It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life

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This is the story of a journey from inauspicious beginnings through triumph, tragedy, transformation, and transcendence. It is the personal story of Lance Armstrong's life so far, from childhood through early success, nearly fatal cancer, recovery, survivorship, more triumph (victory in the 1999 Tour de France), marriage, and first-time fatherhood.
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This is the story of a journey from inauspicious beginnings through triumph, tragedy, transformation, and transcendence. It is the personal story of Lance Armstrong's life so far, from childhood through early success, nearly fatal cancer, recovery, survivorship, more triumph (victory in the 1999 Tour de France), marriage, and first-time fatherhood.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Multiple Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is a winner in the game of life itself: He has survived cancer, found love, and become a father. In the pages of his memoir, Armstrong tells his own moving and inspiring story, writing in his signature down-to-earth Texas style. This is an amazing tale of recovery in the face of tragedy and victory against overwhelming odds.
St. Petersburg Times
Buffalo News
Denver Post
Absolutely absorbing.
USA Today
Among cancer survivors, it is known simply as The Book.
Lance Armstrong presents a poignant, direct view of competition, determination, and satisfaction (both personal and professional) in this autobiographical sketch of bike racing and cancer survival. Armstrong's cocky, often tongue-in-cheek writing style mirrors his success as one of the world's best Grand Prix cyclists. He speaks candidly about his recovery from testicular cancer (which had migrated into his lymph glands and abdomen). He gives credit to his family (including his mother, wife, and newborn son) as well as his inner strength as an athlete for his recovery and continued vitality. It's Not About the Bike would be an effective addition to any contemporary literature course or in a health class context (i.e., good medical descriptions). Also, life skills classes could benefit from the motivational messages Armstrong presents throughout the book. Category: Biography & Personal Narrative. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Berkley, 289p. illus., Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Tom Adamich; Tech. Serv., Stetson Univ., College of Law, S. Pas
Library Journal
Armstrong is a champion American cyclist who was stricken with cancer in his twenties and given little chance to live. However, he not only survived but won the rigorous Tour de France two years later. As the title indicates, this book is much less about Armstrong's triumphs on two wheels than about his successful struggle with cancer and its aftermath. Armstrong sees cancer as a part of life that is meant to improve us by making us focus on our difficulties with courage and indominability of spirit. His writing style is vibrant and immediate whether he is detailing events from childhood, racing challenges, the demands of cancer treatment, the in vitro fertilization process, or the joy of becoming a father. This should appeal to more than just cycling fans. Highly recommended.--John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-When Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer, the prognosis was not encouraging. When it spread to his lungs and brain, most medical professionals gave up hope for his recovery. But not Lance. He studied his disease, interviewed doctors, chose a treatment, and fought for his life. This isn't a book for the squeamish as it spares few medical details but it isn't just about cancer. It's the story of the athlete as a young boy and his relationship with his single mother, his success as a world-class cyclist and his friends in that world, and his financial backers who supported him emotionally as well as monetarily. It records his winning the Tour de France, courting his future wife, and the birth of his son. This fabulous tribute to the strength of the human spirit is an inspiration to everyone.-Katherine Fitch, Rachel Carson Middle School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786229000
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Series: Biography Series
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 435
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Lance Armstrong
Champion cyclist Lance Armstong's Tour de France victory has been hailed as "one of the most memorable moments in sports history during this century" (USA Cycling magazine). In 1996 he established the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a charity to aid the fight against cancer.

Sally Jenkins is the author of one book, Men Will Be Boys, and the coauthor of three more: Reach for the Summit and Raise the Roof (both with Pat Summitt), and A Coach's Life (with Dean Smith). She is a veteran sports reporter whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, and Cond Nast's Women's Sports & Fitness.

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Read an Excerpt


Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with? Facing up to that question, and finding a way to go on, is the real reward, better than any trophy, as I would learn all over again in the 2000 season.

By now you've figured out I'm into pain. Why? Because it's self-revelatory, that's why. There is a point in every race when a rider encounters his real opponent and understands that it's himself. In my most painful moments on the bike, I am at my most curious, and I wonder each and every time how I will respond. Will I discover my innermost weakness, or will I seek out my innermost strength? It's an open-ended question whether or not I will be able to finish the race. You might say pain is my chosen way of exploring the human heart.

I don't always win. Sometimes just finishing is the best I can do. But with each race, I feel that I further define my capacity for living. That's why I ride, and why I try to ride hard, even when I don't have to. I don't want to live forever, I'll die when I'm done living, but until then I intend to ride my bike-and I'll probably keel over on it.

Every year that I get back on the bike and try to win another Tour de France is another year that I've survived the illness. Maybe that's why winning a second Tour de France was so important to me-because to me, cycling is the same as living. I intended to win another Tour, and the reason I intended to was because nobody thought I could. They figured that my comeback of 1999 was miracle enough. But I no longer viewed my cycling career as a comeback, I view it as a confirmation and a continuation of what I've done as a cancer survivor.

The 2000 Tour would go counterclockwise around France, and include some of the most difficult stages any of us had ever ridden. We would start at Futuroscope, with a time trial of just over ten miles. From there we would ride a series of flat early stages, once again favoring the sprinters, and then, as far as I was concerned, the real race would begin when we entered the Pyrenees for Stage 10.

