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San Diego Newbe

2014 will be my first RAGBRAI – i am fortunate to train all year round in San Diego – my first sport is running where i run many half marathons each year, i recently took up cycling – and i can do a 40-50 mile ride pretty comfortably – but a bit slower than most of the veterans. I spin once a week, and do a 30-60 mile ride each weekend – will i need to do any more training for RAGBRAI? I won’t do well with the humidity – so that i know will be a factor – what else should i be doing?

16 Replies

Paul, December 17, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Sounds like you should mostly just show up and have a blast.
See you on the ride!


Sandaltan ., December 17, 2013 at 7:58 pm

The cycling is all well and good, riders in their 80s complete this ride, but if you are going to ride with the real veterans you need to start pie training. One piece a day at first then two and keep at this until you can eat six pieces of pie between six am and six pm for a seven day period. Then, if your goal is to excel you need to move up to the ala mode level, one scoop at first then two scoops with that pie. Keep us informed of your progress.



zabo, December 17, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Your training regimen is similar to mine. I had no problem whatsoever last year, but I suffered through the unusually hot 2012 ride. The good news was that I don’t consider Iowa to be terribly humid compared to the coastal states, but I had never seen 103 degree weather until I moved to Iowa (I have been here 7 years).

I would keep up with the forum postings. The folks here are incredibly informative, friendly, extremely entertaining, and genuinely want to help. I think that the only thing that you will have to worry about is preparation, not training. Mich Rider, Sandaltan and others can provide a wealth of information. Watch the safety video, keep training, keep posting, and relax and enjoy the ride.


jwsknk, December 18, 2013 at 8:04 am

come summer, start doing a few of the longer rides back to back, maybe start with 30-40 miles on saturday and then again on Sunday. Then increase those and add a mid week 20-30 miler. If you can get up to 100 miles a week in in June and 200 a week for the first couple of july you would be in great shape. And don’t worry about yore speed, you have 12 “official” hours and there wull almost always be someone slower. Even an 80 mile day at 10 mph is only 8 hours on the bike , and I bet you averege well over that, I bet the average is around 15. And a lot of towns are only 10 miles apart.


Gockeye, December 18, 2013 at 11:39 am

Also, keep in mind that a day of riding on RAGBRAI is not necessarily like any of the training rides you will ever do.

I usually ride between 16 and 17 mph, but there have been days on RAGBRAI when I pull into the overnight town, look at my Cateye, and find that my moving average for the day was less than 12.

If you are in any kind of decent shape, you probably won’t wear yourself out riding a day of RAGBRAI.


jwsknk, December 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm

riding through a pass through town can really drop that average speed.


Ragbrai Nation, December 18, 2013 at 5:18 pm

The ultimate barometer to knowing if ur up to snuff is if you can ride either one of two ride tasks without ANYTHING hurting; They are:

1) Ride a century (100 mi.) ride, or…
2) Ride three, consecutive, 65 mi. rides in three days.

I might add, your bike, mechanically, should have no complaints either!


Pdiddly, December 19, 2013 at 9:51 am

San Diego Newbie, I think the above advise is all good. It sounds like you will be physically up to the task. The saddle time, I think, will be the big factor. You need to remember you will be riding 7 consecutive days, if you don’t take a day off (which many folks do).

If you are a CA native, the other factor that will be tough is if it is a typical hot and humid ride week. If you don’t have experience in this environment it can be an unpleasant surprise. But the great thing is you will have about 15,000 other folks all equally miserable but having a great time despite mother nature. If you are planning on the camping option getting a good nights sleep can be tough. Check out the advise on the Forum for a successful camping set up. A tent fan is essential for this.

Bottom line is you will have a hard time not having the time of your life! It is a great and epic event.


JoAnn, December 19, 2013 at 8:45 pm

thanks all!! i was born and raised in Iowa – Ragbrai came through my hometown in 1984 = and i have always wanted to do this ride. I will definitely get my miles in as suggested – i am looking at a charter service to pitch my tent, etc each night – any other help is appreciated – i am a mother of 3 (14, 11 and 2) and this may be the only time i really ever get to do this ride. So thank you all


Axiom 7, July 4, 2014 at 8:01 am

If you are from San Diego you are in the most humid place on earth. Everytime I go back there I can feel the humidity just crawling on me. Your training is a moot point. If you can ride 8-10 miles at a clip you are fine. When you hit a town every 8-10 miles you will get to walk your bike because you will hit a wall of people that you can’t go around. just walk through, get some water, hit the Farm Boys, stand in line and it will be like you are starting over again. I was overwhelmed by the numbers of people at that first town. You have in San Diego the same hills and humidity, maybe not the heat but it has only been in the 80’s along the route so far and actually dipping into the low 50’s at night. Leave the sleeping bag and bring a blanket and two sheets. Make sure your rain fly is a good one and put all your stuff in plastic trash bags at night as there is usually one night of heavy storms. Perry, Marshalltown, … Leave the arm and leg warmers home but get some sun sleeves as you are out for up to 8 hours, not riding, but just looking at the scenery and the towns, the history, the people. Good luck.


Dan Connolly, March 14, 2016 at 1:54 pm

Hi…last year I tried just the first day without the training background you have, though I have been a marathon and 10k runner in the past. First day was a hilly 78 miles, and it got warm near the end.

My biggest take away is to eat and drink more than you think you might need to do.
My longest ride was 38 miles 3-4 times in preparation and a 4-5 100 mile weeks, and I don’t ride all that fast (12-13 mph over the 78 miles).

I googled for cycling recovery and found a website dedicated to cycling (tune in to cycling, or something to that effect) that explained a great deal about eating, training and recovery. Especially on successive days of riding.


JoAnn, March 14, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Thanks – i never made it to the ride in 2014 or 2015 – but i am all signed up for 2016 – as its going back through my hometown. Very excited.


ppayne1959, April 1, 2016 at 11:52 am

Hey San Diego, welcome to RAGBRAI you will have a blast. I hope you like beer!

I lived in SD for about 9 years and was competing in amateur cycling when I was there. I used to train by riding the Strand. nothing but headwind in both directions. I loved riding there. I lived in Hillcrest and also used to ride up the hills from Old Town or Presidio Park for practice. Short but sweet climbs eh? Have fun this year.



BillSpriggs, May 7, 2016 at 8:17 pm

JoAnn, I wasn’t going to ride this year until I found out that the second overnight town is Creston, I still have family in Creston. Reading your posts you are way ahead of the curve with your training. Take your time and have a great ride.


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