I had just picked my Dad up from the Oakland airport. It was the day before Thanksgiving 2008 and we were en route to Redding some 3 hours away. As my Dad squirmed uncomfortably in the passenger seat of my Mini Cooper he said to me, “I’d like to ride my bike across Iowa. I heard about this organized ride that goes from the west side of the state to the east. It’s only 500 miles. I think it would be a nice thing to do. What better way to see Iowa, and it’s flat all the way. How hard can it be?” I said… great idea Dad, if you start training now you should be ready to do the ride by next year. Dad said… “Next year, I want to do it this July.” I’m not sure if I actually laughed out loud but I know I did in my head. I thought, he had completely lost his mind. My Dad, in his early 70’s is very fit and very tough, but not a cyclist. He owns a bike but it’s a cute little 40 lb bike built for riding to do errands around town. Certainly not meant to ride across an entire state. All I could say was… Dad, I really think you’ll need more time to train for this event. 500 miles with 7 days of riding and camping along the way is a long week. It’s not as easy as you think and by the way, Iowa is not entirely flat! Not by any stretch of the imagination!
In spite of almost zero training, in July 2009 we did the ride across Iowa, Ragbrai as it’s called. My Dad, Paula and Me. I went to keep an eye on them, as I was the only one with a clue as to what we were getting into. After the first day, both D & P were praying that the following days would be easier. They were not, there were lots more hills and rain and wind but they took it one day at a time and were thankful to see the end of each day.
In the end they both pulled it out. Failure was simply not an option for those two. They had a goal and they made it happen. It was amazing and I was incredibly proud to see them finish every day leading them closer to the end of the ride and to the reaching their massive goal.
My point – You can do anything you set your mind to. That was made clear to me in Iowa that July. We’ve all heard impressive stories of things people have done. Why not see what you can do?