Family and friends often ask me why I chose to start racing after I left the military. I typically give all of the answers of what Sine Pari Motorsport stands for and they are all true, but I want to delve in a little deeper on the topic.
Flashback to a night like many others that I experienced during my career. There I am sitting in an aircraft that's flying anywhere from 18,000 to 25,000 feet above ground level. I look around through the green haze of the cabin lights, the crew are doing their safety checks, one of my team mates is talking with one of the load masters on the ramp, and the rest of my mates are sitting calmly breathing through their oxygen masks. Over the radio I hear the 20 minute call. Everyone stands up and begins attaching various pieces of equipment to their parachute harnesses. Once I stand up I heft my 100 pound ruck onto the seat, step through the shoulder straps and begin attaching it to the metal rings on my harness. I double then triple check that everything is routed properly and attached where it should be. At this point rather than attempting to sit back down I remain standing with my ruck sitting on the seat. The adrenaline begins to flow through my veins as I go over everything that is about to happen. The 10 minute call along with the estimated wind speed on the ground comes over the radio. The adrenaline begins to pick up along with my heart rate. I control my breathing and keep my respiration slow so that I don't use all of the oxygen in the bottle attached to me. Without warning the aircraft ramp opens and a blast of cold air hits us all. Beyond is complete darkness, the great unknown. "Stand up!" comes across the radio as we all begin to check one another's equipment and then get into our jump order. "Move to the rear!", we move to the hinge of the ramp. "Standby!", I flip down my night vision goggles and shuffle out on to the ramp toward the dark gaping maw. At this point everything slows down as the adrenaline goes into overdrive throughout my body. During the next 15-30 seconds I manage to reflect on my life and go over every contingency I can think of. I spend what seems like the rest of eternity realizing that I am about to jump out of an airplane that is flying 4+ miles above some of the most inhospitable terrain on Earth in the middle of the night and then manage to maneuver my canopy for miles in order to land with my mates at a spot none of us have ever seen beyond picking it from a map. "GO!" I jump into the unknown. Once I exit the aircraft every concern or care that I have disappears, along with everything else on my mind. I experience an overwhelming calm and my body relaxes. All that is left now is the mission.
Sitting on the starting line waiting for the race to begin has managed to replicate all of the feelings that I experienced on those dark nights, along with the extreme calm when I jumped into the night. While I am sitting on there, my adrenaline is flowing and my nerves are on fire. When the green flag drops every ache, pain and worry that I have disappears. My body relaxes, my mind clears and all that is left is the race. Racing has become my personal form of meditation and there is nothing like it.
So why do I race after I have already spent the majority of my adulthood risking my life? I learned to enjoy the adrenaline that came with the job. It reminded me that I could feel things when I had become numb to the world. Now that I am retired, I cannot have those days back and certainly cannot relive those experiences. Racing is my therapy and reminds me that I am still alive.