Reflecting on my joy-filled cycling adventure across Iowa last week in the 41st annual RAGBRAI with the fabulous Team Moxie in Motion, I remain captivated by the experience.
* 10,000 cyclists cycled 407 miles across Iowa in one of the most organized cycling events ever
* We climbed over 17,500 feet of hills (no, Iowa is not flat!)
* Iowa is stunningly beautiful – the roads are fabulous, the towns clean, the air fresh, the fields sprawling, and the sky endless
* People cheered for us in every small town from Omaha to Fort Madison as if we were heroes in a parade
* No one was a stranger on or off the bike
* No one cared about titles, jobs, or income – being a cycling nut in a cornfield instantly leveled the playing field
* We relentlessly communicated with each other to ensure safety on the bikes – “Bike on!” and “Bike off!” were standard announcements
* Cycling jerseys generated instant conversation and camaraderie
* Spontaneity was essential – we swallowed experiences in each small town instead of racing to the campsite
* Time was just something that buzzed pass us under our pedals
* Patience was customary – no VIP lanes, Premier status, TSA pre-check, or Fast Passes for the port-a-potty, food, drinks, or repair lines
* Everyone contributed and expressed appreciation at every turn
* No one was a star, no one won, no one was in charge, but everyone was unique and special
* We connected. We laughed. We were in the moment, on the bike, with complete strangers, without an agenda
Why did we so easily abandon our daily stresses and upsets and inhale the experience?
3 Brilliant Words
I attribute it to the wisdom tossed to us on Day 1. When our bus pulled into the Pork Belly Ventures campsite, this burly, enthusiastic Iowan jumped on to welcome us. He concluded with, “My best advice for you is this: lower your expectations.”
While at first we were struck by the oddity of this statement, we quickly realized the brilliance in those three words. Our experience was going to hinge on our outlook, which in turn depended entirely on our expectations.
With expectations in check, what happened is what we made happen as opposed to what we hoped (or expected to) happen. Suddenly we were in control of our outlook as opposed to victim to our circumstances.
Back from the Corn
Now that I’m back from the cornfield, I am desperately clinging to that refreshing approach, especially when the traffic, weather, crowds, computers, etc., don’t meet my expectations. I just need to remember the corn and lower my expectations.
Try it on and let me know what you think.