First order of business: Tonight (Thursday) at 8PM is the local premiere of Life Cycles at Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge. More info HERE. If all goes according to plan I will be there for sure.
I picked up a link from Fisher Bikes on the Twitter just now. It's a story about long time Fisher rider Michael Patrick and his initial fight with brain cancer back in 2001. Mike has been on the New England racing scene since I first got out there. He was always a ninja on the bike, amazing to watch, and he was also an awesome guy to talk to in the parking lot — outspoken and hilarious, a great representative of the sport.
I know from talking to Mike over the past couple years at the races, that he has had a couple of relapses. He recovered from those relapses and came back strong, but I've heard from others, more recently, that he's having a pretty tough time. I haven't heard anything for a while though and I'm not sure what his current situation is. If anyone reading this knows anything, please use the comments section to fill us all in on Mike's progress.
Brain Tumor Can't Stop This Mountain Biker
From usacycling.org February 24, 2004
From usacycling.org February 24, 2004
For some, it’s the thrill of competition. For others, it’s a love of the outdoors. For Michael Patrick, mountain bike racing is the sport that saved his life. With his speed, determination, and agility, the 38-year- old turns heads in all three disciplines. When he won the 2002 NORBA National at Mt. Snow, nobody would have guessed he underwent brain surgery in 2001 and was told he would not race again.
While leading a cross-country race in 1999, Michael had what he
thought was a heat stroke. His sight and hearing faded in and out, and the instances became more frequent. While on a computrainer in 2000, he suffered a petit mal seizure. The EKG showed abnormal electrical patterns, but Michael went about his normal life. Finally realizing that his brain did not function properly, Michael decided to have an MRI. The MRI found a growth that required surgery to remove.
Michael was taken to the Sloan Kettering Institute on Jan. 23, 2001. An egg-sized tumor was removed from his left frontal lobe. The doctor estimated that the tumor had been there close to 10 years. If Michael had not been a competitive athlete, he never would have seen a symptom. Even though it was benign, it would have killed him, and thus Michael credits mountain bike racing with saving his life. “Now I can help those who need it,” Michael said, “because my life was saved by cycling.”
After the surgery, Michael lost much of his short-term memory and was not allowed to ride for 30 days. Most of his sponsors, along with his insurance, dropped him after the surgery. Gary Fisher, GU, Michelin, and Tony's Bikes held on though. “They’ve (Gary Fisher) been beside me through everything,” Michael said. When he did start riding again, he was easily exhausted but not discouraged. “I knew that would be the thing to make me feel good again,” he said. Happy to be back on his bike, Michael talked with NORBA and decided he would begin racing again in April as an expert. Within weeks, he was placing and by June, he won two Connecticut series races.
The beginning of the 2002 racing season seemed dim as an already frail Michael was unable to eat or train due to anti-seizure medications. He weighed a mere 128 pounds, but with willpower and resolve, he powered down the trails to claim the 2002 NORBA National at Mount Snow, Vermont.
The 2003 season proved Michael’s resilience. He took the crown at Mt. Snow again, won the Connecticut Point Professional Series, and was the first American to finish at the Masters World Championships in Quebec. In May, Michael participated in and spoke at the Ride For Research as a guest of the Brain Tumor Society.
After a brilliant recovery and comeback, and being upgraded to pro in February, Patrick has a new outlook. “The brain tumor is the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said. While the Connecticut native still loves to win, mountain biking is fun for him again as he realized how lucky he is. “The importance of life has been magnified by 1000 at least,” Michael said.