My First Trip to Sufferlandria.

Following on from my previous post about the home trainer, this one is a look at the Sufferfest video I used for my first ever visit to Sufferlandria.

I saw this recommended as one of the first videos to try. Having never done a structured work out like this before, it was all new to me. I had done a few interval session out on the road, and found them to be very hard work. Trying to maintain a set cadence and heart rate whilst trying to dodge pot holes, dairy trucks and cows crossing the road, had proved difficult. I had a lot of people telling me that intervals on the home trainer would be easier. Well that is bull shit. They obviously haven’t been introduced to the Sufferfest videos.

I fired up the video on my laptop, jumped on the bike, and started to spin the pedals as I watched the intro.

You get the usual copyright info and a warning about only attempting to follow the video if you are fit. Well that is a first. I was still contemplating this when the video started and i was spinning easily along a road behind a group of other cyclist. Excellent, here we go.

You get an overview of the work out ahead and that was when I got the second shock since I started pedaling. 1 minute of 10 out of 10 effort then 1 minutes rest. And you do this 15 times! Holy Merckx!

Steeling myself for the torture ahead, I was happily spinning along on the warm up when this popped up.

The odd thing about this was that that jacket was driving me nuts. I accelerated slightly and left him behind. And this is part of the beauty of the videos. You quickly get sucked in to thinking your efforts matter. I could have just spun away normally and the video would have had me sail past this bozo, but I actually worked harder.

There are audio cues to tell you when an interval is about to start, when it starts and when it finishes. These are great, because it wasn’t long before I wasn’t looking at the screen, I was watching my power figures on the JetBlack digital display.

I really have no idea how to judge what my perceived efforts are, so I tried to use the power figures. This dear reader is a massive mistake. For the first interval of 1 minute, I successfully held just over 400 watts. Well, I managed to do it for about 50 seconds before I had nothing left and had to back off.

The extra 10 seconds of recovery did nothing to help. Second interval I managed to keep my power at about 350 watts, again for 50 seconds before my eyes felt like they were trying to exit my ocular cavities. Just the effort of reaching around behind me to grab a towel had my head spinning.

I managed to dry myself off just before the next effort. I went for a full 60 seconds this time, but I was struggling to put out 250 watts. I was dying a slow and painful death.

The next 12 minutes was like I was in some sort of weird time worm hole. The 60 seconds of efforts went in slow motion. The 60 seconds of rest was in fast forward.

I reached for the water bottle and because I was wrecked, some water went down my breathing tubes. I coughed and spluttered my way through the next interval.

Interval #13 I just sat up. My head said go, but my legs and heart and lungs out voted it and sent it a very terse message back. It is a horrible fact, but I am quite the spitter on the bike. I think I need a Suffer spittoon.

The sweat wasn’t trickling out of my pores, it was squirting out. I must have looked like a bloody sprinkler. My whole body was crying. Why am I doing this? The video kept throwing up prompts to keep going. I was hurling abuse at the screen.

I gave it everything I had in the last interval. Smashing out just over 150 watts.

Finally, I was at the end. Thanks the gods. I was stuffed. Enjoying the warm down, catching my breath, then, with out warning, this!

WTF??? My rational brain, that tiny little bit near the back, was saying “well that is a bit sexist” at about the same time as the irrational part of my brain, the large bit near the front, got a message from my plums. “Don’t let these girls beat you!!!” Once again, I was immersed in the game being played and took off. For about 3 seconds I stamped on the pedals and was smashing out an outstanding 130 watts before my legs just gave up. I was beaten. I think at that point I mixed up my water bottles and squeezed Gatorade all over my face!

I did the warm down in a mental fuzz. The video ended and I stopped pedaling. It took me a few minutes before I could get off the bike. Revolver had ruined me. What ruined me even more was the fact that I hadn’t completed it. I had missed one full interval and cut a lot of them short by 10 to 15 seconds.

For about 15 minutes after that, I swore I would never do another Sufferfest video again. The trainer could go back to CellBikes and I would just ride on the road. After I had cooled off, had a shower and composed myself, all I wanted to do was have another crack at it. What was wrong with me?

I think at my current level of fitness, most of the Sufferfest videos will be beyond me. Is that going to stop me? Hell no. I owe it to David at The Sufferfest and Mark at CellBikes to keep at it. And, strangely enough, I want to keep at it. I can see how these videos will make me stronger and fitter.

I am off to have a crack at another one this afternoon, in preparation for Milan San Remo tonight. I need a nap this afternoon so I can watch the coverage. What better way to make myself tired than an hour in Sufferlandria!

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3 Responses to My First Trip to Sufferlandria.

  1. Markus says:

    The Sufferfests will be even better with Trainerroad, it gives you wattage targets then.

  2. Great write-up Norbs, I’ve got a few of the sufferfest videos and I end up in a pool of secretions at the end of them. I absolutely HATE the trainer but at least the SF makes it bearable. P.S. Give Fight Club a run 😉

  3. CL says:

    Revolver was my first back in Oct ’12. It’s hard to move from it – addictive. I’ve done it 50 or so times since and is the reason I’m in better shape. It’s March and I’ve done only 4 of the 11 I have. Maybe it’s the music too. You’ll find yourself humming these tunes. Very Dark Place is my current fave.

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