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Old 10-03-2012, 01:10 PM   #1
Wes Mantooth OP
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Whatever Blows Your Hair Back...

That line, taken from the excellent film "Good Will Hunting," has taken on new meaning for me of late. I started riding motorcycles at age 20. Since then, riding has played a rather large role in helping me maintain my sanity through some fairly turbulent times. Bear with me here, I promise not to make this too dark.

A few years back, depression begat drinking, which begat more depression...and so it went. The end result, while sparing some of the details, was a totaled Ducati and a re-examination of my place in the world. As it turns out, it was the best thing to happen to me. For me, cheating death has allowed me to cherish those small things we sometimes tend to overlook.

Fast forward to 2012. Demons conquered, life somewhat together, then BAM - Momma Mantooth is hit with cancer. We all grow old, our parents all grow old, but cancer is a bitch. Really no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes it's a roll of the dice. As was the case with my Mom.

Now, the question is. How to react? Reach for a drink? Get angry? Give up? Absolutely not. Be strong for her. Be strong for my family. Do whatever it takes to help her beat this abhorrent menace that touches so many of us.

Our fight continues, but coupled with my incident, I've really seen how much chance plays a role in our every day lives.

A late night. A sad thought. A red light ran. A speeding car. Ducati.

A cough. A few pounds lost. A breath that cannot be caught. Cancer.

After all of this, I've figured out what "blows my hair back." Downhill, decreasing radius turns. Random fire roads. Exhaust fumes attaching themselves to riding gear. The sonorous pings and pangs of an engine cooling down after a day of hard riding. Riding.

Riding, I've missed you. But Riding, I'm back.

I'll be picking up a Cordoba Blue F 800 GS this Saturday morning from the fantastic Bob's BMW. I look forward to falling back in love with this thing called Riding - my temple, my shrink, my release.

My message to you all - hold your family and friends close. Embrace this wonderful life and just enjoy this shit!

Thanks for listening. Stay safe out there.

Wes
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:16 PM   #2
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Amen
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:43 PM   #3
SDDinNH
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Funny how riding works that way.

A while after my wife died, a buddy stopped by the house and said "You look like crap, gas the bike, pack some clothes, and tomorrow I'm taking you out for a ride." The following night we were up on Nova Scotia. I still felt pretty shitty, but from that point on, things at least got better instead of going downhill.

Although now I ride just for the sheer joy of it, there are still times when I still go ride when I need to just "get out of myself" and let the world go away.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:10 PM   #4
eatpasta
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sorry to hear about your recent discovery......

I would say; Racing. I feel more alive after a race than in anything else I do in the world. In two miles of a race, I feel as if I have existed for another month.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes Mantooth View Post
Exhaust fumes attaching themselves to riding gear.
Sorry for your hard times, but you may be looking at the wrong bike. My F8 burns so clean I never notice any exhaust fumes at all. Now, my DRZ... there's a bike that leaves ya smelling like exhaust.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:17 PM   #6
Mr_Gone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes Mantooth View Post
That line, taken from the excellent film "Good Will Hunting," has taken on new meaning for me of late. I started riding motorcycles at age 20. Since then, riding has played a rather large role in helping me maintain my sanity through some fairly turbulent times. Bear with me here, I promise not to make this too dark.

A few years back, depression begat drinking, which begat more depression...and so it went. The end result, while sparing some of the details, was a totaled Ducati and a re-examination of my place in the world. As it turns out, it was the best thing to happen to me. For me, cheating death has allowed me to cherish those small things we sometimes tend to overlook.

Fast forward to 2012. Demons conquered, life somewhat together, then BAM - Momma Mantooth is hit with cancer. We all grow old, our parents all grow old, but cancer is a bitch. Really no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes it's a roll of the dice. As was the case with my Mom.

Now, the question is. How to react? Reach for a drink? Get angry? Give up? Absolutely not. Be strong for her. Be strong for my family. Do whatever it takes to help her beat this abhorrent menace that touches so many of us.

Our fight continues, but coupled with my incident, I've really seen how much chance plays a role in our every day lives.

A late night. A sad thought. A red light ran. A speeding car. Ducati.

A cough. A few pounds lost. A breath that cannot be caught. Cancer.

After all of this, I've figured out what "blows my hair back." Downhill, decreasing radius turns. Random fire roads. Exhaust fumes attaching themselves to riding gear. The sonorous pings and pangs of an engine cooling down after a day of hard riding. Riding.

Riding, I've missed you. But Riding, I'm back.

I'll be picking up a Cordoba Blue F 800 GS this Saturday morning from the fantastic Bob's BMW. I look forward to falling back in love with this thing called Riding - my temple, my shrink, my release.

My message to you all - hold your family and friends close. Embrace this wonderful life and just enjoy this shit!

Thanks for listening. Stay safe out there.

Wes
First, I am glad you survived.

Second, I am certain Momma Mantooth will survive with someone like you in her corner.

Third, this might be the most inspirational thread post I have ever read. Good luck. Take care. Keep posting. Ride on!!!
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:45 PM   #7
Photog
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Such a refreshing post.

So often I am overwhelmed by the cacophony of poser!, two fingers or four or one on the brakes? bike A v. bike B, status attainment attempts, snide comments, the pain of great epic ride reports compared to my own pitiful daily schlepfest commute, and so on and so forth. For such a simple undertaking, we tend to talk about it a lot and argue with each other, understandably so, since this endeavor seems to connect with our primal instincts in ways that defy description to those who don't do it.

But in the midst of all this there is the joy of simply riding the bike, and the indescribably joy that results.

Likewise, there is the balance attained in the face of adversity, where we simply find some solace in the ability to bend a bike into a corner while being aware of the perfection of the scenery that's blurred in our peripheral vision. We balance things like we balance our motorcycles, constantly aware of the risks, yet somehow pushing the unimportant things aside in order to ride well.

We ride, we love, we prioritize accordingly. I figure I'm pretty lucky to have this clear hierarchy in my life.

Posts like yours bring me back to that center.

Ride well and love each other.

Best of luck to you and your wife.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:27 PM   #8
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Thanks for the well wishes, everyone. Definitely gives me a boost to hear such kind words. Really happy my cathartic musings meant a little bit to you guys. Also a really good example why the ADVrider community is what it is.

It's a big world, let's go exploring!
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:45 AM   #9
hooliken
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"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." MLK




Might be one of the greatest quotes of all time.


And it appears that you have lived it sir. Good on ya.


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Old 10-04-2012, 06:01 AM   #10
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Nice post, great thoughts. Hang in friend. Best to you and the Misses.

And yes, being on the bike can be a zen thing for me as well. We all relate to our machines differently. Glad you're finding your peace in life.
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:11 PM   #11
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Thanks for those words. Prayers for your mom.
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