RAGBRAI XLIII Countdown – July 19-25, 2015
Friends of RAGBRAI

Training blog

RAGBRAI Training: Yes Punxsatawney Phil was Wrong, But it is Now Time for Training!



Punxsatawney Phil was wrong.  We didn’t have six more weeks of winter, we had eight more.  But the weather is finally warming up a bit and the snow is almost gone here in Iowa and we are starting to get out on our bikes after a long, long winter.  It’s hard to believe that in three short months it will be steamy hot here.   This article will touch on some items to keep in mind as you get out on your bike again this spring, especially if you haven’t, ahem, ridden in a while!

Bike:  Before you start putting a lot of miles on your bike it’s a good time to check it over and tune it up.    Be sure to check your tires.  Inspect them carefully in good light looking for gashes, holes or fabric showing through the tread and be sure to check the sidewalls for cracks.  If you see any of these, replace the tires right away.  Run through the gears and make sure they all are working correctly.  Check the brakes to make sure they aren’t rubbing and to also determine that they are grabbing the rim tightly when you pull in on the levers. Lube the chain and inspect the bike for any cracks in the frame.  Spin the wheels and make sure they are true and don’t rub on the brake pads (or frame!) as they turn.  While you are at it, clean it up nice as it is more fun to ride a shiny clean bike.  Also change the handlebar tape whether it needs it or not (it will).   If you find any of these problems, take care of it right away and if you aren’t mechanically inclined, have your local bike shop take care of it for you. It is money well spent for the reliability and peace of mind while out riding miles from home.  And be sure to check that you have tire levers, a pump or CO2 cartridge and spare tub in your saddle bag.  It’s a good idea to take the spare tube out and pump it up to be sure it holds air.  A leaky spare isn’t much help.

Body:  Even if you have been doing spin classes or riding your indoor trainer over the winter, you will find that it didn’t entirely keep you in road cycling shape. Use chamois cream as your derriere will have become a little more tender over the winter.  Start out by riding a nice easy pace on a level course just to get your legs and body back in the groove.  So start out gradually and build up your mileage slowly (5-10 miles more each week).    Save the hills and harder riding for later.  If you have ridden a lot in past years, it will come back quickly.  The spring usually brings wind.  Ride into the wind at your own pace.  The wind gets tougher the faster you ride so if you don’t feel like killing yourself, just gear down and take your time.   However, the wind can do wonders for increasing your power on the bike so don’t avoid it.   Also as the temperatures are cool this time of year, be sure to dress warmly enough.  Wear two or three layers of clothing so you can unzip or take off the outer layer if you get warm on the ride.   One word of caution about riding with other cyclists.  While it is more fun to ride with others, it may not be the best thing for you right now.  Depending on your fitness level, if you are riding with other cyclists who are stronger than you, especially early in the season, it will force you to ride much harder than you should first thing.  So you may want to get out for a few rides by yourself to get your legs back under you before trying to keep up with Joe Fastguy in your club.

Food and beverage:  Once you start riding more, you will notice your appetite wakes up and you will be more hungry throughout the day. You need to remember you have to eat on purpose again.  All winter you probably tried to stop yourself from overeating, now you need to intentionally start eating more.  Before you head out for longer rides (90 minutes or more), be sure to eat some extra carbs.   If you have a few pounds of hibernation weight you have accumulated since last fall, now is a good time to try to burn that off.  But rather than starving yourself prior to rides, go ahead and eat so you have energy during your ride.   If you go into a ride short on energy (carbohydrates in particular), your training won’t be very enjoyable or effective. Instead, cut back after your ride and in the evening.  Your riding will increase your metabolism and will burn fat when you aren’t riding as well as when you are.  Be sure to drink more during the day as well so you are well hydrated for your riding.  And don’t forget those water bottles as you head out the door.  Some of the most simple things seem to get forgotten over the winter.

Every spring reminds me of the spring when I got my first real road bike (yes, a 10-speed, I’m old).  It’s an exciting, fun time, and a new beginning with a set of new goals ahead of us.  Let’s make this the best year yet!

Coach David Ertl

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and is a national head coach for the the JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes 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.

