Author: Ross. E. Goldstein, Ph.D.
“Chain Reaction” is what I would call an epic story. Goldstein, a competitive cyclist, journalist covering the cycling world, an sports psychologist writes about a 23 year old cyclist, Cal Scott, riding for a major team, T-Mobile, with apparently everything going for him, who abruptly leaves the cycling world to return home to live with his parents. He won’t tell them why he left a promising career as a cyclist, and makes no moves to pursue an alternate life. He becomes a barista – a top barista – but has no plans for a future.
When Cal is 25, his father Paul plans a trip to Italy, to do some “recreational” cycling. He invites Cal to come along to ride with him. Paul is a hardball defense attorney – Cal strongly suspects strings, and refuses to go. In the end, his father will not take no for an answer. Cal finds himself in Italy, meeting his father’s friend Gianni Di Salvo, and Gianni’s cyclist daughter Daniella.
Oh … the trip strangely coincides with Bassano del Grappa’s grueling race up the ferocious slopes of Monte Grappa. Di Salvo is the coach for his own Squadra Diavolo cycling team. Cal is offered a chance to ride with the team, where a winning race could mean re-entry into the cycling world. Along the way Cal faces his own shadows, his relationship with his father, a growing relationship with Daniella, and a highly competitive relationship with the team Squadra Diavolo leader, Rocco. Rocco will do anything to win, and he is Daniella’s ex-boyfriend.
Along the way we hear many familiar names, including that of iconic cyclist Lance Armstrong. We learn about blood doping, and performance enhancing drugs, such as EPO, CERA, We see the way a team functions, from the inside out. We see the competitive nature, the team members that give their all for their team leader, pushing themselves until they have to drop out.
The sport of cycling has a cut-throat side, but it has an equally strong heart – that of pushing ones-self beyond all limits to achieve the seemingly impossible.
Well written, fast paced … one does not want to put this book down!
© June 2011 Bonnie Cehovet