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Training check for a RAGBRAI newbie

Hey, all — first time doing RAGBRAI, so I was wondering if experienced people could say whether I’m on-track or not for training.

I should hit 900 miles by the end of June, and ~1300 before RAGBRAI. This past weekend was:

Sat: 30.0 miles, 2:33:00, 11.8 avg mph, 514 ft climb (solo bike)
Sun: 47.8 miles, 3:51:55, 12.4 avg mph, 2,005 ft climb (tandem)

My wife and I will be riding our tandem, so Sunday is more accurate. She’s a stronger cyclist than I am, lucky for me. :)

Mostly I’m worried about hills — the last day looks horrifying, but I figure, enh, if we have to walk the 8% grades, fine, whatevs. :)

6 Replies

Luv 2 Ski, June 13, 2017 at 9:27 am

You should be fine miles wise. I would recommend trying to ride as many miles together on the tandem between now and RAGBRAI, and getting at least one or two high millage rides in the 70-80 range on the tandem.

Also train some hills on the tandem. I too have ridden a tandem on RAGBRAI and as you know climbing is different than on a single. My son and I practiced standing during our training which came in handy at times. For most people I do not recommend it but if you can coordinate getting out of the saddle it may come in handy in the hills of eastern Iowa. If not just gear down and use those very low gears which I am sure your tandem has.

Have a great ride.


David Leung, June 13, 2017 at 9:57 am

Got it. July’s weekend plans are 55/25, 65/30, and 75/50 miles. The 65 and final 50 are doing variants on the Sunday ride (2005 foot climb).

We’ve thought about trying to stand while pedalling, but I’m not super comfortable doing that on my solo, soooo yeaaaah. On Sunday, we, ah, verified that our lowest gear works! :)

Oh right, and normally weekend rides are on the tandem. Saturday was an anomaly — I had a morning thing but was free in the afternoon, but my wife’s schedule was the reverse, so we went out on our solos.

Thanks for the feedback!


Ron Dickinson, June 15, 2017 at 2:26 pm

You have plenty of miles. I usually try for 1000 before RAGBRIA, but sometimes only have 750.

This is a easy route except for the last day.

Someone who is in reasonable shape can do anything for one day.

I have ridden mountain passes for 14 miles. It’s all about pace. Just get into a steady cadence and keep your heart rate down.


David Leung, January 3, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Actually, we did very well last year. Unfortunately, I can’t return this year because I’ll be training for the NYC marathon, but my wife will be back, and we’re looking forward to another tandem RAGBRAI.

We also met many tandem teams out there, so that was pretty inspiring. :)


ESchiers, January 8, 2018 at 9:24 pm

Tandem riders are one of my favorite things about Ragbai. Last year, there was a team with two sock monkeys on the back of their own tandem bike wearing the same matching jerseys as the bike riders. So this made a tandem on a tandem! Gotta love it!


sdickes, January 25, 2018 at 10:12 am

Biking is great cross training for running. I’ve done several RAGBRAIs while training for fall marathons and have never felt like my training has really suffered. You can always run before or after the days ride or just take a mental break from running and enjoy the ride. Not trying to pressure you to do the ride, just saying that it is possible if you want to. Either way, congrats on getting chosen for the NYC Marathon and good luck!


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