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Book Review, It’s Not About The Bike

Posted Apr 01 2009 12:00am



After posting my reading list, It seems fitting to review the books that I have actually read, starting with the biography of the worlds most famous cyclist.

I read the book about a year ago during my vacation to Dominican. In fact I read it in about 4 days, which is a major feat for me. I am not a huge reader, and I am not a fast reader. Completing a book in a couple of days is a big deal.

I’ll start by telling what the book is not. It’s not a training manual, it doesn’t give details of how many miles Lance rode to train for the tour, or how much pasta he ate. It also doesn’t mention Cheryl, or his breakup with his wife Kristin since the book was written before those things took place.

This is a biography of his life including being raised by one parent, his rise to stardom as a pro cyclist, his battle with cancer, and his comeback and first tour victories.

After a year, there are a few details that still stand out about the book.

The book goes into some detail about his battle with cancer. How it first presented, how he felt, how bad it actually was, in fact some doctors only gave him 10% odds on survival. In an ironic twist, the disease, was largely responsible for his tour success. Stripping his body down, so when he regained his former fitness level, the engine had a much lighter machine to push.

The book also credited Bob Roll with rekindling the fire in Lance, after he struggled with motivation and toyed with quitting. Coach Chris Carmichael enlisted Bob to meet up with Lance in Boone, North Carolina, and train with Lance in the Appalachia’s for a week in the pouring rain. Bob had the work ethic, and the attitude as well as the legs to train with Lance, and spark a new fire within the Champion to be.

Another thing that stood out was the period between cancer recovery, and Lance’s full committment to racing and winning. He struggled with periods of self doubt, and quit several times throwing his family into turmoil. It wasn’t pretty, in fact in some cases he was a downright asshole. But this is really a testiment to how devastating the disease is, even for survivors. Fortunately for the cycling world, training with Bobke turned it around.

This story will likely be made into a movie, which is kind of funny because I am sure if you walked into a producers office and showed him a script like this, he would laugh you straight out to the parking lot. The only way it is close to believable is the fact that it is true. There’s much more that I could write about, but do yourself a favour, read the book, before they spoil it by putting it on the big screen. With Matthew McConaughey as Lance.

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