Story by Elizabeth Sensing, Reporter
Image courtesy of cyclova.com
Up until two years ago I could hardly ride a bicycle, and was convinced to go on Arête, a 30 mile biking retreat held annually through campus ministry. Arête, while a retreat, is also a mindset: the journey to virtue and excellence. With the retreat coming up, I’m sharing five steps to reaching your Arête (for more information grab your bike, helmet, and join the retreat yourself).
1) No Excuses
Only opportunities. Be wary of the people on the retreat, they are rooting for you. Don’t tell them you don’t have a bike (I’ve tried). You’ll find yourself with a helmet smashed on your head, riding into the early morning before you can say “no thank you.”
2) Get Lost!
In my first year on Arête, I was biking with my new friend, Makayla. We were cold from biking in the rain and ignoring the deep seated feeling that we were going nowhere fast. Nothing grows a friendship like overcoming adversity. We were steered in the right direction and now we are better friends than Fr. Stan and the AQ Exam Cram breakfast. Finding your way is all part of the journey.
3) Slay, Okay?
For instance, don’t let fallen trees on your path stop you. After a huge storm, Arête can become an AQ Warrior Dash. Dig in. Toss your bike over the branches or drag it under trunks. You are Beyoncé at the Super Bowl, get in formation. Carry the team to success.
4) Switch Gears
Last year, I was riding and talking to a friend who I quickly realized was 200 ft behind me shouting “I’m really tired, I can barely pedal.” She had popped a tire, and was teetering on at .5 mph. Go at whatever pace you need on the journey to your best self. However, if you find you are barely squeaking along, take a pit stop.
After volunteering to partake in the tradition of drinking a raw egg before setting off last year, I threw up. Fueled by determination (and a second breakfast) I biked on, recognizing there will always be setbacks. Let your friends laugh with you. Make your comeback, feel the Bern, and shun the nonbelievers. Be your favorite success story.
If you haven’t yet, consider Arête. Consider the unexplored opportunities looming within this trip. There are friendships to make, paths to find. spirituality to deepen, and the best version of yourself to uncover. Roll with us in April, you won’t regret it.