The Long Way Home 8

Back in the mid-2000s I suffered the deepest bout of depression I’d ever experienced. To say I was despondent is like saying King Kong is a big ape. I was too broke to afford counseling and in my state, I was struggling to connect with anyone. What got me through was my bike. Once I found myself on the other side, I realized that what really kept me engaged and feeling wonder were the canyon roads in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu. Dropping down those roads did something for me, something significant enough to make me start asking questions. That began the quest that ultimately led me to a book called West of Jesus in which I learned about the neuroscience of flow states. 

Welcome to The Cycling Independent’s podcast, The Long Way Home. I’m your host, Patrick Brady. Each week in The Long Way Home, we will bring you stories about cyclists and cycling, stories that speak to how cycling informs our sense of the world, making our lives more livable. 

It was Steven Kotler’s West of Jesus, a book ostensibly about surfing, that gave me an education in neuroscience and unlocked the mystery of a drive within me that I’d identified, but couldn’t name. I saw how it applied to cycling and in June of 2016 published a feature in Bicycling Magazine that broke down flow for cyclists and also explained why group rides go too hard to be recovery, but not hard enough to make riders stronger.

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