When Outside editor-at-large Hampton Sides interviewed Lance Armstrong for the July 2004 issue, the five-time Tour champion was being kneadedbuck nakedon a massage table in the Hollywood home of his rock-star girlfriend, Sheryl Crow. Here, read the complete, unabridged transcript of their discussion.
OUTSIDE: Did you ever imagine that you'd be in the position you're in now? Five and one to grow on?
ARMSTRONG: No. After the first one, I thought that could be the only one. And after the second one. After winning three, I realized that maybe I could continue.
Once, you were the underdogand you seemed to draw strength from that. But now it's all yours to lose.
You know, I'm more scared of failing than I am excited about winning. I don't want to fail. I don't want to lose. I don't want to let my fans down. And I don't want to let myself down.
How has your training differed this year?
The type of training and the intensity of the training is exactly the same. The only difference is that in years past I've spent the entire season in Europe whereas this year I came back to the States for a month of it.
Was that to be closer to your kids?
Yeah. I did the two months away, and came back and spent part of this month with them. Then I go back to Europe for the final build-up for the Tour. You lose about a week with the travel. I try to make up for it in anticipation of those trips by doing a little extra work and trying to get to a certain level, because I know that I'll miss a week. But I get to see my kids, so it's all worth it.
Are you doing anything new this year to mentally prepare for this race?
No. I'm pretty relaxed this year. Of course, anything can happen.
When you're training, do you consciously think about number six?
I try not to think about that, but obviously I get reminded of it daily. There's even days where I get reminded about winning number seven! I'm like, Wait a minute. It's a little too much pressure to think about a grand total, especially a grand total that's never been done before.
How do you want to be remembered?
Quite honestly, I don't care about having a long-term legacy. I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just that I think it would be incredibly arrogant to walk through my day thinking about it. That's not why I get up every morning.
Why do you then?
To train hard and win another bike race. If in 50 years they name a street after me, or build me a statue, that's fine. But quite honestly, I live for these days now.