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

Training blog

RAGBRAI Training: RAGBRAI is Coming, Let’s Get Ready!

By Coach David Ertl

Once again I will be providing training tips for you to use and follow as you prepare for your successful trip across Iowa this year.  Many people may be afraid of what lies ahead.  After all, riding more than 400 miles on a bicycle in a week sounds daunting.  I don’t care who you are, 400 miles is a long way to ride a bike. But it is very possible, as evidenced by the thousands of people who successfully make the trek across Iowa each year.  And this includes young kids as well as very old kids.  Most healthy people will be able to ride the entire distance with some adequate preparation.  But simply finishing RAGBRAI shouldn’t be your goal.  Your goal should be to finish RAGBRAI feeling strong and having an enjoyable week, not a miserable one.  That’s where I come in. My blogs will help you prepare to successfully complete RAGBRAI strongly and safely. By following a plan and riding consistently and progressively adding more miles, you will be able to accomplish this goal.

One of the things that I have done in past years that has been appreciated by past riders is a simple training plan designed to guide you through your training.  Attached here is this year’s plan.  This provides a framework for the amount of miles you should try to ride to work your way up to being fit by July.  This plan provides suggestions on the number of miles to ride each week, and the distance of the longest ride. Both will increase each week as the training season progresses.  The number of days you ride and the exact days of the week you ride is up to you.  These are just guidelines.  However, you should plan on riding at least 3 times a week to get the benefit of training.  Try not to make large jumps in weekly mileage each week, or to greatly increase the distance of your longest ride each week.
This plan comes in two version. One is a PDF file that you can print off (fits on one legal sized page) and the other is an Excel file that you can download if you want to keep an electronic version.  There is a space where you can write in the actual miles you ride if you wish.

Here are the links:

for the pdf:

and for the Excel spreadsheet:


While I will be covering a wide range of topics this year in these blogs, many of them have been covered in previous years.  I encourage you to go back and review the past 8 years’ worth of blogs at http://ragbrai.com/category/ragbrai-training-blog/.

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: RAGBRAI is Coming, Let’s Get Ready!

Episode 9: An Ultra Romance with Bikes – JustGoBike Podcast

March 14, 2017 at 6:14 pm

[…] Coach Ertl’s Training Blog: http://ragbrai.com/2017/03/12/ragbrai-training-ragbrai-is-coming-lets-get-ready/ […]

Profile photo of Todd


March 18, 2017 at 7:53 pm

Yes I have started with 12oz curls since I have been out of practice for endurance. My question is do i need to work up to 64oz or just go straight to Jack shots?

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