RAGBRAI XLIX registration is now open!

Don't hang up that bike just yet!

  • 9 August, 2010

You have just finished RAGBRAI and hopefully you had a wonderful time. The weather wasn’t too bad, typical of Iowa in July.  One thing is for certain.  If you rode all of RAGBRAI, or even half of it, you are probably in the best shape you’ll be in all year, maybe even your whole life!  There’s no way anyone can ride 200+ miles in one week without being in pretty good shape, even if you weren’t in the greatest shape when you started.  Now here’s what bugs me.  The weeks before RAGBRAI I see tons of bikes around Des Moines.  A couple of weeks ago our local bike trail looked like an interstate.  Loads of people out preparing for RAGBRAI.  But then once RAGBRAI is over, the bike trails are deserted.  Where have all you folks gone?   Don’t waste all the great fitness you now have coming off of RAGBRAI.  Keep your bike out and tires pumped up.  In many places, late summer and fall are the ideal times to be out riding.  It’s a little cooler than Iowa in July and less humid.  And when you are in good shape as you are now, riding is easier.  You can go faster and farther.  All of a sudden, a 30 mile bike ride seems short. RAGBRAI has a way of doing that to you.  Plus here’s another side effect of continuing to ride: the more you continue to ride this year, the better shape you’ll be in next year, allowing you to be more ready for next year’s edition.   So put on your RAGBRAI jersey and hit the road or trails.  I hope to see you out there.  And thanks for reading along this year.

Coach David Ertl

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach and owner of Cyclesport Coaching (www.CyclesportCoaching.com) . He coaches individual cyclists, the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and the JDRF Greater Iowa Chapter for the Ride to Cure Diabetes.  He can be contacted at Coach@CyclesportCoaching.com.


  1. susie scott

    Thanks so much for all your training expertise this year. Even when there was something I already “know”, in the midst of life you often forget important practices that make a big difference. Your were wise, encouraging, and continud to put a challenge in front of us. And.. i did make it up Potter’s Hill- riding my bike! thanks!

  2. Jim Horan


    My second RAGBRAI. and I am in the best shape of my life doing over 510 miles for the week. Question, I am primarily a jogger (7 1/2 minute miles) and do avg 3 miles per day. How come no one jogging could be such poor shape as some of the bikers I see. Truthfully, some would go by me doing 20 mph and looked like their back tire would explode with all the weight it was handling.

  3. Carolfay

    You’re right, David. Late summer and fall are beautiful times in Iowa. And I think that’s when my husband and I will cycle tour in Iowa again. Our plan: make note of the 2011 RAGBRAI route and do the ride in late September or early October, without the overcrowded, occasionally dangerous roads, and when the towns can show us their best face and when we can pull out our credit card and get a motel room overnight. Call it alt-RAGBRAI? Sounds good to us.

  4. michael keen

    Thank you David for all of your fine advice.You are right,a 30 mile ride is easy now.I didn’t hang up the bike yet,I signed up for the Door County(Wis) century ride in sept. I also plan on next years RAGBRAI with my nephew.Thanks again for all of your help

  5. Diana Starr

    Thank you for all the training tips! I followed the RAGBRAI training schedule (after training to train) and put in over 1300 miles in preparation. The training schedule kept me on track and gave me a weekly goal. I did great the whole week and had an absolute blast! This is the first time I have done anything like this and will definitely do it again.

  6. David

    Response to Jim Horan

    One of the reasons you don’t see a lot of heavy joggers is because their joints won’t handle it. One of the beauties of riding a bike is that the bike supports your weight and you just have to provide the power to propel it. When running your body has to do both functions. This is one of the great things about a bike. It allows people who are heavy a means to exercise and hopefully burn off some of that excess weight. It’s a lot easier burning off 1000 calories on a bike (33 miles) than running (10 miles).
    Keep riding.

  7. Don

    Still riding have put on 300 miles since my return home to So. Cal.

  8. Steven Kadera

    I’ve been riding (again) for 6 years. Last spring my nephew convinced me that I should come along on RAGBRAI but I was too late to register then. But next year, I’ll be 60 and will ride my first RAGBRAI. In a regular year I had been getting about 400 miles logged. This year, since Easter, I have nearly 1100. I’m sure at 60 I won’t be the oldest first timer there, but then I’m sure I’ll make the entire trip. See ya next year.

  9. Pat

    Thanks much David,

    I followed your training recommendations and did fine on Ragbrai. I loved it! A note to Steve who turns 60 next year-i turned 60 this year, and it was a treat to do the ride my first year of this new decade — go for it!

    Also, it was sometimes scary because of the crowds so i get the comment by Carolfay. I too thought about riding exactly the same route you picked with a small group, and staying at hotels along the way.

    I’m still glad I did Ragbrai. Pat

  10. chris

    i have more of a question, than anything. has anyone ever completed ragbrai on a 20″ one speeder? im an avid cyclist, putting in on average 900 miles every rideing season. i love iowas rail trails. on the wabash trace, my wife and i rode 95 miles in one day, on our 20 inchers. im up for the challenge, do you think theres hope for me?

  11. cerubio

    I am 47 yrs old and have 3 boys and we have set a goal to take on bike riding this coming year and participate on RAGBRAI also. Any suggestions on where to purchase affordable touring bikes. Thanks

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