Lance Armstrong was a world-class cyclist who had it allóuntil cancer
struck in 1996. He came back in 1999 to win the Tour de France. In this tough,
gritty and outspoken book, he chronicles his decline and return and then some.
I knew nothing about bike racing when I picked this book up. It didnít
matter. As he says, itís not about the bike, but about the largest fight
of his life.
He grew up in the wrong section of Plano, Texas and used his bike to get himself
out. In his mid-teens he was winning races and making good money. He used this
money to buy better bikes and enter even more races. Then came the big time.
Then the bad news.
The comeback is the most interesting part of the book. It was no sure thing,
and Armstrongís journey wou
ld involve several stops, starts, disappointments
and detours along the road. But come back he did, to win the worldís most
prestigious bike race three years in a row. As I write this, heís going
for Number Four.
I have two things in common with Armstrong. First, we had the same disease.
I was 20 when it struck and he was 25, but our experiences were similar. I felt
little stabs of recognition as he outlined the ravages caused by his body filling
with toxic chemicals, the horrific side effects, the cumulative loss of strength.
We both got better, though.
The other thing is that three times per week, I get on a stationary bike, and
with a group, pretend to do what Armstrong does. We climb hills, we do flats,
we jump, we spin. We do it for an hour. Itís hard work, and sometimes I
want to stop. But if I ever need inspiration, all I need to do is look at a
poster on the side wall. Itís Lance, crossing the finish line in Paris.