I recently composed this e-mail to my good friend Mike Morley. He was one of the people who knew me in my very early days as a motorcyclist. His wisdom and guidance changed my view of motorcycling from a chance to play with death, into a chance to play with life. While this is a personal e-mail, I want to publish it for the world. While I may not be able to get it to a million people, I nonetheless leave it here, where someone may read it. Making my thanks known in a readers mind makes it exist in another place than my own mind.
Never miss a chance to thank those who impact your life. None of us know when our last day may meet us.
To ¨MadMotoMike¨ Morley:
I was just going through some vintage racing videos and thinking back on the ten years I´ve been riding.
When I bought that old Nighthawk 550, in the back of my mind I had sinister thoughts. I was hoping it would be the instrument that ended my life.
My younger years were filled with the usual angst found by teenagers with difficult childhoods. I was so filled with rage and self-hate that I couldn´t see all the blessings I had in my life. I was prone to drink ridiculous amounts of alcohol and try all manner of insane stunt. I had no regard for my life. Having spent some time at M&M Cycles, you did more than just help me get my carburetors adjusted or give me a good deal on a CDI ignition box… you handed me a copy of ¨A Twist Of The Wrist II¨ by Keith Code. You talked about riding fast and ¨the good line¨ through corners. What you may not realize is you were showing me the good line through life.
Instead of measuring money in the amount of vodka I could buy, I started measuring it in tanks of gas I could use for the next Sunday ride. When I ended up short on cash, you put me to work on the tire machine at your shop, so I could make the trip to the mountains of North Carolina. No longer was a motorcylce an instrument of passive-suicide… it was the doorway to a new world. My life since has had many ups and downs as I´ve pushed through the barriers I once felt held me back. Throughout my life, I now seek ¨the good line¨. I have made racing a huge part of my world, and have met a slew of fantastic people. I may be broke from my racing, but I am rich in experience. In it´s basic sense, life is a series of experiences. That means my existence is rich in life. Thank you.
I don´t know if you´ll ever truly know how much your presence in my life has affected it. I did my first track day with you at Virginia International´s south course, and I used the superior horsepower of the Triumph you sold me to keep up. I did my first long road trip with you, through the rain and cold and fog of the Great Smokey Mountains. As I changed through the chapters of my life, motorcycles have always stayed a center-point. I have never stopped looking for ¨the good line¨. There are many ways through life, just as there are many ways through a corner. But I rocket through life on ¨the good line.¨
When you had your big wreck, I was just getting ready to ship to Iraq. Your health was more a concern than the possibility of my death in a war zone. I´m very fortunate to have met you, and to have listened to the wisdom you gave my young mind. I wasn´t looking to be a good motorcycle racer, I was looking for an escape. Now, every time the green flag flies, you race with me. Your teachings, your sense of adventure, and the way you could always find a reason to smile have inspired me throughout my life.
Keep the tires warm and always know that each apex I reach, each trophy I gain, you inspired me to reach for it. I count you among my true friends.
aka ¨The Woo¨
ALWAYS SEARCHING FOR THE GOOD LINE.