MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - For the Traverse City McLain team, a sunny Marquette day was perfect to race 28 miles over stones and mud.
"This is a great day out, this is a great event, Dan is a true inspiration to us all," said McLain cyclist George Ernst.
It's Dan Morley’s dedication to mountain biking is what his teammate is referring to. Cycling was the key motivation during Dan’s battle of throat cancer not once, but twice.
"It’s one of those things that when you are sitting in a hospital bed and are in the very very dark days, you think about those things that make you most happy," said Dan Morley. "Riding on a bike in the middle of the woods is one of the greatest experiences in the whole wide world."
Dan underwent a total laryngectomy which removed his voice box, but he now rides cancer free.
"As long as he’s on his mountain bike and can ride, he’s just a happy man and makes it all worthwhile," said Betsy Morley, Dan's wife.
It’s the intensity and speed of Ore to Shore that attracts Dan and his McLain teammates to come every year and said the muddier their bikes get, the better.
"When I turned 50 years old, I started mountain biking and this was the second bike race we did that year and ever since then, we've been hooked on this race," said Dan. "This is one we look forward to every year."
Dan and his family are originally from the U.P. and now live in Traverse City where his cycling team participated in the Great Cycle Challenge in June. After riding 300 miles in one month, Dan raised more than $2,600 through pledges for the children’s cancer research fund.
"They are so proud of that and are definitely doing that next year," said Betsy.
It's his dedication to motivate anyone affected by cancer that makes a man who may not have a voice box, have a voice, loud and clear for others.
"Cancer does not have to be a tragedy," said Dan. "There’s so much more to live for so much more to look forward to. There are dark days, but if you drive on, you can make it through."