Oprah Talks to Lance Armstrong
Oprah: What do you mean?
Lance: During the 2,200-mile Tour de France, I'm probably alone for 50 or 60 miles. Most of the time, I'm with the guys. We protect each other from the wind, the elements. We help each other get food or clothing. We talk tactics.
Oprah: You win as much with your mind as with your body.
Lance: Yes. And of course, each rider has a radio, so I can talk to everyone and also keep in contact with our guy in the car. We're kept apprised of what's happening with the race, if there's a mountain coming up, if there's a group way up in front.
Oprah: Let's go back to when you started—when you said to your mom, "I think I'm good at this." Did you decide cycling would be your ticket out? I realized early on that speaking would be mine.
Lance: I never expected to be in the position I'm in now. When I moved away from home at 19, I was making $18,000 a year. I thought that was a lot. I was renting an apartment in Austin for $300 a month. I'm thinking, "Shoot, I can clear the rent and put food on the table, I get to race and travel around the world." I knew I had a lot of work to do and that nothing was guaranteed.
Oprah: In your book [It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life], you say you can practically take your bike apart and carry it in your pocket—that's how familiar you are with it. What does it feel like to be part of that machine?
Lance: If you give me a sunny day in Texas, I could ride all day. I talk to myself, view the countryside, think. For me, riding is therapy.
Oprah: Do you train every day?
Lance: I didn't ride today, and I won't tomorrow. It's your fault!
Oprah: Is two days a long time for you to be off your bike?
Lance: No. In the winter, I might not ride for as long as a week. But I'll run or play tennis.
Oprah: Do you need to do many other kinds of exercise to stay in shape?
Lance: No. During the season, it's all about the bike. Once I start to ride five or six hours a day, I get leaner. But I'm huge for a cyclist. Most are like jockeys.
Oprah: I heard that after cancer, your body reshaped itself.
Lance: It did. My muscles seemed to atrophy and just didn't look the same. But when I resumed training, my body changed again. I also began looking at all aspects of cycling differently—the technical aspect, the strategic aspect, and the diet. I'm pretty hard-core about diet.