Saturday, May 2, 2009

Michelle and Lance....maybe

This is my 10th Tour of the Gila. Since I started coming here, my contact person at the race, the person who arranged my lodging and made sure I was okay, has been Michelle Geels. Year after year. Michelle must be in her 40s; she's a FedEx or UPS driver, maybe, but race week she's the go-to person. She knows everyone here. Her friends and family all work race jobs.

There would not be a Tour here if not for her. Now she's got cancer. She's enduring chemo treatments and has lost her hair. Her mother Trish (who handles race housing) and Trish's boyfriend Steve (he does the neutral support except for the elite women and pros) both shaved their heads in solidarity with Michelle. Is that sweet or what?

So Michelle is sick and skinny and it makes you uncomfortable to see her.

Now it's race week and as we are unable to forget, Lance is here. You don't see Lance but you see evidence that he's here: helicopters, Dutch journalists, TV cameras, five or six still camera operators as passengers on motors...and Lance's personal photographer. She's on a motorcycle too.

Lance is staying somewhere secret. He appears as the start gun goes off and disappears just as his bike's back wheel rolls over the finish line. He's not hanging around anywhere. Maybe he brought a chef and other staff... Who knows.

It seems to some of us that it'd be great if Lance could call or visit with Michelle for a few minutes, that it'd thrill Michelle and it'd be Lance's thanks to her and to the race and to Silver City. And I'll bet Lance would love to do that, for everyone's sake.

You wonder at the same time how many times someone has asked Lance to talk to a very sick person, how that sick person is so important in so many lives....and would love a moment with our survivor hero.... so much suffering.

No one knows even how to get a message to Lance. The Livestrong Team is here, Axel Merckx as their manager. I'm going to try to talk to Axel today. I've never met him but everything you hear about him is good. Maybe he can talk to Lance or knows someone who can talk to Lance...

I'll let you know if I can do any good. If you're reading this, send some good energy Michelle's way and wish me luck with Lance...

1 comment:

philcycles said...

My measure of a famous person-and I've been in the entertainment business for more than 40 years (records, TV and movies)-is how acessable they are. I don't mean in public on the street but in professional situations on the set or studio. Do they hide out? Do they eat with the crew? Do they talk with the crew? Some do. Jamie Lee Curtis, Brooke Shields, Drew Carey, Judd Nelson hang on the set and act like normal people. Drew you could just go to the local bar and have a beer with. Brooke actually took the crew's side in a dispute with the producers of her show. Boz Scaggs you could talk to over coffee, Carlos Santana in the old days not so much. Jamie Lee does her own shopping. I could go on.
I'm sorry Lance has insulated himself that way because there lies the path to madness and an inflated idea of his own place in the world. And while it's a different world today I've seen Eddy in professional situations and I get the impression that he's not that way.
It's sad really.
Phil Brown