Friday, May 18, 2007

Training tips from a RAGBRAI veteran: pear IS a shape

An absolutely gorgeous spring day greeted CoeBRAI riders Katie, Brian and myself as we met for a lunchtime ride along the Cedar River trail. I had planned to do 10 miles, but Katie couldn't get enough of the landfill odor, so we pressed on for 15.

I'm glad we did as it was the first time I had been on my bike since our group ride to Center Point on April 28. I applaud those of you who are racking up major miles already, but I'll resist the temptation to catch up.

A review of my RAGBRAI training patterns might offer encouragement to those of you struggling to find time with your bike. So far this year, I've logged just 73 miles. I too hope to reach 500 by RAGBRAI, but failure to do so won't keep me from participating.

At this time a year ago, I only had 61 miles under my belt. By the time RAGBRAI arrived, I had ridden just 148 miles. Consequently, I struggled, mightily at times, but I made it.

Two years ago, I didn't even have a bike at this point. My first five miles came on the ride home from the bike shop on May 21. I rode nearly every day from that point on, often only from home to Coe and back, and logged 380 miles before losing my RAGBRAI virginity.

I'm not suggesting anyone shun training. Of all the things that will influence your enjoyment of RAGBRAI, training is the only one you can control. You don't select the route, you can't control the weather, and you can't will the shower water warm.

But if you can't log 100-miles a week or you can't find any hills, you can still ride RAGBRAI. You'll see all variety of ages, shapes and sizes among RAGBRAI participants. Among the 10,000+ riders, I'm pretty sure Lance Armstrong will be the only Tour de France winner.

When you dip your tires in the Mississippi River on July 28 -- signifying the completion of a week-long, 476.6 mile journey -- the feeling of accomplishment will overwhelm you.

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