I Ride for My Son

From the words of Michael O’Brien

In the 1990s, one of my greatest joys was riding my bicycle. The highlight of these years were the four years did Ride the Rockies from 1993-1996. Struggling to maintain balance between jobs with increased responsibility, getting married, having a kid, etc., I stupidly gave up cycling and put on 60 lbs.

My home office has framed posters for the rides I completed – and I always viewed them with mixed feelings. The memories filled me with happiness and pride, but these feelings quickly gave way to feelings of regret, realizing that I would never be able to do the ride again. Losing 50+ lbs of weight seemed insurmountable.

But then suddenly my life started taking several twists that profoundly changed me and lead me back to cycling. In 2008 my healthy dad died suddenly and nine months later my wife and I had a son. Ten months after that my mom died of lung cancer. Events like these tend to have a focusing effect, and I started to reevaluate my values and where I was spending my time. Doing the math, if I checked out at 70, my son would only be 30, and if I left any earlier, my son will lose his father in his teens or twenties. Wanting to see my son grow up and be part of his life became a powerful motivator that reclaim my health.

After a year of yoga, running, and cycling, I started to believe that I could do RTR again. This impossible dream was now attainable. My awesome wife supported me as I applied for a slot in the RTR lottery. I remember the joy and excitement I felt the moment I opened my lottery acceptance letter. I was coming back! In 18 months I went from struggling to bend over to tie my shoes to scaling some of Colorado’s most challenging mountains.

That was 2014. I since returned in 2015 and 2016 as Team Captain for Team World Bicycle Relief and looking forward to leading the team again in 2017!
While there are few things I love more than cycling, ultimately this is an expression of love for Christopher, allowing me to be part of his life hopefully into adulthood. It is an expression of love to my beautiful wife who has been so encouraging. I am so grateful to RTR for providing such a great opportunity for people like to create life-long memories that have changed our lives.


Turn Miles into Memories this June and join The Denver Post Ride The Rockies. The 32nd Tour will showcase the communities of Alamosa, Pagosa Springs, Durango, Ridgway (supported by Ouray), Montrose, Gunnison, and Salida. Beginning in Alamosa, the ‘Gateway to Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes’, the ride will traverse through some of the same mountain passes made famous by the historic Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. From Alamosa, cyclists will cover 447 miles and ascend over 32,000’ vertical feet, all the way to the ‘Heart of the Rockies’ in Salida.


Register for the lottery HERE

Lottery closes Sunday February 26 , 5pm


This article and its content were sponsored by Ride the Rockies

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