ertl1by Coach David Ertl

RAGBRAI is over for another year.  Congratulations on riding more than 400 miles in one week (or however many miles you rode).  Not many people ever ride their bikes that far in one week.  I hope you were adequately prepared and enjoyed yourself and didn’t find it too challenging.  As the training blogger for RAGBRAI, I get to meet some neat people and hear about their accomplishments.  I thought I’d wrap up this season with a couple of stories to illustrate the point that proper training can really make the difference with completing RAGBRAI and still be smiling when you dip your front tire in the Mississippi River.

This season I got to help out a 15 year old boy, Elliott, from California. He trained 15 hours a week getting ready for RAGBRAI.  This was his first major bike ride and he rode every mile including the century loop and the gravel loop.  He and his friends had a blast, which is what happens when you are adequately prepared.

ertl2And then there is my friend John from Maryland, who in his 60’s who lost a considerable amount of weight a couple of years ago and planned to ride RAGBRAI last year but his knees weren’t up to the challenge.  So last winter he got two new knees and trained very sensibly and seriously this season and was able to ride the entire length of RAGBRAI including the century loop.  Another happy finisher because he trained for RAGBRAI and was prepared.

Having just completed RAGBRAI, you may feel like you have accomplished your season’s goal and it’s time to hang up your bike.  Think again! It’s okay to take a break from your saddle for a bit following RAGBRAI, but keep in mind that you are now in the best shape of the season.  It would be a shame to not continue to enjoy this fitness.  If you don’t keep riding you will lose it.  So why not keep your tires pumped and keep riding.  To help keep you motivated, you might look for other rides to do this summer and fall.  There are a lot of tours and fondo’s available (although none quite like RAGBRAI!) and a quick internet search should pull those up.  Another good reason to keep riding this summer and fall is to maintain your fitness.  You can build fitness over several years if you keep at it, so by continuing to ride this year, you will get stronger for next year.

Enjoy the rest of your cycling season and we’ll see you next year.

Coach David Ertl

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 Coach. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and individual cyclists through the Peaks Coaching Group. He also provides cycling training plans and ebooks at his website: . He can be contacted at