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RAGBRAI – It’s not (only) about the bike

  • 19 July, 2021
  • Andrea Parrott

Well RAGBRAI is almost here.  Hopefully these training blogs have helped you prepare for the ride.  But if you only read these you might get the impression that RAGBRAI is all about the bike and the ride,  being fit so you can complete the ride as comfortably as possible.   While that is certainly true, that is far from the whole truth. You see, RAGBRAI is a long bike tour (not a race), but it is so much more. These training tips are really about making your ride as enjoyable and pain-free as possible so that you can enjoy all the other fun and amazing aspects as possible. I’ve even said that the bike riding is just something to do in between visits to all that the towns along the way have to offer.

There is so much more to RAGBRAI that just the riding.  There is the great Iowa scenery you will miss if you ride with your head down all the time. Take time to look around.  The pass-through and overnight towns go out of their way to come up with all sorts of fun entertainment as well as all sorts of food and beverage options. Then there are the other riders. They come from all over the country and all over the world. Take time to chat with people you are riding with out on the road. You may be amazed who you run into. Everyone has a story, so find out what some of them are. If you just ride RAGBRAI like a race, you will miss out on what RAGBRAI is really about and what makes it so different and special from other bike rides. So take your time, enjoy the true spirit of RAGBRAI.  Your fitness should get you through the riding part so you can enjoy the rest of RAGBRAI.

Have a great RAGBRAI and thanks for reading – Coach David Ertl

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 Coach. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team  and individual cyclists through the Peaks Coaching Group. He also provides cycling training plans and ebooks at his website: www.cyclesportcoaching.com. He can be contacted at cyclecoach@hotmail.com .



  1. Pruiz

    My brother and I are interested in riding this for the first time in 2022. What is the best training when you live in a cold climate and don’t ride in the winter. Is cross country skiing mixed with gym time sufficient until the weather warms enough to be out on the bike again?

    Thanks for any tips

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