It was strange to arrive at Futuroscope. It felt as though I had just been there a few days earlier, when it had been a full year. The time seemed out of proportion and the sense of déjà vu was enhanced by the fact that we stayed in exactly the same hotel as we had the previous year. In a way that was reassuring: it made me feel like I knew how to win a Tour de France. My teammates felt the same; this was the fourth year for most of us on the Postal team, and we had started out with a couple of rickety campers, but now we had a caravan of trucks and buses jammed with every amenity.

We managed to get through the first stages unscathed, with no one on the team losing any time to crashes. There was one occasion of near-disaster, though, in the middle of the first week. It came during a tricky team time trial through the Loire from Nantes to St. Lazaire. In a team time trial, each team's stage time is determined by the time of the fifth man across the finish line. That time is then added to each rider's overall time. We had to finish as a group of five, or I would lose substantial time, which could perhaps even have implications for the Tour itself.

There was a huge bridge into St. Lazaire, and the arch of it was the equivalent of a hard uphill climb. As we rode up the span, we were hit by a giant blast of wind, with gusts of up to 50 miles per hour. To make matters worse, it was a crosswind. Its roar was so loud, we couldn't hear each other. When Frankie Andreu screamed, "Slow down!" none of us-including me at the front-heard a thing. Our team was strung out all across the bridge. It was only with an amazing effort that Frankie and Tyler managed to link back up with us, and cross the line together. We took second place, but here's how costly it could have been: Zulle lost four minutes that day, and Escartin two, because of their team performances. Their race was almost over before it began.

But another of the most difficult climbs in the world was still to come, the ride to the top of the Mont Ventoux, a peak of 6,263 feet where there was hardly any air to breathe. The top of Ventoux is absolutely desolate, a windy and cratered moonscape. It is an airless, treeless place. Every rider feared it. My friend the legendary Eddy Merckx won a stage to the peak of Ventoux in 1970, but he passed out shortly after crossing the finish line and had to be fed oxygen and carried away in an ambulance. And of course everyone in cycling knew of the tragic death of Tommy Simpson of Britain, who died on the climb in 1967. Simpson collapsed near the summit, from a combination of alcohol and amphetamine consumption in combination with heatstroke. But the mountain itself played a part.

The stage was a relatively short 149K, but it would end with that torturous climb of 21K straight up. Later I heard that more than 300,000 spectators came out to see us take on the Ventoux. As we launched into the first steep part of it, I was with six other riders, including Ullrich, Virenque, and Pantani, altogether probably the strongest riders in the race. About 5K from the summit, Pantani attacked. I jumped up and went after him, and finally joined him with about 3K to go. In my poor Italian, I said to Pantani, "Vince!" It means, "You can win. You can have it." But Pantani misunderstood me. He thought I said, "Vitesse," which is French for "hurry." He felt I was antagonizing him.

We rode together, at the same tempo, battling fierce winds and our own fatigue, until it was time for the one-kilometer final sprint to the finish. Then I did something that unintentionally provoked him even more. As the finish line came into view, and we pumped toward it, I made a decision not to fight him for the stage win. I considered Pantani a great cyclist who'd had a difficult year with the drug controversy. He was struggling to regain his confidence and mental fortitude. He was a rider who cut an unmistakable figure in his pink racing skins, bald head with bandana, and earring, and he had given himself a nickname, The Pirate. He had ridden a courageous race that day, and I thought he deserved a victory. I eased up and conceded him the stage, and finished in second place for the third time in the 2000 Tour.

It was a decision that I would regret.

I thought Pantani was a gentleman, but he was not. Instead of accepting my gesture, he announced that I was not the strongest rider that day. I was offended in turn, and we began a feud that lasted for the remainder of Pantani's presence in the race. "It's unfortunate that he's showing his true colors," I told the press. Then I called him Elefantino, another of his nicknames-but one he hates, because it refers to his ears. He prefers to be called the Pirate. Pantani replied, "If Armstrong thinks he's finished with me, he's mistaken." When Pantani won another mountain stage a couple of days later, into the ski resort of Courchevel, he said that he wanted revenge against me, "and that's what we saw today."

I still hadn't won a stage outright. There was one opportunity left: the last time trial would come at Stage 19, from Fribourg to Mulhouse in Germany. Ullrich is from Merdingen, which the route would pass through. He would be the overwhelming crowd favorite. It was his last-gasp chance to beat me to the podium in Paris. We would race across 58.5 kilometers, over an hour of riding at top speed. What's more, there was always the specter of the unexpected accident. "It only takes one guy to do something devastating," I told the press. One spectator lunging into the road could send you crashing. Much as I wanted a stage win, I needed to finish safely to protect the overall lead.

Ullrich started three minutes ahead of me. As soon as he went off, the crowd started roaring, and it seemed to me that they never stopped, not for an hour. As I left the start area the noise was almost a physical presence. In the follow car was the U.S. Postmaster General, Bill Henderson.

