Lance Armstrong's mother, Linda, kept a personal diary chronicling her son's historic seventh straight win at the Tour de France on July 24.
July 2—AND THEY'RE OFF
I've spent the last week pacing, pacing, pacing, and the race hasn't even started! At home I've already done three loads of clothes, bathed my dog Sammy, made my signature guacamole, walked early this morning and done my ironing! I get so nervous you can't imagine. Finally the race starts, and I watch Lance go off. Be safe, be safe, be safe, I scream at the TV. I watch until he crosses the finish line only two seconds shy of first place. Now I can breathe again, at least until tomorrow.
July 9—ONCE A MOM, ALWAYS A MOM
I am watching the Tour at my bonus daughter's house today. We are having a bridal shower for 30 ladies. What was I thinking? This race has consumed me, you would think I was riding in the Tour. The riders are all packed in like sardines, and just one mistake from any of them could be a catastrophe. It reminds me of Lance's teen years when he would go out for his training rides. I'd wait at home for a call in case he bonked.
July 21—BON VOYAGE!
Getting ready to take Lance's children [son Luke, 5, and twin daughters Isabelle and Grace, 3] to France to see him and Sheryl [Crow, Lance's girlfriend]. I know he's been pedaling every mile with the anticipation of getting that much closer to being with his children. As I watch the race today, I see Lance looking fresher and happier than I have ever seen him at this point. He seems to be on cloud nine.
July 22—ONE HAPPY DAD
We have arrived in Saint-Etienne, and the weather is magnificent. The grandchildren were so good on the flight over, and they'll be so happy to see their daddy. When I finally saw Lance after the kids were asleep in the hotel, he didn't have to say anything to me to convey how much he missed his children and wanted to see them. He went into their room, and as soon as they all woke up, they were crawling on him and playing and laughing.
July 23—NAIL-BITING TIME
Today I believe we will know who wins the Tour de France. The time trial is one portion of the race where a rider can either gain or lose a lot of time. Lance has been in the yellow jersey and plans on keeping it that way. People are all lined up along the barricades. I get a chance to sign autographs and conduct a few interviews. Who would have ever thought 33 years ago I would be doing this? Lance starts his warm-up on the stationary bike. The children crowd around him and Sheryl snaps tons of pictures. Then Lance is ready to start his race. My stomach is topsy-turvy for him. Lance is riding quite well and fast, and the kids are shouting for their daddy. Lance blows through the finish line at under 1 hour and 12 minutes. He has won the time trial, which means he will win his seventh straight Tour de France. History has been made today, and it is my son who made it. What a glorious day!
Out of everyone there, I was the one who was most emotional. I really don't like to show my emotions in front of people. I would apologize about crying to Sheryl's mother, Bernice, and she would say, "Oh no, you're the mom. I don't know how you would possibly go through this and not cry."
July 24—MY SON MAKES HISTORY
Even though Lance had the race sewn up, there is one final day of riding. We're in the grandstand awaiting his arrival at the finish line. The girls look so pretty in their yellow dresses—a purchase I made just two days before our departure to France. Since I am a little superstitious, I chose to wait just before we left to buy their dresses. As the riders complete their last lap, Lance crosses the finish line and is swarmed by media. I said to Luke, "This is a day that your father has made history. I believe you are old enough that you will remember this day." The podium presentation is a tearjerker. Lance goes up with the children, and they stand alongside him so proud. Later, we all sat in a banquet room in the hotel for the Discovery Team dinner. Lance gave a speech telling everyone what his cycling career means to him. There wasn't a dry eye in the room.
As his mom, the only thing I want is for my child to find happiness. Lance has. He had testicular cancer with 40 percent chance of survival at 25, and it's a miracle he is here. Every year he won the Tour de France was a miracle. That he's this wonderful 33-year-old man with three beautiful children is a miracle. To have accomplished something that no one else has ever accomplished and continue to give back to cancer patients—that is the man that he is. He is a proud American. And he is my son.
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