I am always amazed by the variety of people who ride RAGBRAI.  I found a Register posting about Who is Riding RAGBRAI in 2014. 

Here are some of the specifics:
62% are Men and 38% are Women
Majority of riders are between 50-59 years old

Riders' Ages
Under 19       4.5%
20 - 29          7.6%
30 - 39         10.3%
40 - 49         14.8%
50 - 59         25.3%
60 - 69         14.3%
70 - 79           2.9%
Over 80          0.2%      

It would interesting to know the professions of the RAGBRAI riders.  Maybe next year.

Did you have a good ride in 2014?


It's All about Your Bottom, Flamingos

You might think that all those training miles that you are logging are about building your legs.  Not true.

Yes, you are building muscles that will help push you across the Iowan landscape but those are not the important part of your body that is being developed. 

The important part is your butt.

Coach David Ertl wrote about the importance of building your butt on the RAGBRAI blog (6/24/14)   I will highlight some of the main points here but you will get the most out of this if you actually read his post, RAGBRAI Training: Let's Get to the Bottom of the Issue.

While you may have legs of steel, you aren't going to make it to the finish line if your butt can't stay in the seat. (I must admit that there is a RAGBRAI-er who rides the whole route without a seat, but I wouldn't recommend it.)  You need to prepare for the 40 - 100 miles per day sitting in your saddle. 

Here are a few problems that might emerge if you don't train your butt properly:

  • Your butt will hurt - You will feel "soreness under your seat bones."
  • Your legs chaff - Rubbing between your seat and legs can cause some real discomfort.
  • You develop saddle sores - Sincere problems are caused by saddle sores. They can be serious enough to end your RAGBRAI ride.
How to Avoid The Problems:

  • Wear cycling shorts - These are padded and created without thickened seams the can rub. They are made of material that absorbs perspiration and cushions your derriere from chaffing and saddle sores.
  • Do not wear underwear under your shorts - Lycra shorts are designed to be worn by themselves. You can get baggy shorts if you are too shy to wear these.
  • Bring at least 2 pairs of shorts - There is a lot of sweat in those shorts so they need to be washed.  You don't want to wear wet shorts.  Give them a day to dry.
  • Ride a lot in preparation.
  • Begin with shorter rides and build up to distance.
  • Ride year around and your toughened butt remains tough.
Avoid Chaffing:
Begin each day by applying a thin layer of chamois cream on your groin.  There are a number of commercial names; Chamois Butt'r, Eurostyle butter, Ride EZ Chamois Cream, and DZNUTS are some good ones to use. 

Keep It Clean:
Keep your groin area as clean and dry as possible. Saddle sore is caused by infections that are caused by bacteria in your skin. Bacteria love dirty and damp. Remember to wash your shorts every day.  Even if you don't have access to a washing machine, you can hand wash them with hand soap if you don't have any laundry soap. 

Take care of yourself.  REMEMBER: Even with all of your preparation and the steps you take to prevent problems, it is OK for you to finish your daily ride by yelling 
"My Butt Hurts!!!!"   Let's just hope that it isn't any worse than that.

Photo: http://www.cyclelicio.us

Big Bird Tells Us How to Pack for RAGBRAI

Laird Big Bird has provided some ideas about how to pack for RAGBRAI.
Just a little over 1 week left.

What to Bring
See attachment for a list of things recommended to bring on RAGBRAI.  Use this for your packing check list and you won't be sorry.

Camping/Overnight Needs

You will need to bring:
  • a tent (make sure all the stakes are there)
  • sleeping bag or bedding/pillow
  • air mattress/pump or camp cot
  • flash light
  • camp chair (if support vehicles have enough room to carry along)
I will be bringing shade awnings for when we have to camp, and the flamingoloo in case we're not close to a KYBO.  We will also have standing air pumps along to keep your bike tires up.  We will have coolers along for chilling beverages or keeping yogurt, fruit, etc. chilled during the week.

Packing Tips
For those of you new to RAGBRAI here are a couple of packing tips that might prove useful.
  • Pack each day's set of clothing in a zip lock bag.  This helps keep everything safe and dry.  It also makespacking a little easier especially mid-week when the sleep deprivation and fatigue starts to set in and your brain functioning moves into slow motion.
  • Line your duffel bag with a plastic trash bag.  This offers additional protection against your clothing getting wet in case we encounter rain during the week.
  • Remember to pack sandals or shower shoes that can be worn in the showers at the public schools, etc., 
  • Shower gels are easier and less messy to carry then bar soaps
  • Camping towels (like large shammies) work fine and take up less space.
  • Camping toilet paper rolls are a great investment.  They are easy to carry for back up when you find yourself in a KYBO with no TP, or for emergency dashes into the corn fields.
  • Breathe rights are great to help control snoring (Leigh) during the night.
Packing List
Due to popular demand, Laird Big Bird shared a suggested list of items that are recommended for your RAGBRAI trip. You may have other items that you want to take, but please keep in mind that space is at a premium.  Try to limit your gear (excluding tent/sleeping bag/mattress pad/cot, etc.) to a medium size duffel and a carry on.
On the Bike:
___   Bike (computer, trunk bag, etc.)
___   Helmet
___   RAGBRAI rider's tag/packet
___   Spare tubes (2)
___   Tire iron/tire changing kit
___   Sunscreen
___   Chap stick
___   Handiwipes travel pack
___   Hand disinfectant
___   Credit card/cash (don’t count on working ATM’s in rural Iowa)
___   iPod/MP3 player/ear buds/bike sound system
___   Cell phone
___   iPod/Cell phone charger
___   Sun glasses

___   More money
___   Sunburn cream or spray/mole skin, band aids
___   Camera if phone doesn’t have one.
___   Roll of camping TP or mini-Kleenex packs (for dashes into the corn fields)
___   Pink feather boas/flamingo adornments and accessories

___   Sun visor or ball cap
___   Cycling jerseys (2)
___   Cycling shorts (2)  (keep separate from Al’s)
___   Socks (7 pairs – wear 1 pair after ride/on ride next day).  Adjust if you wear sandals at night and/or sandals to ride in.
___   Bike shoes or sandals, or shoes with hard sole.
___   Shorts for evening wear (if you can find travel shorts with liners you can eliminate undies)
___   Undies (you be the judge of number needed)
___   T-shirts (one for each night/ each day you ride if don’t have jersey)
___   Hoodie, sweat shirt or windbreaker in case temps dip
___   Pair of long pants in case temps dip (optional)
___   Sweat band or bandana

In Camp/Overnight:
___   Sleeping bag/bed roll/cot/bedding (whatever you plan to sleep on)
___   Tent (in case we have to camp or housing breaksdown)
___   Shower shoes or flips
___   Toiletry kit
___   Pocket flashlight
___   Pocket knife
___   Ink pen, post card stamps, mailing labels

___   Muscle rub (i.e., Perform or Biofreeze)
___   Towel

See you in 15 days.

Mike "Big Bird" Knapp