last hours of the closing storm was gathering overhead, it was the magnetism of the finish line that he kept in sight when he was lying in the dark, dismal Roman cell.

-It was the magnetism of the finish line. It was keep the lights of the Celestial City in front and never turning aside to entertain lesser guests or pursuits. It was an incredible ability to focus on the spiritual and the long term instead of the immediate and temporary.


I was reading a book recently and I ran across a little line that totally overwhelmed and motivated me. It appears in Lance Armstrong’s new book Every Second Counts. He tells about riding the Tour de France and the falls, the heat, the pressure of winning again, the broken ribs, the viruses, and how that the heart of those riding those bikes in that grueling race is the “magnetism of the finish line.” Once you realize that there is a finish and the only way to that finish is to get up and go after it and that no one else is going to help you to get back up, it makes all the difference in the world.
One particular portion of the race he writes about climbing the final climbing stage to a summit called Luz Ardiden. He knew that if he was going to win the race, that this would be the point. He relates how that fear gnawed at him. He was only 39 seconds up on the great German, Jan Ulrich and that every day, Ulrich had shown incredible strength and was chipping away at Lance Armstrong’s lead. It was the longest, hardest ride of the whole journey.
When they passed over the Tourmalet, Ulrich passed Lance Armstrong with a shock attack. Their bikes were about to crest the summit and on the descent, they would be running between 50-60 mph. But before the main descent there was one more incredibly steep peak that would have to be crested.
They headed up the mountain and the magnetism of the finish line began to pound in the legs and heart of Lance Armstrong. At this point, Lance Armstrong felt that this was the time to attack. He lunged at the pedals, scaling the mountain, thinking about empty road that now was ahead of him. He began to gain time on Ulrich. But then something happened. One of the spectators along the way swung a yellow souvenir bag into the path of his bike and down he went. But in all of that chaos as the other riders flew past him, internally there was a screaming, unrelenting voice, “Get Up! Get Up! Get Up!”
Lance Armstrong then began to ride with a vengeance. After a few minutes he caught up with the race leaders. He then attacked and bolted on his bike. In doing so, he gained ten seconds. Then his United States Postal Service team car pulled alongside him and told him, “You’re ten seconds up on the leaders.” Shortly thereafter, another call from the car, “You’re twenty-seconds up.” That portion of the race ended with him winning by 40 seconds, which is an incredible distance when you realize the