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Training break.

So far this season I have about 900 miles in the seat, I am fortunate to be able to winter where its warm and will probably have another 900 miles by April. The problem is that I have to take six weeks off starting in late April. No bikes but plenty of walking in the time off. I should be back in the saddle the second week of June. Is this going to be a problem or should I be able to do Ragbrai?

7 Replies

jelly0317, October 18, 2021 at 3:57 pm

You’ll be fine.


LawnchairMan, October 18, 2021 at 5:05 pm

It’s hard to evaluate your projected fitness level with the information given. Ragbrai training coaches usually advise you to do 1000 miles before the start of Ragbrai, but that’s over three months. Cramming that into five or six weeks would be tough. Were I in your place I would start with 75 miles the first week and up it 25 each week. I think that would give you 625 miles in five weeks. It’s not a thousand, but it’s reasonable, and you don’t want to burn yourself out.
This is without considering your Winter / Spring training. If you can do more than 900 miles at that time, then more of your conditioning will carry over your break. The walking will help too. You will do a lot of that at Ragbrai.
It also depends on how you do Ragbrai. Have you done it before? Routes are officially open 12 hours each day, so you could break each into 15-mile chunks with a rest between. I recommend riding with a club to get used to riding with others. Pacelines aren’t advised at Ragbrai, but even one person ahead of you can shield you from some of the headwinds. Typical Ragbrai average speeds are ten to twelve mph, so you should find others riding your speed.
So, without knowing more, I’d say that you could do it. The more training you get the easier and enjoyable Ragbrai will feel. Good luck!

This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by LawnchairMan.


Larry Klaaren, October 19, 2021 at 9:05 am

You’ll be fine. I have never had more than 400 miles before the start of RAGBRAI, and can do training rides only on Wednesdays and Sundays, and I don’t really get all that fatigued on the ride. I am 67 years old. You may need to take a break in the middle of a long, hot, hilly, day, but if you are in that kind of shape going into the break, I think you will be able to get right back in shape fairly quickly. Will you be able to do core work during your sabbatical from riding? I believe having a strong core is a huge help when piling up miles.

This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Larry Klaaren.


Dusty Ayers, November 29, 2021 at 4:46 pm

Base fitness and ability to sit on your bike are the keys to a happy ride. Sounds like you’ll be fine. I never go into Ragbrai with a 1000 miles under my tires and I feel fine. Just pay attention to your body and make sure you’re comfortable and you’ll do fine.

P.S. I live where it’s cold and biking before April isn’t even an option! No worries!

This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by Dusty Ayers.


stevecycles200, November 30, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Some great points by others already. I would add, if you can’t ride your bike, would you have access to a gym with spin bikes where you can get some saddle time in? In addition, when you do get back on your bike pay attention to contact points. Feet, butt, and hands. If those are comfortable you will be able to ride longer and stronger than if they are not. If not, seriously consider a professional bike fit. Give yourself every possible advantage.


Jboz, December 1, 2021 at 6:48 am

My guess is somewhere between maybe and probably. All depends on how quickly your personal bike fitness level bounces back. How fast that happens is highly individualistic and variable based on many factors including age, general health, acquired fitness and natural athleticism. You will know for sure within a couple of weeks of getting back on the bike. If you determine you won’t be ready, you won’t have any trouble selling your wristband.


hnschipper, December 1, 2021 at 7:32 am

In 2016, I broke my right thumb, tote a ligament and did all sorts of soft tissue damage to my right hand in a bicycle accident over Memorial Day weekend. I had to have surgery to have a pin out in my thumb. I had to take a 5 week break from the bike before I was able to get back in the bike. By the time I could get back on the bike, it was just a few weeks before RAGBRAI. I rode every mile (with my right thumb in a splint.) The 5 week break didn’t really seem to have that big of an effect on me.


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