Its Not About the Bike:
My Journey Back to Life
by Lance Armstrong


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The life, struggles, and success of Lance Armstrong
by: CS

Born September 18, 1971 in Plano, Texas to a single mother who supported him in everything he did. He began competing in triathlons at the age of twelve and soon after found his love of cycling. He began competing in amateur events and soon after begun winning them. By 1991, he was representing the USA team in all races, and winning. On October 2, 1996, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and the cancer had already begun to spread to his brain, lungs, and abdomen. He went through several treatments to bring him back to normal and soon after, he began cycling again.
Lance Armstrong is most well known for his battle against cancer and seven successful wins of the Tour de France. His fight and victory against cancer has served as a inspirational story to millions of Americans. His strength and determination shows that anybody, famous bicyclist or not, can overcome hardships.




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"What?" Scott said
I opened my mouth, and closed it, and opened it again.
"I have cancer," I said
I started to cry
And then, in that moment, it occurred to me
I might lose my life, too.
Not just my sport
I could lose my life
(pg. 15
)


Sometimes it takes the hardest things to happen in our life to realize what can actual come from the said hardship. It took cancer for Lance Armstrong to realize that at that point in his life, cycling was least important compared to keeping his life. God puts things in our paths to make us realize things that he believes we need to see so that we can grow as a human and live a better life. For some, it's a loved one dying; or a car accident; but in Lance Armstrong's case, it was cancer.




The Tour is not just a bike race, not at all. It is a test. It tests you physically, it tests you mentally, and it even tests you morally.
I understood that now.
There were no shortcuts, I realized. It took years of racing to build up the mind and body and character, until a rider had lagged hundreds of races and thousands of miles of road. I wouldn't be able to win a Tour de France until I had enough iron in my legs, and lungs, and brain, and heart.
Until I was a man.
(Pg. 69)


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Even though Lance struggled with cancer, he did not let it get the best of him. He still wanted to chase after his dream of the moment, winning the Tour de France, and told he himself that he would do anything, despite the cancer, to make his dream come true. He knew what it would take to win, no matter how hard it could be, he had to become a man.





Why did I ride when I had cancer?
Cycling is so hard, the suffering is so intense, that it's absolutely cleansing.
You can go out there with the weight of the world on your shoulders,
and after a six-hour ride at a high pain threshold, you feel at peace.
The pain is so deep and strong that a curtain descends over your brain.
At least for a while you have a kind of hall pass,
and don't have to brood on your problems;
you can shut everything else out, because the effort
and subsequent fatigue are absolute.
(pg. 85)

As an athlete, I understand the feeling that Lance is expressing here.
It's like there's a threshold that you break for your sport when you're not feeling a hundred percent, but still want to do what you love doing. There have been many cases when I've been too sick or too hurt to make it through the day, but there is a part of me that begs to be put out on a soccer field and let everything go. Your sport is the one place where you can forget everything, in Lance's case, his cancer, and do what you love to do and live for
.




I had a new sense of purpose, and it had nothing to do with my recognition and exploits on a bike. Some people wont understand this, but I no longer felt that it was my role in life to be a cyclists.
Maybe my role was to be a cancer survivor. My strongest connections and feelings were with people who were fighting cancer and asking the same question I was: "Am I going to die?"
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(pg. 151)

When you're placed in a difficult time of your life, you start to ask questions to yourself. "Why is this happening to me?", "Why doe I have to go through this?", "Why? Why? Why?". Through these questions, you begin to get insight. The answers to those questions become clearer and you start to think of things in a bigger picture. That's what Lance did in this situation. He realized that not everything was about cycling anymore, it was about surviving.










The truth is, if you asked me to choose between wining the Tour de France and cancer, I would choose cancer. Odd as it sounds, I would rather have the title of cancer survivor than winner of the Tour, because of what it has for me as a human being, a man, a husband, a son, and a father.
(pg. 259)

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As I said before, it takes something life altering to change one's perspective on life. Lance Armstrong fought against cancer and it made him stronger in all the areas of his life. My father has struggled with Leukemia since I was an infant, and it's made him stronger. He's provided for my family these past twenty years, given my family so many extra things, and been an amazing father and husband to myself, my older brother, and my mother. My father did not let the cancer get the best of him, nor did Lance Armstrong. Lance is an inspiration to millions because of his courage and willingness to fight the disease that could potentially end his life.



No matter how many obstacles life throws at you, there's always a way to livestrong.


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Lance Armstrong is a perfect example of this. He fought through the hardest times that cancer brought and did not let it get the best of him. He hoped and believed that he could over come it and he did.
Lance Armstrong will always be a inspiration to me and thousands of other people. I've learned so much from reading his book that I will take on. Lance's strength and determination is a inspiration to myself as an athlete and person.

Through this Wiki project, I've learned a lot about American History. I've learned that the simple term, "American History", doesn't have to be all the way back to the beginning when our founding fathers existed. American History is made everyday by people with dreams and goals.





"Lance Armstrong biography" Dec. 1 <Biography>"Lance Armstrong personal website" Nov. 12 <Lance Armstrong>
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