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It's not about the bike December 30, 2005 Friday

It's Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong
Rating: starstarstarstarstar

I've heard so much about this book from cyclists and friends. I even heard it lectured in a Christian congregation (no, I'm not a part of that) as part of a self-help speech. When a copy became available, I borrowed it to pre-occupy me during the holiday lull (read: no school). It was hard to put down. If not for my other lined-up schedule, I could have finished it in one day.

Lance talks about his life as a professional cyclist, his diagnosis with cancer, his operation, chemo, being in remission and finally back into the world of the living.

Writing Style
Part of what makes this book very engaging is Lance's candor. He writes the book as though he's having a private conversation with a close friend. He doesn't fake it either...just telling it as it is. He's not shy about saying he's quite a mouth either. your face!
Before this book, I knew having cancer was catastrophic...but it remained a concept I could intellectualize on while sipping my morning coffee. Lance provided dimension to this ugly desease. He put center-stage the agony of going through the cancer process - diagnosis, operation, chemo, remission and rehabilitation. It's as close to having it as it gets. You get a sense of the pain, the fear, the whole gamut of human emotion that tears you apart.

The Others
It tells you the sacrifices, not just him, but those of others who saw him through. Single-handledly, I'm not sure if he would have weathered it. There were friendships that stayed on...even when the shit already hit the fan. It talked about a mother's unconditional love for a son and a son's unflinching devotion to his mother - very rare in this I-me-mine day and age.

Ending Thoughts
In these times of arridity and disenchantment (Desiderata), to come across triumph of the human spirit is cause for self-reflection on our own mortality and the priceless ownership of having people by our side through thick and thin. Moreover, it talked about the super-human determination of a world-class athlete to beat the odds and come out a winner...with a little help from his friends. Yes, it's not about the bike.

--- TheLoneRider

December 30, 2005

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