Well family, Jared finally did it. He finally popped "the" question. You know the one. The one that everyone has been asking about for well over 2 years... And yep, I said "yes"
He asked on the 4th day of our RAGBRAI journey. ...after 240 some bicycle miles he must have been delirious enough to go for it. Now, we didn't do RAGBRAI the normal way (Usually you start on the western edge of Iowa and ride all the way across the state until the Mississippi). Instead we rode our bikes out to the start of RAGBRAI in a small group, and then hopped into the chaos. We did this self-supported... pulling our tent, sleeping pads, food, clothes, etc in a trailer behind a bike. ...whoah, talk about a workout.
I must tangent here for a moment. One of the most inspiring parts of cycling is when the ride is over (for me at least). When you look back to the moments when you Swore your legs would not push over one more pedal stroke, where you begged quietly in your head for a serious mechanical issue to end it all, or pray for some truck to offer to pick you up and drive you to the end. But somehow, something within us gets us to keep pushing beyond what we would have ever expected our bodies to be capable of. The moments of determination where you decide not to give up... those are the priceless victories that no one gives prizes or schwag for (unless that turning point happens in a race that you end up winning, I suppose), but that are certainly wroth at least 15 experience points. Along our ragbrai journey, i'd say we ALL hit at least one of those moments, and won. Awesome.
What made it even better was digging through that challenge with Jared alongside! He has never taken on such a physical challenge, and like every other challenge we've barreled through together, we conquered it with flying colors, crap-tons of food, countless cornfield pee stops, and a few saddle sores (our other challenges have unfortunately not previously included the extra elements).
So on that 4th day of our journey, when we were slamming a couple of smoothies underneath of a shade tree together Jared pulls his keychain out of a plastic baggie that had been in his sweaty jersey pocket. On the keychain he had been carrying the ring around. As he fumbles to take the ring off, he asks me to marry him.
Happy RAGBRAI indeed.