Michael OBrien Gravel Ride

There’s No Place Like Home/Cycling Unbound XL

The Ripple Effect

A moment to breathe

Last December, when I entered the lottery to race 352 miles of tire-shredding “peach butt’r” gravel in the Flint Hills of Kansas called Unbound XL, people wondered if I had a brain. I questioned if I had the heart and courage to do it. When my coach inquired about my goal, I facetiously said, “Not to die.”

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir

Each year since my Last Bad Day, I embrace a misogi challenge to demonstrate, contrary to my sarcastic response to my coach, that I am much more afraid not to live fully than to die.

Kansas was a pivotal state during our 2022 cross-country misogi, and during last year’s challenge across New York State, I rode through Chittenago, New York, the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, the author of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. So, it seems fitting that I’m returning to the ‘To the Stars Through Difficulty’ state. 

Throughout history, which indeed repeats, people will pledge allegiance to any authority figure, like The Wizard, who tries to dazzle us with smoke and mirrors, however undeserving they may be. They take advantage when we addictingly scroll and sleepwalk through life. They divide us. They sell fear. 

Misogi is about doing the inner work. Like my race, it’s challenging and rough—it’s supposed to be. That’s why I signed up. It’s only when you dare to leave your comfort zone, get close to the edge, and travel through the fear and learning zones that you give yourself a chance to grow and fully understand what it means to live.

It’s different for everyone, and it’s within everyone. As people and as a planet, we are all Kintsugi and have a misogi challenge within us, but both require bravery and thoughtfully stepping into the unknown.

I’ve thoroughly game-planned for my race, but I know there will be unexpected bad moments—a lot will be out of my control, much like life. But I’m committed not to sling second arrows when those bad moments greet me because they are only temporary, and I’ve been through much worse. 

Wizards and hacks will always try to distract us with more stuff and saviorship, but we don’t have to take their bait. We can draw back the curtain and regain our agency. 

We can remember to come back to our breath—it’s our home, and there’s no place like it. When we do, we can look within and see that we are strong and resilient. We, my friend, can do hard things. 

Together, we will go far, and on Friday, I will be cycling into the night with others who also feel that those who never venture outside their comfort zones and mindlessly follow the wizards are the truly crazy ones. Oh, and there’s a no-Airpod rule, so it’s going to be quite meditative. Wish me luck. 🍀

And remember, in celebration of Peloton Executive Coaching’s 10th anniversary, all our merch is 90% off through May 31st, and our Put The Phone Down Tee to fight distracted driving is free. Styles and sizes are going fast, so if you want something, get on it. I will ship this week’s orders next week, so long as I don’t die in Kansas. 😜

Until next week, have fun storming the castle! 🏰


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