We all need to recharge our batteries now and then, although we don’t all like to do it the same way. My wife’s preferred method is to put her feet up on lounge chair and read a good book. For me, something a bit more physical is a preferred choice. There is nothing quite like going for a jog after a stressful day at work in the cancer center to help me clear my head.
My preference for unwinding on vacation includes being physically active. Indeed, I am doing so this week. For the past eight years I have spent the end of July with a group of friends riding on RAGBRAI. For those of you who are not familiar with this Iowa standard, RAGBRAI is the “Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.” It is one of the largest recreational bicycle rides in the world. On RAGBRAI, more than 10,000 bicyclists spend a week riding from the west edge of Iowa to the east, with each year taking a different route. RAGBRAI is a rolling folk festival with riders in costumes and the small towns bringing out the town band and selling sports drinks and other high energy foods to bicyclists as they take a break during the ride. You may have heard there is also a beer garden here and there along the way (and no, I am not among the “wilder” RAGBRAI crowd frequenting the beer gardens while riding a bicycle). What I love about a day on RAGBRAI is that it is incredibly different from a day in the cancer center. No discussion of cancer; no deadlines or meetings; everyone is carefree and relaxed. The biggest decision I have to make in the morning is whether I should stop for a breakfast of pancakes or ride two more miles for the French toast. The afternoon dilemma – apple versus cherry pie.
Now, as usual, I thought about turning my time on RAGBRAI into cancer metaphor. How we can help the immune system recover and rejuvenate in order to fight cancer? The relationship between mental and physical well being? Nah … They are both good ideas for future blogs, but not today. After all, I am on vacation …
So, back to the ride. Tuesday’s was the longest ride of the week and included a RAGBRAI tradition called the “century loop” which, for those of us who took this detour, resulted in a ride of about 105 miles. It was fantastic. I was physically exhausted but mentally rejuvenated.
More specifically, after the long ride, I spent time sitting under a tree with my feet up. Maybe my wife was on to something after all.