An Experience Of A Lifetime – RAGBRAI 2015

by | Jul 27, 2015 | personal journey

Life will return back to normal today.

Or will it?

After a life-altering, memory-making, attitude-impacting six days on RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), I question if life for me will ever be the same.

I mean, really, how does one peddle 415 miles in six days across Iowa on the back of a tandem bicycle and not be changed??

Experiencing all the goodness the state of Iowa has to offer… its beauty, its people, its food, its landscape, its weather, its simplicity… makes an impact on one’s perspective of life.

Something happens within when you live out of a box on wheels for six days. The luxury items at home you thought you couldn’t live without, suddenly become unimportant.

Sleeping in a tent, and showering in portable semi-trailers and school locker rooms become an adventure. You’re just thankful to have a place to lay your head at night, and a place to wash off the gunk from the day.


You appreciate flushing toilets and running water after using porta-potties for six days straight.

You learn to embrace not knowing what time it is, or what day it is. Schedules and responsibilities disappear.

You begin to see people in an entirely refreshing way… friendly sojourners who are experiencing their own shifts in perspective.

The freedom you encounter as you let go of burdens and hindrances is amazing. Carrying less on your shoulders happens without you even realizing it. It’s incredibly freeing.

You get to be who you really are. Perfection is non-existent. Comparisons vanish. Bare-faced. Undone hair. Sun-tanned skin with strange tan lines. Not many look great in skin-tight biking shorts, and it’s okay that you don’t.

You find you can do physically more than you ever thought possible. You become increasingly stronger… mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Your marriage blossoms, as you and your spouse work together as a team. You soak in his giddy-ness as this is his thing, and you get the incredible privilege of celebrating and supporting him as he lives out his passion.


And you see God and His creation in ways you’ve never encountered before.

Who would have guessed all this happens on a bicycle in Iowa in July??

This RAGBRAI FullMap-2015 shows our journey. We started in Sioux City and ended in Coralville (the highlighted towns). We chose to end our journey on Friday due to the beginning of our once-every-three-years family reunion Friday evening.

I’d have to say these are some of my favorite sights of our week…


The beginning of our ride. Dipping our back tire in the Missouri River. Taking M@STRONG with us.


wpid-20150720_065607.jpgStorm Lake just before the storm.


20150720_110830Beautiful countryside scenes.



We met some great people from all across the country, biking alongside of us.



You see a little bit of everything in each town.


20150722_183112Running into our friends Gary & Sharon in Cedar Falls. (Check out all the porta-potties behind us!)



Parkersburg had the best food!



Seeing my childhood home.



Sutliff and its bridge. I want to go back soon!



Meeting legendary Dan Gable in front of his home.



Crossing over the Coralville Dam.


There are many more scenes I’d like to include, but this post would be days long.

Our theme this year was Philippians 4:13. I was thrilled to see it on the back of a jersey:


He was our strength, and will continue to be so.

So, as we transition back to reality today, I do so with a different perspective. With a fresh outlook on life. With a renewed purpose and sense of accomplishment. And an incredibly thankful heart for all God blessed us with and allowed us to experience in six short days on a tandem bicycle.

It’s been fun sharing our journey with you. Thank you for joining us, for celebrating with us, and for cheering us on!

RAGBRAI 2015 was an experience of a lifetime!

God bless you!



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  1. Rachel Q

    Congratulations on your journey! What a life changer! My brother and his son also rode a tandem bike in RAGBRAI this year. Wonder if you saw each other? What a small world! šŸ™‚

    • Julie Lefebure

      Thank you, Rachel! I did see a dad and a son on a tandem, somewhere during the week. That would have been great to run into them! Hope they had a great time as well!

  2. Jeannie Pallett

    I love it! My husband is retiring soon (5 weeks), we are moving across country where there will be many more opportunities for activities and I think something like this trip you just had is going on our bucket list! We both love riding our bikes but this looks like so much fun for all the reasons you mentioned. Maybe one day, we will meet on the road and in the meantime, I pray God’s richest blessings over you!

    • Julie Lefebure

      Thank you, Jeannie! It was quite the adventure, and the most fun. Would love to meet on the road some day! I’ll be praying for your move, and for settling in quickly. Enjoy each moment, even the questionable ones! Thanks for stopping in.


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