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July 12, 2006
It's not about the bike

With the Tour de France on the horizon, I decided to read Lance Armstrong's first book, "It's not about the bike." I had always been told this was his best book, and it didn't disappoint. I thought the book was going to be a little bit about his fight with cancer, with the majority of it being about cycling, but it was the exact opposite. This is probably the reason why the book was such a success, b/c he didn't focus on his athletic ability, but his struggles, which probably relates to a lot of families out there. Armstrong is one of those Type A personalities, who won't be told no, and that is part of the reason he has been so successful in cycling, and formerly triathlons. I don't know if it had something to do with his recovery from cancer, but I'm sure it didn't hurt. The most amazing thing is that he went from feeling like an indestructible person one day, to having surgery 3 days later to remove the cancer. Talk about having your life turned upside down. One day you are on top of the world, and the next you are fighting for your life.

One thing that this book was able to show was that you should always look for a second opinion. Luckily for Lance, a doctor that was familiar with his cycling career, and just happened to mail him a letter offering any advice he wanted. Because of this, Lance was able to get a second, and even 3rd opinion, on the best way to treat his cancer, which eventually saved his cycling career. Apparantely, there are different levels of chemotherapy, most of which will totally wipe you out, rendering your lungs very weak, and they will never be able to recover. As a pro cyclist, this would obviously end Armstrong's career, assuming he survived in the first place. Luckily for him, another doctor recommended a separate type of chemo which wouldn't hurt his lungs as much, and thanks to this option, Lance was able to go on to become a 7 time back to back Tour de France winner.

The book is a very quick read, and one I'd recommend if you have any interest in cycling, or if you want to learn a little bit about cancer and the procedures that a patient must go through. It'll help give you a good perspective as to what Lance really has gone through, which makes his cycling accomplishments that much more impressive.

In case you didn't know it, Lance was a triathlete first. Here is a fun video of Lance competing in a national sprint championship back in 1989: Lance as a Triathlete

Posted by Don at July 12, 2006 08:37 AM
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