I just experienced the most amazing week of my life.
Five of them were on a tandem bicycle with my husband as we rode RAGBRAI. Peddling 320 miles, on two 26-inch wheels, (almost) across the state of Iowa. We missed the first 70+ miles by attending our beautiful niece’s wedding, and the last 60+miles because of a less-than-100% bicycle after four broken spokes on Friday (plus feeling like our bodies couldn’t do one more day).
This was the most physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging thing I’ve ever done in my 40+ years of life. It was the most fun I’ve ever had also.
I’ve never felt such a sense of accomplishment!
Of all the things I’ve worked for, earned, achieved, etc., so far in this life, nothing has felt as sweet as this!
I believe it’s because the main reason I rode on that small thing called a bicycle seat for five days was for my husband. (Details here.) He loves to bike. He turns into a different person on that bicycle… almost like a little kid. I loved watching the transformation. I loved watching him. I loved biking with him from the stoker seat on that tandem.
God not only blessed our time together, He blessed our marriage. He met us, helped us, encouraged us throughout those 320 miles, and He prompted others to do the same for us on this journey. We could feel the prayers of others. It was indescribable!
For maybe the first time in my life, I let go of every little thing that has ever held me back. I was completely free to be me, without any second-guessing. Without any weight on my shoulders. Without any expectation of anyone else. It’s something I’m having a difficult time putting into words.
No make up on this face of mine. Messed-up hair, most often covered with a bandana and/or a bike helmet. Sunscreen- and sweat-drenched skin. Not-so-flattering bike shorts or skirts. Not a care in the world how I looked. I was in front of a mirror only three times the entire week. None of that mattered. You are who you are on RAGBRAI.
That’s the beauty of it all.
Bill would tell me how beautiful I was. I knew how I looked, and I wouldn’t call it beautiful. But the beauty he saw was his wife being who she was meant to be, as she supported him in doing what he loved and in being whom he was meant to be.
Our marriage will never be the same after this week. I never expected that!
Small town Iowa treated us well. Each town blessed us in different ways. Seeing their water towers in the distance seemed to pump adrenaline into our tired legs. Incredible food. Friendly folks. They know how to throw a welcoming party.
Corn fields, bean fields, and bicycles as far as you can see. Breathing in the fresh Iowa air. Stresses of life disappeared out there.
And the lines. Lines for the port-a-potties, showers, food, beverages. A couple cold showers and a couple showers that reminded me of my junior high locker room with little- to-no privacy. None of that mattered either. I was just happy to have a “bathroom,” to have a shower, and to refuel our bodies.
I can’t wait to return. And yes, we plan to do the entire week in 2015, Lord willing. And we hope to take a bunch of others with us!
I never dreamed supporting my husband in “his thing” would have such an impact on me. I’m thankful for this experience. I’ll be talking (and writing) about it for weeks to come!
Thank you for journeying with me!
Linking up with Holly Barrett for Testimony Tuesday!