Bike Cult

Lance Armstrong’s War: One Man’s Battle Against Fate, Fame, Love, Death, Scandal, and a Few Other Rivals on the Road to the Tour de France by Daniel Coyle

Who knew professional cyclists were as touchy-feely as senators? But while the politicos tend to keep the grasping and back-slapping above the waist, the cyclists aim right for the mid-section… and below. It turns out they like to check out the competition by pinching and prodding to determine their rivals’ gluteal muscle tone. But really, this book is about Lance Armstrong… and his enormous ego, remarkable natural athletic ability, unparalleled work ethic, determination to live life to the fullest after cancer, and the temperament that both makes him a winner and makes him exceedingly difficult to deal with. Plus, the small, fascinating world of professional cycling; and doping; and team dynamics; and, yes, Sheryl Crow; and Tyler Hamilton, Jan Ullrich, Iban Mayo, Floyd Landis (before he won the Tour and popped positive for le dopage), Alexandre Vinokourov, and the other racers of the 2004 season. Coyle was an editor for Outside magazine, which is one of those magazines whose writers (Jon Krakauer, Sebastian Junger, Hampton Sides, Randy Wayne White – to name a few) are just plain amazing. So this book, like Into Thin Air, The Perfect Storm, and others written by the Outside crew – has appeal beyond the core audience who would seek it out because of the subject matter. In other words, this is the type of nonfiction that’s simply good writing that sucks you in like a vortex.