Tuesday, 10 October, 2000

It's Not About the Bike

I like visiting new places, but I dislike traveling.  Endless hours in noisy airport departure lounges and tiny airplane seats are the price we pay for getting there quickly.  There's something almost magical about going farther in a few hours than most people went in their entire lifetimes 100 years ago.

The best thing about traveling is that I can catch up on my reading.  I find it impossible to use my laptop computer in an airport departure lounge or on the airplane, but I can open a book, tune out everything around me, and read.  It's the best way I know of to mitigate the boredom of flying.

On the flight to Chicago today, I read Lance Armstrong's book It's Not About the Bike, an autobiographical look at his early biking career, his near-death to testicular cancer at 28, and his triumphant return, culminating in his victory at the Tour de France less than two years after chemotherapy.  That he could survive the removal of a testicle, brain surgery, chemotherapy, and the associated emotional turmoil is testament to his physical strength and mental discipline.  That he could win the Tour 18 months after completing four cycles of chemotherapy is nothing short of amazing.  He understands, too, that he didn't do it all himself, although that understanding is something he gained from his battle with cancer.  He continually points out the benefits of family, friends, teamwork, belief, and hope.

The man is a hero in the true sense of the word.

It's a wonderful book.  Highly recommended.