Training for RAGBRAI: Short and Flat RAGBRAI Ahead!
The overnight towns for the 2010 RAGBRAI were announced on January 30. As you probably have heard by now, it’s being touted as one of the shortest and flattest RAGBRAI’s in history. After last year’s hilly version, this may come as a relief to you. So this means you don’t have to train, or at least train as much as last year, right? Think again. (you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you!)
This year’s ride is 442 which means it averages 63 miles per day. 442 miles is still a long way to ride and proper preparation is needed. This year’s ride still has a total vertical climb of 14,527 feet. While this is not quite the Ride the Rockies, it still means some hills. Keep in mind, 14,527 feet is almost three miles straight up! Yes, it’s spread over 7 days, but not equally! Some days will have more than their share, especially on the last day when you are most fatigued.
Just to sober you up a little from your ‘flat ride euphoria’, here is the profile of the last day of 1993 when RAGBRAI also ended in Dubuque:
As you can see, there will be some ups and downs.
While this year’s route may be less challenging than past rides, you will still want the endurance and ability to ride at a comfortable pace each day for seven days in a row. Remember, it’s often your body part that sits on the saddle all day that gets the most sore and that still needs to be trained even when it’s flat! Plus it will still be hot. Last year you got a break on the really hot temperatures but my prediction is this year’s ride will be more like a typical RAGBRAI in the third week of July in Iowa: hot and humid.
So my message to you is to celebrate briefly (unless you enjoy hills) that this year’s route is flatter and shorter than normal, but then get back to training. You will be well served if you put aside the notion that this ride will be short and flat. Everything is relative. 442 miles is shorter than 480 miles, but it is still a long way. There will still be the Karras Loop option and some days will be longer than others, so don’t skimp on the mileage you train this year. And while the hills will be less frequent than last year, they will still be there. So don’t skip hills during your preparation. The good news is you have 6 months yet to train for it.
Keep an eye out for my future blogs as I give you ideas on how to prepare for this year’s ride.
Coach David Ertl
David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach and owner of Cyclesport Coaching (www.CyclesportCoaching.com) . He coaches individual cyclists, the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and the JDRF Greater Iowa Chapter for the Ride to Cure Diabetes. He can be contacted at Coach@CyclesportCoaching.com .