'I want to die at a hundred years old after screaming down an Alpine descent on a bicycle at 75 miles per hour. I don't do anything slow, not even breathe. I do everything at a fast cadence: eat fast, sleep fast.'
At twenty-four, Lance Armstrong was already well on his way to becoming a sporting legend. Then, in October 1996, he was diagnosed with stage four testicular cancer - doctors gave him a 40% chance of survival. On that day Armstrong's life changed for ever and in typical fashion, he met the challenge head on - this was one fight he was determined not to lose.
As he battled against the cancer invading his body and the chemotherapy that threatened to sap his soul, he focussed on his training and drew strength from the people around him who never gave up. Just sixteen months after Armstrong was discharged from hospital, he entered the Tour de France, a race famed for its gruelling intensity. Just a few months after that, he became a father.
It's Not About the Bike is the story of one man's inspirational battle against the odds, charting his progress through triumph, tragedy and transformation.
It's Not About The Bike was first published in May 2000. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013, Lance Armstrong admitted to having taken performance enhancing drugs in all seven of the Tours de France in which he competed between 1999 and 2005. He was officially stripped of these wins by the UCI, the world governing body for cycling, in 2012.
I started reading this book about half year ago and finished it last night. Before I got the foot injury, it's just a bedtime reading material, but after the injury picked me, this book became the most intimate companion to me.
I'm not professional in running, but the passion of mine about running will feel no shame even compared to the best runner in the world. I believe that running can not only build up my body, but also strengthen my soul.
Because of my bad posture and body shape, I encountered lots of obstacles during my running life. Four months ago, I got a bad foot injury which stopped me from running for three and a half months. That was torturing. My mind was saturated by bitterness, hatred, self-doubt, and inexplicable anger. I devoted myself to running. I felt that I was betrayed by the god.
And this book just kicked right in. Lance Armstrong showed me how strong a human can be while facing the notorious and exhausting disease. I kept his words in mind when I was doing the rehabilitation. If he could beat up cancer, why should I fear about the foot problem? It's no big deal. It'll be cured eventually.
Cycling reveals the true meaning of human life to him, and running does the same thing to me. No matter how hard the process will be, how many stones I'm going to step on I'll never stop running. It's not just about running. It's about life.
"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever."
Although I'm not a gifted runner, when I'm running I can feel something burning furiously deep in my chest. The beauty of human body, the meaning of life, the everlasting history of the world are all in this mortal. It's the fire our ancestors first saw, the flame carried by great athletes. It's deep in our gene, a driving force that makes us keep on going....Continua
Learning how to face something as terrible as Cancer is not easy. You have to read this book to understand what happens to people that have to go through that hell.
Still, Lance was famous and rich and extremely fit. Even though, this book gives several examples that to survive you need something else!...Continua
I never knew the sport of cycling was so interesting. Armstrong does a great job explaining the tactics of the sport and the reason it is one of the most grueling and difficult of them all. I am no sports fan but this book opened my eyes to the excitement of the Tour de France.
His story about his cancer is painfully straightforward - he bares all here. It is written in a very clear and simple English, a clean prose that is a pleasure to read (thanks no doubt to his professional co-author). Several of my friends have also enjoyed this story - it transcends an autobiography or sports narrative and is something uniquely special to read.
I sadly bought it for my mother who was diagnosed with cancer and it proved inspirational to her - I am glad she got to read it and be shored up a little bit by its positive message and practical advice on seeking second opinions, choosing doctors, etc.
Armstrong's "exposé" of the rigours of in vitro insemination was also an eye-opener and a must-read for any woman considering the procedure....Continua
Lance Armstrong's autobiography It's Not About The Bike: My Journey Back To Life is co-authored by him and sports writer Sally Jenkins. I'd been meaning to read this book since I started running last year. It follows his life from his childhood with his divorced mother, his belligerent early successes at cycling, his diagnosis of testicular cancer, his cancer treatment, the fight back to life and finally his methodical training and success at Tour de France. Lance makes no bones about the fact that since he was born he only had a mom and she was solely responsible for his early success. In his early 20s he was a very good cyclist, but only at short races. Due to his short temper he had no chance at winning a multi-day multi-stage race like Tour de France. Then he's diagnosed with testicular cancer which quickly metastasizes to his brain and lungs. He undergoes brain surgery to remove the cancerous tumours in his brain, surgery similarly for lungs and loses one of his testicles. After that comes months of chemotherapy which pushes him to the edge of his life. His doctors give him a 3% chance of survival, but he wins those odds. Back clean from cancer, he skips the other races and trains methodically for the Tour de France, the most gruelling endurance event on this planet. Though dogged by rumourmongers about doping, he wins the 1999 Tour de France in spectacular fashion. The first ever win by an American on an all-American team in this European dominated event. The book ends with the birth of his son Luke and his followup 2000 win. He would later go on to win every Tour de France† from 1999 to 2005, making him the event's most successful cyclist ever. His Lance Armstrong Foundation has also become very popular in raising awareness about cancer and funds for cancer research through its yellow wristband.
The book is a Tour de Force of a read (forgive the pun)! It's very light and quick. Lance goes into detail on his fight over cancer and the 1999 TdF. He insists to the reader that it was his win over cancer that gave him a new perspective on life and that was more important than the wins that came after. The book is (as you can assume) very inspirational. Having taken a bit to running recently, I could understand and empathise with Lance especially when he described how patience and temper is necessary in a long endurance event. In that aspect, endurance events are a metaphor for life (and that's what most people including me feel when running). I can't think of a single reason why anyone shouldn't read this book, please do....Continua