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RAGBRAI Training: It is not too early to start training for RAGBRAI

  • 27 January, 2020
  • Anne Lawrie

Saturday night the general route of the 2020 edition of RAGBRAI was announced. It looks like a fun course with a variety of harder and easier days.   It is a total of 420 miles with 12,306 feet of climbing.  That makes it the 6th shortest and 29th hilliest. But don’t mistake that for being ‘short’ or ‘flat’.  I don’t care who you are, riding a bike 420 miles in one week is still a lot of work. Be sure to read a more thorough analysis of this year’s route here.

So even though you have a half a year still to prepare (174 days as of today), it is not too early to start getting ready.  While many of you live in northern climates where riding outside is difficult if not impossible, that doesn’t mean you can start building your base fitness.  On the bike, you can ride your indoor trainer, or attend spin classes.  If you can ride outside go ahead and start getting miles in now.  If you live in snow country, you can do some fat or mountain biking on the snow, or go snowshoeing or cross country skiing.  You can also do general fitness exercises at your gym. Anything you can do to start being active will help later on.

So keep checking back throughout the next 6 months for my training tips and my ever-popular training plan to help prepare you for this ride.  I will review each day’s route in more detail and what you should consider for your training.  It may be mid-winter, but it’s time to start getting excited about July!

Think summer!

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.


  1. Larry Mietus

    I hope this is a NON-political event for everyone.

    I do hope there will not be pre-election politics, ie MAGA hats, Religious tracts, anti-abortion posters, conspiracy theory statements, promoted by or posted by RAGBREI or the community and church groups involved .. Please let me know all Politics will at least be discouraged. If not discouraged please let me know I am unlikely to see much of this in RAGBREI campsites and church group meals.

    Thank you

  2. rspitzna

    I do not want politics to intervene either; but you seem to single out one side. You realize that THERE WILL BE posters urging voters either way or whatever ways. Just focus on biking and having fun and these ought not bother you. If they do, then…

  3. RICK Lund

    I did my first RAGBRAI last year and am now hooked! Our bus team decided, however, to do IowasRide this year, so I’m joining them. However, since it is possible, I’m seriously contemplating doing both rides. I’d rather go with a group. Anybody have a team that needs another rider? How about a team with a bus?

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