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Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong

by ExperiencePlus! - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 reviews

Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong

Every Second Counts

Five-time Race winner Lance Armstong’s first book, It’s Not About the Bike bore a subtitle, "My Journey Back to Life". It was an excellent account of his battle with testicular cancer, a battle which he won before going on to win Le Tour five times against all odds. This one should bear a subtitle, too: "Lessons from Life." Or better yet, the title should have been "Lessons from Life: Every Second Counts," among others.

At ExperiencePlus! we’re in the business of selling bicycle and walking tours. We strive hard to build the right expectations and then, to deliver what our customers expect. Lance’s new book won’t satisfy everyone’s expectations so make sure you get yours straight before you pick up this book. This is not a continuation of the story about his battle against cancer. Nor is it a book about bicycle racing, The Race, business management, team training, marital harmony, or parenting. Or is it? In short, this is a book about Lance Armstrong, and a good one at that.

We learned long ago at ExperiencePlus! that really avid cyclists, in general, don’t make good tour leaders. That’s because the long hours in the saddle lead more to introspection than to extroversion. A serious cyclist would rather be alone, out on his or her bike, than socializing with a group of people. So what do these people think about when they’re out on their bike? Read this book and you’ll find out.

No doubt Lance has had a lot to think about since he beat his cancer, won The Race five times, got married, had three children, and made the very difficult decision, with his wife, Kik, to divorce. That’s what this book is about. It’s about life and it’s about Lance Armstrong’s life.

Not a Tom Peters, Lance may never be a great inspirational speaker or writer of management textbooks. But there is basic knowledge and understanding of life in here that would benefit business owners, managers, team builders, athletes, and couples. Here are just a few bits and pieces:

 

     

  • About competition: "You should always honor your fiercest opponent: the better your opponent, the better you have to be." (On Jan Ullrich, p. 117)

     

     

  • About the bicycle: "A bicycle is the long-sought means of transportation for all of us who have runaway hearts." (p. 210)

     

     

  • About bicycle racing: "It’s actually a high-speed chess match on bikes. . . " (p. 35)

     

  • About teams: ". . . the definition of a team is a group of people who share the same aim, experience, and values." (p. 197; all of chapter six, "Blue Train (Le Train Bleu" is about teams, especially the U.S. Postal Service team during the 2002 Race).

     

     

  • About marriage: "What nobody tells you is that there will be more than just some hard days. There will be some hard weeks and perhaps even some hard years."

     

Don’t get me wrong. This is not just Lance Armstrong trying to be a philosopher. Interspersed with these snippets are some great stories of what’s going on inside Lance’s head when he "bonked" on the Joux-Plane in the Alps during the 2000 Tour after being taunted by Marco Pantani and his fifty-mile sprint to drop Lance.

Lance writes about the team strategy that allowed him to win the mountain finish at La Mongie during the 2002 Tour, the same mountain finish Lance will face in July 2004.

Finally, in his last chapter, written just after the 2003 Tour, he writes about his off-road ride through the field to avoid Joseba Beloki who fell in front of him and he writes of his maniacal charge up Luz Ardiden to beat Ullrich after falling mid-way up that climb.

So if you are a Race fan and want a better understanding of what it’s like to have a "bull’s eye" on your back as you motor up some of those classic climbs in the Alps or Pyrenees, you’ll enjoy this book. Just understand that it’s not just about bike racing. And if you’re not a bicycle racing fan, I recommend this book anyway. Lance Armstrong is an extraordinary guy by any measure. Even if you have only a passing interest in bicycle racing, if you’re interested in people, their problems and challenges, life, and bicycling, I think you’ll enjoy this book.

Rick

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