Monday, July 28, 2014


I’ve just completed my 10th RAGBRAI bicycle ride, this time covering about 440 miles over the course of 7 long and at times grueling days. Every time I ride this tour, I manage to learn something. There is a lot of time to think while you peddle for hours on end! This time out, these thoughts came to me.

You are stronger than you think. Hey, I’m 61 years old, a bit overweight, and yet I managed to ride  across the entire state of Iowa on a bicycle. Ain’t nothing special about me, except I like bicycle riding. In a work context, this also means that I can do more than I think I can if I only set my mind to it.
Sometimes it is good to vary your schedule. I usually get up early and strike my camp, so that I can ride by 530am or so each morning. I generally miss the later crowds on the ride, but I am often too early to really engage in some of the activities along the way, since the towns are open for business only during certain hours, so to say. This year, I had a day where  I went out later than I am comfortable with, but I had a completely different experience as a result. I saw larger crowds, longer lines, but this is the more realistic RAGBRAI experience. There are, after all, 18,000 riders each day, if not more. Be open to change, is the message I learned here. I can be very obsessive about not changing, but this was a good reminder that sometimes it is okay to vary your approach.

It is okay to make mistakes. I made the decision to ride on the second to last day after a severe strom when through and dropped the temperatures 25 degrees while kicking up a strong wind. I left in a period of calm, but the rain returned with a vengeance and the winds picked up more and I was riding through it all, at 61 degrees while soaking wet an unable to ride faster than about 7 miles an hour due to headwind. On a day that was supposed to go 67 miles. By the time I was pulled off the course by my good friend (who will remain unnamed), I was hypothermic. Really I should have waited to later in the day to ride, but at the same time, I am surprised and pleased I made 50 miles in that maelstrom.
You can change your mind. I was sure this was my last RAGBRAI. Nope, it won’t be.

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