Monday, January 18, 2010

A New Outlook on Life

Today has an interview with Christian which in part discusses the loss of Michael and the effect it has had on him.

Do not assume for one moment that Christian Meier’s innocent baby face translates to an aversion for hard work or that the 24-year-old Canadian hasn’t already experienced his share of life’s hardship. In Garmin-Transitions’ second-year recruit, VeloNews discovers an individual of quiet, burning ambition, who believes the tragic loss of a family member may well lead to a life both far from ordinary and highly rewarding.

VN: Speaking about something so not great, I understand your brother passed away recently. I know I’m stating the bleeding obvious, but it must be an incredibly difficult aspect to deal with.

CM: My brother passed away during the Vuelta, so I left (the race) four days shy of finishing. He lost a battle with cancer, which was quite short and intense – about six months in total – so that was a tough time for the family, and I went home to be with them. I came back and wanted to finish off the season highly motivated. It kind of motivated me, and gave me a new reality of my situation and how lucky I am to be healthy and living such an amazing lifestyle being a cyclist, doing what I love to do and traveling the world and living in Spain. That really hits home when something like that happens.

VN: Cycling is often about struggling through adversity, so there are possibly elements with what you experienced with the loss of your brother and what you will experience in your future years as a bike rider.

CM: For me, it puts pain in a new perspective. For all cyclists, it’s so temporary compared to what people with cancer have to deal with. Our pain lasts for a few hours a day – you go home, you put your feet up, have some dinner, life’s good – whereas for them, the struggle doesn’t end. If they’re lucky and they’re fortunate, they overcome the battle; for others, it can be long and drawn out and they still lose the battle. For us (cyclists), we struggle every day but in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it’s like what a lot of people have to go through.

Read the complete article here

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Making Every Ride Count

TWO simple but powerful words are tattooed on the inside of Christian Meier’s left arm.

Last Chance.

They’re done in fancy writing and the tattoo, just two months old, still has that fresh blue look about it.

It’s a stark reminder for the young Canadian heading into his second Tour Down Under with Team Garmin-Transitions in Adelaide this week.

But it’s not there because of cycling. At 24, Meier is far from on his last chance on the pro circuit and will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself.

His late brother Michael, sadly, does not.

Michael woke with a headache one morning in March last year and was diagnosed with a brain tumour that despite surgery, tragically took his life in September.

Meier was four days from finishing his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta de Espana (Tour of Spain), and immediately flew home to attend the funeral.

He said it was "very difficult" to deal with at the time but the pain eventually motivated him to get back on his bike and ride like never before.

"It was also kind of really motivating for me to come back and realise that in the grand scheme, you’re out there riding your bike and it’s a little bit painful," he said.

"But it’s not even close to being as painful as laying in the hospital and basically knowing that your life might be coming to an end. It changes the way you think about pain in general."

The 2008 Canadian national road champion is heading into his second full season with Garmin-Transitions.

As well as sporting the team's new-look kit, Meier is sporting the tattoo in memory of his brother.

"He woke up one day with a headache. Two days later he was in surgery for a brain tumour. It came out of nowhere. He was a perfectly healthy 25-year-old man," Meier said.

"It’s (tattoo) kind of a reminder that any moment can kind of be your last chance."

His brother’s memory has also inspired Meier to take a stand in the global fight against cancer.

"I want to do some initiatives back home in Canada that support the cancer community. Do some different charity events so I’m kind of excited and it's become a bit of a passion for me to help that."

"It’s crazy how fast it can happen and how many people are affected by cancer. It’s becoming too common."

Meier, who was born in Sussex, New Brunswick, made his first pro team (Symmetrics Pro Cycling) in 2004 where he spent what he describes "an amazing" three years on the UCI American Tour.

That led to a spot on Garmin's roster where he is very much at home among the team's growing list of emerging young stars.

For one, he’s surrounded by three young Australians who have also been national champions in Jack Bobridge and the Meyer brothers - Travis and Cameron - who won their crowns last week.

