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Training is overrated

So, I’m a 50ish guy, did about 150 miles of training this year before RAGBRAI, and did every mile and every hill of RAGBRAI, and felt – NOTHING! I don’t get it. I wasn’t sore or beat, or anything. I just went out, did my miles, came into camp, took a shower, socialized, had dinner, and that was it. I was surprised myself, but I really did nothing special for RAGBRAI and was worried. I had a massage one night (made the appointment before RAGBRAI, and the masseuse thought it odd that I had nothing special to work on).

Oh well. Count my blessings I guess.

26 Replies

CyclingRoberto, August 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm



spaul, August 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm

You must be in good shape from doing other activities. One member of my group who run marathons but doesn’t bike much also seemed to breeze through the Ragbrai riding except for a little bit of sore butt.


Anonymous, August 1, 2011 at 9:10 pm

It is possible to manage the whole week without training…if you have been a long time cyclist, trained 10’s of thousands of miles in the early years (20’s, 30’s, 40’s) and know in your head that you can do it..and cycle along at 10mph..When did you leave in the AM and when did you roll into the overnight?


sestrain, August 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm


I’m sure you started out in pretty good shape.  When I was a younster of 50, I was in better shape than I am now.  Just wait, old age sneeks up on you very quickly.  Right, Mich?


TXBob, August 2, 2011 at 4:42 am

My elapsed time average was about 10 mph – that includes stops, etc. My moving average (according to my bike computer) was about 13.4 mph. I left every AM around 6:20am – 6:50am to beat the heat. I did not go fast. I tried to pace myself and enjoy the ride. In past years I pushed myself, but for what? To get to the overnight and then just hang out? This year I got to the overnights around 1:00 – 1:30pm. 

The only thing that bothered me was the back of my neck.
I guess its a good idea to train, I was just surprised at how little my lack of training affected me. I really expected to be sore and exhausted.
Maybe there’s something in beer and pie to protect us and speed recovery!!!


John L, August 2, 2011 at 5:04 am

TX good for you! I rode 1700 miles, loved all of it. I had a great excuse and had tons of people pulling for me. I too left early, took my time, too.  I talked to plenty of people that trained like you did and they suffered. Maybe you have the Ragbrai gene.  Keep it up, see you next year.


CyclingRoberto, August 2, 2011 at 5:57 am

15000 riders, 14000 bikers, 1000 cyclists.  I train because I love the bike.  RAGBRAI is after all still a bike ride.


ts, August 2, 2011 at 6:49 am

TXBob said: So, I’m a 50ish guy, did about 150 miles of training this year before RAGBRAI, and did every mile and every hill of RAGBRAI,…

I’m happy for you and I hope you had a good time, but I’m puzzled about one thing.  Since you obviously don’t care much for bike riding, what attracted you to RAGBRAI in the first place?


Satman, August 2, 2011 at 8:17 am

I did TOSRV (2-days, 105 miles each) in May with 31 training miles in.
I slept well, was a little stiff, but not sore.  I had done some spinning and yoga over the winter ~ but went to this ride pretty scared.  The cold, wet spring, and
being very busy at work kept me off the road and away from training.

In earlier years biking, I’ve been ‘wounded’ by shorter rides.  Conclusion,
my ‘active lifestyle’ and past training enabled me to survive well on TOSRV.
I’m not counting on that in the future.  I’m 55 ~ now back to training!!


deffan, August 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm

TXBob said: My elapsed time average was about 10 mph – that includes stops, etc. My moving average (according to my bike computer) was about 13.4 mph. I left every AM around 6:20am – 6:50am to beat the heat. I did not go fast. 

Just proves any yahoo can finish this ride if you have ALL DAY to do it. The biggest challenge of RAGBRAI seems to be riding all day with a stomach full of pie or under the influence of alcohol. Hills, heat, humidity, and wind all can impose a challenge but not so much if you are going 10-13 mph. Way to go finishing the ride but don’t try to convince me that training is “overrated.” 


WILLLIKESJAVA, August 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I enjoy riding so I enjoy training. Your statement makes no sense  to me TxBob. 

Kind of like saying that all the sex I had trying to have a child was over rated becuase it only really to one time to make it happen.


Jos, August 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I never “train”  I just ride as much as I can because I love my bikes…


TXBob, August 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I enjoy cycling as much as anyone. Too bad I have a demanding boss, children and only 24 hours in a day. In other years, I did get closer to 1000 miles; this year circumstances were such that it was impossible. This was my 6th RAGBRAI, and I totally plan on being back next year and as long as I can.

I did it at my own pace, stopped, enjoyed Iowa and had fun.
I was just surprised at how little pain I had given my tiny amount of training.


WILLLIKESJAVA, August 2, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Now that I understand, I have similar issues with work and family.  Luckily for me I have access to a shower at work so I get in a lot of ride time by commuting part way to work.  Driving on the interstate, then parking and riding through town.  While it’s not as much fun as a full Saturday on the bike, it is nice time saver.  What takes me 18 minutes in a car only takes me 28 minutes on the bike, theoretically only adding 10 minutes to my commute.


Blumblebees, August 15, 2011 at 9:52 am

For someone like me training is not over rated. Granted I’m not doing RAGBRAI till next year but right now walking up a flight of stairs has me winded. Would it not be advisable for me to train? I plan to pace myself and enjoy each town and the good folks of Iowa. Those who rush through miss so much. My favorite times where when I would stop on the roadside between towns and catch some shade with fellow riders and just talk for a half hour or so before hopping back on the bike and continuing on. 


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