with a section on genetics revealing a great deal that I never knew. Races along at a lively pace and finishes too soon. I feel rather guilty at how little I paid for this, hopefully the author gets a large slug of it.
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on 7 May 2014
Nobody will actually take the advice of Michael Hutchinson this great book has to offer. One thing I know about amateur athletes is they think harder is faster and if that doesn't work then throw money at it. We're always overtrained, eat what we like and ride bikes which are all wrong. And what's more we think we're getting better.

Michael Hutchinson's great book offers advice of a good pro who openly admits his training was at times pretty
misguided.

I promise that I am going to focus on MY goals rather than imitate the professional after reading this book.
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on 11 August 2015
I really enjoyed reading this book. The strong personal element from Michael shows through, he is self-deprecating enough to make his experience just off the very peak of British cycling both highly informative and amusing. There is just enough technical background to cover the important points and to inspire further research in various areas.
This is not a text book or a manual; it's a very readable, personal experience of training, racing and exploration of anything that might make him cycle faster. Some of his views and interpretations of the science are very personal and and sometimes only relevant at a certain point in time; however he is honest to point this out and sometimes offer a more modern version.
Thoroughly recommended for anyone who has every wondered about what it takes to move faster under human power (cycling, running, swimming etc...)
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on 17 October 2014
If you can see past the Sky / BC Love fest, then this is a good book, written well with some wonderful anecdotes.

If you are involved in sport then you will understand some of the stuff in here. If you're a club cyclist you will certainly be able to relate to this and even have experianced a lot of the tales.

Its not a book that will give you full on guidance, but it does have some bits you can pick up from. Its more of behind the scenes of the Pro's of racing and the wanna be pro's and their striving for getting onto the next rung of the ladder.

I would have given the 5 stars but its too much of a love for Sky & BC and due to this some of the facts contradict some of the information in the real world, especially after reading this just after reading Nicole Cookes book!

I have a keen interest in the science behind cycling myself and the stuff about VO2 Max etc was well put forward.
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on 12 November 2014
I enjoyed "The Hour" by Michael and as i have always wondered why some riders can just ride fast so i thought i would give it a go! Its well written and is not over technical or scientific which i prefer and has certainly made me review my coaching advice. It also answers the questions that we all have when reviewing the results board after an event. Having been caught in time trials by Michael a few times over the years and also by many top riders over the years i realized long ago that i was not equipped to be able to ride at "49" pace and now i know why.
Its a lottery and you either have it or you dont have it but good training and diet coupled with determination will take you a long way but if you don't possess all the ace cards you are not going to win any Olympic gold medals. Thanks Michael for a very interesting read and mi now reading it again.
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on 2 May 2014
A very thorough, insightful read on the key areas that cyclists and their coaches target to get to the front of their respective races. Hutchinson has the cycling pedigree to cover the subject with gravitas, while also excelling as a writer.

This book does go into a lot of detail, which won't be everybody's cup of tea. He covers the key areas of training, nutrition, technology, psychology and talent in great depth, which is at most points fascinating, although occasionally does get a little bogged down in detail (that said, you won't feel short changed).

Overall, a very good read for the regular cyclist looking for improvement and committed cycling fan eager to learn more about the sport.
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