While Mike was in the hospital fighting for his life his friends, me included, dedicated all of our races to him. If Mike couldn't be out there doing what he loved, we would do it for him. I raced carrying a key chain sized red fin. I had spent hours upon hours swimming behind Big Mike and he always wore one red fin. That red fin got me through many a rough patch in races. Really, how rough is a patch in a race when you compare it to real life rough patches?
Mike returned to riding his bike. He couldn't not. That is what he does and loves and no one, not even a drunk should be given the power to take that away from him. In August of 2008 he made his return to racing but doing an aqua bike. He can no longer run, it is amazing he can even walk after how bashed up his knees were. I was lucky to witness first hand Mike return to the race course. Times like these remind us what it is all about.
Big Mike and his wonderful wife Cindy
After the race we all headed out for dinner. Mike enthusiastically ordered a beer. When the waitress brought the drinks to the table and put a beer down he said 'beer, what a great idea, who ordered that?'. He was thrilled to hear it was him. We are grateful that we still have Mike in our lives, short term memory loss and all! I'm going to go out for a ride now, and I'm going to love it, because, everyday that we get a chance to ride is a gift. Just ask Big Mike!