Excerpt from Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong, Sally Jenkins, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Every Second Counts

by Lance Armstrong, Sally Jenkins

Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong, Sally Jenkins X
Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong, Sally Jenkins
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2003, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2004, 272 pages

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Mortal illness, like most personal catastrophes, comes on suddenly. There's no great sense of foreboding, no premonition, you just wake up one morning and something's wrong in your lungs, or your liver, or your bones. But near-death cleared the decks, and what came after was a bright, sparkling awareness: time is limited, so I better wake up every morning fresh and know that I have just one chance to live this particular day right, and to string my days together into a life of action, and purpose.

If you want to know what keeps me on my bike, riding up an alp for six hours in the rain, that's your answer.



Oddly enough, while the near-death experience was clarifying, the success that came afterward was confusing.

It complicated life significantly, and permanently. The impact of winning the 1999 Tour de France was larger than I ever imagined it would be, from the first stunned moment when I stepped off the plane in Austin, into the Texas night air, to see people there waiting. There was yellow writing painted on the streets, "Vive la Lance," and banners stretched across the streets, and friends had decorated our entire house with yellow flowers, streamers, and balloons. I was bewildered to be invited to the State Capitol to see our then-governor, George W. Bush, and afterward there was a parade through town with more than 6,000 cyclists (in yellow) leading the route. People were lined up five deep along the sides, waving signs and flags.

I didn't understand it: I was just another Austin bike geek who liked his margaritas and his Tex-Mex, and Americans weren't supposed to care about cycling. "You don't get it," said my friend and agent, Bill Stapleton.

I lived in a constant, elevated state of excitement; the air was thin and getting thinner, and compounding the excitement was the fact that Kik and I were awaiting the birth of our first child, Luke. I kept waiting for things to subside, but they never did--they just got busier. Bill was swamped with offers and requests and proposed endorsements. He struck some handsome new deals on my behalf, with prestigious sponsors like Bristol-Myers Squibb, Nike, and Coca-Cola. With the deals came new responsibilities: I shot half a dozen commercials, posed for magazine ads and the Wheaties box. I earned the nickname "Lance Incorporated" and now I was a business entity instead of just a person.

Excerpted from Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins Copyright © 2003 by Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins. Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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