 

4 Responses on “RAGBRAI Training: Yes Punxsatawney Phil was Wrong, But it is Now Time for Training!

Avatar of Jean

Jean

April 3, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Will you be posting the 15 week training plan again? It was very helpful last year. If not, then do you recommend the 2012 training plan even though the route is shorter this year?

Nancy Rigler

April 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Just echoing Jean Ungers reply…..would love your training plan for this year…or a reprint of last years plan.

Jessie

April 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm

http://ragbrai.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Chart-Training-2012.jpg here is the training chart I found I think from last year

Coach David ERtl

April 21, 2013 at 8:20 pm

I am working on the training plan for 2013 right now. It should be posted soon. It will be similar to last year. Even though RAGBRAI is a little shorter, 400+ miles is still a lot.

Leave a Reply

Advertisement

Latest Blog Posts

  • Get in Gear for RAGBRAI XLIII - 2015 Jerseys Released!

    We are pleased to introduce the official 2015 RAGBRAI XLIII jersey!

  • Introducing the RAGBRAI XLIII Logo!

    We are excited to reveal our new logo for RAGBRAI XLIII and 2015!

  • RAGBRAI XLII Survey Results

    All of us here at RAGBRAI would like to thank those who took the time to complete the surveys after RAGBRAI XLII.  4,470 online surveys were completed, providing ...

  • Des Moines Could Move Part of Great Western Trail

    A section of the popular Great Western Trail in Des Moines would no longer pass through Willow Creek Golf Course, under a plan being pursued by the course's owner.

  • Lost and Found on RAGBRAI®

    Did you get home from RAGBRAI with less than what you started with?  Lost wallets, drivers licenses, and credit cards have already been returned to their owners.  We have several ...

  • Merchandise Returns and Exchanges

    Want to return or exchange an item you purchased on RAGBRAI? Here's how.

  • Meet the woman who rode RAGBRAI in combat boots

    Riders handed her cash from spandex pockets and small-town American Legions put up tip jars to help along the way. So far, Hameister’s raised more than $1,700 for the campaign, ...

  • RAGBRAI Reflections with John Karras

    by John Karras, Grampa RAGBRAI A strange, but predictable, thing happened this year to Ann and I on our way to our umpteenth time to ride RAGBRAI–we were physically unable to ...

  • Rock Valley's Jaydn Faber Wins the RAGBRAI Kid's Art Contest

    The children of the RAGBRAI XLII overnight communities were invited to participate in the annual RAGBRAI Kids’ Art Contest.  The contest called for students in kindergarten through fifth grade to ...

  • RAGBRAI Training: Don’t put your bike away now!

    Well, another RAGBRAI is done and in the books. I hope you enjoyed yourself and I also hope this blogs gave you some advice that helped you prepare adequately for ...

Latest Videos

  • We are excited to reveal our new logo for RAGBRAI XLIII and 2015! If you join us on our ride across the state next year, you’ll be sure to see welcoming Iowans, lots of farmland and… well you’ll just have to watch the video to find out.

  • Bicyclist Shawn Gosch of Onawa was hit and killed June 20, 2014, by a motorist on Iowa Highway 7 west of Manson. Under Iowa law, the driver of the vehicle was charged with a misdemeanor for unsafe passing and fined little more than $1,550.

  • Look back on the ride of 2014 in this video highlight reel.

  • A group of friends from Canada spent the week on RAGBRAI and recount their best moments.

  • As RAGBRAI XLII comes to an end, friends from California talk about the emotion behind dipping their tires into the Mississippi River at the end of the ride.

  • Riders react at the Guttenberg dip site.

  • Riders stopped for photos on a bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi River at Guttenberg.

  • Iowan "Bachelorette" competitor Chris Soules greets riders in Strawberry Point

  • Former Iowa Hawkeye and NFL tight end Dallas Clark talks about his second RAGBRAI and his hope of someday moving his family back to Iowa.

  • The LeBeaus are known as royalty in Iowa and for their funky socks!

Find us socially

Email Signup

Sign up for the latest RAGBRAI news and notes (if there is no news in a day, you won’t get an e-mail).

© 2014 RAGBRAI | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy