We miss you Mike.  Thoughts from your friends...


 
 
I was reading thru the tribute page for Michael this morning and realized that I, besides
being his fiancé, do have a few cycling memories of him.  So here goes&

 I remember CycleFest 2004, which took place approximately 3 months after we had met.  I had let him know that all he, or anyone, had to do was tell me where I could help and I'd just hang out there.  I started out in Registration and Ill never forget what Joanne McCranels and Debra Vanderlaan told me as soon as they found out that I was with Michael.  They just grinned at me and told me that it would be no time at all before he had me on a road bike.  I also remember my response which was pretty much a smile and I dont think so.  I've never been an athletic person.  I dont remember how much time passed, though it wasnt much, before, indeed, I was on a bike that he had put together for me and was begging him to help me with clip shoes so I could go faster.  In what seemed
no time at all, I was in my first time trial and though I think it took me about an hour or so to do 10 miles, I was just glad that I had finished.  As time went on in our relationship, I found that I really enjoyed cycling, even though it really hurt sometimes, and was also thrilled to share his passion with the man I loved.  He was always there, helping encourage me and give me tips on how I could improve and pushing me to do my best.  I remember the team time trial that we did (who knows what the date was!) where he let me draft on his back wheel for the whole thing, again encouraging me to do my best.  When the finish was in
sight, I began to speed up, at which point he told me that I just needed to cool down and, besides, Nobody sprints in a time trial .  I was just stubborn enough to do exactly that and now have the picture on the wall where Im actually in front of him!  I really love that picture and have determined that, though his physical presence is gone, I will continue riding, with my goal being to ride in a CycleFest race and at least keep up with the group.  I know that
his spirit will be behind me as I try to get back on my bike, train, and ride at CF, once again encouraging me and pushing me gently to do my best&and dont look down when I shift gears! 

By the way, thanks to all of you for helping me, Eileen, and Jenna get thru this with prayers and support.

Melinda
 
Mike was so amazing, on group rides he would ALWAYS stop to help when someone had a flat, fell, or was having a tough time.  He never cared about finishing the ride and put other's well-being first.  One of my favorite memories:  a small group of us were riding back north from the Saturday Lake Worth ride, including Mike.  We came to a stop light in Palm Beach and for some reason I didn't clip out of my pedal and fell to the ground, unhurt but of course embarrassed. Everyone started givingme a hard time and joking with me about it. But not Mike, I just saw this
long arm and big hand reach out and grab me and help  me up.  He justsmiled and said "you're alright Eileen."  He was always so happy to greeteveryone no matter where he was or what was going on in his life.  I'll miss his logical and thoughtful outlook on things.  Bless your heart Mike!

Eileen Merken
 
As with many of you, I first met Mike through cycling.You really didn't have to know him very well to see how much he cared for other people. He had a real ability to make each person around him feel as though they were special and deserved every bit of his attention. He loved his family, he loved his friends, he loved his God and he loved cycling.
 
How did Mike change my life? With his incredible optimism and abundance of love he made me realize that every minute in life is important. He was fighting for his life yet he single handily helped us through one of the most difficult times of our lives. He was therefor us until he simply couldn't be anymore.

My husband Jerry was diagnosed with Myeloma in July.When we heard of Mike's diagnosis in November we already knew that Jerry would have to undergo high dose chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant. We knew they could perform the procedure at Good Samaritan but we were scared to death. Mike changed all that for us. You see Mike was there, already a chemo veteran and he was always smiling. He assured us that we would get  through as
well. By the time Jerry was admitted in January I wasn't even scared anymore because I knew Mike was there. You might call it chance but Jerry was put in the room right next door to Mike. We never asked for this it just happened. This began the beginning of really knowing a man who touched our lives forever.

We would go back and forth between our hospital rooms, we would talk and laugh and eat together. One of my most vivid memories will always be Mike and Jerry standing side by side with their I.V. poles looking out of the window as the Race for the Cure went on down below. I was outside and Jerry's brother Troy broke from his 5 minute pace to stop and wave at both of them standing in the window on the 4th floor of Good Sam. I will remember it forever.

From that point on Jerry was admitted 2 more times. Every time I talked to Mike the first thing out of his mouth was "How's Jerry?" On Jerry's final admission in February Mike had
gone home. It was one of the few times he had been discharged from the hospital in 3
months and guess what...he came right back to visit Jerry. When most people wouldn't 
even want to see the inside of a hospital again, he still came. That was Mike.

The last time we saw Mike was in Miami. As usual he was forever an optimist. He was so 
happy to see Jerry getting better and I still felt the same was going to happen for him. He
was infectious that way. Now we have to go on without you Mike, hammer -on against the
cancer as you would say. I am again scared but I think of you and a smile comes to my
face. I will never forget your smile. I feel you are still there and I know through our next pet-
scan and numerous blood tests that you will be there guiding, encouraging and forever
smiling. We will hammer on for you!

