RAGBRAI XLIX registration is now open!

RAGBRAI Training: Riding and Reading

  • 5 June, 2012
  • TJ Juskiewicz

By Coach David Ertl

As I’m writing this, the countdown clock on the RAGBRAI website says 47 days to go until RAGBRAI begins.  If you have been riding and preparing as I’ve suggested then you have no reason for panic.   But, if you haven’t, it is time to get on your bike and get to work. 

The most important piece of advice I can give anyone to prepare for RAGBRAI is to ride your your bike, and ride it a lot prior to RAGBRAI.  That’s it.  Nothing fancy or high tech.  Just ride.  Your mantra should be ‘Recycle’.  In this case, it means ride your bike again! 

If you plan to ride the complete route of RAGBRAI, you will be riding a long way, every day, for seven days straight.  You need to be getting your body used to riding a long distance, and you need to ride multiple days in a row to get your body acclimated to getting on the bike and riding day after day, and even when you are tired.    You will need to be able to ride up to 85 miles on the longest day.  To be prepared for this, you should attempt to ride a 60 mile riding during your training.  If you can do 60 miles in training, you should be able to make 85 miles on RAGBRAI.  Keep in mind you have all day to complete this so an average speed of less than 10 mph is all you need to go to complete 85 miles during the day.   I’d also suggest that you try to get in back to back days of riding between now and RAGBRAI.  If you work during the week, then try to get these back to back rides in on weekends.  The first day will get you tired, the second day will teach you to ride when tired from the previous day.  To accomplish your goal of having a successful RAGBRAI, you should aim to get 1,000 miles of riding in prior to RAGBRAI. 

How are you doing so far?

When you are resting and recovering from your riding, log onto the RAGBRAI website and train your brain.   I receive a number of emails after I write these blogs and some of them refer to topics I have addressed in previous blogs this year and previous years.  There are now three years’ worth of training blogs on the RAGBRI website.   Go to https://ragbrai.com/category/ragbrai-training-blog/ and you will find the blogs from this season.  At the bottom of the page you will see a link to Previous Entries.  Click on that and it will take you to prior years’ articles.  Just because they are older doesn’t mean they aren’t relevant – most of them apply to this year’s ride as well as to previous rides.  These article cover all sorts of topics of interest to a RAGBRAI rider.  So check these out and learn how to add that little extra to your RAGBRAI preparation.

Read, Ride and Reap the Rewards!

Coach David Ertl 

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach and Personal Trainer. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team, the Iowa JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes Team, the Above & Beyond Cancer RAAM Team, 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 coach@cyclesportcoaching.com





  1. David Thompson

    Well, by the end of this week I’ll have 1,050 miles and still grinding away!!! Hoping to get 1800+ before RAGBRAI. I know this might be overkill but it’s my first time doing this and I would like to have fun with it. I have ridden at least 5 times in the rain so far just to not miss a training ride. I don’t know where I found my drive but I’m not questioning it. Like Freddy said “get on your bikes and ride”!! Can’t wait to see everybody, I feel like a horse at the track waiting for the bell to sound and the gate to open!! Ding…………

    Dave T.
    New Jersey

  2. Coach David Ertl

    Great job. Yes, that is more than you need but if you can reach 1800 miles you will not only be able to complete the entire ride, but do it comfortably and have a lot fun doing it. That’s the right approach. RAGBRAI should be fun!

  3. Rose

    First time rider here too! 730 miles logged so far and pedaling more everyday. Four days of riding planned this week, energy level is going through the roof lately and so pumped! Dis my first century ride two weekends ago and since then I feel like I can do anything! Can’t wait for Ragbrai!

  4. Jim Borelli

    Hi,Dave, have you seen the reports this week about a study published this Monday in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings by several cardiologists, including James O’Keefe of St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City? In the report the authors cite a pattern of emerging and disturbing evidence that extreme endurance training can cause structual damage to the heart and arteries. The authors recommend cutting back running and and cycling to no more than hour a day to avoid the risks of such damage to the cardiovascular system. What’s a loyal RAGBRAI rider to do?

  5. Coupon Sense

    I enjoy looking through an article that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

Submit a Comment

Related Articles
Friends of RAGBRAI