Meier says he’s still "trying to figure out" what sort of rider he is, but after the TDU he'l target the Tour de Mediterranean in France before concentrating on his "team duties" where required.

He is also desperate to reclaim the Canadian national jersey he surrendered last year.

"I had it in 2008 so I'd like to have that back. It's a nice jersey to have," he said.

There's plenty happening off the bike as well with Meier to marry his fiancée in September. But for the next seven days his focus is solely on the Tour Down Under his second crack at the race after debuting last year.

"I thought it was amazing (in 2009)," he said."It’s such a great race for a few reasons. For one they have it set up well because the teams can come down a week early and acclimatise, you have great accommodation and you get to stay in the same accommodation the whole time."

"The food is always very good, the weather’s great and the crowds are amazing.(Last year) it was an amazing atmosphere. You could probably get some Tour (de France) stages in the mountain tops (like that). But apart from that you’re dealing with a handful of races that have those sorts of crowds."

Courtesy: Southern Times Messenger, Adelaide, Australia

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The 2010 Journey Home Team

The Journey Home Team sees some new faces joining members of the inaugural ride.
Returning riders are:
Philip Meyer, General Manager, Wedgewood Hotel and Spa, Director-Wedgewood Cycling Team
David Cohen, Chairman and CEO, Gold Wheaton
Damon Williams, President, Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management
John Litherland, Retired, Member - Wedgewood Cycling Team
Michael Sileika, Senior Manager, Deloitte & Touche, Director - Wedgewood Cycling Team

New riders for 2010 are:
Christian Meier, Garmin Transitions Pro Cycling Team, 2008 Canadian Road Race Champion
Svein Tuft, Garmin Transitions Pro Cycling Team, 5-time and reigning Canadian Time Trial Champion, 2008 World Championships Silver Medalist Time Trial
Graham Garrison, President, Garrison, Beatty & Garrison, Member - Wedgewood Cycling Team
Andrew Sweeney, Vice President, Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management
Ross Turnbull, Director, Portfolio Manager, Odlum Brown, Member- Wedgewood Cycling Team

The riders will be supported by Wedgewood Cycling Team members: Vince Lee, Morna Creedon, and Judi Garrison.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Journey Home 2010

June 21, 2010 marks the second year that a small group of friends will ride back to Vancouver after completing the BC Cancer Foundation Ride to Conquer Cancer from Vancouver to Seattle. Last year's "Journey Home" raised funds for our friend Sindi Hawkins and her Education Endowment at BC Cancer Foundation.

This year's Journey Home Ride will be ridden in memory of Michael Meier who lost his fight with cancer in the Autumn of 2009. Michael was the brother of professional cyclist Christian Meier of the Garmin-Transitions Pro Cycling Team.

Michael Reinhold Meier passed away six days shy of his 26th birthday. Michael was a hard worker who loved trucks and engines. He lived in New Brunswick but trucked all over North America, and he very much enjoyed his career. He faced a short, but very intense, battle with cancer which nobody saw coming. In mid-March 2009 Michael went to the hospital after a very painful headache. After undergoing brain scans and tests, he was booked for emergency brain surgery two days later. Doctors removed a tumor and after going through radiation and chemotherapy Michael's doctors were extremely optimistic that he would make a full recovery. However, three months after the surgery Michael's face started swelling and his family encouraged him to go back to the hospital to get everything checked out.

His doctors did more tests and after many days came to the conclusion that the cancer had returned, more intense then before. They gave him six months to live, but he did not even get three. Christian was riding in the Vuelta Espana when he learned of his brother's passing and immediately left the race to return to New Brunswick to be with his family.

During Michael's battle with brain cancer he remained strong and very positive. He truly thought he was going to win the fight. He spent a lot of time with his family during the last few months, and died in hospital with his wife by his side.

He is survived by his wife Katie and two children, Kristina and Sophia.

Our hope is that by riding in Michael's memory it will give us all the motivation to be able to raise enough money to fund the development of an education and early stage detection program in British Columbia.

Stay tuned for details on how you may donate or support the Journey Home. For more details please contact Philip Meyer, pmeyer(at)