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The Rider

Posted on

The Rider

Current Status:
In Season

We gave it a B+

”Racing is boring,” writes Krabbe, and his 1978 cult classic bores into the boredom. Kilometer by aching kilometer, Krabbe — a Dutchman, a novelist, and a minor professional cyclist — pushes us through each gear shift of one mountain race. The terms of his story (the very terms of the sport, he would suggest) dictate that The Rider dispense with normal terms of feeling and thought. ”During the race, what goes round in the rider’s mind is a monolithic ball bearing, so smooth, so uniform, that you can’t even see it spin.” Tedium is inextricable from exhilaration, and the sprints ”can be as convoluted as espionage.” When Krabbe writes that ”suffering is an art,” you balk at his sentimentalism. But when he makes his jump to steal the lead, and the pain dissolves into ”a march by protestors who’ve forgotten to paint their signs,” you’re cruising through the tunnel of his mind. B+