The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

How much will the crowds effect my average speed?

I fully expect Ragbrai to be a slower ride, mainly because of the crowds. I’m also not planning on being in “attack mode” anyway, and plan to smell the roses a bit and have lots of fun. But in trying to set my speed expectations, I am wondering how much the crowds will effect my overall speed. Example – I typically cruise on flat or mostly flat rolling terrain at a comfortable 15.5 mph. If I push it, I can average 17 mph, but I don’t plan to push it. Running at my exertion level of 15.5 mph, how much should I calibrate down to account for the crowds? And I’m not factoring in the typical bunch-up near pass through towns – just open road cruising? So, on the open road – if I can “ride all day” at 15.5 mph, what’s a good ballpark speed that I should expect when factoring in the crowded conditions? Should I expect to average 14 mph moving speed, or should I calibrate even lower?

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