With just eight days to go until RAGBRAI XLVII, Jenny Morgan, of Washington, is ready to ride into her 40s one accomplishment at a time. The local plans to ride the 468-mile journey for the first time in honor of the milestone birthday.
Morgan first got into riding in 2011 when her grandmother passed away and left her money. She decided she wanted to purchase something she would enjoy and purchased a road bike.
“It’s therapeutic to be out on the road and have the quiet and see how beautiful Iowa is and know that you’re doing something healthy for yourself as well,” she said.
After riding portions of RAGBRAI for the past six years, she and childhood best friend Jeri Schultz decided to ride the entire route in honor of Morgan’s 40th birthday on July 12.
“At this point in your life, when you’re 40 and you’ve seen the first 40 years of your life and to know that you’re at a point where you’re in the middle and you have the second half to make the best half, and to know when I dip my tire to say, ‘I did this,’ to know that I’m able and proud of myself, (matters),” she said.
Training for the pair started in late May when they rode 122 miles that month and an additional 222 miles in June. Morgan said the hardest part of training was not having to make sure they were not hit by motorists, but the hill by Greiner Buildings.
Taking time away from her family, also, was a challenge for her. The mom of four said training takes up a lot of time and not being able to be with the kids is difficult, but as “a big bike family,” they often ride shorter routes together.
Her kids are another motivator for her to ride at 40, because she wants to show them you can do anything you put your mind to.
“For them to look up to me and see that it’s not something everybody does is cool,” she said.
RAGBRAI officially begins on July 21 in Council Bluffs and Morgan said she feels she is ready as ever. What she is looking forward to most is meeting people from all over and introducing them to Iowa.
“The people you meet on RAGBRAI always have a cool story. You just get to talk to people all day and that’s kind of my favorite thing,” she said with a laugh.
Her family is getting shirts made to support her and will be at stops along the way. Getting to the Bloomfield, Fairfield area will be an exciting point for her, she said, because it’s near where she grew up and she is looking forward to seeing family and friends when she rides into town.
“It’s emotional in a way. You’ve taken a week of your life and done something for yourself but also something that is good for you and it’s an experience nobody can ever take away,” she said.