At first I rode with one eye on my heart monitor, to make sure I stayed within my physical limit and didn't push too hard. Then Johan reported that Ullrich and I had the same time after 11K. Johan gave me the green light to go for the win.

I upped my cadence and gradually began to make up time on Ullrich. Johan fed his stream of reports into my earpiece: I was two seconds ahead of Ullrich after 15K, five seconds after 20K, 15 seconds after 33K. By the 52K mark my lead was 29 seconds. Ullrich tried to fight back, but I was riding at too frantic a pace, just under Greg Lemond's epic time-trial record of 54 kilometers per hour, which he had set in 1989.

I hit the finish line ahead by 25 seconds. I had ridden the second-fastest time trial in Tour de France history. Lemond still ruled. But for the first time in the grueling 2000 Tour, I finally felt like an outright winner. I hated to admit it, but something would have been missing had I arrived on the Tour podium without a single individual stage win.

The longest stage of the Tour was still to come, but the Postals plodded through it safely, and that night we finally allowed ourselves to celebrate. We had beers and ice cream with our dinner. The ice cream tasted so good to us that we made the kitchen send out the barrels, and we dug into them in a frenzy. On that same night, Kik was in Paris with her parents and Luke. They finally felt secure enough to start celebrating, too. They gathered for a private party at the George V hotel and hosted a dinner for friends of mine who began to arrive from Austin. The next morning the team boarded the Orient Express for Paris, to ride the ceremonial final stage.

I crossed the finish line, in another swirl of American and Texas flags. We were the only team to arrive in Paris with all nine riders still on their bikes, a huge accomplishment given how difficult the route was. There could be no more doubters. As I stood on the victory podium, Kik had a surprise for me: she had dressed Luke in a yellow jersey. She handed him to me and I sat him on my shoulders.

I had another goal in mind for that summer-winning gold at the Sydney Olympics-and I wouldn't be as successful at attaining it. But that experience had its own value, too. I had been waiting four long years for the Summer Games, because I had been unknowingly ill in the previous Olympics, in Atlanta, and my performance had suffered as a result. My twelfth- and sixth-place finishes there in the road race and time trial had been huge disappointments at the time. It was only later that I realized I had competed with a dozen lung tumors. But now I was healthy. I wanted the Sydney Games to be a celebratory occasion, and it just so happened that they would end on October 2, the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis.

Sydney was everything we'd imagined it would be. The emerald-green bay seemed to lap right at the feet of the skyscrapers, and mangrove trees sheltered the older Victorian buildings. The only disappointment of the Olympics was my actual performance. I finished 13th in the road race, which was won by Jan Ullrich. I could swallow that without too much frustration, because the flat course didn't suit me. My more realistic medal expectations were in the time trial.

But then I got outdueled in that event, too, and took the bronze.

I could not have gone any harder. When you prepare for an event, and you do your best and go your hardest, and then you don't get it, you just have to say, "I didn't deserve to win." And I didn't. Eki deserved every once of gold in his medal. As upset as I was to lose, I was also that happy for him, because he had put his effort all on the line to help me win the Tour.

After the medal ceremony, I walked past my bike, and cheerfully kissed my wife. Kik was proud of me; she said later that she wished Luke had been old enough to understand what went on that day, because she wanted him to see the kind of man we'd like him to be in the face of a loss. That made me as proud as anything I've ever done in front of her.

Sometimes I think the biggest thing cancer did was knock down a wall in me. Before cancer I defined myself purely in terms of "winner" or "loser," but I don't have that kind of rigid vanity anymore. It's kind of like my hair. I used to care about the way I looked, I worried about my appearance all the time, and I had to make sure my hair was just right before I walked out the door. Now I cut it all off. My wife trims it with a clipper, and it's so easy to take care of that I'll wear it this way for the rest of my life.

Since the illness I just care a lot less if people like me or not. I still care a little, but with the birth of my son, it's diminished even more. My wife likes me, and I hope my son will like me. It's their good opinion that I desire now. We had a party to get to. It was October 1, and the next day, October 2, would mark the four-year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. In the world of cancer patients it's a very significant date, and for me personally, it was the most important date in my life, more important than any birthday or any holiday. No victory or loss could compare to it.

Kik calls my anniversary Carpe Diem Day, to remind us to always seize the moment. Every year we spend that day celebrating our existence. We remind ourselves that it's a myth to say that I beat cancer. The drugs beat cancer. The doctors beat cancer. I just survived it. We remind ourselves that according to most recent cancer-survival rates, I am not alive.

I'll spend the rest of my life puzzling over my survival. Cancer no longer consumes my life, my thoughts, or my behavior, but the changes it wrought are there in me, unalterable. I've learned that intense movement is a necessary thing in my life, something as fundamental and as simple as breathing. I don't believe I could ride, or live, any differently. Also, I've learned to be more thoughtful, and resist saying the first thing that otherwise might come out of my mouth. Above all, I've learned that if I have a tough week, all I have to do is sit back and reflect. It's easy to say, "These things don't bother me anymore."

