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RAGBRAI Training: It’s Time to Kick Off this RAGBRAI Training Party!

  • 18 March, 2018
  • TJ Juskiewicz

by Coach David Ertl

For those of you who have been following my training blogs over the past 9 years, welcome back. And if you are new to RAGBRAI or just this blog, welcome!  I will be providing training tips throughout the season to help you prepare properly and adequately for the trek across the state.  While you may have read that this year’s RAGBRAI route is not quite as difficult as some in the past, it’s still nothing to sneeze at.  It is a total of 428 miles long and climbs 12,576 feet in total elevation gain.  Think about that for a minute.  428 miles is a long way to drive your car!  12,576 feet is like riding up Mt Rainier!  So my point is, you will need to and want to prepare your body for this ride.  And I will be here to help you along your way.  One thing you can do is start reviewing some of my past blogs which are now all assembled at this webpage on the RAGBRAI site.

In addition, I am attaching my 2018 RAGBRAI Training Plan to help provide you a guide for the number of miles you might consider doing in training leading up to RAGBRAI in July.  Yes, you have more than four months to prepare, but time will go fast so it’s not too early to start thinking about getting (back) on your bike and starting to get your body in shape.  Attached here is a PDF file which you can print and keep handy throughout this training season.  I’ve also attached an Excel file version in case you want to use it as a training log to type in your actual training miles.

Click to download PDF of Training Plan

Click to download Excel Spreadsheet of Training Plan

(plans have been updated as of March 21)

This plan has proven useful by many riders over the years and I hope you find it helpful as well.  Use it as a guide. Don’t feel you have to do the exact number of rides or miles on the exact days indicated.  But you should aim for your longest ride to be about as long as the longest ride listed for each week, and putting in the total number of miles each week as indicated.  It’s best to spread your miles out over several days and not to pack them all in on weekends.

I look forward to helping you again this season. If you have topics you would like to have me cover, please email me at I look forward to hearing from you and writing about topics of interest to you.

Here’s to a successful training season!

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: . He can be contacted at






  1. Scott Kies

    Thanks for your training program. I was concerned I was not going to be prepared but your schedule gives me confidence that I will be and have a good experience!


  2. Joany Smith

    Very cool to post.

  3. Dianne Whitney

    Thanks so much for this training program. What about hills? I live in northeast Iowa and the hills slow down my daily ride. How do I incorporate hills into my training schedule? Thanks..

  4. Heather Morrison

    Thanks for sharing! Is the training plan the same if you’re only doing one of the days?

  5. Krista Riddley

    What if I ride only three days per week but get the same weekly mileage, I’d there a downside to this?

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