Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Its not about the bike : Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong It's not about the bike my journey back to life


[Warning this review contains spoilers]

This is a great book, full of courage and determination. It cuts through the self absorption of success and looks at the big picture of what is important.

Lance Armstrong is a Cancer survivor, one of the most successful cyclists to have lived. The book looks at his early career, the battle with cancer and then his return to cycling marriage and family.


I've seen a few people battle cancer and win. Lance is one of them. Against the odds according to the book. From what I understand with people who have Cancer the worst part is the unknown. There is always the unknown, from the initial diagnosis, to the outcome of treatment, the drugs doctors use and there side effects. Lance described this uncertainly to the extent you wanted to keep reading. The suspense was well done. The outcome euphoric.

I found it interesting the place where he questioned his life, waiting for the surgical operation to remove the cancer from his brain. A dark night of the soul.

At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I'd been baptized. If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn't say "But you were never a Christian, so you're going the other way from heaven"

The cycling

What I liked about this part of the book was how Lance changed and evolved as a bike rider. The main catalyst for his change was the Cancer. Initially as a rider he was brash and pure muscle. After cancer not only was there a physical change in his body, most of what muscle he had wasted. But also he also started to think and understand the strategic elements of the bike race.

The description of the French tour was great. I've never really understood it all that much. The teams the tactics, climbs, sprints, time trials. It was great, engrossing. (To the extent I'll be watching it this year for sure.) Again this section was gripping all the more so because Lance came through and won the event.


When I read about the blossoming love life, the devotion it was worse than a Miles and Boon novel. It was like the fairy tail ending the book had to have. There was interesting chapter of freezing his sperm after he had had it saved prior to chemotherapy. Eventually the outcome was that Lance through all the trials had a son. It was a great outcome.

After I finished the book I did a bit of a wiki search on Lance and found that the women whom he married in the book 'Kristin' was now divorced from him. That he had gone on and had Children 'naturally' to another woman 'Anna'.

I thought a lot about this. It was if the last section of the book was a bit of a farce. A man writing in denial that his marriage was in trouble? It seemed in a few places that Lance was pretty head strong and you had to wonder if this was the reason his marriage failed. The head strong-minded coming due to been a single child.

I'm sure there are more chapters in Lance's life. That by the looks of it he has had more 'Dark nights of the Soul'. I wonder now if he would change the book or add more chapters. If so I'd buy the follow up.



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