Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Michael Patrick 1965-2010

Michael Patrick was like the Lance Armstrong of New England mountain bike racing. He was a guy that people very often referred to as "The Man," whether it was for his incredible ninja-like prowess on the bike or the multiple ass-kickings he laid down on brain cancer, he was definitely that: The Man. He fought back from repeated bouts with cancer, regaining top form and even stepping onto the top of the podium more than once. He'd look like he was down for the count and then he'd rise back up out of the ashes and keep on rolling.

Even if he wasn't feelin' it, even if the chemo had him dragging ass, he'd still come out to race, he loved it that much. He was someone I always looked forward to racing with and someone I always sought out in the parking lot afterward for a debriefing. He had an amazing way of complaining without sounding like he was whining...it was always hilarious to listen to his animated post-race rants.

You want to know how bad ass Mike was? His last two posts for the 29er Crew blog were entitled "Looking Forward to 2010" and "I'm Back." To see all his posts and to get some idea of what he went through during the run in to that final finish line, go HERE.

The last time I saw Mike was at the EFTA Treasure Valley Rally in August 2009. He got 4th that day in a large, strong field. In his race report he talks about the seizures he had DURING the race and I recall, vividly the one he had while we were talking after the race. He might be the toughest man I have ever met.

That's Mike on the right. BMX was where he learned his mad, mad skills and it showed any time you were behind him in the singletrack.

Yeah Mike! Is right.

All I know is that I will miss Mike on the start line next season.


Mookie said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Mike in the parking lot before a CX race a couple years ago. He kept ripping down a set of stairs even though he was exhausted from his latest chemotherapy. His indomitable spirit serves as a testament to his character not only as a bike racer, but as a human being as well.

Chris at SBA New England said...

There were too many times when, at my fittest, Mike passed me like I had on training wheels. He's probably in the top 3 of the best bike handlers I've ever ridden with. I honestly think of him every time I ride Clifford Park in Biddeford, Maine.

mooradian said...

Michael Patrick should be inducted into the MTB Hall of fame. He perfectly represents east coast mtb racing. Will be greatly missed.

dougyfresh said...

That is a good idea mooradian. Who should head up that effort? I can volunteer to coordinate but I will need help compiling the nomination request. It's the least I can do.

I never had the opportunity to meet Mike or even ride with him. Almost everyone I ride with in New England has. I have heard some impeccable stories over the years. RIP Mike.

Glen Gollrad said...

I feel lucky enough to have ridden 'near' Michael a few times in the 2009 MTBike race season - often chatting with a guy who appeared to not be in any discomfort while hammering me to a pulp, gulping and gasping for air. Then, at the Camden EFTA Race - I came upon him, entangled with a small tree on one of those long climbs. He was suffering from a seizure, and I had no idea WTF to do. Thankfully, within the first minute and a half, we had a few folks - and a course marshall, onsite and helping out. At the next race I talked with him - telling him he scared the pants off me. He laughed, said "yeah - sorry, that can happen sometimes, but usually not in a race (!)..."

I later got the rundown on Michael and his intense battle for health. I was humbled, impressed, and forced to acknowledge how easy it is to take life for granted. Having a rough day at work, with my son, or in a race - I often remember that aside from my innate inabilities - life is good.

Mike will continue to be an inspiration and motivator for a long, long time to come. I hoped he might miraculously come out of this last downturn, beating all odds again - and perhaps, in the end - he has.

My sincerest condolences his friends, family, long time fans, and us johnny-come-lately fans too. Seems even with the briefest encounter, Michael was able to leave an indelible impression.

Glen Gollrad

Rachel said...

Thanks for posting this Thom. I got to know Mike sitting next to him at the EFTA banquet a couple of years ago (where he won elite overall) but did not then appreciate what he was fighting. I just thought he was cool and quirky. As I learned more I became more awed. It was always great to see him at races. This totally sucks but glad he got to do what he loves and inspire us all.

Jamie Bogner said...

This is tearing me up- Mike will really be missed. He set a new standard for toughness in our NYC races which were pretty tough to begin with. All of my conversations and e-mails with him left me dumbstruck at how someone battling with so much pain could be so positive.

Doug- I'm with you on the HOF push, and will do what I can to help make this happen.

I read the news today while sitting in the NORBA board of trustees meeting out here in CO Springs, and had to share it with everyone. East coast mountain bike racing has lost a real champ.