As strange as it may sound, riding RAGBRAI with my husband this year was a life-altering experience for me. My previous post shares additional details. I learned some pretty cool things about myself out there on the route.
Five Things I Learned About Myself On RAGBRAI
1. I can tent camp with the best of them.
That’s not a normal statement coming from this girl. I’d much rather wake up in my comfortable bed, in my comfortable and temperature-controlled house, with my morning coffee. To my surprise, however, camping in a tent was actually enjoyable. Such an adventure! It certainly moved me out of my comfort zone. We got to be pros at setting up and tearing down camp, as we did it every day. And I slept great! I suppose being exhausted and wearing earplugs had something to do with that.
2. I can physically do more than I ever thought I could.
I knew RAGBRAI would be physically demanding. Let me tell you, it was EXTREMELY physically demanding. But after the first day, I had never felt so strong. NEVER. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I stretched my body beyond its limits, peddling 320 miles in five days. That’s an average of 64 miles per day. Even though our bodies were tired, we felt great! Pushing yourself beyond what you thought you could ever do is something everyone should experience. I hope to do so again soon!
3. I now have a new appreciation for port-a-potties and cornfields.
I overcame my dislike for those blue portable bathrooms. In fact, there were times I couldn’t wait to see one. And when there wasn’t one in the middle of nowhere, with ten miles yet to go, what’s a girl to do? She does what she has to do, hiding herself in the rows of tall corn. Enough said.
4. I can be seen in public with no makeup on, without my hair done, and be okay with that.
This was a big one for me. I rarely leave my house without makeup on. Only a handful of people in this world have seen me bare-faced. But I knew I had to “woman up” and get over this. I was not going to have makeup mixed with sweat dripping off me each day. That’s just gross. Who wears makeup on RAGBRAI anyway?? So the real me, melasma spots and all, was proudly clean-faced all week. I still took care of my skin, but covered up or “enhanced” nothing. And let me tell you, I loved it. Such freedom in that right there.
5. I can enjoy the journey without a schedule, without rushing, without being “in control.”
I struggled the first day, taking time to enjoy each stop. I felt we needed to keep going to make it to the overnight town “on time.” Bill would gently remind me to relax, to enjoy, and we would “get there when we get there.” I finally was able to let go of all of that, and just enjoy. Each stop along the way made the road to get there even more enjoyable.
Hmmm… that’s kind of like life, isn’t it? Why do we (I) rush so much? Why do I feel I need to get to the end quickly? It’s in the blessings along the way that make the journey enjoyable. If we miss them, we miss beautiful opportunities we may never again experience throughout this life. We may arrive quicker, but we’ll be a lot crabbier. It’s all in the journey!
Thank you for being a part of my journey. You make my life sweeter just by being in it. And next year, Lord willing, we’ll again be riding across Iowa on RAGBRAI the last full week of July. I’d love to have you join us!
Enjoying the journey with you,
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