Monday, March 29, 2010

It's Not The Bike

I had a chance to read Lance Armstrong's book It's Not The Bike the other day. It's a short read, not very long.
So, what do I think?
If you are into cycling, you know that opinions on Armstrong are polarized to say the least.
Suspicions that he doped run rampant although he has never tested positive.
Some don't like him because of his alpha type personality.
Some just don't like him.
Well, I sort of like him.
I mean I'm no fanboy or anything, but I respect his accomplishments both personal and cycling.
Really now, I don't think there's anyway you can cheat seven times and not get caught.
Well okay, maybe he's got some top secret CIA program behind him to subvert the French and destabilize their country.
I mean it's possible.
Anything's possible. Right?
So what about the book?
From the tone of the book, we see how Armstrong is right away: an alpha dog type that takes no prisoners and does something that at the time he was arguably the best in the world at. We also see how he was affected by the discovery of cancer.
Remarkable that he had a testicle removed and brain surgery.
Parts of the book were quite touching; almost brought tears to my eyes a couple of times. Especially when he talks about his mother and how she fought through it with him.
I don't think any parent needs to see their child in a hospital bed no matter what the affliction let alone cancer.
Armstrong comes off as sincere, at least to me. While not overly deep or insightful, he does give the reader of sketch of who he is and how he became the seven time winner of le Tour.
After reading all the interwebs banter about Armstrong, I remained sort of neutral toward him personally. Again, I respected his accomplishments and his work with the Livestrong stuff, but I never really drank the Kool-Aid.
After reading this book, I have a different sort of opinion of him.
I sort of like him better.
Or maybe I just feel like I understand where he's coming from.
Let's face it, he's not the nicest guy in the world, but nice guys finish last and boy, I don't think finishing last is on his agenda. He does have a very large chip on his shoulder.
I'm sure if I was scrutinized by the world press every public moment of my life I might be a penis too.
Mostly though, my respect for him has grown because I believe that his motivations for his foundation are sincere. After reading about his surgeries and treatments, it's hard not to believe.
So I take the side of all the people who understand that love him or hate him, the work he does for cancer research cannot be faulted.
Does he exploit it for all it is worth?
Sure, but isn't it worth it?
Is it okay that he gets rich while he's doing it?
Why not? I mean it's not like he's making weapons or exploiting third world countries.
If you know anything about Lance Armstrong, the book will give you brief look at another side of him.
If you know nothing about him, you will come away with an opinion of him good or bad.
That's what I liked about it; it didn't read like some carefully planned public relations ploy.
It read like the truth, and that's about all I can ask for.
It's about Lance Armstrong so it's very difficult to come away feeling neutral.

No comments: