RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

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?

48 Replies

tryan, May 4, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Early or Late? That’s an interesting concept. When to depart sounds like it may be important to the expectaion and eventually the enjoyment. If speed is an issue I recommend leaving early. On a ride like this, I like to interact, not prove my mettle. Is an early or late departure better than going with the croud if your goal is to meet people and enjoy the experience?

I think i will wing it and hope for the best. In my experience the people who do this sort of thing (regardless of expertise) are exceptional examples of well developed homo-sapians (humbble sic) and i personally have never had a bad experience in dealing with other bikers (not the motorized version) even under the most trying of circumstances.

With that mind set i will embrace every encounter. HA Ha hA – well developed my A__

#201372

tryan, May 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm

I cannot believe that H O M O as in homo-sapian would get censored. My G O D how far can PC go?

#201385

Michael Knapp, May 5, 2012 at 12:58 am

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that whether we leave early or late, ride fast or slow, we always seem to be traveling with a lot of the same people. It’s like our bio-rythms are linked somehow. Anybody else experience this? Or is it just the beer clogging my memories?

#201460

Tony, May 5, 2012 at 5:47 am

The ride is officially from 6am to 6pm.So do the math. Mileage divided by 12hrs. That will give you your minimum overall average speed for the day. If the day is 60 miles. Then you must maintain 5mph or greater to get in with the allotted 12 hours. It also means if your average in saddle speed is 15mph. You will have 4 hours on the saddle. Leaving you 8 hours to explore the pass thru towns. My suggestion is to ride at a mid pace. To leave you more time in the towns.

#201745

knees36, May 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

BigBird:
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that whether we leave early or late, ride fast or slow, we always seem to be traveling with a lot of the same people.It’s like our bio-rythms are linked somehow.Anybody else experience this? Or is it just the beer clogging my memories?

What you say is very true Big Bird. I’ve seen this guy with pink hair quite often during the day’s ride and wondered to myself, “Who is this guy in pink?” Now I know, ha!!! Personally, I don’t stand out in a crowd in any way (fairly conservative in my cycling “appearance”), but I’ll be sure to come up and say “hi” to you this year on “theeee ride.” Cheers. :-D

#201803

Michael Knapp, May 5, 2012 at 8:17 am

Geez. I thought pink on RAGBRAI was being conservative. See you in July.

#201827

jwsknk, May 5, 2012 at 8:18 am

BigBird:
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that whether we leave early or late, ride fast or slow, we always seem to be traveling with a lot of the same people.It’s like our bio-rythms are linked somehow.Anybody else experience this? Or is it just the beer clogging my memories?
See some of the people every year and only on RAGBRAI A. Batty from Hells Kitchen , people with pink boas or a trail of pink feathers. My usual day is 9-7. Getting into towns just before they close down, especially.late in the day. If the road starts to get too crowded, that’s a sign we need to hole up someplace for awhile.

#201830

knees36, May 5, 2012 at 9:04 am

BigBird:
Geez.I thought pink on RAGBRAI was being conservative. See you in July.

I must really be getting old…that’s probably IT! Cheers 8-O

#201863

Michrider !!!, May 5, 2012 at 10:58 am

On RAGBRAI average speed means nothing to me! I just try to take my time, not complain about lines, be pleasant, and have fun! !!!!

#202043

SFC JKL 2, May 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Depending on the wind and number of hills, I average somewhere between 10-25 MPH. You have all day to get there. I’ll just say a big rookie mistake is riding to fast and not stopping to check out every town or other points of interest along the way. You have all day to get to the next overnight town.

Traffic will slow you down a little in the morning but spreads out as the day goes on. Ride whatever is safe to you.

#202137

Paul, May 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Hi,
I think the main thing to consider is that if you are going as fast as you can manage, you might well be going too fast given the crowds. There will be a fair number of folks who will be going faster than their skills can handle and they will be relying on everybody else to lookout for them.

If you preplan to dial it back, especially later in the day or if it is hot or a headwind, you will probably see multiple times during the week that you just kept yourself out of trouble.

One fun thing to do if you get in early is to station yourself on the route and watch others as they roll into town. lots of them look completely dazed and on automatic pilot.

People especially get tunnel vision on the last day.

See you on the ride!

#202184

Michrider !!!, May 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Paul, excellent points! One more thing to remember, lots of riders will have enjoyed a few beverages on the Kurbs!!!!! This year I’d like to carry on a conversation with at least one newby/virgin every day! Have fun and stay safe!!!!

#202216

skh, May 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm

thinking i’d be more concerned about how i’d slept the night before….just sayin’…

#202217

Greg, May 7, 2012 at 7:46 am

It’s my first RAGBRAI.

For normal cycling I love to break out, ride fast, and crank out the miles at top speed.

But I won’t be doing that at RAGBRAI. I’ll be taking it easy, making a lot of stops. Chatting with other riders. Getting to know people. Sitting & talking with old guys. Laughing & dancing with the pretty girls. Eating at the kid’s table. Laughing & dancing with the pretty girls some more :). Sitting in the shade with a cold drink.

Least that’s my plan. You want to crank out 20-22mph avg speeds over the week, I definitely understand the impulse, and the road is yours. :)

#203918

Sandaltan ., May 7, 2012 at 7:59 am

Virgin Greg has it figured out.

RIDE RIGHT

#203932

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