From It's Not About the Bike: My Journedy Back to Life By Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins, Copyright (c) 2000, 2001 by Lance Armstrong, Berkley Pub Group, a division of Penguin Putnam, used by permission

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Table of Contents

1. Before and After 1
2. The Start Line 17
3. I Don't Check My Mother at the Door 43
4. Bad to Worse 73
5. Conversations with Cancer 101
6. Chemo 131
7. Kik 161
8. Survivorship 187
9. The Tour 219
10. The Cereal Box 265
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Interviews & Essays

Author Essay
Climbing obstacles more challenging than the Alps, Lance Armstrong survived cancer to emerge victorious in the Tour de France.

I don't have any more bad days. I have good days and I have great days. Cancer no longer consumes my life, my thoughts, or my behavior. If I have a tough week, all I have to do is sit back and reflect on what I went through, and look at my son, and things don't bother me anymore. I'm not only alive, but I'm responsible for another life, the life of my child. When you almost lose your life to cancer, and then win the Tour de France, and then become a father, it grows you up fast. I'm more thoughtful, and I resist saying the first thing that comes out of my mouth. Before, all of my questions were directed toward the "me," as in "Why me?" or, "What are my chances?" But now I've started looking at other people.

The biggest thing cancer did for me was knock down a wall. Before cancer, I cared about the way I looked, and I worried about what people thought of me. Every morning I made sure my hair was just right. After cancer, I cut my hair, and I cared a lot less if people liked me. My wife likes me and my son will like me, and that's good enough for me.

Silly things don't make me nervous like they used to. For instance, I used to hate speaking in public, but I don't stress any more. I worry about the more important things, like being a good father. Having a child boils everything down, in much the same way my illness did. Becoming a father forced me to think daily about who I am, what sort of father I would like to be. My son, Luke, is a little over a half a year old, but I can already see that he watches everything I do.

Something else that's changed is the way I ride my bike. I ride for fun now. It used to be a job. My chief ambition is still to win bike races, but since the illness I've become more interested in the process and less interested in the end result. Now I just enjoy the ride.

For instance, I love maps. I'm a map guy. I collect maps that show me every back road in the county, so that I can ride around and trace all the narrow lanes, and never to go over the same piece of road twice. I like small quiet roads rolling into nowhere.

I'm enjoying my life and learning a little bit more about myself each day. When you're young, you feel immortal. But I don't want to live forever; I need to die when I'm done living. (Lance Armstrong)

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 256 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 258 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    It¿s Not About the Bike Review The novel ¿It¿s Not About the B

    It’s Not About the Bike Review
    The novel “It’s Not About the Bike” by Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins is a motivating and touching autobiography of Lance’s journey back to life. The beginning of the story explains the hardships he has overcome with family and the many ups and downs he encountered on the way to becoming one of the greatest cyclists in the world. Near the middle of the book, as Lance is approaching the peak of his incredible biking career, the discovery of his testicular cancer throws off everything in his life. Dealing with such a sudden life changing experience gives Lance a whole new perspective and in the end of the novel, but not even close to the end of his new and healthy life, he wins the biggest race he thought he’s never be able to compete in again. He leaves a mark on everyone who’s read the story’s life with the strength he showed through out his beautiful experience.
    Most would agree Lance Armstrong touches close to anyone’s heart with his story and he does an excellent job of going into detail about his mom, how they were a two person family who depended on each other before cancer, and how much everything changed after the illness. Though the format of the writing was out of order, the message and method to the style was very understandable and thoroughly portrayed throughout the novel.
    Knowing that you’re getting a Winner of the Tour de France and Cancer Survivors perspective on how you should cherish every second of life really does help you realize what the book is conveying to the audience. The major message in the novel is given through out all Armstrong’s life. Don’t lose hope. Keep the strength. From when he was a child and held on to his hope even when his mother was broke and had an awful step dad, to when he would bike up extremely difficult courses, and also when he was told he had a 50% chance of living. Being strong was all Lance knew to do in his chaotic world.
    From the first page of the novel to the very last one it grips you, especially about how he over comes the hardships, and only becomes stronger every step of the way. No one in their right mind would dislike the story of Lance Armstrong, Winner of the Tour De France, Cancer Survivor, Husband, Father, Son, and Human being. The overall rating of this book would be 9 out of 10 stars.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    Exceptional Read! After reading this book, I honestly changed t

    Exceptional Read!

    After reading this book, I honestly changed the way I look at cancer patients. Lance Armstrong does such a fantastic job of telling his story and struggle through cancer. I would say the two biggest themes in the book are compassion and determination. At some points in the book, the mood turns to the sad side, and it's tougher to read. At other times, there is such an upbeat attitude that you can't put the book down. Lance also made it very fun to read, as he started with his early teen childhood and wrote about his experiences all the way up until his 7th Tour de France win. He tells about his family, pre and post cancer, he explains all the reactions from friends and family, and the most enjoyable part of it all is the confidence and happiness he has about getting through cancer. Having won the Tour 7 times, Armstrong was not a man to quit, and throughout the book, you get a huge sense of determination. If you know or knew someone who has or had cancer, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. One thing I didn't enjoy as much was how graphic some parts were. Since cancer is life threatening, Lance went into extreme detail, so if that doesn't seem like something you'd like, then maybe this book isn't for you. After I had read every page of the book, I thought back on some of the experiences I had given up on, and how much worse Lance Armstrong had it with cancer. I would definitely give this book 5 stars, because you are left thinking about so many things about how you can cherish your life just as Lance had done.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2012

