Rise2Ripple Challenge

Ready vs Prepared

By the time this lands in your inbox, I will be somewhere near Kingston, NY, on my out-and-back ride, ready or not, across New York State. This year’s Rise 2 Ripple Challenge is a solo adventure since my wife is staying home with our furry creatures.

Cycling the entire Erie Canal has always been a goal. My first bike race had a segment on the canal’s trail, and I rode some of it with my friend David, his wife, and friends prior to the pandemic. Plus, it was my mom’s favorite place to ride and a way to honor her passing two years ago.

It makes sense that I got excited when New York completed the Empire State Trail linking NYC to Albany, stretching north to Canada and west to Buffalo, making my 1,200-mile trek over eight days relatively car-free.

This week, I’ve been asked plenty of times if I’m ready, and as I shared last week, readiness is more of a decision than a feeling. Although, as I write this, readiness feels like one of those Sex in The City cosmos filled with excitement, sweetness, and delight with a twist of worry and apprehension, wondering how my body will respond.

I’ve cycled for twenty-four hours straight and crossed the country in forty-one days last year, averaging nearly one hundred miles per day. This ride will be shorter, but I will average one hundred and fifty miles daily, but I’m confident that I’m prepared.

Being prepared is different than being ready.

“Prepare the umbrella before it rains.” Malay Proverb

Readiness is an energetic feeling of belief when you’re on the cusp of magic-making. Being prepared is methodical. It’s thought out and slower.

For example, you can be ready for the port-a-potty, but without TP, you just ain’t prepared. Just sayin’. That’s why the first mile is so essential to any project, ride, or shindig.

The first mile isn’t one after the green flag is waved; it’s the one you take before your initiative starts. It’s about establishing goals, setting expectations, packing the right tools, determining the path forward, and visualizing success. It’s the time to be curious, ask questions, and plan for the unwanted, like stormy weather, curve balls, and in my case, chasing dogs.

It’s about lassoing all your ducks (the official mascot of Pause Breathe Reflect) and building a solid launch pad or foundation. The first mile is the ripple that gets everything moving – without it, your project may feel like the tilt-a-whirl after too many tacos.

Like many things, readiness and being prepared are not binary. There’s no magic formula or test. They are nuanced and never kiss perfection, but your body will tell you when it’s time to put “pencils down” and ripple something worth rippling.

Last year, I rode to raise awareness for forty-five charities putting goodness into the world. This year, I’m riding for CAN DO MS, and if you can contribute to their mission of helping individuals and families living with MS, I would be grateful.

Until next week, have fun storming the castle!


If you wish to follow my ride, join us for Milkshakes with Michael at 8 pm Eastern each evening on Instagram (@MichaelOBrienShift).