RAGBRAI Training: Consecutive Days of Riding
by Coach David Ertl
One thing that is unique about RAGBRAI from many other tours is that this ride is seven days long. Therefore, one thing you need to be prepared for is being able to ride for seven days in a row. It’s great if you can ride for 60 or more miles in one day, but you will need to be able to do this day after day. This requires a slightly different type of fitness than being able to ride strongly for just one day. It requires a little different form of endurance. So here are a few tips to help you be able to keep going day after day.
First, you will want to get out and ride back to back rides during your preparation for RAGBRAI. If you work during the week, then weekends are the obvious time to do this. Go for a long ride on Saturday and then turn around and do another long ride Sunday. You should practice eating and rehydrating on Saturday night so that you increase the odds of feeling better the next day. One of the best ways to sabotage your recovery is to not eat well or rehydrate every day. Lack of fluids or energy can really drain you and make the next day torture. Once you get used to riding for two or more days in a row, you may find that your body actually starts feeling better on the third day or so. It’s like your body eventually concedes to the fact that it is giong to have to wake up and go every day.
To add to the effect, you can get out and do a ride Friday night and then do two long rides on Saturday and Sunday to acclimate your body to three days. Another option is to do a multi-day tour prior to doing RAGBRAI. There are a number of organized tours that are 3-5 days long. These will give you a great experience and training for seven day tour. 400+ miles in a week is a very long way to ride. The more experience you can get, the better prepared you will be, especially if you haven’t done RAGBRAI previously.
Another thing you can do is to try to ride as many days during the work week and then do longer rides on the weekends. If you can hook together four or five days of consecutive days of riding, even if they arre only 10-15 miles during the work week, that will help give your some experience with multidays of riding.
The other thing to keep in mind is not to ride too fast or hard during RAGBRAI. If you work really hard on one day you may not be able to recover fully for the next day and then you begin digging yourself into a hole that you may never get out of for the remainder of RAGBRAI. So I’m giving you permission to ride as your comfortable pace. Believe me, just doing this will result in feeling much better throughout the seven days of RAGBRAI.
Coach David Ertl
David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach and Personal Trainer. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team, the Iowa JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes Team, the Above & Beyond Cancer RAAM Team, and he coaches individual cyclists. He also provides cycling training plans and ebooks at his website: http://www.CyclesportCoaching.com . He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org