RAGBRAI XLIV Countdown – July 24-30, 2016
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RAGBRAI Training: Consecutive Days of Riding

by Coach David Ertl

One thing that is unique about RAGBRAI from many other tours is that this ride is seven days long.  Therefore, one thing you need to be prepared for is being able to ride for seven days in a row.   It’s great if you can ride for 60 or more miles in one day, but you will need to be able to do this day after day.  This requires a slightly different type of fitness than being able to ride strongly for just one day.  It requires a little different form of endurance.  So here are a few tips to help you be able to keep going day after day.

First, you will want to get out and ride back to back rides during your preparation for RAGBRAI.   If you work during the week, then weekends are the obvious time to do this.  Go for a long ride on Saturday and then turn around and do another long ride Sunday.  You should practice eating and rehydrating on Saturday night so that you increase the odds of feeling better the next day.  One of the best ways to sabotage your recovery is to not eat well or rehydrate every day.  Lack of fluids or energy can really drain you and make the next day torture.  Once you get used to riding for two or more days in a row, you may find that your body actually starts feeling better on the third day or so.  It’s like your body eventually concedes to the fact that it is giong to have to wake up and go every day.

To add to the effect, you can get out and do a ride Friday night and then do two long rides on Saturday and Sunday to acclimate your body to three days.  Another option is to do a multi-day tour prior to doing RAGBRAI.  There are a number of organized tours that are 3-5 days long.  These will give you a great experience and training for seven day tour.  400+ miles in a week is a very long way to ride.  The more experience you can get, the better prepared you will be, especially if you haven’t done RAGBRAI previously.

Another thing you can do is to try to ride as many days during the work week and then do longer rides on the weekends. If you can hook together four or five days of consecutive days of riding, even if they arre only 10-15 miles during the work week, that will help give your some experience with multidays of riding.

The other thing to keep in mind is not to ride too fast or hard during RAGBRAI.  If you work really hard on one day you may not be able to recover fully for the next day and then you begin digging yourself into a hole that you may never get out of for the remainder of RAGBRAI.  So I’m giving you permission to ride as your comfortable pace.  Believe me, just doing this will result in feeling much better throughout the seven days of RAGBRAI.

Coach David Ertl 


David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach and Personal Trainer. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team, the Iowa JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes Team, the Above & Beyond Cancer RAAM Team, and he coaches individual cyclists.  He also provides cycling training plans and ebooks at his website: http://www.CyclesportCoaching.com . He can be contacted at coach@cyclesportcoaching.com






9 Responses on “RAGBRAI Training: Consecutive Days of Riding

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June 25, 2012 at 7:06 am

Since this is my first RAGBRAI, I apprecfiate this info. I’m taking it all in and will try to do three consecutive days this weekend.


June 25, 2012 at 7:25 am

Good info even for vetrans….I rode hard enough last year that I’m still recovering!


June 25, 2012 at 10:13 am

Great advise – my first ride I think I rode nearly every day in the month of July. No all long rides but the fepitition reall paid off even though my wife thought I had lost my mind. Batting two for two!


June 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Excellent column. Thanks.

Our goal each year is to do three 50-mile (+/-) rides over the Independence Day weekend (or close to it) to prove to ourselves that we can do it. So far, we’ve had no problems with RAGBRAI – this will be #15 for me and #12 for my wife.


June 26, 2012 at 9:53 am

This will be my first RAABRAI, and I’m really excited. I’m a runner, so I’m used to having a taper week the week before a race. Should I plan to taper my bike training the week before RAGBRAI? How much mileage should I plan for that week?


June 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm

It’s hard to train when it’s 107 degrees outside. I sure hope it’s not as hot as it was last year. I could hardly hold down the beer.

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David Thompson

July 1, 2012 at 6:26 am

Did 40 miles thur. night after work, 20 miles fri night, 81 miles sat. in 94 degree weather(hell yeah)!! and it’s Sunday morning 7am……………………Guess it’s time to go riding!!!!!!!

Dave T.


July 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm

This is our first RAGBRAI and we are two old slow riding ladies. We are looking forward to seeing if we can keep going for all 7 days. We know we can do 2 long rides back to back. The real test is yet to come. We are so excited!

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anna schwalm

July 11, 2012 at 8:29 am

thank you for all the training advise. the consecutive day was huge, on my 4th day…hoping for 75 today. the 2012training plan is my bible for this

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