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on 6 June 2013
A highly entertaining and enjoyable read about a very interesting challenge is how i would sum up this book. The hour record is a fairly unique sporting challenge, you either succeed and break the record - or fail. this tells the story behind a series of attempts over a couple of years in the 1990's.

The real fascination behind the book is the difference in character of Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree. Both thought outside the box and both pushed the sport forward massively. Without doubt, British Cycling's success and Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France win owes a massive debt to both of them. This book tells how Peter Keen started a revolution in applying science to cycling - the revolution that continues to this day with Team Sky.

Chris Boardman's contribution to British cycling has been recognised but after reading this book, I felt that Obree's may have been overlooked. Graeme comes over as a complex character which helped him push the boundaries as far as he did, the knock-on effect was that Boardman & Keen also had to push the boundaries of technology to keep up. Obree was a true innovator of the type who treads the thin line between genius and madman! Certainly without each other, this story would not be anywhere as exciting and the record wouldn't have kept getting broken.

A well written book which is certainly a must for any cyclist, but also a genuinely good read for any sports fan.
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on 15 June 2013
It's been a while since I've been properly engaged into any book concerning pro-cyclists. Recent literature has been littered with drug abuse "cash in" stories or utterly tedious autobiographies, playing to a marketable achievement.

Then along comes "The Race Against Time".

Like both Obree and Boardman, I was nervous on the start line as I browsed to page one. These are two iconic cyclists with huge characters to match, offering real potential for an author to play to the reader's inherent perception as to what they are about to consume. The nerves had gone after the first chapter. Edward has clearly taken pains to offer narrative rather than judgement, his book paints the picture with just the right amount of analysis which left me nodding at the end of each chapter. I already knew the individual stories of Obree and Boardman but had never understood how intertwined they were and the potential affect that each had upon the other. Edward clearly lays this out as the narrative flicks between the two making comparison where required. I may be wrong but I detected a clear affection for both Obree and Boardman within his words. For once I appeared to be reading a book that the writer wanted to write, rather than one that his publisher thought could sell.

The writing style is excellent and accessible, the two stories are compelling and well told without the need for hyperbole. I'd urge anyone with the slightest interest in cycling to purchase this book.
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on 18 August 2013
I had this book recommended by a friend who came to stay with me in Japan a few months ago, and having finally got round to reading it, have to say that it was a real page-turner.

It’s quite apparent with each new chapter that the author has gone to a lot of trouble tracking down most all of the characters both on the peripheries and directly involved with Obree and Boardman during their careers. The result is an incredibly well-rounded and well-informed narrative, full of anecdotal asides which, as well as giving a fascinating insight into the rivalry between two massively talented competitors, also informs the reader of a good historical perspective as to how (partly stemming from said rivalry) a once moribund sport - at least in the UK pre early 90’s - had new life breathed into it and continues to grow in popularity post Beijing 2008 / London 2012.

The book seems to me to have been a labour of love for the author. In summary, it’s a great read, accessible to the layman or bike nut equally.
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on 27 July 2013
A very interesting book but it really focused on the career of Chris Boardman. History shows that he was one of the best racers against the clock that we have ever seen, but the claims that all our more recent successes on both track and road rely entirely on the work that Boardman and his team did are surely a little to strong. What about Brailsford, Wiggins, Hoy, Pendleton? Do their efforts count for nothing? Not enough credit to Graham Obree. A very talented rider against the clock, whose remarkable experiments with bike designs and riding positions changed the way that all racing cyclist ride. He worked with only a fraction of the funding and support that Boardman received. The claims that Boardman was robbed of success in the Tour De France because of doping are something that many riders could make. Boardman's only success in the TDF came in the early time trial stages where he excelled. If you are looking for men who could ride against the clock and win the major Tours then Coppi, Anquetil, Merckx,Indurain were all the greatest in their day. Chris Boardman could never figure on this list.
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on 16 May 2013
Once started I could not put the book down. Ed brought the story of the hour and Boardman and Obrees rivalry and success to life with a series of detailed insights and pieces from other participants in the play! Well done Ed a really enjoyable read.
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on 30 October 2013
I really enjoyed this book about one of the most intriguing rivalries in British sporting history. It wonderfully tells the story in an easy to follow, enjoyable manner. There are many very good personal insights into both Obree and Boardman that have obviously been gathered from excellent sources. This is definitely not just a book dealing in cold facts.
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on 28 July 2013
I really enjoyed this book, though it felt as though Boardman received more treatment from the author than Obree.

The reader gets a sense of the contrast in styles / approach of the two riders, some might choose to liken it to Ovett and Coe.
I found it interesting and engaging, the author had researched the subject well and interviewed a number of interesting characters.

I would recommend this book to cycling and non-cycling fans.
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on 8 September 2014
As a fan of both protagonists of the story I really looked forward to the publication of this book. The stories behind the characters is well laid out - we get to understand the backgrounds of Boardman and Obree in ways perhaps not seen or explained before. I enjoyed the colour given to races and record attempts and these are written in such a way as to almost recreate the actual excitement of the events themselves.
I have held back one star for the simple reason that the exploration of the drugs background seems a little tacked on and not as connected to the story as it should have been, in my opinion.
That said it was a really good read - well read it again soon.
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on 21 October 2013
For me, this book put lots of vaguely remembered facts into their correct historical context. It tells an inspirational story of two great athletes. Really enjoyed reading it.
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on 20 July 2014
This is the best cycling book I have read in a while and I have read a lot over the years. The narrative is very engaging as it delves not only into the careers of these two exceptional cyclists but also compares and contrasts their characters, their methods of achieving their goals and the highs and lows of their respective journeys. I used to read about their exploits in Cycling Weekly and this book fills in the gaps as to what actually went on as well as confirming some of my thoughts about the two protagonists at the time.
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