10420046_763549463736154_4062788488352465055_nby Coach David Ertl

Here you are, on the verge of embarking on RAGBRAI.  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 aren’t too bad, so that is in your favor.  You have plenty of time to make it to the next overnight town.  If you are concerned, just keep your stops shorter to give you plenty of time to get in before dark.
  2. If you have done a lot of riding and are ready to tackle RAGBRAI, good for you.  Still, you don’t want to overdo it the first couple of days when you feel good and fresh. If you dig yourself into a hole the first day or two, you will pay for it later in a week. Keep in mind you will be riding long distances for the next seven days.  Try to hold back a little the first two days. By day 3 you will be feeling it and know how hard you can push.
  3. Make sure your bike is ready. Check it over before you head out on Sunday.  Regardless of how you transported your bike, take it for a spin on Saturday to make sure everything is working following it’s trip and possible re-assembly.  If you find something not quite right, find one of the bike shops on location to get some help prior to Sunday.  Be sure to check to make sure brakes and shifters work, that the wheels are aligned and not rubbing on the frame or brakes, and that seat and handlebars are straight and tight.
  4. Check your supplies and make sure you have what you will need.  The expo on Saturday is a great place to pick up anything you may not have brought with you.
  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 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

Thanks Coach Ertl for your help getting us ready for RAGBRAI!