RAGBRAI Training: RAGBRAI is Coming, Let’s Get Ready!

By Coach David Ertl

Once again I will be providing training tips for you to use and follow as you prepare for your successful trip across Iowa this year.  Many people may be afraid of what lies ahead.  After all, riding more than 400 miles on a bicycle in a week sounds daunting.  I don’t care who you are, 400 miles is a long way to ride a bike. But it is very possible, as evidenced by the thousands of people who successfully make the trek across Iowa each year.  And this includes young kids as well as very old kids.  Most healthy people will be able to ride the entire distance with some adequate preparation.  But simply finishing RAGBRAI shouldn’t be your goal.  Your goal should be to finish RAGBRAI feeling strong and having an enjoyable week, not a miserable one.  That’s where I come in. My blogs will help you prepare to successfully complete RAGBRAI strongly and safely. By following a plan and riding consistently and progressively adding more miles, you will be able to accomplish this goal.

One of the things that I have done in past years that has been appreciated by past riders is a simple training plan designed to guide you through your training.  Attached here is this year’s plan.  This provides a framework for the amount of miles you should try to ride to work your way up to being fit by July.  This plan provides suggestions on the number of miles to ride each week, and the distance of the longest ride. Both will increase each week as the training season progresses.  The number of days you ride and the exact days of the week you ride is up to you.  These are just guidelines.  However, you should plan on riding at least 3 times a week to get the benefit of training.  Try not to make large jumps in weekly mileage each week, or to greatly increase the distance of your longest ride each week.
This plan comes in two version. One is a PDF file that you can print off (fits on one legal sized page) and the other is an Excel file that you can download if you want to keep an electronic version.  There is a space where you can write in the actual miles you ride if you wish.

Here are the links:

for the pdf:

and for the Excel spreadsheet:


While I will be covering a wide range of topics this year in these blogs, many of them have been covered in previous years.  I encourage you to go back and review the past 8 years’ worth of blogs at https://ragbrai.com/category/ragbrai-training-blog/.

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.


Todd Nadler, Mar 18, 2017 at 7:53 pm

Yes I have started with 12oz curls since I have been out of practice for endurance. My question is do i need to work up to 64oz or just go straight to Jack shots?

Kim Brumbaugh, Jul 13, 2018 at 5:17 pm

Ytd 4000 miles is that enough?

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