Two days and 20+ hours from now the 2007 edition of RAGBRAI will officially kick off...and I'll be there. For those of you unfamiliar with RAGBRAI, it's an annual bike ride across the state of Iowa that happens the last full week of July each summer for the past 34 (soon to be 35) years. The average day's ride is 70 miles, almost 500 miles total for the week, snaking across the state from West to East (hopefully taking advantage of tail winds for most of the ride), passing through and stopping in towns of all flavors and sizes along the way. The food is famous, the weather traditionally unpredictable, and fun is sure to be had.
In 2000 I experienced my first RAGBRAI as a support driver. Scott had told me about the event, but you just can't understand the magnitude of it until you experience it yourself. For 7 days a whole temporary community of individuals of all ages from all over the world becomes nomadic complete with traveling shops, restaurants, even potties! This year I'm excited and honored to be sharing this experience with my brother Jason.
We've been planning this for a little over a year. Jason is a cyclist. He frequently goes out for hours of riding around the Austin area where he now lives. I own a bike...and teach Spinning. Seriously though, I think what drew us to tackle this together was a desire to spend sometime together doing something active, which is an important part of who we are are in our day to day lives. Some good old fashioned sibling bonding, something we are much better at now that we are adults than when we were as kids. I also think we've both had experiences over the years, and are at places in our lives now, where we're ready to process, reflect, and talk about future hopes and dreams.
As we get closer to the big kick off, I've experienced a flood of thoughts and feelings. At first it was all about the excitement of anticipation. For months I've been preparing making sure I have all the right equipment and spending some extra hours either on my bike or in Spinning classes. (Admittedly I haven't probably spent as many hours on a bike seat as I should have...but it's a bit late now!) This week those feelings have changed a bit.
Doubt that I'm physically up to the challenge has crept into the back of my mind. Sure, I spend hours each day teaching fitness and yoga classes, but cycling, especially out in nature's elements, is very different from those environment controlled, timed class sessions that range in intensity from gentle to challenging.
And then there's the issue of missing my family. I often talk/think about wanting to be more outgoing, more adventuresome, more spur of the moment exciting. But when it comes right down to it, I'm very content with my simple little life that centers around my family and our existence right here in our little corner of the world. Who am I away from my role as Mom, Wife, and Instructor?
Then, because I'm a woman, and a mom...I think about all that could go WRONG. I worry. Something I do more now that I'm a mom that I ever thought possible. What if I get hurt; what if we have bad weather; what if one of the girls or Scott gets sick and NEEDS me while I'm gone? Irrational? Yes. But I bet I'm not the only one who goes on these emotional roller coasters before experiences that are bit outside our normal box.
My plan is to carry along a good old fashioned paper journal to help me capture thoughts, feelings, and experienced throughout the week...and of course I've purchases a small, handy dandy digital camera for visual records. If you're lucky, I may even share a few of those here in the coming weeks.
Ready or not...off I go!