It’s Not about the Bike - My Journey Back to Life (Lance Armstrong)

Lance Armstrong’s autobiography tale of grit and obsession that provides a small glimpse of the dedication required to become a world class sportsman. His “whole life has been against the odds”. He took an intense focus to all aspects of life, becoming “a student of cancer” instead of giving in, learning how flaxseed aids against arthritis, cancer and other diseases, and how soy powder was a proven anticancer aid.

When he became ill, his treasured Porsche “seemed like an item of pure decadent self-indulgence” compared to the significant medical bills. After surviving he rebuilt to win another Tour de France. “A woman in her 50’s on a heavy mountain bike… went right by” him at the start of the recovery, and he had to put in months of basic rebuilding with leg presses, squats and training rides that he steadily lengthened.

Lance had a constructive relationship with his wife Kik: “She wanted to see everything, and I was the guy who got to show it to her, and in showing it to her, I saw it for myself.” When a friend of Kik’s mother asked “How could you let your daughter marry a cancer patient?” Kik responded “I would rather have one year of wonderful than seventy years of mediocre”:

  • Sit a sidewalk café and eat ham with shaved Parmesan cheese in Italy
  • Go to San Sebastian and gaze at the tiled roofs and the steppes of the city along the Bay of Biscay
  • See the running of the bulls in Pamplona
  • Appreciate Duomos and suits from Milan

“If you ever get a second chance in life for something, you’ve got to go all the way.” One of his fellow cancer patients told him “You don’t know it yet, but we’re the lucky ones.”

A man is caught in a flood, and as the water rises he climbs to the roof of his house and waits to be rescued. A guy in a motorboat comes by, and he says, “Hop in, I’ll save you.”
“No thanks,” the man on the rooftop says. “My Lord will save me.”
But the floodwaters keep rising. A few minutes later, a rescue plane flies overhead and the pilot drops a line.
“No, thanks,” the man on the rooftop says. “My Lord will save me.”
But the floodwaters rise ever higher, and finally, they overflow the roof and the man drowns.
When he gets to heaven, he confronts God.
“My Lord, why didn’t you save me?” he implores.
“You idiot,” God says. “I sent a boat, I sent you a plane.”
I think in a way we are all just like the guy on the rooftop. Things take place, there is a confluence of events and circumstances, and we can’t always know their purpose, or even if there is one. But we can take responsibility for ourselves and be brave.”

Every Second Counts is his second installment.