Getting miles in

Every year I struggle with getting enough miles in. I get up about 4:30 and go to the gym during the week. Then work until 4:30 at the job. By the time I get home and make even a small supper, I am too tired to go for a ride. I have tried to ride right after work and then make supper but that gets late since I go to bed at 9. Weekends are my days to ride. Of course I fit it in with laundry, and other household chores. :(

Last week I rode my bike to work which is about 7 miles round trip. At least I am getting some seat time in! So 2 questions. How do other people with a schedule like mine get miles in? And is 7 miles a day considered junk miles that won’t help?

And yes, this is not my first rodeo. This will be my 18th RAGBRAI and last year I did make it on 350 training miles.

Sheesh, I am really whiney today! Sorry.

126 Replies

Brian Wallenburg, June 17, 2016 at 9:22 pm

Here’s a nice easy read about cadence. We all fit into 4 categories according to this guy.


Sexton, June 17, 2016 at 10:24 pm

Spring came late to New England. I’ve only been out 21 rides for a total of 746 miles. This was my best week yet, 144 miles in 4 days.


T. Gap Woo, June 18, 2016 at 11:55 pm

Sandaltan: A trip to the Woo family rest stop known as WooDog’s Pub & Grub will set you up in good shape for RAGBRAI. Beer was cold, burger was good and people are friendly.

Thanks for helping me find a long-lost member of the Woo family. Of course, the people are friendly! One would expect no less from a Woo. I noticed that Orion IL, home of WooDog’s Pub & Grub, is just a stone’s throw off of I-80, my gateway entrance into Iowa, and just a short distance from my favorite wine shop in LeClaire IA. Mrs. Woo and I will definitely stop by this year, once westbound and once eastbound.

I apologize for not replying to your post earlier, but I was offline this past week. Our four little Woo’s flew in from CA, NC, FL and PA with my three Woo granddaughters for a Father’s Day surprise week. We started making plans for RAGBRAI in 2031, when the grandchildren will be old enough to ride RAGBRAI with me. We’ve already reserved the name “Team Pop Pop” for the occasion. Training has already started with tricycles and will commence in earnest once they can reach the pedals of a two-wheeler!

See you along the I-O-Way next month.


Sandaltan ., June 19, 2016 at 11:37 am

T. Tag Woo: Happy to assist the Woo family in fleshing out the family tree. Congratulations on your wisdom of scattering your children across the U.S.A. which allows you and Mrs. Woo bed and board in CA and FL in winter, PA in summer and NC for the in-between seasons, an ideal selection. Although I would advise rain gear for NC in the fall when at times, a weather system syphons moisture out of the Atlantic and like a conveyor system dumps rain for days on NC. We rode two Cycle North Carolina some years ago and found days of rain not to our liking.

Training? We biked 82 miles yesterday with 2700 of our bacon loving friends on BACoon Ride Tres and consider ourselves ready for RAGBRAI.



Gthomp0419, June 20, 2016 at 6:46 pm

Ive been riding in the heat here in St. Louis. I pushed myself too hard one day and it hurt. The next day it was hotter and i didn’t push as hard and was fine. I usually do 40 – 50 miles a day.


jwsknk, June 21, 2016 at 8:22 am

Missouri was hot last week, did Big BAM temps from 91 to 97 from what I could find in the weather history for those towns. Somebodys computer had over 100 several times but that was probably heat bouncing back up off of some nice black roads,


Gthomp0419, June 21, 2016 at 8:38 am

What part of Missouri? St. Louis here.


jwsknk, June 21, 2016 at 8:50 am

St. Joe on June 12 and traveling east to spend the following nights in Hamilton, Chillicothe, Brookfield, Macon, and Shelbina. Then, on June 17, we ride into Hannibal, back and forth over and on 36. I ended up with 316 miles over the 6 days. Sever from St. Louis did the ride.


Nico ZZZ, June 21, 2016 at 9:23 am

In 2014 I had a tender left hamstring that was a concern. If I stayed in the saddle on the tougher climbs it started “talking to me,” So I would stand up and mash hard up the hills, and feel the burn of my quads. Not what I wanted to do, but with a tender hamstring, it was my “workaround.”
Training (core) better this year, and have been doing serious stretching exercises daily, as well as foam rolling the legs and back every morning, every evening and before and after workouts/riding, so I am hoping to stay in the saddle longer with a faster cadence up the hill. And yes, a faster cadence is definitely easier on my knees.