    ¿What is stronger, fear or hope?¿ ¿ Lance Armstrong When you ge

    “What is stronger, fear or hope?” ¿ Lance Armstrong
    When you get cancer it doesn’t just change your body it changes your mind. For Lance Armstrong every thing is fast, but when he is diagnosed with testicular cancer life slows down to a halt. In the beginning he believes his career as a professional cyclist is over. Luckily with the help of some amazing doctors, second opinions, and hope he beats all odds and over comes the disease. The ability Lance has to connect with readers is very impressive and the way he vividly describes the details of every event makes the book even more fun to read. However when I read the updated version that includes an added chapter about the 2000 Tour de France, it made the book end in an odd place. This book is a very exciting read and it was difficult to put it down. “It’s Not Bout the Bike” a great read for anyone who likes action, sport, romantic, and inspiring books. Similar to the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” By Aron Ralston this book will keep you reading for hours on end. I would rate this book as a 9/10. You’re sure to love this inspiring book about his accomplishments and the gravity of having cancer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2012

    Defying Odds, On and Off the Bike Life is a risk, when you¿re sp

    Defying Odds, On and Off the Bike
    Life is a risk, when you’re speeding down mountain roads at 70 miles an hour, when you are having chemo pumped through your blood. When you are seconds away from death. A small town Texas boy going on to win multiple Tour de Frances in the face of having cancer; some would call that impossible, while Lance Armstrong? He would call it a risk. Lance truly beat the odds on and off the bike, which caused him to refocus his life on what he saw with true value. The book brought on laughs, tears, groans, and smiles, while still capturing the fact that everyday we get closer to dying, but everyday, we are also living. Throughout the book, Lance found himself more and more with every day he was sick with everyday he faced defeat. At the start of the book, his attitude of cockiness and confidence set me thinking, will I be able to stand a whole book of him talking about how great he is? However, as I go into it, I saw that he was just a guy, a human being, with trials, hopes, dreams and fears. He was brought up humbly and that gives tribute to how far he truly has come, nothing handed to him. That sense of possibility that anyone can be great could give anyone hope whether you grow up in a small apartment like Lance or not. The part of the book that stuck with me the most, wasn’t hearing him talk about winning the Tour de France, or gaining over a new sponsor, it was the words he spoke that came from a human, not a legend. “If you asked me to choose between winning the Tour de France and cancer, I would rather have the title of cancer survivor than winner of the Tour, because of what it has done for me as a human being, a man, a husband, a son, a father.” With all of the controversy that surrounds him now, my opinion of him hasn’t change at all. I know that I can go off what he demonstrates in his book, that he was a fighter, that he never gave up no matter the odds, and that will have many prizes in his life still whether his titles remain or not. He will always have the memories of cancer survivor, husband, and always have a voice calling him dad. He will always have the scars of surgeries and crashes that got him to where he is now. Lance never quit on surgery, on his hopes and motivations, on life, and that is truly defying the odds on and off the bike.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    A battle that made a man better.

    From the first word of it to the last word of it I was glued to the book. It talks about how Lance Armstrong's life takes a turn for the worst when he finds out he has cancer and it has spread to his whole body, with little chance of survival. He thinks his career as a professional athlete is over. It then goes on to tell how cancer was the best thing that could have happened to him, how it made him a better man, and how it made him even closer at reaching his goals and make his career better by making him stronger. His obstacles, highs, lows and ever lower points in his life are told about in the book in the best way possible. The author uses the best writing skills to hit your soft spot and to really make you feel exactly what he went through emotionally. I not only liked how the author's syntax was so great, but also how it really made you feel emotional on every page. I honestly have not one dislike of this book. It was amazing in every aspect. I felt really connected. The major theme of the book was, as his mother always used to say "Make an obstacle an opportunity, make a negative a positive." She would tell this to him in his childhood but didn't realize then how much it would impact his life in the future. Even though he got cancer and thought his love of cycling was over he made that obstacle into an opportunity by making cancer be the best thing that ever happened to him. It was an all-time low for him, more negative than anything in his life but he turned that around and made it into something magnificently positive. I recommend that everyone reads this book, even if you don't like cling or even Lance Armstrong, it is just so moving and really changed my views on a lot of things like cancer and just believing in yourself. Reading this book can really change someone; it really touched me and motivated me to live my life to the fullest. I wanted to find something I was so passionate about like Lance was to cycling. In this book its shows that riding it like breathing to Lance. He needs it to live. Every part of this book was moving to me from him not having a true father, being so close to his mom, to him finding love, having a son, and fighting cancer. My overall rating of this book is a five-star must read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2010

    The Race Back To Life, Lance's Uphill Battle.

