I’ve been called by various people the joker of the cycling industry, described as “someone who loves the sport enough to laugh at it” and I often enjoy a joke at my own expense. I’ve also been known to get into fights, yell at people, drink more than what is socially acceptable and be too competitive. For good or bad all of these traits I get from my Irish dad. He was the original, “Shit my dad says” saying the most outrageous things to get a rise out of people. My British mom passed on more sensible genes and better ears than the ones dad has protruding from his head.
Last month, just before I was about to go live on my Versus Tour de France chat, my mom called. She immediately got to the point, “Your dad has terminal lung cancer and has months to live.” Needless to say I was a little shocked.
Dad had some health issues earlier this year but nothing that suggested cancer. He is a non-smoker and an ex-pro bike racer. Now he is sitting in a chair with cancer that has taken over his lung, kidney, and liver. It has also worked it’s way into his bones causing a lot of pain and he’s taking the most morphine that you can legally have. My younger brother and sister are in England now and I join them tomorrow to help out as much as I can. As the time nears for the trip the harder it is to realize that this will be the last time I will see him alive.
My mom said dad is drawing some strength from America’s seven time Tour de France champion saying, “Lance Armstrong beat this so I can too.” He is as comfortable as he can be watching past editions of the Tour de France on the DVD player. “He’ll enjoy watching them with you.”
Right now I have no great insight into what is going on – just trying to remember all the times we had together. He told great stories of bike racing, fights and other random stories. I’ve put together a photo album for him showing him Greenville, South Carolina. One regret I do have is that he’ll never see Greenville – I think he would have liked it.
I’m not sure how much I’ll be off the radar but I’ll continue to post when or if the mood strikes.