Friday, August 08, 2008

Book Review: It's Not About the Bike

I've been waiting a few years to read this one. Lance Armstrong, the great cyclist who survived testicular cancer to thrive in the cycling world again. It was a book that had to be good. A can do, hero story in real life. Sadly, it is real life and not a hero story. It's great he survived and brings hope to so many people who have to face the same things he faced, I wish the book would have stayed there.

Too much of the book was dedicated to the closeness he has to his mom, which is fine, but it's also harsh about the distance he has from his father and step father. The book makes Lance Armstrong very human, and in too many cases shows his resentment for others. It's good that this book really shows completely who Lance Armstrong is, in that I now have no more misrepresentations of him, at the same time, I no longer look up to him as a role model. Now he's just a good cyclist. If my kids ever get into cycling I would look at Lance Armstrongs stats and say, "That's a star, that's what you shoot for", but I'll also do my best to teach them not to be like Lance, not to be brash and mean, not to distance yourself from your family and friends. This book shattered all hopes I had. It's not about the bike, it's about so much more, and yet, the last quarter of the book focuses solely on the Tour de France, and the bike. Really this book is about the bike, how it ruled his life before cancer and helped him get through cancer to get back on the bike. Since cancer his life has continued to be ruled by the bike, to the point that even after this book he got divorced from his wife and continued to win the Tour de France. Read it if you want to know more about Lance, but not if you are looking for something awe-inspiring.