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Newbie help!!!

Hello,
I want to do my first Ragbrai this year and am looking for a little training and equipment help.
I am a 54 year old male, walk 3 to 4 miles everyday. I rode the last day last year, and want to ride the whole thing this year with my sons. First, what is a recommedation for training regiment, and as I get older, the ground gets farther away, so what would be a good bike, possible recumbent so I don’t hit the ground as hard!! This is on my bucket list, so I probably wouldn’t keep the bike after the race. I rode one day lasy year on a mountain bike!

11 Replies

Tony, January 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I’m with the Quad Cities Bicycle Club. If you live near the Quad Cities we will be having training rides for RAGBRAI. We also will be having a free RAGBRAI for Rookies Seminar. This is the article copied from our news letter.

The Quad Cities Bicycle Club will hold another “RAGBRAI for Rookies” seminar from 1:30 to 4PM, March 3 at the Davenport Public Library, 6000 Eastern Ave., Davenport, to help riders prepare for the event. Veteran riders and first timers are all welcome to share ideas and stories at the free event, which is open to the general public. Topics include preparation, training advice, luggage, logistics, safety, and maintenance. It will start with a short presentation followed with an open house. Guests can get individual attention on topics they have questions on. A multimedia slide presentation will share photos from past years. Refreshments will be served.

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kicks9, January 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Mountain bike would work fine, but change out the tires and wheels and get skinny road tires. Road bike would be best or recumbant, which ever is most comfortable. I have read in several places to shoot for 1000 miles before RAGBRAI. 1. to get your butt into shape literaly. You butt needs to be used to the saddle or you wont enjoy much at all. 2. practice some hills so they are not a suprise once you get there. Eat and hydrate and you should be fine. Its a ride not a race so take your time and enjoy it.

Kicks9

#7466

Mike H, January 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I did Ragbrai last year for the first time at age 65 riding a recumbent delta trike. Look at and follow the training blog! I rode 1500 miles before Ragbrai last year and was glade I did every mile. Training your butt is as important as trainingg your legs!! I made it to Davenport without any problems except for running out of beer money!

#7467

mjd1221, January 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Hi, Handyman –
Great decision! This is a nice thing to do with your sons…

I rode my first RAGBRAI six years ago at age 50. I don’t ride fast (avg. 14 mph) but I ride a lot. For my first year, I rode 1500 miles before RAGBRAI by commuting to work during the week and making longer rides on the weekend. My biggest challenge (and still is) is adapting to the heat, so it was important to me to gradually increase my ride time in the middle of the day.

I found a 15-week training schedule online and adapted it for my RAGBRAI goals. I kept a log to make myself accountable and to keep me motivated. I used the log again the next year, too, but I don’t use it anymore.

You can find it online at this location:
http://mollydaniel.net/bikes/_assets/2007log.xls

You can enjoy the ride more if you put the miles “in the bank.” Best wishes for safe and happy training.

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mentor58, January 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm

mjd1221 said: <<Snip>>  You can enjoy the ride more if you put the miles “in the bank.” Best wishes for safe and happy training.

Amen to that.  Believe it or not, those little 10 – 20 miles rides in the training schedule make a HUGE difference at the end.  One of the things that happens over time is a basic change in how your muscles process energy. (yes, gross oversimplfication, but close enough).   Ride, ride and ride some more.  You will get more out of 4 rides each week that are 1 hour long than 1 ride a week that’s 4 hours.  Your best benefits come from 1 or 2 longer rides (ideally on back to back days, that really stimulates the muscles), and a couple of shorter rides, maybe at a slightly quicker pace during the week.  Those help build speed, and speed translates into more miles with less efforts. 

Hill training is important, I live in a very flat part of TN, so I either have to hunt down hills, or fake it by dropping into a higher gear, dropping my cadence a bit and using that to simulate a hill.  Riding into good headwinds is also a good hill substitute.
I’ve looked at the training plan listed on the RAGBRAI site, and I really like it.  It’s nice in that it does have weeks where it backs the intensity off a bit, that is important to prevent over training, and you will be amazed how much of a difference it makes.  I know that it is now the key part of my training plan for the new year. (which starts this week btw)
Steve

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rawhiderider382, January 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Ditto on what Mentor58 posted, plus, I would highly encourage you to identify the bike you will ride ASAP, so you can start adapting to its fit and learning its performance characteristics while you add to your training miles. Road tires will be a plus, and road gearing is a plus, but of course, they are not an absolute requirement. A recumbent will have a different performance profile than the mountain bike you rode last year. Knowing your bike well, before you try to ride a week with 10,000 plus other cyclists, will be the one aspect of training that you do not want to overlook. Good luck and remember that the wind is your training partner.

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spongehenge, January 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Handyman, you are in for a good time. I did my first RAGBRAI (XXXVl) at age 60. I had about 1100 miles in before the event. I didn’t even own a bike when I signed up so my bike experience will be a lot like yours. I was tired but enjoyed every day. Watch this forum. Buried under a lot of fluff (or beer suds) you will find some very useful information. There are a lot of very experienced and knowledgable people that contribute to this forum-and then there is Mich.This will now be my fifth year of biking and my third RAGBRAI.

#7471

Just Krusin, January 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm

One training idea that I think is important is to get in few multi-day rides.  Don’t have to be organized rides but maybe Memorial Day weekend and 4th of July, ride after work on a Friday, then take off again on Saturday morning and again Sunday and then Monday, just to get the body used to day after day riding.  One rider some time ago even suggested sleeping in your tent for the night and then get up and pack everything like you would do on RAGBRAI and then do a decent ride.  Any riding will help.

#7472

CyclingRoberto, January 30, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Ride your face off between now and July and you’ll be fine.  Make sure to ride on some rainy days so you know what you might encounter.  Get a road bike.  I’m 10 years older than you and wouldn’t consider anything else.

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mentor58, January 30, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I didn’t see that you were thinking about switching over to a ‘bent (recumbent bike).  If so, I highly suggest getting it as early as possible.  ‘Bents use a different set of muscles than a traditional bike, and it takes a while to get your ‘bent legs’.  If you’re curious about bents, I highly suggest bentrideronline.com.  Check out their message board, it’s also a great place to meet some really great folks, and there are always people selling their old bents because they want something new.  I’ve gotten a couple from there, and never had a problem.

Steve

#7474

Michrider !!!, January 31, 2012 at 7:39 am

spongehenge said: Handyman, you are in for a good time. I did my first RAGBRAI (XXXVl) at age 60. I had about 1100 miles in before the event. I didn’t even own a bike when I signed up so my bike experience will be a lot like yours. I was tired but enjoyed every day. Watch this forum. Buried under a lot of fluff (or beer suds) you will find some very useful information. There are a lot of very experienced and knowledgable people that contribute to this forum-and then there is Mich.This will now be my fifth year of biking and my third RAGBRAI.

Hey, I resemble that comment, LMAO!!!!!

#7475

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