    A man striped of everything that he knows and wants; Lace Armstrong assisted by Sally Jenkins tells the story of his fight back to life and cycling. After faced with three different types of cancer Lance struggles with himself in training and recovery . Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins did an outstanding job describing the uphill battle faced throughout Lance's life. Lance describes his feelings and emotions on and bike and in the recovery room. Lance tells his debate with himself and his conquest to become the world's best cyclist. The book tells Lance's background and family life and how important they are to Lance's success and how without them, he may not have made it through cancer. I liked almost everything about this book, from learning about his family to discovering the feelings felt by Lance during the Tour de France. When I began to read I was instantly swept away by the first sentence and was unable to stop reading. This book can make you cry at the pain Lance was willing to go through to win, and laugh at how it was all worth it. You become connected with Lance and his family and begin to feel the sorrow and joy found in his many life lessons. This book is a great story for any reader looking to be inspired, and without a doubt, gets five stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2010


    This novel is an inspirational story of a young athlete and the struggles and challenges he had to encounter in his life. Lance Armstrong was on his rise to fame in his biking career, when the diagnosis of testicular cancer sends his life plummeting back to the ground. Lance describes how the cancer spread to the rest of his body, how his future as a professional athlete was coming to an end, and his journey through his treatment. He explains how cancer shaped him, made him a better person, and what it was like to pursue his dreams even after a tragic obstacle.
    In my opinion, this story was not only fascinating to read, but also very heart-warming and moving. What I enjoyed the most was how cancer really made an impact on the way he lived. It made him look at things from a different perspective and made him learn to appreciate the simple things he used to take for granted. I really admired the courage and motivation Lance had in order to get back on his bike even when he was weak and fragile.
    The book not only had an entertaining story but also a great moral. It demonstrated that sometimes the hardest struggles in life can only make us stronger. He portrayed that cancer was such a terrible piece of his life but without it, he never would have really learned to appreciate his life, and he never would have gotten the chance to really live.
    I recommend this novel for any athletes, cancer survivors, or anybody who needs a little inspiration in their lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2010

    It's About Living

    Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins did an excellent job in this book, from using extreme detail and not sugarcoating the tough parts. This book really shows that no matter your ups and downs, your breakdowns to the point of no return, you can still make it out the other side stronger and a better person. I thought that this was an excellent book telling the tale of Lance's bike racing career as he is diagnosed with three types of cancer. He realizes that even though at first it seemed as if it was about the biking and the racing, it helped him discover who he really was and what he wanted in life. This book shows readers of young and old that giving up is not an option, and Lance chose that it was not the way he was going to live either. I loved the way that Lance and Sally described every detail along the way of his cancer and after his cancer, even the parts that were tough to write about, like when he makes his wife cry because they had to move back to America. That was a very real part of the book in which Lance does not look very flattering and it still helps complete the book as a whole. This novel creates a convivial, challenging, and mentally stimulating scene which keeps you interested and entertained for the whole book and thirsty for more afterwards. It helps you learn more about his biking career and the many challenges of cancer from his testicular cancer and surgery to his cancer of the brain down to his very thoughts during the CAT scan. He began strong as a child, learned what it was like to lose, gave up biking, and rediscovered who he was. And maybe along the way he discovered that it wasn't about the bike. It was about living.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010


    I read this book at a time in life when I was feeling rather low, my health was not great and I had little direction. Reading about Lance and his battles and achievements was an absolute revelation. To see someone be put up against so much and not be beaten shows what we are capable of as human beings when we put our minds to something. I read this book while travelling for business and upon returning home I researched and bought a bicycle two days later. I then started cycling to and from work every day regardless of the weather. My fitness improved and my outlook on life as well. I owe a lot to this book for opening my eyes to stop being so pathetic and to get out there and just get to it! This is a life changing read. Even if you are not a fan of cycling, that does not matter as you will appreciate the hard graft that Lance goes through every day for survival and to be the best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2000

    Its About Life...Its About Courage

    Its an incredible story and the author has done an exceptional job helping Lance tell it. As good as the bike racing details are, they pale next to the descriptions of Lance's reaction to his cancer, his chemo and the changes it made in his life. The toughest thing is to try to convince people who have no interest in bike racing that this is a book they should read. Oprah would love this book if she realized the story it tells. I honestly could not put the book down once I had started it and more than once, my eyes got a bit misty...

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  • Posted February 19, 2013

