RAGBRAI XLV Countdown – July 23-29, 2017
Friends of RAGBRAI

Training blog

RAGBRAI Training: Rule #2 : Ride Far



by Coach David Ertl

Rule #1 is Ride Consistently.  Rule #2 is built upon Rule #1.   Riding consistently will prepare your body for the daily rigors of riding on RAGBRAI.  Rule #2 will help build endurance so you can more easily make it through the long miles each day on RAGBRAI.  RAGBRAI is a long distance bike ride, if you haven’t already figured that out.  I don’t care who you are, 400 plus miles in a week is a long way to pedal a bike.  Each day ranges from 50 to 75 miles (although 97 is available if you take the Karras Loop).  Therefore you should build up to enough endurance to be able to ride 75 miles.

One thing I usually tell people who are preparing for a long ride is that they don’t actually need to do a 75 mile training ride to be able to ride 75 miles in a day.  If you can ride 50 miles at a time in training, chances are good that you will be able to knock off 75 in RAGBRAI.  For one thing, you can take breaks throughout the ride on RAGBRAI.  You also have all day (14+ hours of daylight) so even if you ride at 10 mph, you will have plenty of time to make it in.  So it isn’t so much the question of whether you will be able to ride the distance, but really comes down to how comfortable and enjoyable your ride will be.  The more prepared you are to go the distance, the more pleasant the ride will be.

Therefore, if you can work up to 75 miles as your longest ride in training (or 97 if doing the Loop), you will be better off because of it. But it isn’t required.  On the other hand, if you come to RAGBRAI with 20 miles being your longest ride of the year so far, all bets are off as to whether you will even be able to make the distance.  Even if you grind your way through it, you will be very tired and sore. As a fellow cyclist once said, ‘You can’t fake endurance’.

Training for endurance is fairly straightforward.  You basically just have to ride a little further each week, and make your longest ride of the week a few miles farther. You should be able to add 5 miles per week to your longest ride without much difficulty.  If you have been riding RAGBRAI or have done other long distance cycling for the past few years, you will probably find you can bump up your longest ride distance by 10 miles per week.

When you do long training rides, you are building endurance in several ways.  Obviously you are building leg strength and stamina. You are building cardiovascular improvements which allow you to exercise more efficiently. But you also are building stamina in other ways.  Your hands, arms and shoulders have to hold you up all day on the bike and will get stronger and more used to this as you do longer rides. And then there is where your seat connects to your bike seat.  This interaction is often the once that needs the most getting used to and probably causes more discomfort than any other aspect of cycling.  So if for no other reason, get out and ride to help toughen up this tender area.

By now, with just a little more than a month remaining, you should be building up to longer rides by now. But wherever you are on your training journey, remember to increase gradually and not try to jump on a bike a go 50 miles the first ride.

Coach David Ertl

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 Coach. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team, JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes and individual cyclists through the Peaks Coaching Group. He also provides cycling training plans and ebooks at his website: http://www.CyclesportCoaching.com . He can be contacted at coach@cyclesportcoaching.com.

 

2 Responses on “RAGBRAI Training: Rule #2 : Ride Far

Profile photo of Julie

Julie

June 16, 2016 at 6:50 pm

I had been training for Ragbrai with my longest ride being 57 miles. On June 5th while riding I broke my fibula- a clean break non displaced. Best case I can start riding again July 17th. Do you have any suggestions that will increase my chances of doing the ride? I’m a 55 yr female in ok shape.

Profile photo of andy

Leave a Reply

Latest Blog Posts

  • Are You Interested in Becoming a RAGBRAI RIDE RIGHT Ambassador?

    We appreciate any help that we receive from RAGBRAI clubs and individuals to help make RAGBRAI as safe as possible. We are asking for volunteers to serve as RAGBRAI ...

  • Online Registration Closes June 01

      Don’t wait until the last minute!  The online registration system will not be available after June 1.  To confirm your registration status, go to My RAGBRAI/My Profile/Registration Status.  Your registration ...

  • Top Ten Training Tips #6: Is Your Bike in Shape?

    So far these training tips have focused on getting your engine (you) in shape for RAGBRAI. But you don’t do it alone.

  • Heart Healthiness is Businessolver's RAGBRAI Goal

    We love fitness at Businessolver. Trying to send a constant and consistent message of heart healthiness is our goal. We love RAGBRAI at Businessolver. Trying to send ...

  • Top 10 Training Tips for RAGBRAI #5:  Drink Before You Are Dry, or Sweat Happens

    Hydration is an important consideration when riding a bicycle across Iowa in what is often one of the hottest weeks of the year!

  • Top 10 Training Tips for RAGBRAI #4: Fueling for Cycling

    As you are preparing for RAGBRAI and during the ride itself, fueling your body properly is an important aspect of successful performance. Food means a lot of things to us.

  • Making Lifetime Memories with Dad: A Teen's Essay on her RAGBRAI Adventures

    A mom sent us this excellent essay from her teenage daughter's adventures on RAGBRAI with her dad. Thanks for sharing with us and I'm glad that Hallie and her ...

  • RAGBRAI XLV Lottery Is Here!

    You can’t win if you don’t enter.  That’s how the saying goes anyway.  If you submitted your registration by the deadline, including your waiver and payment, then you are included ...

  • Top 10 Training Tips for RAGBRAI - #3: Training Endurance is Important, but...

    My Training Tip #2 indicated that building endurance is the most important thing about preparing for a successful RAGBRAI, but I’m here to tell you that a close second to ...

  • AAA Offers New Membership Benefit: Bicycle Roadside Service

    AAA-The Auto Club Group is pleased to announce that free bicycle service is now included with all membership levels. This innovative service will provide an additional level of safety ...

Latest Videos

  • The full 2017 RAGBRAI route is out. Watch this video for a detailed look.

  • 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.

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