I’ve written about this topic just about every year for the past 14 years. But that’s because it is the single most important bit of advice I can give you related to preparation for RAGBRAI that there is. So heed it well. As you should know by now, this year’s RAGBRAI is particularly long – 500 miles in fact. That’s a long way to ride a bike, in a week! The one thing you will need related to fitness is a good endurance base.
Endurance in cycling refers to the ability to sit on a bike and pedal it for long periods of time. And in the case of RAGBRAI, to get up the next morning and do it again, for seven days straight. RAGBRAI is a lot of fun but above all it is a supreme test of endurance. In order to have the fun part, you need to have the endurance part down. Here are some pointers to help you out, now that hopefully you are on your bike putting in the miles in your legs and hours in the saddle (equally important).
For RAGBRAI, you need to ride your bike for long periods of time several days in a row. It doesn’t, however, require you to ride fast. Yes, you need to be able to ride at least 8 mph hour but that shouldn’t be a problem for almost all of you. So you don’t have to train for speed. You can if you want, and it will make riding at RAGBRAI pace seem easier, but only do speed training if you want to and have your endurance nailed.