Tailwinds in heaven my friend!
We love you!
Debbie and Jerry Jacob
 
I have been thinking about Mike for days now - just how we used to hook up and ride on
Sundays and Tuesday nights.  Also, whenever I would be walking Sparky and he was
riding by he would always stop to chat.  The thing that really gets me is remembering how
he answered the phone with "Hello Beautiful!"  That is how he answered last week when I
called him in Miami.  He ended the call with "I love you". 

I miss you Mike,
Sue Molloy
 
Fearless Mr. T. , by Raphel ClementeHere is a story I wrote about Mike for the Florida Bicycle Association Messenger back in
December when Mike was battling the disease.

OF ALL THE THINGS CYCLING has brought into my life, I value most the relationships. 
A special bond develops when people ride bicycles together. I'm not sure if it's sharing in
the effort of a rolling paceline, the universally understood joy of near flight, or simply 
something that happens when people participate in a common activity. Whatever it is,
many I have come to know through cycling are exceptionally kind, generous, good spirited
folks. At the top of the heap stands Mike Tague.

Mike is the kind of guy you meet for the first time and walk away scratching your head. To
define him would be difficult. Bicycle racer, musician, master mechanic, father, mentor,
event organizer, advocate. If I had to choose one word it would be fearless. Mike lives his
life with complete, unfiltered honesty to himself and everyone else. Right now Mike is
undergoing chemotherapy to fight non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He lies in bed while his body
gets blasted to pieces by chemicals so toxic that the bag they come in warns medical
personnel to wear gloves when handling them. We've all know about the painful results of
cancer treatment. Lance Armstrong brought awareness of this struggle into the brightest of
spotlights after his battle with cancer.

Yearly, thousands of people ride, run, walk and swim to raise money for cancer treatment
and research. Many of them are survivors. Many of them lost a loved one to cancer. Mike did
his part to help victims of cancer over the past 5 or 6 years working with Cyclefest, the
state's biggest cycling event. In that time, Cyclefest raised nearly $3 million for the
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He's "paid it forward," to steal a phrase.

Each month Mike went to Cyclefest board meetings, and each year he'd be at the event in
his work boots, jeans and gloves, slinging steel crowd barricades, tying snow fencing to
parking meters and picking up trash. Somewhere in there he'd change into cycling gear
and line up to race - and race well!

When 2005 rolled around Cyclefest had all but collapsed. Mike stood up and took the lead
to organize the event, overcoming plenty of obstacles to put on a great race in a new venue.
Considering the challenges the event faced, it was an overwhelming success. A few
weeks after the race Mike started to feel ill. When things didn't get any better he went to the
hospital. After several tests a biopsy was done on a lymph gland. No one expected the
news.

Knowing Mike, this will be a bump in the road and he will continue on with his remarkable,
unusual, and richly textured life. He'll probably write a song or two about it. Most definitely
he will use this experience to help others. You see, this is Mike's strong suit?his incredible
ability to care about people. Whether it's the 90-something neighbor, or the teenager with
the alcoholic single mom, Mike does not hesitate to make the effort to do something
meaningful for those in need.

Lance hit the nail on the head when he said it's not about the bike. Indeed, it is about the
people on the bikes, the friendships, the shared experiences. A group in West Palm Beach
will be putting on a fundraiser to help offset some of Mike's astronomical medical bills.
That's what friends do; share the load and stick our noses in the wind at the front of the
paceline to help each other get down the road. We all know the great health and
environmental benefits of riding our bicycles. But if we stop and think about it, the greatest
benefit of all is the opportunity that cycling provides us to meet people, make friends, and
share ourselves with them. Mike is one of the people leading the way.

Raphael Clemente
 
Well, I met Mike about five years ago on the Saturday morning rides. He was one of the
coolest dudes on the ride.He would point out what I was doing wrong in the  group without
being offensive. But I still didn't really know Mike. It took me about 3 years to get to know
Mike the person.  Well, the man I got to know was the most devoted person I had ever
met.... to work, to music to his family, to friends and to cycling. 

He was devoted to each person he met. When you sat down with Mike and talked with him
one on one you  would get a straight and direct conversation. No candy coating just the
straight stuff, like it or not. Every time he greeted you it was with a smile and "hey man."
That is the thing I admired the most. When Melinda came along, I saw a whole different guy
after their first date. We became much closer because Candi and I were riding and racing
with Mike, and Melinda seemed to complete him. Candi and I will miss him, but we will not
forget him for all of the things he did for us and others. He did something very special for
me at Good Sam. Only he myself and God know what it was. That was just the way he
worked. He had no fear even to the end.

Thanks Mike, Candi and I love you.

Jim Pennington
 
Mike and I would usually be the first to arrive on Tuesday night for the ride. I enjoyed this
time with him because we would chat about the grand tours, races, ironman, music, or
just about anything else. The cool part was that any night I was getting dropped from the
ride, Motor Mike would drop back and get behind me to push me back up to the group. He
would assist other people as well. That was our Mike. Always helping someone. I went to
see him sing in the various coffee shops and was also able to enjoy Jenna's music as
well. These are my special memories of him.

See you on the road.
Carol Hassell
 
 

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