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Aaron Asmundson – Why I Ride Project

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Why I Ride Project - Brent Dundore Photography
“I Ride to turn toward what matters.” 

Aaron Asmundson, Age 39, 4th time rider

1. Why do you Red Ribbon Ride? In short, I have been involved in some work in a township in South Africa outside of Cape Town. As part of this work, I first came into contact with how destructive HIV/AIDS can be and, more importantly, that the simple acts I make towards those living with HIV/AIDS can make a huge difference. This dramatically shifted my actions at home…especially towards the people in my life I care about that are HIV positive. I believe there are two actions we can take as humans towards others that are suffering from the issues impacting our community: we can either turn toward them or turn away from them. I want to be someone who turns toward others with care and compassion, and the Red Ribbon Ride has helped me discover how to do that.

2. What is your favorite thing about the Red Ribbon Ride? It is such a strong and supportive community! Prior to my first Red Ribbon Ride, I had never been an avid cyclist. I was terrified and it was very challenging for me to get past the mental blocks that can get in the way of endurance events like this one. The other riders and crew really are the ones who taught me to see just how far I can go and how strong I can be…and I surprised myself with the results!

3. What do you do away from the Red Ribbon Ride? I teach and oversee leadership development programs at the University of Minnesota, including study abroad and volunteer programs in Africa. I also was recently certified as a yoga instructor and am beginning my journey as a yoga teacher at CorePower Yoga!

4. How were you introduced to Red Ribbon Ride? I have several friends who had participated for many years, and I finally mustered the courage to join them.

5. What is one great memory you can share from your ride/crew experience in the past? On day 2 of the Ride in 2014, I opted to try the 100 mile route even though I had never biked 100 miles before in my life! The route was very tough with a pesky headwind; there were many times that I wanted to give up, and I met up with a group of riders at the third pit stop that convinced me to keep going and ride with them: I followed them mile by mile for the next 70 miles. Getting to the top of the hill in Mankato and seeing the camp and 100 miles on the odometer is to this day the most satisfying feeling I have ever had, and I have my fellow riders to thank for making it possible.

6. What would you tell someone who is on the fence about joining our ride next year? Just do it! I have had zero regrets about the time, resources, and energy I’ve put into the ride. If you are concerned because it’s outside of your comfort zone and is something you’ve never done before, then don’t worry: it was totally out of my comfort zone, too! Prior to my first RRR, I’d probably biked 5 miles at a time at most. You will learn so much about what you are capable of, and you will be raising money for 8 very worthy organizations along the way!

7. What person or group of people are you hoping to bring to the ride this next year? I have some friends who have been curious about the Ride for many years, and this is the year I hope to convince them to join in the fun.

8. What is your fundraising goal this year? My goal is $7,500! This was my goal last year, and I was about $900 short, so I have my sights set again on making this milestone happen!

9. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our Red Ribbon Ride community? This community has taught me so much about how to let go of the self-imposed limits I’ve placed on myself: I never thought I could raise as much money as I have, I never thought I could bike 300 miles. Sometimes we need others to show us just how much we are capable of, and that is what the RRR community has done for me. Thank you so much!

 

READ my interview below, SHARE this post to support me, and DONATE TO MY CAUSE!

 

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