KenH, June 21, 2016 at 11:34 am

cyduke: Tomorrow is Horribly Hilly Hundreds at Blue Mounds, WI. 200k, 11700 feet of climbing. It will be my 6th time riding the event. If if can do okay tomorrow I think we’ll be close to ready for RAGBRAI.

Don’t keep us in suspense, how’d you do??? I’d say that anyone who can ride the H^3 is indeed ready for RAGBRAI. I’ve looked at some of those events in SW Wisconsin and have wondered if I could complete even the shortest loops they offer. It is truly lovely country to drive or ride through however.


KenH, June 22, 2016 at 8:45 am

brian wallenburg: Here’s a nice easy read about cadence. We all fit into 4 categories according to this guy.

Thanks, that article puts a very different spin on cadence for us weekend warrior RAGBRAI types! While your overall efficiency may be higher at a low cadence and while that might seem like the best place to ride for an endurance effort like RAGBRAI the comments about fat burning versus glycogen burning are more telling and his comments are supported by other sources. I did not know this before but slow twitch muscles prefer to get their energy by burning fat and except for those of us who may have an eating disorder we have a large supply of energy stored in fat cells. Fast twitch muscles burn glycogen and your supply of that is limited to what you’ve recently eaten has supplied and so must be constantly replenished. By eating pie of course! Now this article was focused on triathletes and the typical RAGBRAI rider’s eating schedule is far different from a triathlete’s during a race but fat burning mode is a good mode to stay in most of the time even during RAGBRAI.

The paradoxical thing is that even though low cadences might seem the best way to most fully engage your slow twitch muscles and suppress your fast twitch muscle activity, the higher pedal forces you need at a lower cadence results in a greater engagement of your fast twitch muscles than you get at cadences in the 80 to 90 rpm range which is still within the capability of your fat burning slow twitch muscles.

I’m convinced. If you monitor your cadence then it looks like a good strategy to stay in the 80 to 90 range as much as you can. Save the high force, low cadence riding for when you really need to accelerate or climb an exceptionally difficult hill. Spend your fat energy profligately and your glycogen energy miserly!!


CyclingCyclone, June 23, 2016 at 8:48 am

Ken H, Horribly Hilly was tough as usual. It took us 8:36 to ride the 200k with almost 11,000 feet of climbing. The final climb up to blue mounds is 3.4 miles, avg 5% for 837 feet. Although the first mile is less than 5%, the remainder is well over 5% with some sections double digits, and the last kilometer is over 8%.
The SW area of Wisconsin has many challenging areas to ride it’s truly spectacular. I wish the RAGBRAI Gods-Goddesses would route the ride through the NE part of Iowa to get a taste of the driftless region.
I think I’m ready for my 33rd RAGBRAI now.


KenH, June 23, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Yeah, it took me 8 hours last September to do 160 km and 2800 feet and I’d had no trouble with RAGBRAI a few weeks before that. I’d say you are ready! My motorhome complains about that climb but we love staying there. We did a short driftless tour last fall staying in Governor Dodge and Pike’s Peak on the Iowa side of the Mississippi for a night each and then a couple of nights in the Decorah city campground. We had a fabulous time and the views were gorgeous. It would make a nice area to route RAGBRAI through assuming us mere mortals could take the climbing. Decorah has been an overnight town three times, V, XXI, and XXVII which ended in Lansing, Dubuque, and Bellevue but you probably were on the last two unless you skipped those years. But of course they skirted the area, only a route from Decorah ending between Lansing and Guttenberg would likely take in much of it. We got a taste in 2014. Decorah would make a nice gateway to a route through the area but they hold their Nordic Fest at the same time which is perhaps why RAGBRAI has not been through there in a while.


Amanda, June 24, 2016 at 7:53 am

Rode 40 miles last night after work! Was fun but now I am suffering from a rash – thought I had blisters – on my lower cheek region.Not sure if its the shorts or the seat or the fact I really pushed myself. :(


Michrider !!!, June 24, 2016 at 9:13 am

Amanda: Rode 40 miles last night after work! Was fun but now I am suffering from a rash – thought I had blisters – on my lower cheek region.Not sure if its the shorts or the seat or the fact I really pushed myself.

Princess Amanda, will you be posting pictures???


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