By Coach David Ertl 

This is it, the final week heading into RAGBRAI XLII.  Here are a few tips to consider for this final week to ensure that you have a great ride next week.

1. If you haven’t done as much riding as you wanted to this year, there are some things you can do to help make it through the entire ride successfully. The first is to pace yourself. Don’t push yourself but take it easy and ride within yourself. If you have done at least some riding, then you should be able to make it through the whole week if you don’t overdo it.  The distance is a little shorter this year and the hills are too bad, so that is in your favor.  Whatever you do, don’t try to do a lot of riding this week to make up for what you haven’t done earlier.  Just remember, this isn’t college and you can’t cram for RAGBRAI. If you do a lot of riding this week, you will risk being sore and tired heading into the ride on Sunday. You are better off just riding easily this week and being fully rested and ready to go.

2.  If you have done a lot of riding and are ready to tackle RAGBRAI, good for you.  However as I said above, the same goes. Back off on your riding this week to ensure you are rested and fresh for the start on Sunday.  Any training you do this week won’t improve your riding next week but can make you tired which can negatively impact your ability to ride to your potential.  So kick back, do some shorter easier rides this week and make sure your bike and body are in good working condition.

3.  Make sure your bike is ready. Don’t wait for Saturday at Rock Valley to get your biked fixed or tuned up.  Do it now and then ride it before you head out there this weekend.  Yes, there are several bike shops coming along on RAGBRAI to provide repairs but don’t rely on them to get your bike ready.  Do it this week.

4.  Make a list of all the gear you need to take with you and get it packed.  Be sure to remember your shoes, helmet, water bottles and clothing (come prepared for very hot and cool weather, wet and dry). If you have certain drink mixes or gels or energy bars that you prefer, bring them along with you as you can’t assume they will be available on RAGBRAI.

5. Bring your good attitude and be ready to have fun.  Once again I will remind you that RAGBRAI is not a race.  The objective is not to see who can get to the overnight town first. To do that is to miss all the reasons for doing RAGBRAI – to enjoy the beautiful Iowa countryside, to enjoy the food and hospitality of each pass through town, to meet and get to know your fellow cyclists who come from all over the world.  Savor the ride and all it has to offer.

– Coach David Ertl

 David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and is a national head coach for the the JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes and he coaches individual cyclists. He also provides cycling training plans and ebooks at his website: . He can be contacted at

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