RAGBRAI Training: The Route is Out, So Let’s Get Ready!
OK RAGBRAI Riders:
The 2012 RAGBRAI XL overnight towns have been announced. While the detailed course will be announced a little later, this gives enough of an idea on the difficulty of the course for this year’s ride. This year the ride is 471 miles, which is reported as the 18th shortest ride. However, because there have been 40 of these rides, 18 means about the median so it is average length. Still 471 miles is a lot any way you look at it and it means you should have plenty of miles in before your RAGBRAI journey begins.
A good rule of thumb is to ride at least twice as many miles in preparation as you plan to ride during RAGBRAI, so if you are expecting to finish the entire ride, you should get in at about 1000 miles in training. More is better. Keep in mind that RAGBRAI isn’t something you can just come and do like an ultra endurance event without any preparation. A week on the bike is just too long to go without training and expect to be fine. As one of my cycling friends says “You can’t fake endurance”. And I’m not just referring to be able to do the ride without your legs giving out. I’m referring to other body part too. Sitting on a bike seat for 6-8 hours a day takes some getting used to, also.
And how about the hill situation? This route is ‘relatively flat’. It’s the 11th flattest out of 40. But there is still a total of 16,125 feet of climbing (that’s over 3 miles straight up!). So don’t leave some hill climbing out of your preparation. Despite rumors to the contrary, Iowa is not flat.
So while this promises to be a gentler ride than some (according to RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz only 8 RAGBRAIs have been easier), it still will require preparation for long days in the saddle, the ability to make it up and over hills and dealing with the heat, humidity and long days. But have no fear. You can do it with proper preparation and remember that the better you are prepared, the more enjoyable the ride becomes. I will be providing training tips through the next few months to address your questions and to offer training tips to help you have a very enjoyable experience. So check back often to this website. All training articles will be saved on the Training tab.
You’ve already given me some great ideas and please continue to ask questions and provide your ideas for what topics you want me to address.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org