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RAGBRAI is over, now what?

  • 27 July, 2009
  • TJ Juskiewicz

dmrdc5-5q9769mjwif1jn6rx7xp_original1After RAGBRAI is over I always notice a lot less bike traffic on the bike trails around Des Moines.   I suspect a lot of people make it through RAGBRAI and then hang up their bikes for the season.  I hope that’s not the case with you.    You now are in the best shape of the year after having ridden hundreds of miles this past week.  This is when riding gets fun – the more fit you are, the easier and more enjoyable riding becomes.  Don’t let this fitness go to waste (or should I say waist?).    Try to keep riding and maybe you will find some new challenges to take on.   Here are some ideas to consider to keep riding and to enjoy your current fitness level.

Keep Riding:  While you don’t need to ride as much as you have in preparation for RAGBRAI, set a goal to ride a certain number of days or miles per week.  Maintaining your fitness is a whole lot easier than gaining it, so by continuing to ride, you will maintain the ability to ride fairly long distances.

Look for Other Rides:  Look for other rides to take part in.  If you really enjoyed the RAGBRAI experience, look for other organized rides.  There are several multi-day rides available this summer and fall, and an abundance of single day rides.  After conquering RAGBRAI, you can take on any other ride with confidence.  Check at your local bike shop or go online and search for bike tours.  One word of caution: whatever ride you do, it won’t be like RAGBRAI, because it’s one of a kind!

Set your sights on 2010:  If this was your first RAGBRAI, hopefully you plan to come back next year, stronger and faster.   Cycling fitness, especially endurance, can be built over a period of years, if you keep at it and don’t hang your bike up until next year.   Keep riding and stay active through the winter and begin riding earlier next spring and you will find yourself riding even stronger than this year.

Set some goals:  Nothing motivates like having goals.  Your participation in RAGBRAI is a good example.  It forced you to ride in preparation.  Consider other rides, or if you have a competitive streak, consider preparing for a race, or branch out and try a triathlon.   Consider making a goal to ride a certain number of miles this year.    Whatever goal you make, it will help you to be motivated to continue riding and improving your fitness.

Thanks for reading these training articles.  I enjoyed meeting and talking with some of you at the Expo last Saturday.   I hope they helped you prepare.   Stay tuned and watch for more RAGBRAI training blogs throughout the year and through the winter to give you additional ideas and motivation to keep going and to prepare for next year.

Coach David Ertl

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach and owner of Cyclesport Coaching (www.CyclesportCoaching.com) . He coaches individual cyclists, the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and the JDRF Greater Iowa Chapter for the Ride to Cure Diabetes.  He can be contacted at Coach@CyclesportCoaching.com .   


  1. John

    Coach Dave,

    Great advice. I have a recommendation for the folks who are now in great shape and can sit upong the comfortable bicycle seat for more than a couple of hours – The Hotter N Hell 100 in Wichita Falls, TX on August 29. See http://www.hh10.org for more details.

  2. Lauren

    Bike commute, bike commute, bike commute!

    Biking isn’t just a sport, it is a great mode of transportation. I can think of no better way to integrate exercise into daily life. Global warming, obesity epidemic- there are so many good reasons to turn your RAGBRAI bike into your daily ride. Try it! After RAGBRAI, it’ll feel like nothing!

  3. Roxanna Sieber

    I’ve posted 5 photo albums full of pictures from RAGBRAIs visit to Villisca on my facebook page – photos from the perspective of 5 different photographers. We had lots of fun having all you bikers visit us on the 20th – we hope you will come back to see us again – and not wait for RAGBRAI to pass through again. Roxanna Sieber, Villisca RAGBRAI co-chair

  4. Barb bentz

    Can anyone view these photo?????

  5. Rosy Dampf

    Hi This is a wonderful website and found the entry intriging,this will improve my cycling especially when im working out,cycling is the sport and no wonder why it has grown in the last 20 years.

  6. Jeannie

    What an aesmwoe way to explain this—now I know everything!

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