My plan was simple.
Do the racer school on July 3rd to sharpen my skills,
then apply what I’d learned on July 4th at the Barbara Fritchie Classic.
But I high-sided big time at school.
Couldn’t get out of bed in the morning.
In no shape to race.
My left scapula was broken.

“In order to write about life you must live it”

Taking my cues from papa Hemingway,
I decided to race three weeks later
to feel like a pro-level racer
who has to perform regardless.
Racing with painful injuries is a bad idea,
but maybe the risk would force a deeper reach?

A scapular fracture…is a bummer. [wikiradiology]
I didn’t tell anyone about the break.
Nothing meds and red bulls can’t fix.
My hooligan bike was too heavy for the next circuit.
The outdoor short track at Timonium Fairgrounds is ‘loose’,
kind of like riding in powdery snow,
‘Moondust’ in flat tracker speak.

Michael Lawless on his Hooligan racer Harley-Davidson: fun but heavy to haul around with a broken shoulder [Michael Lawless]
They stage us in the cattle chutes.
I heard a familiar call as Henry Wiles ripped past.
He’s quick and stylish and a pro.
I was surprised to see a racer of his caliber at this pro/am event.
Henry rides like Muhammad Ali jumps rope.
We wish we looked like that, but we don’t.

Henry Wiles in action: grace and pace in space. [Henry Wiles]
I ran a tight line in my heat and made the main,
but ran a wide line in the final, and
finished dead last.
Bummed with my choice, I headed to Henry’s pit.
A crowd of people stood and stared, but Henry spotted me.

Do guys this handsome have relationship issues? [Henry Wiles]
“You were favoring the right – didn’t that shoulder heal from last season?”
I was shocked he’d watched me, and confessed my broken scapula.
“Felt like you were having a heart attack huh?
Ya know what the good part of being a cowboy is?
We meet pretty nurses.”
I finally smiled.
He looked over the crowd.
“My last woman was a nurse.”

A message we can all agree on. [Henry Wiles]
He stood in front of me, a million miles away.
They love you for being exciting,
but the magic wanes
with our obsession for racing,
the constant threat of injuries,
or worse.
You cringe when she says ‘be careful’ as you line up.
“Ya know its over when they start to care.”
They mean well but there’s no room for two in my helmet.
You forget her when the lights turn green.

Felt like you were having a heart attack huh?

On the long drive home I thought of Nicole and her Latin looks.
It felt magic.
We shadow boxed over conversations and dinner.
She ran her hand through my hair saying she knew what I was
and that I would never change.
We parted as friends.
Seasons have passed since those summer nights.
Call me naive
but I didn’t know handsome guys had relationship issues like mine.

Sometimes you find the right mix. Henry and Kristen. [Henry Wiles]
Henry found love with Kristen.
She understands him,
knowing he’s the star on Saturday night,
but the cowboy she loves on Sunday morning.
Their love gives him strength.
Her company, a quiet place in the storm.
Married now, expecting soon,
my pal Henry is in a good place
and ready to race.


Michael Lawless [@electric_horseman], our ‘Poet of Packed Earth’, is the Flat Track Editor for, and has his own blog: Electric Horseman
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