    Lance Armstrong has been in news for the wrong reasons currently

    Lance Armstrong has been in news for the wrong reasons currently as he confessed having taken performance-enhancing drugs to compete for the Tour De France title seven times. He has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, Olympic bronze medal that he won in 2000, and a lifetime ban has been created on him by the anti-doping agency. Weirdly enough, he brings up the topic of drugs and doping in certain sections of the book. “Doping is an unfortunate fact of life in cycling, or any other endurance sport for that matter. Inevitably, some teams and riders feel it’s like nuclear weapons, that they have to do it to stay competitive within the peloton. I never felt that way, and certainly after chemo the idea of putting anything foreign in my body was especially repulsive.” “I can emphatically say I am not on drugs. I thought a rider with my history and my health situation wouldn’t be such a surprise, I’m not a new rider. I know there’s been looking, and prying, and digging, but you’re not going to find anything.  There’s nothing to find… and once everyone has done their due diligence and realizes they need to be professional and can’t print a lot of crap, they’ll realize they’re dealing with a clean guy”.  Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 24 when everything was going great for him in the world of cycling. Once diagnosed with cancer, Lance was given a forty percent chance of survival by his doctors. But he survived and worked very hard to get back his physical and mental strength. Just 16 months after being released from the hospital, he won the Tour de France in 1999 with one of the fastest times ever.The Tour de France is the most impressive cycling race in the world. It has 21 days of racing with only 2 rest days and covers just over 2000 miles. The Tour de France is a huge test of a man’s physical and mental strength. There are about 25 teams with anywhere from 9 to 13 riders per-team. Lance gets his intense drive and perseverance from his mother. He talks about disappointments, miracles, despair and hope, and fear and courage.This book was very interesting to read when comparing it to the modern-day hype about Lance Armstrong. Being a cyclist myself, it is very disappointing to see how he deliberately lied to all of the readers of the book, and his fans. Setting that aside, this book is still the story of a great accomplishment done by a man that had very little chance of living. He still is one of the most iconic people in the recent world of sports no matter what he has done. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    I've been wanting to read this book for years. My mother's had

    I've been wanting to read this book for years. My mother's had cancer & she read this book about 10 years ago. Even after Lance Armstrong admitted to cheating, I still respect him as an athlete because of what he overcame as a cancer survivor. Truly inspiring to anyone who's gone through it or has a loved one who has.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    Given the recent developments in the life of Lance Armstrong, it

    Given the recent developments in the life of Lance Armstrong, it changes the way this book should be read entirely. You should do your homework before you read. Be sure to know what Lance was like before he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He was an average rider whose specialty was short distance. Interestingly enough, he doped. Yes, he took steroids before the infamous diagnosis.
    This, however, was put on the backburner while the world became engrossed in the recovery. Granted, it didn’t have the spotlight at first, but it developed. After his victorious return to cycling, the media were instantly absorbed. Oddly, the International Cycling Union (UCI) was not so impressed. They began to press to bring down the very man that made cycling relevant. They were relentless with countless interviews and Lance was subject to testing at any given time. He passed everything he was given and gained supporters. His pinnacle of success came when he crossed the finish line for the Tour de France first for the seventh time. This also came with increased scrutiny. Lance put up a vehement defense almost threatening the integrity of anyone who dared to question his unparalleled success. Despite past teammates alleging that Armstrong doped, many members of the media held onto the Cinderella story that was Lance Armstrong.
    The unprecedented reign of Armstrong has come to a screeching halt. Most of his sponsors have cut ties with Armstrong, and he has stepped down from his own company, Livestrong. Armstrong now has a tarnished reputation. His defiance of the unjust seems just the opposite now. It has now come out that he threatened anyone who attempted to bring Armstrong to justice. He bribed many people and possibly even cycling officials. His old tests have been sent through for a second examination, and the test results were “flaming positive.” This puts a stain on one of the better role models in the modern era, and a story of redemption has turned to one of cheating. This just goes to show, all triumphant stories are deceptive at their root. Keep this in mind when you read the book and become thoroughly disappointed when you remember it was all a lie.

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  • Posted September 11, 2012

    ¿Our biggest struggles reveal our biggest strengths¿ Its not abo

    “Our biggest struggles reveal our biggest strengths”
    Its not about the bike by lance Armstrong really is ‘not all about the bike.’ In fact, the main themes are mostly courage and never quitting. The book is about a famous cyclist, lance Armstrong. He has grown up without his father and with his mother, who constantly reminds him to never quit. He uses the mentor to help trains and become a better cyclist (and person). however, at the peak of his career, gets testicular cancer that spreads to his lungs, and brain. He is faced with death. IN fact, doctors even told him they were “positive he would die”. Against all odds Lance survives. It’s a struggle for him to walk again, let alone cycle again. IN the midst of healing, Lance finds true love, and despite being unable to have children without science’s help, has a beautiful baby boy. HE eventually gains strength and starts cycling again. Not only does he start to cycle, but he wins the tour de France. The story is incredibly inspirational and incredibly moving. Lance has a very defined personality that shows through. He makes me feel empowered. It motivates me to want to be a better person. The mood the book is incredibly strong. It has some sad parts, but Lance is always incredibly honest with himself and the readers. It is a very good book. In fact, I have already recommended it to my friends, because of all the important things this book has taught me. The overall rating I give this book is a 8 out of 10.

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  • Posted September 10, 2012

    A powerful book with a dramatic story about life. The book start

    A powerful book with a dramatic story about life. The book starts out when Lance Armstrong a young man with great potential as a professional cycler, gets diagnosed with cancer. His life is turned upside down, and you are taken along with him on his journey to defeat cancer. Along the way you learn to be grateful for what you have because in a blink of an eye a promising life can be reversed. You learn to love those around you and stay close to friends. But most of all, this book teaches you to never give up and to always work hard no matter what life throws at you. I enjoyed reading this book because I need to learn how to work hard in life for things and that they aren’t just going to come to you. I can also relate because I enjoy bike racing and I like watching them compete. I also learned a lot about racing that I didn’t know before. Last, I liked how straight forward Lance is in the book. He isn’t afraid of saying anything so be prepared to here and learn things you might not want to know. I would highly recommend this book because of its intensity and strong messages. In the end I would rate this book a 5/5 because it was so interesting and it makes yyou really apreciate life.

