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Riding with Purpose

Laura Csellek

What happened when Doug Haugen’s personal quest for wellness intersected with his passion for men’s ministry? A major fundraising bike ride.



Doug Haugen
Executive Director, Lutheran Men in Mission
Chicago, Illinois
July 2015

About a year ago, I looked in the mirror and saw a man I did not know. After years of overeating and lack of exercise, my weight had increased that much. I actually had taken the first step toward better health a couple of years earlier when I had a problem knee replaced. But even though free from pain, I had yet to develop healthy habits.

I had been riding my bike for enjoyment for some time. But after that encounter with my reflection, I began riding my bike with purpose, and I loved it. Three- and five-mile rides became 10- and 11-mile rides. Last summer I biked more than 1,300 miles. As winter came, I kept on biking in the gym. I’ve lost 45 pounds since the day I looked in the mirror. Now when I see my reflection, I know this guy — and I’ve never felt better.

As this year started, my desire was to do a multi-day bike ride. Lo and behold, I got an e-mail from Mark Juhl, a Lutheran Men in Mission leader in western Iowa, telling me about RAGBRAI, a ride across Iowa that he has taken several times. He thought it might be a great fundraiser for Lutheran Men in Mission. Would I be interested? You bet. We’ve set a goal to raise $20,000. And I’ve set a personal goal: to finish well. I’m now riding 30 and 40 miles a day so that I, along with 12 teammates, can be ready for the 468-mile ride July 19-25.

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