RAGBRAI Training: Putting Last Minute Touches on Your RAGBRAI Preparation
by Coach David Ertl
Well, RAGBRAI XLI is coming right up. Hopefully you have been out training on your bike and building up the miles. If you are approaching at least 1,000 miles for the year, you will be well prepared physically for the upcoming version of RAGBRAI. If not, it is not too late to get in some last minute training. RAGBRAI starts in just two weeks which means this is really the last week you have for some serious training and long rides. During the week right before RAGBRAI you should plan to cut back on riding and let your body rest and be fully refreshed and ready to head into RAGBRAI. You do not want to go into RAGBRAI tired because it will only get worse. Plus, any riding you do the week right before RAGBRAI will not have time to become incorporated into your fitness but will make you tired. So I would recommend only riding 50-100 miles the week right before RAGBRAI begins. For some of you, you will be packing up your bike and traveling to Iowa anyway so you have some forced rest.
Don’t neglect your bike either. If there is work that needs to be done on it, do it right away. Waiting until right before RAGBRAI starts is not a good idea. Bike shops (at least in Iowa) will be swamped and they are getting ready themselves to head out on the road for a week, so don’t expect quick service. Check over your bike. Do a visual inspection. Look for frayed cables, worn or cracked tires, and any cracks in the frame. If the bike isn’t shifting right or the brakes don’t work well, if your wheels wobble, or your gears or chain are making noise, get them adjusted and lubed. While there is lots of bike shop support on RAGBRAI, don’t rely on these to get your bike ready the day before. These are mainly to fix problems and keep you running. Don’t expect them to have time to do a full bike checkup for you.
It’s also time to begin thinking about what you will be bringing with you. You might want to consider making a list so you don’t forget critical items like shoes, water bottles, tubes, and even your bike (not a joke!). If there is something you absolutely need such as a specific brand of sports drink or butt cream, you’d better bring it with you as you can’t be sure you will find it once you get here.
Just a little preparation with two weeks to go will ensure you arrive at RAGBRAI ready to roll. Don’t let a small detail derail your whole ride.
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: