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RAGBRAI Training: How Much Riding Should I Do to Prepare for RAGBRAI?

dmrdc5-5vhodltiazk1alit7h3i_originalby Coach David Ertl

This is probably the most common question I receive so chances are you have wondered about this as well.  I’ll start by giving my standard answer.  I suggest you get in about 1000 miles by the start of RAGBRAI.  That may sound like a lot, and it is, but you have about 10 weeks to get that in and that’s an average of 100 miles per week. If you follow my suggested training plan (https://ragbrai.com/2016/03/05/2016-ragbrai-annual-training-plan ) you will be able to accomplish this.

The reason for this amount of riding is that it will give you a really good base fitness for tackling RAGBRAI.  This much riding will ensure that your legs, heart and butt can handle the seven straight days of riding in RAGBRAI.  Of course, as July gets closer, your mileage should get larger and you should do some quite long rides (50-70 miles) and do some back to back (e.g. Saturday/Sunday) long rides to get you ready for riding day after day.

Can you do RAGBRAI if you don’t have this much training?  Certainly.  This is just a guide to help you be able to ride all of RAGBRAI without turning it into an extreme challenge.  The younger you are, the more likely you will be able to get away with less training. But regardless of your age, your ride will be more enjoyable with more training.  If you can only get 500 miles of training in, you can probably conquer RAGBRAI.  But you may have to dial back the pace and rest more during each day.  The great thing about RAGBRAI is that it doesn’t have tremendously long miles every day.  Many are in the 50 to 70 mile range. You have more than 12 hours of daylight in which to accomplish these miles, so even a very casual 10 mph will get you there in 7 hours.  And RAGBRAI also offers many excuses to stop and rest.  About every 10 miles you come to another town where you can get off your bike, rest, explore, eat and drink and help to pace yourself.

The weather is getting nice so now is the time to be getting out on your bike if you haven’t already.  You still have three months to prepare, so take advantage and start getting those miles in.

Coach David Ertl

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 Coach. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team, JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes and individual cyclists through the Peaks Coaching Group. He also provides cycling training plans and ebooks at his website: http://www.CyclesportCoaching.com . He can be contacted at coach@cyclesportcoaching.com.

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