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Reply To: Spill your Guts: What is your Ragbrai Training Tradition?

KenH, June 28, 2018 at 1:10 pm

The Udder Century, like my end of year choir concert, is on the first Sunday in June every year. A search on Udder Century McHenry County should get you to the web site but obviously it is too early to get information about next year.

I’m in Crystal Lake too, Julie. It is flatter here than parts of Iowa for sure but you can get some hills riding the back roads of northern McHenry county and on the bike trail heading north out of Crystal Lake. There are those short and brutally steep hills through Sterne’s woods. You need to be careful with the brakes on the way down them but they will give your legs a challenge on the way up and honing your breaking skills is good too, just approach that with caution until you become comfortable with them. And then continue to be cautious because reckless teens on skateboard will come at you from the other way and wildlife will dart out across your path!

Another hilly route nearby is off the bike trail south out of Crystal Lake in Algonquin. If you ever go that way you probably get to the point where it crosses old 31 and look at Huntington Drive across the new 31 bypass where the two join right there and think “I’m glad I’m not going that way!”. Well, wait for the light and go that way! When you get to the top head over to the loop formed by Zange and Surrey. I go down the hill on Zange then back around on Surrey and down Zange again. This time I continue on Zange to Harper and then across Edgewood to Cardinal. Climb the hill on Cardinal to Gaslight then take the loop formed by Gaslight and Springhill and return the way you came. This time climb the hill on Zange and work your way back down to the foot of the hill on Huntington. Do it again if you’ve got anything left. I’ve even done it three times! That’ll get you more than ready for RAGBRAI hills which are mostly fairly tame if numerous. Some Iowa hills are quite wild but they are relatively few and you can walk them if you need to.

Friday and Saturday are going to give us a chance to ride in the heat and get used to it. Be sure to take advantage. And for those who don’t live in NW suburban Chicago and cannot take this advice verbatim, the general principles apply. Ride the hills you can find near you. Ride in headwinds. Ride in hot weather. Ride when it is humid. RAGBRAI is not a terribly difficult ride because each day is a bunch of short rides with stops in towns where you can relax, cool down, fuel up, and just enjoy Iowa’s rural towns. Toughening yourself up in advance of the ride just makes it easier and more enjoyable and for newbies helps allay the anxieties which will prove to be groundless once you start the ride. It’s gonna be great, trust me!

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