Study Guide

Olympics Books It’s Not About the Bike

By Various Authors

It’s Not About the Bike

In Hindsight, It Was Never About The Bike

Lance Armstrong didn't lie in the title: it's really not about the bike.

In this book, one of several that he would go on to write, he focuses on what it was like to receive a diagnosis of Stage III testicular cancer, and how he went from being an internationally renowned athlete to someone who was desperately fighting for his life in the course of one day.

His reflections on his diagnosis and the subsequent changes in his life reveal a lot about the maligned athlete. He's unashamedly grateful for his mother and her unwavering support of him throughout the years, despite having had him at the age of seventeen without many resources or family financial support to speak of. She's there for him through thick and thin, good and bad father figures, cancer, and the Tour de France.

In It's Not About the Bike, instead of focusing on races we learn about his dogged determination to defeat testicular cancer, which upon discovery had already metastasized to his lungs, lymph nodes, and brain. Nicknaming his illness "the Bastard" (p. 136), his stubborn and adversarial character shines through the descriptions of crippling nausea and fatigue that he suffered while undergoing chemotherapy.

And then, after surviving a year of intense treatment, Lance goes into remission, and starts the journey to get his life back on course (biking pun). Turns out, defeating cancer and imminent death were just the beginning. Launching a comeback career in a sport that no longer held any appeal, marrying his longtime partner "Kik" and starting a family (despite his sterilization from the chemo), and finding a team that would take him to win the Tour de France all culminate his story with a sense of triumph and overcoming the impossible.