RAGBRAI Training: The RAGBRAI XLVII Route has been announced. It’s not too soon to start training!
By Coach David Ertl
So the secret is out – RAGBRAI is going to be back again this year. It’s back to southern Iowa which typically means hilly, but not so much this year. According to the RAGBRAI route announcement press release, this year’s route is “427 miles with 14,735 feet of climb, the 47th edition of this roving cycling party is the eighth easiest in route history. The 2019 ride is also the sixth shortest and eighth flattest.”
Ah, eighth easiest, sixth shortest, eighth flattest? No sweat, right? Well, that may be easy for you to say as the temperatures in Iowa are south as well. South of zero, that is! But for those of you who have read my previous blogs, you know that riding more than 400 miles in a week in Iowa in mid-July is never ‘no-sweat’. You will want to be prepared, and while it is still a half a year away, and the tendency is to put off any thought of getting in shape yet, I’d suggest otherwise. Of course, I’m the coach and that’s what I do.
Getting started doesn’t mean you have to get on your bike just yet. There are many other ways to start getting active and building fitness. Of course, there are many cyclists who do train all winter, either on fat bikes in the snow or indoors on trainers. These days, the technology to ride indoors is phenomenal. There are ‘smart trainers’ and trainer apps that allow you to virtually ride anywhere in the world with virtually anyone in the world. The other day I was riding my indoor trainer using an app called Zwift along with 6000 other people from all over the globe.
But you can do anything that gets you moving, that gets your heart rate up and uses some muscle. Get out and enjoy the winter by skiing (downhill or cross country), snowshoeing or hiking. Indoors, you can go to a gym and do something aerobic or lift some iron, play hoops, or take up indoor pickleball even. This time of year, you don’t have to get real serious about training, just work on getting active after the holidays. There’s plenty of time to get on your bike and get the miles in (but you will be surprised how quickly July gets here so don’t get too complacent!).
Oh, and if by chance you might want to drop a few holiday pounds to get over those ‘eighth easiest hills’, now is a good time to start working on that as well.
So, get yourself moving and start getting psyched about another cycling season just around the corner. In the meantime, start training your brain as well. I have 10 years’ worth of training blogs on the RAGBRAI website so check those out here.
And here’s a little secret. Bike shops aren’t very busy this time of year. If you need a tune-up, new tires, upgrades or even a new bike, now is a great time to take care of that. And there are some nice winter sales coming up.
Here’s to 2019 and RAGBRAI XLVII!
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: CyclesportCoaching. He can be contacted at email@example.com.