RAGBRAI XLV Countdown – July 23-29, 2017
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!

Profile photo 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

Latest Blog Posts

  • JustGoBike Podcast Episode 4: Bike Laws, Bike Events and Bike Towns, Oh My!

    In this episode we talk with reporter Mackenzie Elmer of The Des Moines Register about cycling laws in Iowa and some of the bike accident and fatality cases she has ...

  • RAGBRAI Guess the Route Contest Winners Announced!

    Follow the link to find out the three winners of our 2017 Guess the Route Contest!

  • Iowa C.O.P.S. Team Awarded RAGBRAI Rider Cup

    The Iowa Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) bike team was awarded the prestigious RAGBRAI Rider Cup this weekend at the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party.

  • Photos from the 2017 Route Announcement Party

    A crowd took in treats and tunes before hearing which eight towns will be hosts this summer.

  • RAGBRAI XLV: Take it easy, go north

    The overnight towns for the 45th RAGBRAI have finally been revealed!

  • Introducing the JustGoBike Podcast!

    A weekly podcast on the culture of biking, cycling just for the fun of it, and tales from the #RAGBRAI Nation!

  • RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party Tickets Still Available!

    Where will RAGBRAI go in 2017? North? South? Central? Join us for the Route Announcement Party on Jan. 21 and find out!

  • Gear up for RAGBRAI with Live Healthy Iowa’s 10 Week Wellness Challenge

    A New Year is just around the corner! Plan for a healthy start in 2017 by taking part in the annual 10 Week Wellness Challenge! It’s a great ...

  • Only 50 Days 'til the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party!

    Join us as we reveal Iowa's biggest secret on January 21, 2017 at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines.

  • Guess the Route Contest is Now Open for RAGBRAI XLV!

    Do you think you can pick the eight overnight towns for RAGBRAI XLV? Enter the contest and see how close you come.

Latest Videos

  • Take a closer look at where the 2017 RAGBRAI route will go.

  • T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI director, talks about the 2017 route after the announcement on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.

  • Watch a replay of the full RAGBRAI route announcement live show.

  • A RAGBRAI icon Paul Bernhard aka \u0022Mr. Pork Chop\u0022 passed away November, 2016 and RAGBRAI Nation shared photos with Mr. Pork Chop on the ride through the years.

  • The Bacoon Ride returns for its fourth year on the Raccoon River Trail on Saturday, June 17.

  • From the creators of the Bacoon Ride comes the new ride for women, Pigtails at the Prairie Trail on Saturday, May 20.

  • RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz announces the overnight towns for RAGBRAI 2017.

  • The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa will go north in 2017, starting in Orange City, ending in Lansing, and overnighting in six more Iowa towns along the way. It's rated the third-easiest RAGBRAI ever.

  • Attendees at the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party joined in a mass \u0022pork chop\u0022 call in honor of ride legend Mr. Pork Chop, Paul Bernhard, who died last year.

  • Just Go Bike is a weekly podcast that uses bikes to talk about the cool people who ride them. Tell your friends!

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).

© 2017 RAGBRAI | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy