Crazy with enthusiasm

Michael Milton

Michael Milton

IN my experience, everyone who skis down a snow-covered slope at more than 200 km/h will, by definition, have crazy eyes.

In Michael Milton’s case they’re not crazy “I-want-to-kill-you” eyes, but more  “sharing-the-enthusiasm” sort-of way.

When he’s talking about something that he’s passionate about, you just can’t keep your eyes off his. His enthusiasm is infectious.

Spend time with Milton and you realise how unremarkable your life is. Michael lost a leg to bone cancer at the age of nine, but this has never stopped him from doing anything. This is the bloke who has won 11 Paralympic medals and competed at the highest-possible level in two distinctly different sports.

This is the man who clocked a staggering 213 km/h on a downward ski run. He was diagnosed with oesophagael cancer in 2007. I still can’t believe he made it to the Beijing Games as a cyclist less than 12 months after major surgery and chemotherapy… but he did.

I went for a bike ride with Michael last week. He took me and a few others for a spin around Lake Burley Griffin as the sun set on a gorgeous autumn day in Canberra. This is a part of his latest venture, which is intriguingly called “Big Foot Adventures”.

I had no idea that there is a bush training track around Parliament House. Michael took us on a ride around it before having a bite to eat on a blanket out front of Old Parliament House.

We were heading down Parliament Drive and Michael looks across at me, with those crazy eyes, and says: “I’ll race you to Federation Mall.”

Luckily, he had gear trouble, which gave me an early break. I went into the sharp left turn with an eight-metre lead, but he’s much more a thrillseeker than me and I was smashed on the turn. He raced to a two-bike-length lead as we straightened for the run home.

I didn’t think I’d peg him back on the flat. I got out of the seat and went hard… and I got him, nailed just before the line!

It must be said that I had a road bike and he had a mountain bike, but when you can beat a champion like Michael Milton, I’d claim it as a win even if he was on a tricycle and I had a Harley.

When we have a rematch, I’m sure we’ll both be on road bikes and he’ll have me on toast.

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Mark Parton is the breakfast announcer on 2CC.


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