RAGBRAI Training: Let’s Get Started!
Well, the 2013 RAGBRAI route has now been announced and has been described as ‘taking a break’ after last year’s well baked ride during the heat of the drought that hit Iowa. Buy don’t be lulled into complacency by this statement. After all, RAGBRAI still involves propelling yourself 406 miles over the course of a week. The hilliest day requires more than 4000 vertical feet of climbing and the longest day is still 83 miles. You can’t just hop on your bike and do that. It takes preparation and over the course of the next several months I will be blogging training tips and suggestions to help you get into the best possible shape, not only to complete RAGBRAI but to do it comfortably and to have the most enjoyable time possible. In a few weeks I will be coming out with my training plan to help give you an idea of how much you should be riding to be ready for RAGBRAI. A good rule of thumb is that you should have gotten in at least 800-1000 miles of riding before tackling RAGBRAI. This isn’t as hard as it may sound. I’ll show you how.
Today is the first day of March and despite a heavy snow here in Iowa this week, it isn’t too early to be thinking about starting to get yourself in shape for this summer. If you live in a climate that allows you to ride now, then by all means get your bike out and start riding it. Nothing special, just get some miles in your legs and time in the saddle (both important items for completing a successful RAGBRAI). If you happen to live in a northern climate and can’t get your car out of the driveway, much less your bike, then there are other things you can do. Riding an indoor trainer, while not the most fun way to ride, is a viable option for getting in some early season miles. A spin class can be much more tolerable and can really do a lot to start getting you in shape. But also consider some other options for early season conditioning, such as boot camps at your gym, walking, jogging, cross country skiing, snow shoeing. Really, anything that gets you moving and gets your heart rate up will be a good start to the season.
This is also a very good time to get your bike in shape. Bike shops aren’t very busy right now so it is a good time to take it in and get a tune up and make sure everything is working and ready for the season. Don’t wait for the first nice day of spring as the bike shops will be swamped with people bringing in their bikes who have discovered their bike mysteriously decayed over the winter.
I encourage you to review some of my previous posts on this training blog as many of these articles are still very appropriate for this year. Click here to look at the training blog.
Good luck for a very successful and enjoyable 2013 riding season!
Coach David Ertl
David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and is a national head coach for the the JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes 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.