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  • Posted September 9, 2012

    A hopeful man becomes a hero: Lance Armstrong Fear is something

    A hopeful man becomes a hero: Lance Armstrong
    Fear is something that is always here. It's been with us for thousands of years, and it will be with us for thousands more. Whether or not your biking one of the most dangerous and most difficult courses in the world, or whether or not you are fighting cancer. In this book "It's Not About The Bike," Lance Armstrong takes the reader through his story of the consent persistence to survive his cancer. This book is a definite read and should be enjoyed by everyone. Throughout the book you get to know Lance personally and realize his will power to win and to not let cancer take him down. He truly is a hero that can be looked up to by anyone and is a role model to those with cancer or other diseases. I couldn't put this book down because I felt so connected with his life story and what he has gone through. Lance Armstrong is a truly remarkable person who has written an amazing story that everyone should read.

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  • Posted September 9, 2012

    Amazing and Inspiring book. I read this book for an English clas

    Amazing and Inspiring book.
    I read this book for an English class summer read and I was very impressed. The book not only tells about Lance Armstrong's journey through cancer, being a father and husband, and a world class bicyclist, but it also gives an inspirational and strong story. I would definetly reccomend this book to any type of athlete, this is because it shows that when you fee lthe lowest about yourself and when you think that things can't get any better- you still have to hope and push through it. If you are looking for an inspiring and powerful read, this is the book! I liked how to book was written by him which really made the point some across strongly. I disliked the sad parts but overall an amazing book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    A fight worth fighting for. Lance Armstrong¿s thrilling journey

    A fight worth fighting for. Lance Armstrong’s thrilling journey through the race of life will motivate anyone. No one wants to hear that one word that can altogether destroy a person: Cancer. Lance had his whole life going for him, rising to the top with his incredible ability and strength with bike racing. Out of nowhere, when everything all of the sudden crumbles, Lance finds himself in the doctor’s office as the news of Testicular cancer bounces off the walls. With emotions that engulf him threatening to snatch his career away, he decides to do everything he can to keep cancer from winning the race. The many struggles and obstacles tempt Lance to give up at every turn, but instead of giving in, Lance rides more fiercely with extra passion and everything left in him. Lance tells the truth bluntly, and inspires anyone willing to read this. He specifies that the situations in life that try to swallow us up, make us stronger and see the reason why life is worth living for. This was an astounding book that anyone should take the time to read, as it shapes one’s perspective on life whether a major athlete or not, a cancer patient/survivor, or anyone that really needs some encouragement. The only thing I disliked about the book was how descriptive Lance got with telling about the bike races he went on, but the comparison of bike racing to cancer fighting went together perfectly. Definitely a book worth reading!!

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  • Posted March 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    quick and easy read, entertaining at times

    Prior to this book, I didn't know much about Lance Armstrong. I admire Lance's will to beat cancer and to live; However, he is a selfish and arrogant man and at times I found his attitude distasteful. Having said that, I did find this book enjoyable and learned a little something about cycling. Worth a read.

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    Cancer Inspiration   Lance Armstrong’s book It’

    Cancer Inspiration
    Lance Armstrong’s book It’s Not About the Bike My Journey Back to Life is an amazing story that will give you the strength to overcome Life’s challenge and always find the positive in any situation. Lance grew up as a Triathlete and eventually evolved into becoming a world renowned cyclist. As time went on, Lance began noticing that he wasn’t feeling right and ignored the signs in order to keep racing. He eventually went to the doctor and was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and it had spread throughout his body, lungs, and brain. He was faced with giving up everything he had to start fighting for his life. This included countless surgeries and chemo treatments, which in the end made him stronger than he ever was before.
    ¿This book has some very depressing moments, but in the end it’s the cancer that made Lance the great cyclist that he is today. Cancer taught him to fight to the end, no matter the situation, as long as you believe in yourself anything is possible. Lance said having cancer was more important to him than winning the Tour de France, because without cancer, he would have never become such a good rider or see the world from a viewpoint that other cyclist would never have.
    ¿This book is so inspiring and goes into so much detail about every cancer fighting situation. The reader is made to feel like Lance as he goes through the trial and tribulations of fighting cancer. I also learned a lot about cycling itself and how much of a team sport it is. This book inspired me to become a better person and to really enjoy every day. One never knows when that might change and turn everyday into a fight for your own life.
    I disliked how the book went on after Lance winning his first Tour de France, or his son being born. I felt the details of the second tour and the Olympics, became too repetitive. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a little inspiration in their life to keep pushing through. Lance Armstrong had a 3% chance of living and he survived to become one of the greatest cyclist ever, and used his fame to start a foundation to raise money and cancer awareness.
    ¿I would recommend reading Lance’s sequel to this book as it goers into further details about his foundation and his life after cancer. I guarantee it will inspire you to become a better person, and turn something bad into something good and then go out and change the world.

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