The title of the book is “Lance Armstrong”. The subtitle is “It’s Not About the Bike”. The sub-subtitle, which is the one I actually like, is “My Journey Back to Life”. The book was written with the assistance of renowned autobiographer Sally Jenkins. I read the book at the suggestion of a friend as “light reading that would help me to fall asleep.” The problem is, I was so interested in the story that I read it in 3 nights lasting to 2am, 4am and 1am respectively.
The most interesting thing is that, given what we know today, the book is only part autobiographical. At least some element of the book is fictional. Throughout the pages, the reader finds references to Armstrong’s struggles with media and officials over doping allegations. Over and over he adamantly claims his innocence and boast over continually passing the drug tests he was subjected to. The drama of the opposition Armstrong incurred throughout these times is played up so well that the reader is drawn in and comes away cheering over his victories against the system that claimed he was a cheat…
…Now, more than a decade later, we find Armstrong acknowledging that he did make use of banned performance enhancing supplements (a.k.a. “drugs”). I wonder just how good of a story the truth really is. Somehow, even knowing this, the book was quite captivating and I am glad to have read it. The insights into the life of cycling and specifically the Tour de France make me excited to watch the event this year. My perspective of the sport has entirely changed.
A few quotes I took from the book are:
- No matter how tortured I am, I can’t take medication because of the strict doping regulations in cycling. I have to suffer through it.
- Your past forms you, whether you like it or not.
- I didn’t like Terry Armstrong, I thought he was an angry testosterone geek, and as a result, my early impression of organized religion was that it was for hypocrites.
Those all came pretty early in the book. I know that’s not much along the lines of quotes, but I had little interest in taking extensive notes of a fictional autobiography.